The Taste of Design roadshow is celebrating 20 years this year. With venues across the UK the roadshow started on April 26 in Dublin and ends on May 25 in Cheshire. Venues are chosen for their beauty, history, gardens, ambience and locations. The objective being to provide a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere to view fabulous products in every corner of the country.
This year I ventured to Great Fosters in Egham to attend the roadshow. This stunning Grade One listed building in 50 acres of gardens and parkland is a showstopper in itself. The core of the house being built in the 1500’s is considered to be one of the finest examples of domestic architecture in Surrey.
On arrival one enters the house through a sturdy wooden door which opens into the lobby. Here, in this ornately panelled room, you can’t help but be blown away by the spectacular table top floral arrangement.
Beyond this is the hotel reception where I was cheerfully greeted and directed to the exhibition hall which was situated across a courtyard surrounded by beautiful barn-style buildings.
The entrance to the exhibition was clearly defined by a large billboard and a contemporary armchair displaying a selection of colourful cushions.
On entering I was presented with a black linen bag full of the exhibitors’ literature. Within the contents I found purveyors of exotic fabrics and wall coverings; the makers of fine furniture; endless luxurious floor coverings; a magnificent selection of wall and table lamps; and some rather grand curtain poles and fixings.
Over a brief lunch of fresh sandwiches and sparkling water I jotted down exhibitors of interest. Notebook in hand I ventured into the well attended hall and made a beeline for those on my list.
Heathfield& Co. were first. As designers and manufacturers of bespoke decorative lighting I was keen to source a small occasional lamp for a project in which I am currently involved. I found exactly what I was looking for so I was able to tick that off my list.
My next encounter was with George Spencer Designs who were exhibiting some of their exclusive collections of fabrics. I was struck by their colours and textures and was advised that the fabrics on show were much more akin to country homes as opposed to city dwellings. This struck a chord as I love colour in my own home and often find London show homes very cold and unwelcoming by comparison.
John Boyd Textiles were the next stand to catch my attention with their incredible collection of horsehair fabrics. Their Somerset factory is home to the world’s only mechanical horsehair-weavers who create traditional and modern fabrics to last several lifetimes.
My final port of call was to Jacaranda carpets and rugs who specialise in handmade textures and natural materials and colours. I was particularly interested to learn that they provide a colour matching service which allows carpet and rug colours to be matched to fabrics, paint samples, and pantones. This is an invaluable resource which I have only discovered quite recently.
Laden with armfuls of swatches and a purse full of business cards I headed out into the warm sunshine for a pleasant drive home through the Surrey countryside.