Pour yourself an Americano. Start spelling colour: color. Let’s fantasise about a New York loft apartment this afternoon…with exposed brickwork, industrial-style pendant lights and gorgeous painterly-yet-urban accessories. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the new Kenneth Cole New York Home collection for House of Fraser. It’s launching today and available in-store this April. And it’s a winner.

I love this striking Madison bed linen, but my favourite item is the stunning Soho pendant, £60. It’s a large factory-style spindle-topped pendant light in a dark navy almost-black glossy finish, but with a scarlet red interior. It’s the interiors equivalent of the Louboutin shoe – with a cheeky red flash that’s OH-SO-CHIC! I’m also digging the red coloured cable –  generally you buy coloured cable by the metre and then faff about, but this high street honey comes ready-wired with fittings so it’s easy peasy. Which has got to be a good thing. (I have to apologise for the dreadful photo of this lamp by the way; it’s an iPhone special, that’s for sure, but you get the idea!)

Elsewhere in the collection you’ll find elegant creased-effect tableware, geometric brickwork patterns on cushions and plenty of sleek furniture…

…the framed slogan prints are pretty cool, too. – Ellie


January 26, 2011

Are you a tile-o-phile? If they’re ceramic, stylish and monochrome – I can’t resist. Much to the boyfriend’s chagrin. “How many coasters does one woman need…?” Fair point, well made. Here are some tiles on my coffee table:

Top left is a vintage Dutch tile inherited from my Grandma…top right are Big Tomato Anglepoise tiles available from Supernice, backed with felt and used as coasters…bottom left is my treasured Rob Ryan button tile…and bottom right, some random old dominoes. Pourquoi pas.

A bit more tile style for the file; some more Rob Ryan treats and Welbeck beauties. I’ve raved about Welbeck’s cutlery and jelly tiles before – but they really are stunning – perfect for a kitchen splashback. Have a look at the coastal, postcard ones too. Bianca Hall designs fun tiles, too; I think this one might be the next to be smuggled into the house and discreetly incorporated into my coffee table collection…

It was merely resting. If it’s not tiles I’m obsessing about, it’s black and white plates. Now, if somebody was to make a Ridgway-Homemaker-inspired tile, THAT would make any tile-o-phile smile. – Ellie

TOP DRAWER news round up

January 18, 2011

Yesterday, I wore flat pumps, stashed some Evian in my bag and ‘did’ Top Drawer. The wheat has been separated from the chaff. Here’s the news you need to know: New cushions from Barbara Coupe with a nautical feel…

Natural History launched a new hummingbird range including cushions, notebooks and pretty tissue paper…

Neisha Crosland has teamed up with Make International to launch a new range of geometric tableware…

…Rebecca Winter of Raw Xclusive fame (you’ll recognise her Louis chairchandelier and DADDY RULES designs from Rockett St George and others) has launched a new spoons design…

…Two’s Company by Mulhouse had the coolest stand by far – an apothecary shop papered with pages from old books and filled with butterflies and bell jars – and launched some extremely cute numbered napkin rings and storage pots. Sadly, it’s wholesale only, so I need to find a stockist sharpish for these pots…

…Latvian ceramic artist Aiga Siceva-Sattler (who has recently started selling some of her work online via Notonthehighstreet) showed me her new tableware collection decorated with her trademark black silhouettes. I like the new bowl featuring a hunter and pheasants…

Michelle Mason showed me the new version of her cute Columbia Road flower market cushion…

Prey (you’ll recognise their 1950s-inspired accessories – they’re stocked by Caravan but you can buy direct, too) were showing their new 1950s-style tins and textiles…

…the lovely Lush Designs launched a fabulous new lampshade design called ‘Stag’, featuring pheasants, a viaduct and some very dozy dogs…

…Embroidery legend Jan Constantine was showing her new licensed London 2012 Olympics range…

…and, although I admired these at Tent, I couldn’t resist another peep at the new Ary Trays collections featuring Michael Angove‘s spoon, feather and egg designs…

…and more lovely trays…Tana Lawn fabric ones from Liberty, fishy Scandinavian ones from Alabasta, and London-themed trays from Anna Viktorsson

…cute button artwork from new company Hello Geronimo

…new stationery from Showpony

…and lastly, some very cool pool ball lighting from the 95% Danish stand…

…lots of exciting new designs to feel inspired by! – Ellie

The world of Martha

January 17, 2011

I was saddened to learn that domestic goddess Martha Stewart was recently punched in the face by her “adorable French bull dog”, Francesca.

Her timings are very specific. Here’s an extract from Martha’s extremely ‘up close & personal’ blog, in which she describes the traumatic incident in some detail:

“As I leaned down to whisper goodbye to a dozing Francesca, I must have startled her, because she bolted upright with such force that she hit me in the face like a boxing glove hitting an opponent’s face… I called the police to ask for a ride to the hospital, forgetting that Carlos, my driver was waiting to drive me into the city.”

Carlos then drove Martha to the hospital, along with her stable manager, Betsy. Martha doesn’t say what happened to the police. Presumably, they went home. But, fortunately for us, multi-talented stable manager Betsy took 34 photographs of Martha and her hospital room then kindly turned them into a thrilling blow-by-blow photo gallery of the drama that unfolded. Complete with close-up shots of blood-soaked sponges and stitches. And some very exciting captions to draw the reader in. Here’s a highlight:

Just in case you’re not already following The Daily Wag blog, featuring ‘the adventures’ of Martha’s ‘blogging pups’ – AKA bulldogs Franny and Sharkey – (and I’m sure you are)…here’s a taster, shown here with Martha’s own captions, so you can get some idea of Franny’s life before the incident:

Is it just me, or does Francesca look as if she’s plotting something here? If you like this, you’ll love the You Tube video in which Martha shows us all how to make a baby sandwich

…and you’ll also enjoy the other posts on Martha’s blog. Don’t miss the tick removal photo gallery. Betsy gets all the best jobs. – Ellie

NEW Farrow & Ball colours

January 14, 2011

Check out the nine new colours Farrow & Ball is introducing for 2011…

Sadly, due to my limited scanning skills and the weird thing that happens to colours on web browsers, you’ll have to wait to see the new paint charts to really appreciate these shades in all their glory. Until then, here’s a quick run down…

1: CHARLOTTE’S LOCKS (no.268) – a fiery 1950s-inspired orange. Whoever Charlotte is, she must have some pretty special hair!

2: CABBAGE WHITE (no.269) – A clean white with a hint of light blue, inspired by the Cabbage White butterfly. Very pretty.

3: CALLUNA (no.270) – Named after the Scottish heather, this is a pale lilac but contains quite a lot of black pigment which keeps it on the right side of sugary and gives it a gorgeous vintage look.

4: BRASSICA (no.271) – A darker purple-grey, named after the Brassica family of vegetables which often have purple leaves. Looks good with Calluna.

5: DOVE TALE (no.267) – Elegant, light and grey. What’s not to love? Kind of stony. Kind of minky. Hmm. Perhaps I need to look at these swatches in daylight, not the yellow glow of the Blue Fin Building…

6: OXFORD STONE (no.264) – A warm, honey colour that reminds me of the Cotswolds and would look delicious with Tallow.

7: PLUMMETT (no.272) – Named after the lead weight used to sink a fishing line, this looks bluer in the image above than it does in reality. It’s a dark grey, which is crying out to have some photo frames painted in Charlotte’s Locks hung on it!

8: MIZZLE (no.266) – The best name yet; Mizzle is a west country term for that very British combination of mist and drizzle. Try saying it in a Worzel Gummidge accent and it becomes even more pleasing. A gorgeous pale greeny-grey. Perfect for Gustavian interiors.

9: MANOR HOUSE GRAY (no.265) – An 18th Century grey that gets me VERY excited. Not as pale as Lamp Room Gray, but not as dark as the classic Down Pipe, this grey sits nicely in the middle. I can feel a feature wall coming on already…

The new brochure to accompany these paints has got me in a tizz, too. What is it about keys? I can’t get enough of them. And now I want to paint them, too…

Perhaps this is a deep-rooted obsession that stems from never having Clarks Magic Steps school shoes as a child.

As if the National Trust Fired Earth paints advert wasn’t enough to get me frantically dipping cutlery into pots of eggshell, check out the pretty painted spoon above. Sigh. (I know we’ve all seen it before, but let’s just remind ourselves of how nice that National Trust paints shot really is, shall we? Ah, me…)

Anyway, while I nip off to Tango my forks in a tin of Charlotte’s Locks, have a peep at the rest of these beautiful images from Farrow & Ball

What a nice way to end the week.  – Ellie

HomeShoppingSpy’s design trend forecast…TRIBAL, PURITAN and DEEP SEA, with showers mainly in the east:

Think: Cheerful clashing colours and patterns, African influences, hot pinks, safari animal patterns, bright tangerine orange, global geometrics, turquoise, plenty of sunshine. Shop for the look: H&M Home (summer 2011), AnthropologieToast.

Think: simple, rustic, lots of texture, wood, wicker, quilts, Amish chairs and barn stars, black and white, natural raw materials, simple lace. Shop for the look: ToastHomeSenseThe White Company.

Think: Sea greens and hot coral pinks, shells, fish, aquamarine, sea monsters, sea shanties, sea weed and rope. Shop for the look: Ben PentreathNatural HistoryAnthropologieAllegra Hicks. Ahoy there, me hearties – this is me favourite by far! – Ellie

Who needs expensive trend forecasting companies when you’ve got the new February issue of Ideal Home? It’s in the shops now and contains a massive trend-prediction pack full of beautiful photography and great buys. Here are the six key high street homeware looks for this season…

Think: streamlined 1950s-style furniture, subtle prints, Scandi influences, Ercol, Robin Day, Eames. Shop for the look: John Lewis, Dwell, Aram, Illustrated Living.

Think: Bold floral prints, bright colours, eclectic quirky accessories, craft, folk. Shop for the look: M&S, Anthropologie, Berry Red, Plumo.

Think: workshops, warehouse, school rooms, labs, factories, functional, industrial, retro. Shop for the look: Baileys, Elemental, Junk Deluxe, In My Room.

Think: Midnight blue, starry touches of silver and gold, night skies, saturated colour, inky indigo, copper and bronze. Shop for the look: Heal’s, Crown, Kazzbar, Bo Concept.

Think: Nostalgic, pared-back, coastal, country, hurricane lanterns, nautical stripes, grain-sacks. Shop for the look: Ian Mankin, The Linen Works, Roger Oates, Nordic House.

Think: grown-up, caramel, oyster, silk, blush, velvet, pearls, satin, ruffles and full-on glamour. Shop for the look: Laura Ashley, Lavender Room, The White Company.

PHEW! I think that’s quite enough trends for one post. Just in case you’re taking notes: 1: Mid Century Modern, 2: Floral Folk, 3: Factory Lines, 4: After Dark, 5: Back to Basics, 6: Age of Elgance. Over and out! – Ellie

Another H&M Home preview!

January 13, 2011

I can barely keep up with the designers at H&M Home – they seem to release a new collection of home accessories every few weeks! Lots of temptation in their latest offering…

I love this butterfly cushion – I think it’s been made using the Cavallini butterfly stamp set!

Other highlights include…a black cutlery silhouette tea towel (I’ve added it to the never-ending ‘turn-it-into-a-cushion’ list…), and some American-style seafood diner pieces including runners, place mats and seat cushions that are perfect for a spot of al fresco accessorising.

H&M has embraced the current trend for all things crochet/lace with Broderie Anglaise bed linen, frilly doily-effect cushions and delicate designs.

I really like the utilitarian striped tablecloths and runners with their product names and dimensions written across them: RUNNER 45 X 150. Maybe this is what was written on the blank template that the designer started with…so, lazy or genius? You decide!

There are some cheery nautical stripes going on too, and some Mediterranean-style painterly lemon and olive accessories. All very summery! – Ellie

Now, generally I’m not a fan of souvenirs, especially royal souvenirs (although I have a wonderful Charles and Diana plate which is so hideously tacky that it might possibly now be classified as kitsch and ironic? Perhaps…) but, with the big day mere months away, the first royal wedding themed souvenirs and photo shoots are beginning to pop up. I love these fun pics from Sainsbury’s:

No doubt Wills is crafting away even now – in between flying his helicopter and rehearsing his wedding vows – Kate probably has him chained to a desk, stamping away with his little Cox and Cox alphabet stamp set and his favourite selection of crown stamps from Ginger Pickles (no connection to his brother).

If you decide to throw your own wedding tea party on 29th April (and why not?! You don’t know them personally, I presume, but any excuse for a knees up, eh…), you’ll find hand-held paper flags galore at Sainsbury’s (£2 for a four-pack). You could even frame a photo of the happy couple and create a wedding-themed display…although this might be a step too far, even for a neurotic stylist such as myself…

Check out the recyclable paper cake stands, £4.99, also from Sainsbury’s – great for a party. If the likes of the now-notorious ASDA engagement mug don’t float your boat and you prefer to mark the occasion with some good old fashioned chores, make sure you take a peep at this new ‘I DO’ (shouldn’t that be ONE DOES?) tea towel from Swedish designer Maria Dahlgren at Cloudberry Living:

You could munch on some celebratory biscuits from Biscuiteers, paper a feature wall with the special PRINCESS paper from Graham and Brown, or buy an amusing plate from KK Outlet

And, despite the fact that it’s a spring wedding, it wouldn’t hurt to wear a pair of these cute Donna Wilson gloves. Just in case you forget what’s going on. Remember: your right hand is marrying your left hand. Erm…

If you’re on a budget, might I suggest you recreate this using a biro, straight on to your skin. It’s the royal wedding, after all. Let’s get involved. – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Sparrow & Co

January 7, 2011

The Sparrow & Co shop hasn’t actually opened yet, but Samuel Sparrow of Glasgow has already been inundated with customer queries, so he’s had to set up a temporary Etsy store while his new website is completed. Just from the beautiful photography and the carefully-selected products, I know it’s going to be a good ‘un! Right up there with the likes of Toast, I predict…

Sam has gathered together a gorgeous collection of exclusive, handmade products from around the globe – from Morocco, Uzbekistan, Asia, Central America, Wales, England and, of course, Scotland. You’ll find woollen blankets, stools, leather pouffes, and pretty candles and notebooks featuring the illustrator Debbie Powell’s gorgeous designs. It’s going to be a real treat.

Sam studied Illustration and Visual Merchandising at the Glasgow School of Art, before working for Ikea and Habitat. He’s setting up Sparrow & Co on his own (although his stunning wife apparently helps out) and the full website is due to launch in a couple of months, so keep checking his blog.

Sam told me he has lots of new products on the way including hand-turned solid walnut candlesticks, quilts sewn from vintage sari fabric and patterned papier-mâché baubles. Clearly this is a man with impeccable taste; and his global-yet-harmonious and pared-down collection reflects it. Can’t wait to see more! – Ellie