Friday, 8 April 2011

Make Do And Mend

Never before has there been such an array of amazing recycled designer goods out there (two words that no-one would have put together a few years ago).
I've put together a few to have a rummage through... - Bespoke pre-loved furniture - Patchworks from heaven (nothing is left uncovered!)  - The most brilliant collection of re-vamped furniture and tableware you'll see in a while.... - A brilliant site with everything covered in great fabrics.... - Discarded furniture made into Super-desirable pieces for the home....

This type of stuff is the future my friends, and I, for one, am delighted.

I think it rocks!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

All White?

I love fruit and I've always had a bit of a thing about ceramics and as I'm an uncomplicated kinda man, I love monochrome too, so you can imagine how I felt when I saw this collection of monochrome ceramic fruit. 
It ticks all the boxes for me.

Each piece is carefully hand made and looks stunning; I bought 3 apples for my kitchen at Chelsea Flower Show last year and I love, love, love them.

Each price reflects the amount of time it takes to make it, but you can rest assured that you will have the most stylish fruit bowl in your area...

Meeting In Style

Those clever, stylish people at UKTV have just moved their entire operation to Hammersmith in London and they asked me to design the HOME meeting room (no-one laughed when I called it The Home Office).

So, in tune with the 50s throwback in interior styling of the moment, I've given them possibly the most stylish meeting room in London.

I'm completing it this weekend so will post the details with pictures for you next week.....

Saturday, 26 March 2011

It's Not Retro, It's Right Now

Clever old me predicted the 50’s come-back way before Madmen decided to send the interiors world into a pea green and ochre frenzy, but even I didn’t realize what an impact  it was going to have – everyone’s at it

Heal ( have just re-launched their Lucienne Day designs on pretty much everything they can squeeze it on to from china and cushions to condiment sets and canvasses (evidently if it starts with a C then it’s in with more of a chance)
TwentyTwentyOne ( have always specialized in this kind of look, but I’m imagining their order books are swelling right now.

Likewise Original BTC, with their stunning range of lighting.

But is there a connection between National economics and Retro Style?
(That came out a bit Carrie Bradshaw)

Possibly there is.

During these times of empty coffers, the New Retro style is an exercise in restraint and economy of line, and we’re collectively after the same thing: style on a shoe string; it almost sums up the 50’s when our National Economy was stunted as we paid off our astronomical war debt.

Maybe we revert to a more frugal design when there isn’t so much cash.
It’s an interesting thought.

Anyway, whatever the reason, go get some Retro in your life: it’s big, it’s back and it’s here to stay (well, until the economy is sorted out in any case).

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Are You Sitting Down?

If you thought that traditional skills had fallen by the wayside in recent years you might be right, but there are a lot of small manufacturers that are still making beautiful pieces of furniture that are available to everyone - we just don't know about them because they don't have the funds to sponsor, say, Coronation Street.

Anyway, my job is to find these people and products so you don't have to. have a variety of traditional and contemporary furniture that have two thing in common - craftsmanship and quality.

Y'know when you watch Antiques Roadshow and they say quality will always out? well, these are the kind of thing they're talking about - beautiful, desirable and (still) affordable.....

It might be the best way for you to get onto The Antiques Roadshow in a few years to some....

Spring Bulbs

In these times when we all have to do our bit to help mend the world we inhabit, I know it’s a terrible thing to admit to, but I really do dislike low energy light bulbs – I think the light they omit is dull (until they warm up, which means leaving them on for longer), and they are often too big for most light fittings, making them look a bit, well, ugly.
Having said all that, I was at ‘Interiors’ in Birmingham recently (you should go to the next one if you get time) and saw these 'Plumen 001' by Hulger (

How sexy are these?!

Good looking light bulbs that are (almost) good enough to have without shades!

I’m now going to change all mine.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Are You Feeling It Too?

I now know it's Spring.
Well besides the fact that everything seems more positive and the fact that it is officially Spring, my personal barometer is the pages of classic cars for sale in's Spring when the pages of convertible cars for sale start to expand.
This week they've doubled, so now it's official.

We undergo a subtle mental shift at this time of year that makes us feel that life's good, and it's time to do something, like pretty much all living things, we feel it's time to do something
Like plants, we know it's time.
My theory is to follow nature and try to do a little bit everyday so I'm in in full bloom in Summer, when it counts (I've made that sound a bit camp, but you know what I mean).
Start small - even if it's just opening a window and getting rid of some of the cobwebs (literally and metaphorically) and you'll be surprised that instead of sipping your morning coffee wistfully looking into the middle distance, you'll feel like something needs to be done - that's Spring my friends!
Now's the time to start doing your tear sheets for your home... get out all your magazines and tear out everything you like, a file for each room, and start the process of growth for this year. 
Don't worry about whether or not you can afford it all because it's an exercise in design growth not spending money; you're preparing a goal, something to aim for. Whether you get it done this year, next year, it doesn't matter. Think of it as preparing to bloom, remember that some of the most beautiful flowers explode into flower every other year....

Spring is a positive emotion, like happy. We should be able to say 'I'm Spring today' or 'You make me Spring'.

So check your local car sales to see if it's Spring in your area too, open a window and start feeling SPRING!!

The Scent of Spring

One of the nicest things about this time of year is having a bowl of Hyacinth indoors – I know it sounds a bit old fashioned and a bit ‘country’, but with the right approach they look so damn stylish it’s painful.
Whether you have an Uber Modern loft apartment or an Olde Worlde classic cottage, whether they’re in a wicker basket or a glass bowl, I really don’t think you can go wrong.
Get some Spring in your step, shell out maybe a fiver and Hyacinth your house up!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Personal Irritating Numbers

My rant this week is passwords and PINs.
I’ve now got so many I have had to write them down, and doesn’t that defeat the point?
Wouldn’t it be easier if we all had numbers from birth that are our PINs and passwords for life?
One person - one number.

Hang on a minute, did I just fall into the trap?!
Crikey, they’re clever.

Knobs and Knockers

I recently spent a weekend with a good friend and his partner in their beautiful cottage near Burnham Market in North Norfolk and am utterly smitten by their home.
Besides the brilliant cooking abilities and general welcoming ambiance, the thing I found amazing was the balance of old and new and the attention to detail found throughout their house.

 Admittedly the owner is a well known (and brilliant) TV set designer so maybe it would have been more surprising if it wasn’t as good as it was, but I do get a lot of pleasure from looking at well chosen, well made, well fitted switch plates, light switches, door knobs and escutcheons.
Is that a little sad?
Don’t answer that.
It’s taken 12 years to get the house where it is today, but I would say they are 12 years extremely well spent.
As my house has taken a back seat for far too long, I found it very inspiring and immediately logged onto my favorite hardware website

I love this site. It has the feel of a proper old hardware store and although it’s not quite the same as whiling away an hour or two in an actual store, it’s the closest thing that you'll find on line.
Whatever you want, whatever era you’re buying for – it’s all there.
I dare you to have a look and not want something…..

Monday, 21 February 2011

The App-liance of Science

So my meeting with the company who are designing my App went well – it was very exciting to go through all the ideas that will enable people to put room designs together with more expertise and confidence.
It’s really important to me that it should be a useful and use-able design tool, and not a gimmick which has no use after the novelty wears off, and we’re working towards that with gusto.
I am always interested to hear what ideas you think would help make it even better so please let me know what you would like to see, and what sort of thing you would find useful and we’ll try to include it.

There's a Mice in my Hice

 I live in a very old cottage in Wiltshire and nothing really surprises me any more, but even I had to raise an eyebrow when my pantry ceiling electrocuted me last Thursday.

The ceiling was evidently quite damp and when I put my hand on it to check how bad it was, the leaking electricity from the ceiling light earthed through me.
Needless-to-say the eyebrow raising wasn’t intentional.

My brilliant local plumber came round to have a look and found that a mouse had chewed through a soon-to-be-replaced plastic water pipe.
There doesn’t seem to be long term damage, except to my wallet and the fact that it made a long day an awful lot longer.

The moral of this tale is to never underestimate the power of a single mouse and think about the application of the materials you use in a project….

Old house+plastic pipes+mouse=potential flood and a big repair bill.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

How many café lattes does it take?

In these days of make-do-and-mend, saving a bit of money here and there doesn’t seem very easy, and perhaps wanting to make small improvements to your home might seem a bit of a luxury, but here’s a thing…..

I’ve found that I’ve fallen into the coffee-in-the-morning-on-the-way-to-work trap that has seeped into our lives over the past few years and I’ve been totting up the cost – it’s a lot!!
On the basis that an average cafe latte costs around £2.50, a weeks worth amounts to £12.50; a month £24; a year is £288!!!

Right, so if that wasn’t compelling enough, add in the odd sandwich, cake and biscuit and we’re probably looking at £300.

Q. What you could do with £300?
A. A lot more than you could with a bucket full of café latte.

Think about it.
I’ve moved!

After the run away love and success of my blog on the UKTV website, it seems only right and natural that it should now be on my own site, so here I am!

So what’s been happening?

Interiors 2011 at Birmingham NEC took place at the end of January and it was a good one!
I launched my range of drop down TV screens with Chameleon AV, which look amazing, and have been told that they are already being featured in Harrods, which is nice.

They’re a brilliant and affordable solution for you that want to conceal your TV, and let’s face it, the bigger they get the more of an eyesore they become (unless of course you’re watching UKTV Home…..obviously…).

Take a look: