HOT SHOP: Roost Living

September 30, 2010

Bonjour, blog-browsing buddies. Today, I am licking icing from a cupcake (mmmm) and admiring the new autumn/winter collection from the teeeny weeeny but oh-so-lovely mailorder company, Roost Living

…I’ve got my beady little eye on these wee bowls, too! Let Roost loose aboot your hoos…

So many lovely things to lust after – cat and skyline cushions from the fabulous Charlene Mullen, exclusive Ruth Cross designs (for the knit-addicts among you), and cute little gold finches from Shan Valla (a Cockpit Arts gal who is GOING places – check out her website). – Ellie

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The ROBOTS are coming

September 27, 2010

Beep. Beep. Whirr. BEEEEEEEEP. Retro robots are everywhere this season – so, get with the programme:

If you’re in London, you might have spotted Kram/Weisshaar’s amazing ‘Outrace‘ installation in Trafalgar Square last week (commissioned by the London Design Festival) which involved gigantic robotic arms writing messages from members of the public in the air. Messages ranged from “Caitlin, will you marry me? Love Kevin, not the robot” to “noah is a chicken backside“, but the overall effect was pretty darn cool and, as one message contributor noted, “better than Facebook“. If you’re rocking the robot revival, head to Rose and Grey for robot cushions and bed linen (shown above), then pop along to those stylish French ladies at Bodie and Fou to find replica 1940s-style Japanese Lilliput robots:

Which you can also see on Retro Planet

…and in the new 2011 IKEA catalogue. The stylist was obviously very busy collecting these chaps before the shoot. Or perhaps she just bought two and they multiplied when her back was turned:

Head to SuperniceCaroline McGrath and Ferm Living for robot wall stickers…

Next, visit Graham and Green for robot mugs, Firebox for robot salt and pepper pots, and Tsena for robot paperweights…

Let’s finish our robot round up with a little look at Bold and Noble‘s stunning Alphabot prints…

Right, I’m off to plan our March issue and apply industrial quantities of Touche Éclat to my under-eye area in an attempt to conceal my post-London-Design-Festival fatigue. Sigh. – Ellie

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100% Design HIGHLIGHTS

September 23, 2010

Stuck to the usually grubby and miserable windows of Earls Court tube station are wallpaper panels – pink roses, trailing silver leaves and blooms in shades of plum and charcoal. 100% Design is here:

This is the pretty Countess wallpaper, from Graham and Brown‘s new Elixir collection, and very nice it is too. Another paper in the range worth checking out is the stunning Mirage design, featuring silhouetted trees and a sort of misty early-morning-valley effect – very beautiful. Especially in the mustard and grey colourway, which is practically EDIBLE:

Having accidentally eclipsed Barbara Hulanicki while a poor photographer was attempting to capture her, I moved swiftly on to the Korea Design Pavilion, where I got chatting to the 15 young, innovative designers there. I was particularly taken with 601Bisang, a stationery company, and I PRAY that their stunning letterpress notebooks, numbered post-it notes and rolls of colourful ‘glass tape’ are snapped up by British buyers – I’m sure they will be…

These little leaf notebooks have leaves printed on all the pages and are inspired by old-fashioned flower presses. SO nice. I also liked the fun ‘RELATION-SHEEP’ stool from the charming designArtist Soh – designed for two friends to sit on, it looks like two sheep kissing. (You might recognise his book tree shelving unit in one of these photos, which he showed last year).

I also loved the wonderful ‘Ta-Rae‘ lighting (made from spools of thread in traditional Korean colours with thimbles for light-pulls) from Design Virus

Next, I spoke to the lovely people at Print, Tuft and Fold who had been charged with designing some very cool seating cubes for the exhibition’s entrance hall. Covered in gorgeous geometric patterns as well as city skylines and icons, they were proving popular for perching. Zoe Beck’s new London and New York wallpapers were stunning, Claire Alderdice’s new rugs were beautiful, and Kim Bassett’s latest origami-inspired cushions a delight. Woah, so many adjectives. But I can’t help getting as bit over-excited about these things…

I had a nice natter with Joshua Ritchie, husband of textile designer Caroline Ritchie of Corita Rose. I’ve been a fan of Caroline’s eye-wateringly bright fabrics, furnishings and accessories since I spotted them at Tent last year. Channelling Mexican art, circus fonts, Medieval poetry and tattoo symbols, her work is unique and VERY eye-catching! Joshua showed me her new curtain design, with the John Dryden quotation: JOY RULED THE DAY AND LOVE THE NIGHT…

I paid a little visit to the Roca stall to see the incredible light wave installation there and to hear all about the new Roca flagship showroom due to open in Chelsea soon, then headed to Camilla Meijer‘s stand to see her new wallpaper designs. The two new collections, called Victoria and Summer Garden, are every bit as stunning as her previous ranges…

I love this show, but after a while, my energy evaporated as per. My arm started to ache from the weight of press releases, my hair went all frizzy from heat/rain, I felt dehydrated, and I got a bit freaked out by the disgusting new ‘Utter Pots’ from Thelermont Hupton (of Handjob Hooks fame) which are basically little vases with lips, teeth and gaping orifices. Disturbing…

Time to trek back to SE1 and cover my desk with tape from 601Bisang. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. – Ellie

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And there was me thinking we were supposed to be knitting our own home accessories for our lovely, eco-friendly, credit-crunch-busting, recycled  Homemade Homes. But clearly that’s SO 2009.

Kirstie Allsopp is about to launch a range of country-style home accessories. Here’s a sneak preview…

If this floats your boat, it’s going to be in House of Fraser shops from this October. A double duvet cover will be £60 and a pair of pillowcases will be £18.95. Now, where are my knitting needles?…  – Ellie

I do like Donna Wilson‘s cheerful designs. And I do like a bit of Ercol (as demonstrated by my recent epic seven-hour journey – three trains, one bus and a taxi – to the deepest darkest depths of Spalding to collect a magical Ercol coffee table bought for £9.99 on eBay because the seller didn’t use the word ‘Ercol‘ in the listing durrrrrr). Therefore, I am excited and delighted to hear that as part of TENT London, at the London Design Festival, Ercol and Donna Wilson have got together to create The Best Studio Couch In The Whole World Ever. Here’s what it’ll look like:

If you’re in London, you can see it at The Truman Brewery from next Wednesday 22 until Sunday 26 September. And the Ercol fun doesn’t stop there – oh, no. Textile designer Sarah-Jayne Guest will also be there, showing Ercol Originals pieces re-upholstered in her stunning, vibrant fabrics (you might have spotted these already at the One Year On, New Designers exhibition earlier this summer)…

As if all this isn’t enough, Ercol’s new Messina furniture collection, designed by Dmitri Warner, will also be on display upholstered in some gorgeous Designers Guild fabrics. Sounds good to me. – Ellie

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SNEAKY PEEK: H&M Christmas

September 13, 2010

Oh, H&M, you are naughty. Just when I am TRYING to control my excitement about the imminent launch of your online home accessories store (September 16th, circle it – just three days to go), you casually drop me an email full of Christmas images to tease and tantalise, nay, TORTURE me all over again…with never a thought of the gibbering, shivering WRECK I would become when faced with this gallimaufry of consumer delights:

Look at that hare stocking! Look at that woodland tea towel! Look at that ‘Home Made Bakery’ tea towel! Look! Look! LOOK!

And don’t even get me started on that ‘Good night’ pillow complete with a bird wearing a top hat. Sometimes, it’s all too much.

I love the Rob Ryan-esque place mats, and this enormous fabric bag for ‘standard’ presents!

If you’re a fan of nut nibblers and glittery bunnies, then this collection has certainly got the woodland thang going on in a big way. I. Just. Cannot. WAIT. ANY. LONGER. I leave you with this ‘cinnamon sack’ cushion. ‘Nuff said. – Ellie.

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Bookish? Like typewriters? Wordy? Me too.

The Literary Gift Company is a fabulous mail-order company selling everything and anything book-related. There are tea towels and bags, mugs and badges…there’s jewellery, stationery – it’s a treasure trove and no mistake. A great place to buy gifts for others or, cough, for oneself. I love the Mills and Boon paper confetti (the hearts above) which you could throw at a literary wedding or sprinkle on your table for a dinner party – what a conversation-starter.

After yesterday’s post about tape, I’ve got a bit of a thing for the Virginia Woolf tape above – it’s £3.99 for 60m, and there’s also some tasty alphabet tape. Have a peep. – Ellie

NEW Belle & Boo tape

September 7, 2010

If you’ve ever shopped at Belle & Boo, you’ll have noticed the lovely tape that they use to package mail-order products when they post them. Well, now you can buy the tape yourself in their shop – just £8 for 66 metres!

Imagine the fun you could have with this stuff – I’d use it around presents and put strips of it on diaries and notebooks! – Ellie

Flea market finds

September 7, 2010

Last weekend my vintage-geek friends and I put on our flattest most comfortable pumps, grabbed our swag bags and hopped on the speedy Eurostar for our annual pilgrimage to Lille in France for La Braderie – the mama of all flea markets. The vintage shopping was better than ever, and we haggled for some brilliant bargains at the stalls…

I loved these vintage milk churns (sadly too heavy and bulky to carry home) and spent a lot of time leafing through old books and magazines. I’ve never seen so many broken but GORGEOUS old alarm clocks – perfect for styling purposes, but purely ornamental!

I couldn’t resist this little bird vase – such pretty colours.

If you have a craving for a vintage tin, there are about six billion to choose from on the cobbled streets!

I had to be dragged away from this very cool vintage Louis Vuitton suitcase complete with lovely luggage labels and stickers. SIGH. At 300 Euros (presumably because it’s a genuine LV) it was a bit out of my price range sadly, but I can always get the look with the Cavallini reproduction luggage sticker set from Papernation!

There was so much beautiful brocante, I thought I would burst with joy!

Needless to say, we sampled the moules frites and vin blanc at lunchtime and watched the piles of shells start to grow…

I picked up a few gems along the way. One of my favourite finds was this huge metre-long 1950s French school biology poster about ‘les insectivores’. I am still trying to explain science-lab-chic to the boyfriend, but I framed this and put it up on the wall last night and he didn’t seem to notice it. So far, so good. It was only four Euros!

I also picked up a massive two metre university biology wall hanging – hand painted and very cool. I thought it was possibly coral. But then I got my dictionary out and found out it’s a bacteria of some sort! It’s going to hang in our dining room eventually:

I love the way it’s been so painstakingly labelled using stencils and ink, then somebody at a later date has just scribbled out one of the words and amended it in marker pen!

I also bought this cute china ‘Confiture’ jar, which I will fill next time I make jam, then give to somebody at Christmas. All in all, I left Lille feeling as though I could quite happily spend a week mooching around, bartering in Fr-anglais, admiring tat. In a day we probably only covered a quarter of the rues we intended to! But we kept getting distracted by vintage treasure! – Ellie

Meanwhile, on Watership Down hill, Fiver and his bunny buddies had escaped the vicious Owsla. But nothing could prepare them for the RUG…

Glaswegian design duo Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons (AKA Timorous Beasties) has teamed up with Brintons carpets to create a collection of stunning hand-tufted rugs, which will be on display at 146-148 Clerkenwell Road during London Design Festival. I’ve been a fan of the controversial Toile fabrics and wallpaper collection which features Glasgow, London, ‘urban images’ and, rather randomly, ‘pineapples’ for ages, so I’m thrilled to hear about this new collaboration from the “William Morris on acid” designers. I’ll pop along to the launch party later this month to find out more and report back. As well as their fabulous designs, I love the Burns-inspired company name, which is impossible to say without using a thick, Scottish accent. OCH AYE! – Ellie