HOT TREND: snow globes

October 27, 2010

I know it’s not winter yet and it’s not exactly snowing. But, the clocks go back this weekend, and the lovely new December issue of Ideal Home has just landed on my desk – so it must be close! ‘Shake it like a Polaroid picture’ – snow globes are all the rage. Snow joke. Groan.

This new A3 Papermash print is by Clare Owen – who did a Paris one last year. They’re really sweet:

Kitsch woodland creatures in snow globes can be found at the lovely Lapin and Me

…while Mary Fellows (AKA Pintuck) has been busy screen-printing romantic snow globe prints:

Head to Laura Ashley for snow globe Christmas tree decorations (in a month or so, it’s still a tad early, surely?!) and you’ll find a stylish snow globe photo frame at Dwell. Illustrator Charlotte Farmer is a snow globe fan…

Charlotte’s ‘Shake it’ tea towel is available at New House Textiles. I like the King Kong one the best! – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Caravan

October 20, 2010

Last week, when I wasn’t bopping along to IKEA‘s ‘You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties‘ Jona Lewie advert,  I managed to bop on down with House to Home to stylist Emily Chalmer’s eclectic shop Caravan, on London’s Redchurch Street. It gets better every time I visit. And this time I actually remembered my camera for once…

The vintage-themed, quirky buys are watched over by the enormous, resident, ginger shop cat: ‘Bagpuss’. Every shop should have one, really. He’s such a cool cat, he hangs out with glowing Bambi lamps and wears a neck scarf:

Following on from last week’s floorboards post (and thanks so much for all your fabulous advice – much appreciated!) Emily told me that her floors are painted a very forgiving but stylish off-white colour – Dulux Trade floor paint in 1002Y, ‘fashion finish’ – mental note! There’s something else for me to obsess about…as well as large golden ants in jars…

Emily revealed that she’s been working on a new book called ‘Modern Vintage’ due out in February 2011 – can’t wait to see it. If Flea Market Style is anything to go by, the new book is sure to be right up my street.

Caravan has something lovely to admire, wherever you look! Emily kindly gave me some little rusty wings to put on candles – you can see them on the angelic blue candle in the bell jar below left…

Still not sure how I feel about Bambi and his little glowing friends…but the bird cages are definitely on my ever-growing wish list! – Ellie

Font freaks: look away now

October 20, 2010

I don’t want to tempt you, but…

To celebrate the launch of Simon Garfield’s new typography book, Just My Type, six type designers (including Margaret Calvert, who developed the ‘Transport’ font used on all UK road signage) have designed limited-edition prints around the Just My Type theme. You can buy them online at our old favourite, The Literary Gift Company, or at Foyles Charing Cross, where you can see them in the upcoming typography exhibition, 27 October until 19 November. – Ellie

Styling highlights

October 19, 2010

Ever chuckled at random ‘proppage’ in a catalogue or magazine interior? Ever wondered WHO lives in a house like THAT?! You’ll love the American Catalog Living blog, which follows the “exciting lives” of Gary and Elaine, the “people who live in your catalogs”. Our super sub-editor Susie found this today and I had to share a few of the posts with you…

I think this blog deserves a permanent link on our blog roll…and it’s a great reminder for us to ‘keep it real’! – Ellie

So, people. To paint white? Or to stain dark? That is the question. And I need your help!

Wearing pyjamas, dust masks and furry Primark ear muffs (last-minute but surprisingly effective ear drum protectors) the boyfriend and I just spent the best part of three days sanding all of the floorboards in our house. It’s been dusty. It’s been noisy. It’s been exhausting. It’s been scary (the sanders came covered with labels warning about explosive sawdust and spontaneous combustion which made us a bit OCD about emptying dust bags and the like…) but ultimately, worth it. The overall process was a cross between walking a large disobedient dog, mowing the lawn, and using a supermarket trolley with a dodgy wheel. But now, there’s no trace of orange, minging varnish and although my shoulders hurt, our boards are bare and beautiful. All these lovely images are from House to Home:

I’ve fantasised about white painted floorboards for years. Shooting in lovely location houses, you see a lot of gorgeous, airy rooms with white floors. I’ve even been to Leyland and bought the floor paint…

…but suddenly, at the last minute, I’ve got cold feet. Because I keep seeing houses with gorgeous dark brown stained floorboards and it’s MESSING WITH MY MIND.

White is impractical. It chips – but does that add to the shabby-chic charm? It shows every bit of dirt and fluff (and we have black cats who shed lots of hair). However, it’s much more practical than pale carpets! AND, it will make the whole house, which is quite dark, feel spacious and light. Discussing white floorboards, the interior designer Gill Richardson once said: “Be prepared for scorn and ridicule, but never apologise for harbouring such a deeply impractical desire – the effect of creating a light, airy space will be worth it.” My parents (staunch advocators of the 1980s orange pine look – they believe that to cover natural wood is sinful, criminal and practically style suicide…) and the in-laws (who possibly favour the pine look, too…) have all helpfully branded the white painted plan ‘ridiculous’. But then again they don’t ‘get’ the cake plate collection, either. Or the vintage bus blinds. So WHATEVER. There are some lovely blog posts about floor painting on Door Sixteen, which almost persuaded me to take the plunge. But then I opened our November issue and saw Catherine Williams’s beautiful home on page 62, complete with dramatic, black floorboards. And I love it!

Dark brown or black floorboards would hide the dirt – but my home’s a dark Victorian terraced house. Would dark floorboards make the house feel gloomy? Oh, woe is me. What should I do? Do you have white painted floors? Do you have dark stained floorboards? Which do you prefer and why?! Please leave a comment below with your advice. If you can be bothered. If not, I understand. It’s mostly me who cares about this, after all. The boyfriend seems indifferent, my friends are bored by my constant floor chat, and the cats don’t seem to mind about anything much really, except for food and sleep. Sigh. – Ellie

NEW: Orla Kiely radio

October 13, 2010

Last night, we popped along to the launch of a new radio. But this was no ordinary radio. It was an Orla Kiely radio.

Cath Kidston did it with Roberts. Now Orla’s done it with Pure. Covered in her signature stem print, with a sleek wooden case and a beautiful, shiny chrome handle, it looked fabulous perched on the retro sideboard in Orla’s shop. But it would look good pretty much anywhere. Especially if you surround it with Orla’s colourful notebooks and position it in front of a dark grey wall. As seen above. Sigh. It’s available from Orla Kiely now and will be in John Lewis from November onwards. – Ellie

Hoxton cushions

October 7, 2010

Check out the cool cushions in the Hoxton Hotel’s new designer bedroom by Suzy Hoodless

‘MILK IN FRIDGE, SLEEP IN BED, PARTY IN HOXTON’. In grey and orange. What’s not to love? In haste, I called the Hoxton to see if, hypothetically speaking of course, one could buy them – but alas, one can’t yet. However, if you like the embroidered ‘SCISSORS, PAPER, STONE’ cushions that are in most of the Hoxton’s rooms, you can now buy them online through the modestly-named company, The Best Bedlinen in The World:

As the Hoxton website says, the hotel staff got fed up of people “accidentally jamming cushions in their bags – our cushions sometimes appear to grow legs…”, so perhaps it won’t be long until you can buy the new trio, too. – Ellie