I Pressed the fire control cushion

So Lichtenstein: A Retrospective was SENSATIONAL – A definite go-see. And when visiting be sure to support the work of the museum by going crazy in the shop – I brought home these fun cushions and of course the book which is a complete treasure trove. There are fun homeware items (espresso cups being noteworthy) and postcards and all sorts of things which will bring those spots and colours to life in your own home.

WHAAM Cushion

I was really excited to find this gorgeous grey throw (the photo really doesn’t do it justice) in the shop at Cliveden for just £30, pure wool and not scratchy which is a bugbear of mine… why wrap up in something which feels like sand on wet skin?! They also have fantastic plaid woolen picnic blankets which are a steal at just £12, which must be less than the cost to make the wool, and my new favourite hostess gift item for spring (I would never accept an invitation of any sort from someone who doesn’t like picnics).

Wool Throw National Trust Shop

 

I am tempted to describe in minute detail a marble tray I saw at Skandium the other day and hanker for… but I won’t for fear of talking myself into buying it.

I am positively giddy at the news that the divine Mr David Collins is launching a furniture collection in Milan later this spring, finally bringing his uber luxe aesthetic within reach, but I’d better get saving as I doubt anything Collins has in store for us will be anything less than truly exquisite.  I yearn for Mr Collins to do a book, allowing us to share his genius and apply his rules to our own rooms.

 

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Living in a small space forces one to be extremely disciplined about acquiring items as one has first to think about where that item will live, given that space is at a premium. Therefore buying furniture that serves a purpose other than its main function is vital to creating an uncluttered and clean space.

I’ve been looking for ages to combine the functions of footstool, additional guest seating and, with the addition of some chic trays, a coffee table… and the Ottoman is the answer to my interior design prayers. I have finally ordered one which fits the bill perfectly, and at an extremely inexpensive price.

The Bouji Ottoman (pictured) is available at www.made.com for the sum of £149 plus delivery, which let’s face it is the cost of a night out these days. An agonising wait of up to 14 weeks lies ahead, but like all good things, the wait will be worth it.

In the meantime, I will be keeping an eye out for some chic lacquer trays, or possibly even a white marble platter to sit upon the upholstered top for items such as cups and magazines, or a small posy of flowers. I’ve seen some chic trays at Jonathan Adler which are worthy of further inspection, or I might even venture to Portobello Road to find something a little more idiosyncratic.

Oooh Lalique…

31/10/2012

I have a quiet yearning to own a piece of 1920’s Lalique, perhaps because the objects his studio created epitomise the Deco era so completely, and in such luminous fashion.

I have been fortunate to see Lalique on a rather grand scale in a private residence. The master bathroom was, astonishingly, almost completely made of Lalique glass panels which had been bought in an auction in the 1970s and stored in crates for some 30 years. Brought together into this discreet room, with some contemporary glass mirrors and sublime modern lighting, the luminosity and milky translucence of the glass was simply enchanting. One panel, comprising nine smaller panels making up the image of swimming Japanese Koi was simply a masterpiece of this art form and will for me remain one of the loveliest things I have had the pleasure of seeing.

Such rare finds as this are too dreamy to even imagine, so instead I can hope to acquire something from Christie’s upcoming sale of Lalique in London on 13th November. Top of my list is this gorgeous Gui Vase, designed in the 1920, estimate £700-£900.

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Another beautiful lot is the Bammako vase, 1934, estimate £500-£700.

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Festival Fever…

14/10/2012

This past week London became the bright star around which many an arts patron fell into orbit for the festivals that are Frieze (London and Masters) and PAD, the Pavilion of Art & Design in Berkeley Square. I was fortunate to enjoy both, and in doing so clean overlooked the fact that the past week was also London Cocktail Week, which I missed to my great sorrow. Next year the dates will be etched into my agenda.

Many a tempting object came onto the radar, not least two astonishing Lalanne consoles at PAD, the cost of which I dread to think. The Lalannes’ studio was patronized by the obsessively chic master of taste Yves Saint Laurent, who decorated an entire room in his famous Paris apartment with bespoke Lalanne mirrors . I know not if he owned any of the bronze alligator furnishings, but whether or not he did these are without doubt my favourite objects in the fair. They reminded me of Saint Laurent’s apartment and the huge sale of his collection not so long ago.

Paul Kasmin Gallery New York

Seeing these consoles at the show reminded me that I really must order the beautiful book of photographs of Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris home. He was in every sense a maximalist, but arranged the multitude of objects in each room is such an extraordinary way as to create a harmonious ambience filled with interest. The image below is of a sitting room in the apartment, showing two gorgeous Leger works hung above a sofa. I also love the chairs in the foreground for their Art Deco lines. Extraordinary in every sense, this interior is so inspiring.

Home Sweet Home

05/10/2012

ROCKETT ST GEORGE RUG

PHOTO: Rockett St George.

Having moved residences in the last few months, and given appropriate time for the dust to settle, the moment has come to start thinking about decorating. There are few things, frankly, I would rather think about, and many a waking hour has been lost to the imaginings of a perfectly harmonious and beautiful interior which evokes gasps of (slightly jealous) pleasure from any and all who might pop by for a visit. Or even the Ocado man when he’s dropping off the groceries. For an interior, I firmly believe, says much about those who reside therein.

Fortunately for me, the home I occupy with my better half is on the small side, necessitating a ruthless editing habit which prevents me from going crazy in the homewares departments of London’s better department stores. For such is my compulsion that given sufficient storage space I should possess as many different sets of crockery, table linens, glassware etc as I could possibly acquire I just love them so much.

But first things first… my thoughts are currently occupied with floor coverings. We have a very tired and scratchy coir matting not of our choosing to contend with, and it is my intention to do away with this discomforting texture in favour of something warm and soft under foot…. something not unlike the rug in the photo, which is a steal at £250 from Rockett St. George. I may as a result need to spend more on pedicures without the skin-stripping effects of the coir on my feet, but this is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

I am very much looking forward to re-hanging the Vitsoe shelving system that we brought with us from a former residence… the beauty of Vitsoe being that it is easy to reconfigure the system to a new space in a new home and it couldn’t be simpler to install. Aside from this, a fabulous gilt framed mirror I was given a few years ago has already been put up and looks magnifique. For inspiration I shall reach for the usual sources and of course my friends at Heart Home Magazine, which is always filled with fantastic inspirations and ideas from real homes (where budgets do not always run in to the tens of thousands.)

Oh the complete joy of a new home… this will keep me busy for months.

 

 

I can’t shake off this obsession with ancient Egyptian-inspired design, and even less so now I’ve been reminded of an object I’ve longed for for ages and that I will one day track down and own.

Liberty & Co patented the design for their Thebes stool in 1884 which is much earlier than I understood the Egyptian revival to be in vogue… it was on sale in the store until around 1919 which was three years before the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun so my understanding of the whole early twentieth century design period has been totally revolutionised by learning about this one object. This stool is considered to be very much an Arts & Crafts period piece, therefore the Egyptian aesthetic was influencing design long before Art Deco. I am perhaps the only person in the world to not know this, but there we are. They do come up every now and then at Christies, ranging in price from around £600 to over £5,000 depending on the type (there are many variations).

Cartier pin at Bentley & Skinner

Another utterly divine piece I should love to (but probably won’t) ever own is a Cartier pin such as this one which is currently at Bentley & Skinner in Piccadilly. Coral, onyx, rock crystal and diamonds are absolutely typical for Cartier designs of this period and here the fan-shaped terminals and rod-shaped coral beads just scream Egyptian inspiration.  This piece is signed and dates to around 1930. The price is excruciating and I can’t put it down in black and white as it is too depressingly expensive.

I am reading and very much enjoying Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding which I picked up at Hatchards a short while ago. One of the main characters, Paul Fotheringay (an author) makes the following hilarious observation which I find particularly apt for my current state:

“Personally, I have always thought that as a rule it is people of more imagination than intellect who feel drawn to Egypt” 

Oh Ms. Mitford, how true that probably is.

Thebes Stool Image – V&A This object can be seen in the British Galleries… go and have a look if you can.
Cartier jewel image – Bentley & Skinner 

Cushion from Heart HomeWith much excitement I encourage you to take a look at a really fabulous new digital magazine which has launched today. Heart Home is the brainchild of bloggers Daniel Nelson, Carole King and Arianna Trapani, who are all committed to championing British design and interior aesthetics. I contributed to their lovely blog following a weekend visit to the divine Clifton Nurseries and I have been following their progress to launch ever since.

Without doubt this issue is the result of a labour of love. A visually pleasing experience awaits and flicking through these hot-off-the-press pages I have no doubt that you will be inspired. I especially love the cushions featured on pages 54-55 and found the pop art Kiss cushion especially pleasing. I will be ordering one of these for myself!

Launching a new publication is daunting at any time, but I really think that Heart Home fills a huge gaping hole in our market consciousness… championing small creative businesses which make and market compelling product, much of which sets trends for the mass market. For those who care about such things, it is very exciting to have a new source for the unusual, ensuring that the objects you have around you are not to be found in every shop in every town.  Heart Home I am a fan! Congratulations on your launch issue and here’s hoping you go from strength to strength.