Features: December '10
Brighten up your room with one of these Cosmo mirrors from Omelo. £355
Omelo is a new interiors company to me but I am sure glad I’ve found them as sell some of the nicest mirrors around.
All of Omelo’s mirrors are convex which means they’ll bounce even more light around your room, which is perfect is you’re lacking in natural light.
There are a whole host of designs to choose from classic to contemporary but my favourites are these Cosmo mirrors.
Deliciously simple, these round, thick-rimmed mirrors make the perfect choice for hallways, bathroom and bedrooms alike.
Available in Orange, Off White, Black and Red, one of these mirrors will instantly add a pop of colour to your room’s scheme.
But that’s not all, Omelo also offers a bespoke service which allows you to choose from a range of colours and finishes and even flat mirrors if convex ones aren’t your thing.
All they need to do now is introduce a wedding list service, as one of these mirror would definitely make it on to mine.
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We take a look at Tom Schneider’s curvy, contemporary designs...
With a passion in creating distinctive bespoke furniture, Tom Schneider succeeds in bringing a new look and feel to contemporary interior design.
Furniture designer, Tom Schneider began his career working in a small workshop, making bespoke furniture for individual clients. His first collection which was launched in 1996 includes the Swirl coffee table and the DNA shelves which have become his most popular designs to date.
The collection includes contemporary, curved furniture which is available in a selection of veneers to suit any interior. Every piece is individually handmade by a team of craftsmen, ensuring that the final product is unique and unlike any other.
We asked Tom what he hopes his designs achieve and what inspires him, and he told us that “the aim is to create contemporary classics. The designs should give pleasure and enhance the look and feel of the customers home or office space. My inspiration comes mainly from nature with the female form featuring frequently.”
The Eclipse Sofa is a prime example of Tom’s work. This beautifully shaped piece, available in a two or three seater and would work equally in any classic or contemporary home. The Eclipse collection also includes a console table, dressing table, and shelves, epitomises the beauty of Tom’s work and proves that their simplicity will ensure it remains a contemporary classic for years to come.
The fluidity in shape and form of Tom’s furniture can be closely compared to the modernist design which emulates organic forms found in nature. Tom’s work boasts flowing curves which are created by laminating plywood to form strong shapes, and then these are skilfully veneered by hand.
Tom claims that his “most loved” design is “the Serpent dining table because it’s a beautiful sculpture and a practical dining table, many people would not be able to accommodate the two but with this table they can have both!” Another reason why this design is a popular choice is because its versatility allows you to combine two serpent bases to create a stunning large dining table to accommodate for dinner parties.
One of my favourite pieces is the Empress Dining Chair because it combines style and comfort in an extremely modern and sophisticated look. The fan shaped back covers the full length of the chair giving it a graceful elegance; these dining chairs perfectly complement any of Tom’s dining tables.
The Indulge Chaise Longue brings a new perspective to a classic eighteenth century design. The curvature of the design shows how it has been influenced by Tom’s love of nature and architecture. Its soft curves make this a very attractive piece of furniture that expresses continuity and fluidity, emphasising Tom’s intention of creating a feeling of movement with his work.
The stylish chair is not only a pleasure to look at but also to sit or lie on, making it an ideal feature piece for any living room or study. You can choose from an array of veneers and also have the chair upholstered in a selection of complementary fabrics to suit your interior needs.
Tom believes that “it’s essential that all designers are aware of and are using environmentally responsible materials. Designers are helping to make the decisions with their clients and these decisions must be environmentally friendly.” The team source their wood from parts of the world where they’re confident that there is no illegal logging.
Tom is excited to announce that he will be launching many new products and some new ranges next year, kicking off with a lounge chair which will be launched in January. All of Tom’s furniture is made in the UK and you can even choose and customize your own unique piece of contemporary furniture which will be designed especially for you.
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We take some time to find out more about the wonderful world of the brilliant Rose and Grey.
For all interior-design mavericks who want something quirky and individual for their home, Rose and Grey should be the first port of call. The company is run by husband and wife Lyndsey and Guy, who launched Rose and Grey after finding it difficult to find beautiful things that weren’t incredibly expensive for their own home. So, instead of shrugging their shoulders and having a KitKat (like most of us would), they decided to do something about it. Lyndsey and Guy began to source lovely furniture and decorative accessories themselves and sell them online, and so Rose and Grey was born.
Rose and Grey is a small, family-run business which is reflected in the obvious care and dedication that goes into selecting the products that are sold – this is no big mean corporate machine. The website features a veritable Aladdin’s cave of delights, and even though every item is extremely eclectic you still feel that you could buy every single thing on it, scatter it around your home and it would somehow still look stylish (if a little crowded). This is the key the success of Rose and Grey – they clearly love every product they sell, and have the knack of knowing that their customers will too. There’s no pretension to the company at all, reflected in the extensive Kids section on the website. Lyndsey and Guy have two young boys themselves so understand the need to have stylish but child-friendly home. Even things like dog bowls are made tasteful with the brilliant Ornate Iron Stand.It’s the ability to turn products that are usually dull/ a little gross (come on, you’d hardly want to party in the dog bowl) into something quite charming and lovely, combined with great attention to detail, that is what I really love about Rose and Grey.
There’s a product for everyone to be found on the website, and they’re also environmentally-aware – very important in this day and age. They ensure that they group deliveries together into as few as possible, use biodegradable and recycled packaging, print their leaflets and letterheads on recycled paper and send all their paper, cardboard, plastic and glass for recycling. So, not only do Rose and Grey pave the way for stylish living, they also set an example for being eco-conscious. This should be very annoying as Lyndsey and Guy do seem to err on the perfect side, but they are so darn good at what they do that we forgive them. The masses of press attention they’ve received, from magazines as diverse as Livingetc, Red and Harpers Bazaar confirms this. Rose and Grey are a great company, and should be celebrated.
I find it hard to choose just one product from the exquisite range of delights on offer, but I do think that the selection of stylish storage boxes and trunks available is second to none. Too little storage in the home is a problem that most of us have, but nobody wants to use those hideous plastic boxes that belong on a budget airline. I love these Retro Storage Trunks; they put me in mind of gorgeous vintage suitcases, and will be a great place to pop all your bits and bobs. I also adore the Rustic Wooden Storage Box on wheels – tasteful and practical, the winning combination. If you’ve got children they’re an excellent place to store toys. I would use mine to house my extensive DVD collection and prevent my boyfriend from whinging about the mess; there’s no clutter with one of these around.
Rose and Grey also have a deep appreciation for the importance of nostalgia, which really appeals to me. Their fantastic Antiqued Wooden Memo Board is a wonderful way for you to treasure some of your most important memories, be it an old photograph, letter, or a picture one of your children drew for you. It’s truly the sweetest thing I have seen in a long time, and would make a beautiful present for a loved one.
Finally, I’d say that the the amazing selection of vibrant and quirky wallpaper and wall stickers available is another one of Rose and Grey’s USP’S. I love the brilliant Birds on a Wire Wall Sticker; it’s an excellent way to give a plain room a lift without spending a fortune, and it looks so very cool. The selection of wallpaper for kid’s rooms is fantastic, and hammers home the family-focus of Rose and Grey. Simply put, Rose and Grey are a gorgeous company, and deserve every success.
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Check out our feature on the genius Designed In England brand for style inspiration.
Designed in England is an innovative and vision-led company that cherry-picks and brings together the best of British design and manufacture to sell from their online boutique. Their ethos seems particularly fitting at this moment in time, thanks to the widespread feeling of patriotism the Royal engagement has sparked. An off-shoot of Andrew Tanner Design, it is the only place to sell the entire collection of Tanner’s brilliant work, as well as showcasing specialist designs through ‘Designer’s Row’ and ‘To Die For’. It’s the Burberry of the online interior-design world, and a force to be reckoned with.
Even if you don’t know who Andrew Tanner is, it’s very likely you’ll have come across his work. His products are stocked in all sorts of trendy and traditional places, including Paul Smith, Westminster Cathedral, Liberty, DKNY and The Royal Festival Hall. Ridiculously talented and brimming with ideas, Tanner was one of the founders of HUB, a design house that embodied the movement of the British-Design-Maker that was emerging in the late ‘90s, before he launched Andrew Tanner Design in 2002. He’s created bespoke ceramics and glassware collections for clients such as the powerhouse Crabtree and Evelyn (who wanted to attract the ‘design conscious buyer’), won Designer of the Year in 2005 (as well as dozens of other accolades), launched his own design book this year – Batch; Craft, Design and Product – and won the prestigious Young Entrepreneur in Design Award from the British Council. He’s also been described (by Elle magazine, no less) as the ‘William Morris’ of his generation. That sums it up, really: Tanner is as synonymous with contemporary British interior-design as Morris was with Victorian wallpaper. However, his feel for the traditional and the importance of heritage is highlighted by his roles as Head of Design for the historic Poole Pottery, as well as Head of Design for the British Ceramic Manufactory, Royal Stafford. Tanner aims to bridge the gap between traditional manufacturers and contemporary design whilst celebrating the best of quirky Britishness.
So, take all that Tanner talent and vision, weave it into a fantastic online boutique and you have the sublime Designed in England. If a product is exciting, beautiful and created on the British Isles, it will be featured. The company aims to include the stories and backgrounds of the designers and makers of the products they feature to make sure they’re ‘bringing the pieces to life’. I think that’s a great sentiment; we want to know where our food is grown and how it was treated, why not the objects we have in our homes? Designed in England have tapped into Britain’s eco-consciousness in a super-stylish way, satisfying the desire to be as ethical as possible without a hemp rug in sight. Instead, we have gorgeous products and lovely designs.
The company stock wonderful home accessories from a variety of great British designers, including fantastic cushions, bone china wall-plates, retro ’50s-inspired flying ducks and a staggering selection of ceramics. They’ve also got cool fashion accessories and lovely children’s wear – truly something for everyone.
I adore the kitsch ‘Sayings in Stitch’ Collection, designed by Tanner and supported by The Arts Council. It features a range of mugs, decorated with funny regional sayings from across the British Isles in a cross-stitch pattern. It appeals to my whimsical nature and Luddite tendencies; don’t we all occasionally wish that life was a little simpler, a little less technology-driven, that we all had time for some sewing, a cup of tea and a really good chat with an old friend? Tanner has recognised the modern-day desire to switch off and the importance of British heritage, and ingeniously found a way of bringing it into our homes in mug-form. So simple, so smart, and so effective. The next time you’re feeling particularly stressed, make sure you’ve got one of these mugs to hand. It’ll make you smile and things suddenly won’t seem so bad after all.
I also love the brilliant bone china cluster light by Kathleen Hills. The contrast between the old-fashioned china (it looks like the sort your grandmother would have her elevenses from) and the ultra-modern, slightly OTT cluster is genius. Hills has fused together the old and the new to brilliant effect; I have seen these lights in many a trendy London home.
It’s this striking paradox I find in these products that is at the heart of Designed in England; it will always surprise, and I hope it continues to do so for a long time.
Make the washing up less of a chore with these Crockery and Cutlery tea towels from To Dry For. From £8
Ah Christmas lunch, for many the happiest and most enjoyable meal of the year. For those who don’t have to do the washing and drying that is!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas Day and even at 31 can often be heard asking at some ungodly hour “has HE been yet?” but clearing up after Christmas lunch is a chore, there are no two ways about it.
So, if you’re not canny enough to pretend to be asleep when the washing and drying starts, why not make it a little more fun?
To Dry For has an enormous range of printed, gorgeous and fun tea towels, which all can help make the washing up seen a little less painful.
I love these Crockery and Cutlery designs which are perfect for helping out any rookies so they know exactly what tea towels are for.
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Bring some winter magic to your dining room for a perfect Christmas dinner
Hosting Christmas for your family can be an exciting challenge (not simply a hectic rush to get prepared and organised) So, we’ve found plenty of festive-inspired furnishings and accessories to help you create the perfect dining room.
The dining table
Remember that your table will be the focal point of your dining room, so it should shout style and elegance. We aren’t suggesting that you buy a brand new table just for Christmas, but you might need to think about extending and extra tables if you’re expecting lots of guests.
Lombok’s Canton Black Lacquer extending dining table has a distressed finish, and its grandeur will make it a perfect feature piece in your dining room (this is a keeper for all year round, not just for Christmas).
The dining chairs
Sitting down to a delicious feast at Christmas is the one time of the year that allows us to eat as much as we want, but one which means we cannot move for a long time afterwards. So when considering your dining room seating you should be thinking of comfort and style; don’t consider compromising one for the other because you’ll only regret it later.
If you’re looking for a new set of dining chairs, why not consider Tom Schneider’s distinctly curved Poise Carver Chair, which looks fabulous and provides comfortable support.
Most importantly, make sure you have enough chairs for the number of guests you’re expecting, and extend your table if necessary. If it’s a squeeze, try stools or benches as a space saving solution.
The table linen
Be sure to have your best linen on show to impress your guests. Firstly, wash and iron your tablecloth, runner and napkins, and then lay your table. Check that your tablecloth is large enough to cover the table; do this a couple of weeks before so you don’t have a panic on Christmas Eve.
This Star Bright Runner from John Lewis will spruce up a plain tablecloth with its rich burgundy colour and gold star design. Top tip: make sure that your runner hangs evenly at either end of the table for a perfect look.
Your napkins should be folded neatly on top of each main plate; you can fold every napkin into a pocket and insert a name card just inside so your guests know where they can sit. Or why not use these pretty metal star napkin rings from Nordic House for a lovely addition to your table.
Your tableware checklist should include some pretty plates, bowls and dishes, along with plenty of serving spoons. Why not serve up your Christmas cake on this Robin plate by Emma Bridgewater.
This is the perfect time to get your finest cutlery and china out; lay these first so that you can see how much room you have for decorative pieces. Remember to lay your cutlery in order of use, working from the outside in.
Allow for a water glass, wine glass and champagne flute for each adult guest. A Champagne flute is a tall, thin and elegant glass which will ensure you get the best from your bubbles. This set of four flutes, made from mouth blown glass by LSA from Pelican Pear, is certainly no exception. If you’re celebrating with red wine, go for glasses with a wider bowl to release the bold aromas, and choose a narrower bowl for white wines.
The best tip for decorating your table, especially for when you’re expecting plenty of hungry people, is to keep the look minimal. Large centre pieces and lots of unnecessary table decorations will only spell trouble with a capital ‘T’. Add small, decorative touches to your table with festive candle holders such as the Nickel Plated Reindeer candle holder from The Contemporary Home. This will truly bring character and a majestic charm to your table, leaving your guests in awe.
With a few inexpensive but impressive table decorations, you can create a beautiful table display. Try a few sparkly baubles in decorative bowls lined along the centre of your table, or a sprinkling of glittery stars on the tablecloth for an effortless look. We think you’ll love these silver Scatter Stars from Cox and Cox because they will instantly bring glitz to your table and you can also get creative and stick them to your place cards to bring your theme together.
These handmade, silver plated snowflake crackers from The Conran Shop look absolutely stunning and they’ll add a glamorous sparkle to your table. However, I have fallen in love with these ‘Charming crackers’ from Pedlars; the vintage and illustrative design features animals such as cats, rabbits and mice humorously pulling crackers and enjoying the festivities.
Fill your glasses, pull your crackers and tuck in! Merry Christmas everyone!
How to create the perfect festive hallway.
The 25th of December comes but once a year, and in the bleak midwinter (carolling, anyone?) it ‘s important to keep our spirits high in lieu of freezing conditions, cancelled trains and general low spirits. Everyone knows that first impressions count, which is why we’ve put together this indispensable guide to giving your hallway a festive makeover. Merry Christmas!
One of the cheapest and best ways to create a festive-feeling entrance is with a welcoming doormat. I adore this (above) delight from the Dotcom Gift Shop It has a simple, old-fashioned charm about it, which is a refreshing antidote to the ‘spend spend spend’ culture that surrounds us all at this time of year. Your guests will feel jolly the moment they set foot in your home.
If you have tiled-flooring in your home and want to give it a Christmas makeover, try some brilliant Stars Tiles Stickers from Spin Collective, available from the Furnish website. They come in 20 different colours, including festive red, silver and gold.
The correct lighting is essential to make the festive entrance to your home perfect (especially if you want some romance under the mistletoe). I personally believe that you can never go wrong with tea-lights; they are extremely cheap and create a wonderful atmosphere. Buy a packet, pop them in these beautiful Puji tea-light holders and place them around the entrance. If you want something a little funkier, you need fairy-lights. String them around the doorway, the banisters – anywhere you can! Try this brilliant garland-light. It has 8 multi-functional settings and can be moulded to fit around anything.
Or, check out the excellent table-top lights.They are battery-operated, so if you’ve run out of sockets it doesn’t matter. Try draping them along a console table to add some festive cheer.
Paint and Wallpaper
Now, I’m not going to suggest that you completely redecorate your home just for Christmas, but with a few little tricks you can make your entrance spectacular. Why not buy a length of claret and gold wallpaper from Rockett St George and pin it on one wall to make your entrance feel super-decadent? The design is the epitome of quirky-British, and the colours are gloriously festive: the perfect backdrop for Christmas gluttony. For a less expensive wall decoration, buy a roll of brown paper, some Christmassy stencils and pot of glitter-glue or paint and unleash your inner artist! Your finished paper will look so very retro and charming, and any that you don’t use to decorate can be recycled as wrapping-paper.
A console table is the perfect place on which to scatter your candles, or your nibbles, or glasses of mulled wine to greet your guests with. If you don’t have anything suitable, try this stylish black console table from The French Bed Company. Decorate it with table-lights or a sprinkling of Christmassy confetti. Even when the festive season is over this table will look great in your home.
Now, for the best part of all – decorations. First and foremost, you need a great wreath. Without one, you’ll look like Ebenezer Scrooge. I love this simple wicker wreath. You can personalise it with your own baubles or place holly on for a more traditional vibe – whatever takes your fancy.
A lovely little tree in the hallway is a must, but it’s hard to get hold of small Christmas trees that aren’t fake, and therefore very tacky. As an extremely stylish alternative, buy this beautiful Large Olive Tree . It will look wonderful if decorated with some burgundy ribbon.
I love a good paper-chain, but like fake trees, they can err on the vulgar side. However, the Dot Com Gift Shop comes to the rescue with their charming 50’s vintage-style paper-chain kit. You can loop these around anywhere you feel needs a touch of retro-festive charm.
If you fancy a very old-fashioned feel to your hallway, buy some cheerful Christmas bunting from Laura Ashley, available from their online store. The range is brilliantly kitsch and will look fantastic in your home.Next up: baubles. The wonderful thing about these is that they can go on the tree (obviously), or you can tie some to a length of twining to make your own personalised garland. My mother hangs them around mirrors, which looks stunning. I love this antique-style glass-ridged bauble,it has something of the 1930’s about it. I like to mix up bauble styles, so will be placing this alongside something sweet like a scattering of felt robins from The Contemporary Home. They look adorable; I’d like to eat one up, and I imagine your guests will too.
Take pleasure in making your guests feel really welcome over Christmas with an inviting and homely guest room.
From storage and lighting to the smaller touches, you don’t have to worry about finding the best pieces because we’ve done it for you.
Ensure that your guests are comfortable and get a good night’s sleep with fresh, clean bed linen. For Christmas warmth, choose a warm colour scheme that includes ruby reds with gold and silver accents. A gold duvet cover like the Riva Paoletti Chelsea duvet set from The Pole House will bring an opulent feel.
Blankets and throws are a great idea for added warmth so keep them in an easily accessible place such as a wardrobe or chest. Go for luxurious fabric such as Egyptian cotton, merino wool or cashmere to bring texture and comfort to the room. This Soft Blue Lambswool Throw from Graham and Green is perfect for snuggling up with on a cold winter’s evening. Scattering a few colour co-ordinating cushions on the bed will help create a cosy feel.
Make your guest room feel like a home from home with a couple of traditional furniture pieces such as an armchair or an elegant chaise longue. Rococo influenced designs with soft, curved edges and intricate details will bring an enchanting charm to the room. For example, the Parisian Foot End from The French Bedroom Company is a stunning piece, hand finished and upholstered in pale cream fabric. Or the Gold Gilt Emmanuel Ribbon chair from Sweetpea & Willow, made with real gold leaf, will instantly lift a corner of the room.
Place some towels on the end of the bed for your guest’s arrival. The luxury organic cotton towels from The Fine Cotton Company will impress your guests with their plush feel.
Your visitors will need suitable space to store their clothes and luggage so make sure that the room has a wardrobe, chest of drawers and a dresser. For a fabulous feature piece, choose the large Colonial chest from Sweetpea and Willow with beautiful leaf handle details.
If you have space for a dresser, choose one that has a sleek and sophisticated look and one which will complement your wardrobe and drawers. The Orchard’s Classic two drawer dressing table offers a vintage inspired look that will add character to your guest room. It’s a perfect place to display pretty trinkets and perfume bottles.
Lighting is an essential part of creating an inviting and cosy ambience in a bedroom, and it will also serve a functional purpose, allowing your guests to read before they go to sleep. A bedside lamp with a highly decorative base can be an ideal talking point in your guest room. The Stockley brass table base from Lombok can be mirrored on both sides of the bed for a balanced and desirable style. Or create this look with the super stylish Fluted Drop Grey table lamp from Heal’s. Its smoky glass base with the gorgeous co-ordinating silk shade gives it a stunning look.
Magazines and books
To take the pressure off yourself and keep guests entertained by providing some books and magazines that you know they’ll enjoy. A magazine rack or holder is one of the best ways of keeping your guest room clutter-free and it provides neat and stylish storage. Choose this Faux leather magazine holder from John Lewis, or if you want to save on floor space, try these Bark Floating shelves from Mocha for displaying your favourite paperbacks.
Attention to detail will give a sense of personality to your guest room and tie your colour scheme or theme together. Choose gorgeous scented votive candles, such as the Home for Christmas Jar candle from Puji, to fill the room with a sweet vanilla and cinnamon aroma. Place a couple of candles on the windowsill, and choose from cranberry and orange or mulled wine to fill the room with a warm, festive feeling.
A decorative mirror on a dresser will ensure your guests can get ready without having to leave the room. Try the Vintage Dressing Table Mirror with corsage flowers from Bombay Duck for a beautiful, decorative touch.
A stunning vase can be a perfect focal point, so try the Silver Drop Vase from Mocha to complement warmer colour schemes that include reds and chocolate browns.
A carafe of water on a bedside table shows that you have really thought about your guest’s needs. If you’re looking for something that has elegance then go for the handmade LSA Grand Malika Carafe from John Lewis with its beautiful clear glass and artistic fluid swirl.
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Have some fun with this new take on the traditional Russian dolls set from Papa Stour. £138
I love Russian dolls, in fact I’d go as far to say I’m obsessed with them. And it would seem I’m not the only one as lots of designers are taking inspiration from these stacking dolls for their collections.
However, this Ship’s Crew one from Papa Stour are some of the most innovative I’ve seen for a long time. Instead of the traditional Russian figurines in descending proportions, each doll is a member of a ship’s crew.
There’s the captain, first mate, cook, cabin boy, mechanic and ship’ dog with the smallest doll being a seagull, all nestled inside one another.
Mine will take pride of place alongside my classic set of Russian dolls but they’d also make a fab gift for a small child or as an accessory for a nursery or playroom.
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