Before I commenced the reinvention of my “grandfather clock” its claim to fame was that it had been featured in one of the Sunday newspaper supplements back in the mid-nineties.
I bought it from an antique shop in Gerrard’s Cross where it stood out from the more traditional items of furniture. At the time I had been searching for a slim tallboy to stand in my then entrance hall but this brightly colour timepiece appealed to my sense of humour.
Engineered from scrap it would have been the forerunner to the current trend for upcyclying.
I’m sad to say that in more recent times it had been relegated to my studio as its infantile demeanour no longer suited my “grown up” home.
Transforming it to a more conventional piece of furniture enabled me to reintroduce it.
The first step was to paint its exterior with Neptune’s eggshell in Walnut.
Once that step was complete I painted the interior with Annie Sloan Antibes Green chalk paint™.
The final step was to paint the clock face. As a contrast to the dark brown door I used Farrow & Ball Old White eggshell. Lastly, I reinstalled the hands and timepiece mechanism.
At last my “grandfather” clock was welcomed back into our home adding a little storage and a lot of character.
This ornamental poppy has literally just put in an appearance in my herbaceous border. Self-seeded from a plant on the far side of the garden this healthy specimen has found a home amongst the lupins, alliums, and hostas. This is great news as the surrounding plants provide support for its oversized flower heads. These resemble soft tissue paper in the palest of pinks and create a stunning addition to this early summer display. I couldn’t have planned it better myself!
The 2019 Taste of Design roadshow took place between 14th and 22nd May. Choosing some of the UK’s finest locations it travelled from Hylands House in Essex to Leigh Court in Clifton.
I caught up with it in the glorious gardens of Painshill Park in Surrey.
Located in one of the two walled gardens at Painshill this was the ideal setting to enjoy the hospitality of the organisers and to view the latest collections of more than twenty luxury brands.
This wasn’t my first visit to Taste of Design but it was the first time that I encountered furniture manufacturer Whitehead Designs Ltd.
Struck by a publicity shot of their Arundel chaise sofa In Interior Designer magazine I sought them out at the show. Upholstered in this fabulous blue Roma Miro cotton-linen union fabric the reality very much lived up to the expectation.
An exhibitor who I have met at the show before was Kinkatou of London. Creators of a handmade range of lighting and accessories their stand is always a joy to observe.
My absolute favourite was the Zoe table lamp. Standing 51cm tall with its pleated pink shade and decorated with gold balls it really appealed to me.
Another stand to which I was drawn was that of carpet manufacturer Roger Oates. Well known for their exquisitely flat-woven stair runners they also manufacture colourful bespoke patchwork rugs.
Amidst the fabric designers the one that caught my attention was Titley and Marr. Attracted by their colour palette and diversity of designs their collections are both classic and contemporary.
My visit may have been brief but it was most satisfactory. With new contacts and some fresh ideas I felt well-equipped for my next project.
My mum arrived at my house this week to stay for the Easter break. On walking in the dining room she exclaimed “show off”!
Of course, being my mum, I couldn’t argue with her and it is perfectly true that I have followed the trend for “showing off” my colourful array of alcoholic beverages.
I’m not entirely sure when if first became fashionable to have a drinks cabinet or trolley.
Ironically, my parents did indeed have a trolley in the 1970’s, and I was reminded of this when I recently stumbled across it in their loft.
Similar in style to the one below (although not quite as glam) it was home to the go-to drinks of that era; Babycham, Advocat, and Cinzano Martini.
I suspect the trend for these fabulously showy items of furniture started long before my parents’ days. In my mind these images conjure up bygone days of the roaring 20’s and fabulous cruise liners.
A good friend of mine has actually inherited her parents’ cocktail books which date back to pre-war days.
I love this circular art deco style. The mirrored shelves add a reflective quality to the glitzy display.
Julian Chichester offers a more masculine style trolley. With its solid dark wood frame it looks like it means business.
Of course it’s not just these items of furniture that have once again become fashionable but the drinks that adorn them too.
Gin has made a serious come back and gin cocktails appear to have taken over from the much loved Aperol Spritz.
Many independent distilleries have appeared in recent times and offer a vast selection of colours and flavours.
Only recently I attended a gin tasting evening hosted by my favourite off licence in Burpham on the outskirts of the Surrey Hills. Here we sampled gins distilled by Simon Sherlock who has a small distillery in Ripley, Surrey.
Without doubt my favourite was the limited edition Valentine gin which changed colour from blue to pink once tonic was added.
Funnily enough my new found fondness for this botanical delight has lead to me trying a variety of tonic waters and as a consequence I often choose these over an alcoholic drink.
Presented in a gin glass, with the addition of fresh orange slices, juniper berries and ice cubes, Fever Trees’ pink aromatic tonic is currently my favourite guilt free tipple. It is sugar free, refreshing, and 100ml contains a mere 25 calories.
If my mum thinks my modest display of bottles and glasses is a little pretentious I’m not entirely sure what she would make of this Great Gatsby inspired bar at Turnell & Gigon.
Complete with ostrich feathers and the finest champagne I think it she might describe it as a little ostentatious.
In the same room-set at Turnell & Gigon this sleek trolley was prominently displayed in the showroom window.
I can’t help but think that the drinks’ trolley is merely a passing phase. A drinks cabinet might provide a more permanent place for one’s home bar.
I photographed the one above in a bar in Amsterdam. It has the air of a much more classy piece of furniture which could be adapted for use in a domestic situation.
Attending London Design Week (LDW) never fails to inspire. From the romantic, opulent, to the downright quirky.
Here are some of my OMG moments…..
There was nothing low key or understated in the Turnell & Gigon at Home showroom. Inspired by “The Great Gatsby” and orchestrated by designer Katharine Pooley there was not a single ostrich feather or crystal out of place.
Audrey Hepburn was the inspiration for Perrin & Rowe’s window. Created by floral designers Studio Sorores it’s a scene that is reminiscent of summer, romance, and glamour.
This quirky collection of wall coverings by Cole & Son immediately transported me to a fantastic dream world.
Set against the backdrop of a city loft apartment, Trevor Wilson, of the Beaufort Collection, explored the ins and outs of window dressing designs and styles.
Handmade, with the most extraordinary attention to detail, Beaufort’s range of soft-furnishings add a touch of luxury to residential and commercial interiors alike.
Just by coincidence I arrived at StudioTex as proprietor, Stephen Doughty, was unpacking a brand new range of HBF fabrics.
Eager to share he quickly laid out the colour-ways for these geometric patterned textiles, “Moving Forward” and “Caddy Corner”.
Amidst the rushing around I did manage to sneak into two of the scheduled workshops.
Over in Design Centre East, Kay Chattun, co-founder and creative director of Lacaze presented a masterclass covering the fundamentals and processes of upholstery. Covering everything from materials, to fire treatment, to ergonomics this was a compelling talk.
The end of the day brought one final treat and that was the launch of Kit Kemp’s new book; Design Thread.
“The secret is to select an interior you want to live with forever” – Kit Kemp
The hour long talk by Kit Kemp transported the audience through the pages of this tome; a colourful, textural world of private homes and exclusive hotels.
Each interior punctuated with quirky finds to ensure a truly original design.
A love of folklore and a collaboration with artisans is evident in these interiors.
Listening to this lady speak was truly inspiring and reinforced my love of colour and a sense of fun.
I’ve read-up on the participants so that I can make a beeline for the most inspirational.
All being well my current programme will commence at 2pm at Baker on the First Floor of the South Dome. Here KLC School of Design will present a storage and decluttering workshop.
From here I will make my way to the 3rd Floor of the North Dome where, at 3pm, the Beaufort Collection will be hosting a creative curtain talk. This ticks the box for me as I have a genuine interest in soft-furnishings and am always searching for new ideas for window dressings.
At 4pm I intend to make my way to the 3rd Floor of the Design Centre East in time for an Upholstery Masterclass hosted by Lacaze London.
I will grab a break between 5 and 6pm to mooch around the showrooms and get a feel for the up and coming trends for 2019 and beyond.
My last rendezvous will be at TALK on the First Floor of the Design Centre East to listen to Fiona McCarthy interview internationally acclaimed designer Kit Kemp.
I will ensure that I take plenty of photographs during my, all but fleeting, visit and keep you updated with my take on all that is current in the world of interior design.