Do you have a ‘Hamster Vorace’ or a ‘Lapin Lunatique’? Well, now you can warn people about your crazy pets with a French sign from lovely mail order shop, Willow and Stone!
Even if your pets are relatively sane, there’s plenty to amuse you. You’ll find antique glass bottles, cute buttons, vintage packaging for dried peas and beautiful buys from stockists such as Cavallini (bird wrapping paper / poster for £3!) and Price’s (retro candles). Based in Falmouth harbour, Cornwall, Willow and Stone is run by former Lassco antiques dealer Sarah Willshaw and her artist husband, Nick Williams. The accessories and gifts are gorgeous…

…but it’s the ironmongery that’s got me excited. Sad, I know. But if you’re renovating a house and looking for authentic period door furniture, this is the place to go. Rim locks, sash window catches, letter plates, door bells, finger plates, bolts, house number plaques, drawer pulls and escutcheons – it’s all here. If only I could say the word ‘escutcheon’…

Lovely knobs and knockers. (Apologies for tacky Carry On pun, but I had to include it to boost the Search Engine Optimisation. You’d be surprised.) – Ellie

I was going to use the word ‘severed’ in that title but thought the animal rights people might be concerned (as they were with The Regrettable Glowing Rabbit Lamp Post AKA Bunny-gate)…

This resin horse head wall light is new at Rockett St George. What? Yes. I know: We’ve already seen horsey designs. (I think we called it ‘Equestrian Chic‘ at the time. How pretentious). In fact, ever galloping ahead, we covered this topic in 2009, in the mane. BUT. We were somewhat aHEAD of ourselves. The trend’s evolved. Think: The Godfather (Khartoum). Think classical influences such as the Trojan horse (Why not? After all, Roman and Greek architecture was a huge story at Milan this year: check out the new Intaglio collection from Zoffany featuring architectural columns and pillars…) Think wild west, pioneer, ranch style. Think…erm, chess. Yes! It’s horse HEADS that are all the rage right now…

There’s plenty of horsing around on the high street this season. 1: Dwell‘s new wall trophy horse head is due in-store this June. 2: But, if you can’t wait, you’ll find this silver horse head at Dwell now. 3: Next is selling giant chess pieces to perch on your mantel, including this horse ‘knight’ objet. 4: You can find horse head hooks, here. 5: And fun horse head magnets at Crowbiz.

Everybody needs good NEIGHbours: This striking golden horse head ornament is about to pop up in Habitat’s AW11 range. (And don’t even get me started on magnifying glasses. That’s a whole new post…) – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Zara Home

May 26, 2011

So, Cheryl’s been dropped from the X Factor, Sam Cam has a mustard-coloured Graham and Green sofa, and Marmite has been banned in Denmark. It’s clearly a slow day in the UK news-wise, so let’s entertain ourselves instead with a little look at what the lovely Zara Home has to offer…

The answer is: some bloomin’ brilliant bargains. This small Danesh rug (above) is just £19.99 and perfect for a hallway or landing. I love this new Melita rug (150cm x 200cm), too, which looks pricey, but it’s an absolute steal at just £99.99…

The rug joy doesn’t end there – check these babies out, too:

I love this navy Ikat-effect rug – It’s 170cm x 240cm and just £99.99. Hurrah! Worth noting that the whole Ikat (eye-cat? eee-cat? Help me…) trend has kicked off big time in the AW11 high street home collections, with the likes of M&S, Toast and BHS all releasing new Ikat-style ranges, but Zara Home is one step ahead with these beautiful cushions:

Elsewhere, there are beautiful accessories to be found: glass decanters and lab flask vases, quirky magnifying glasses, rustic tea towels, new golden cutlery and pretty napkins-on-a-roll…

The one item that’s got me really excited is the CECIL runner rug. It’s 70cm x 200cm (so perfect for my hallway!) and just £35.99. Perhaps my quest for a stylish but affordable runner is at an end…!

Now, pass me that marmite; I’m going to overdose on B vitamins, buy a shelving unit at OKA for all my very normal DVD box sets of ’24’, and blow-dry my hair like Daphne from Scooby Doo. It’s so hard to keep up these days… – Ellie

Ah, the trials of buying citric acid at my local pharmacy. It’s now or never folks – the elderflowers are OUT and if you don’t do it this weekend, you never will. They’re early this year because it’s been so warm. See our simple recipe and guide here. There’s also a promo code for the wonderful Jam Jar Shop

It’s been a busy but good week here at Ideal Home. The HomeShoppingSpy blog has just been listed as a ‘favourite’ by the lovely people at Channel 4 (4homes), and we’ve been all over town, gathering ideas and inspiration for the new season. Lots of exciting things to share next week… Have a lovely weekend! – Ellie

NEW: Habitat AW11

May 19, 2011

Dust off that decanter – Victoriana drama is BACK:

Ten times stronger than the Spring/Summer range, Habitat‘s new Autumn/Winter collection is inspired by all-things-gothic; Think smart leather Chesterfields, plump velvet armchairs, cameos, taxidermy, and dark glamour…

My favourite piece of furniture at the show was this fabulous ORSON wing-back chair – such a sexy shape, and beautiful in a fretwork patterned fabric:

The faded grandeur of 68 Dean Street was the perfect setting for this elegant, decadent look…

It was hard not to weep with joy when confronted with the new GIFFEN desk. With an ultra-modern high gloss lacquered top and traditional-style black wooden spindle legs, it’s the ultimate old-meets-new piece. It’s hard to actually SEE it in this gorgeous, moody, yet really-rather-dark shot. But trust me, it’s a STUNNER in the flesh.

Elsewhere, there were beautiful textiles from Linda Florence – lampshades, rugs, cushions and curtains. I also loved the rattan WILBUR pendant light, the geometric wire GEESE (ducks, surely?), and the quirky illustrated KUJA and SEYMOUR accessories featuring foxes, horses and peacocks…

There’s nothing plain about the new JANE mirror with a striking, silhouette  frame featuring characters from Austen’s novels. It would look amazing on a brightly coloured wall…

But the star of the show for me was the KUBRIK dark grey high-gloss range. Check out the practically-edible sideboard…(please excuse my rubbish iPhone photo – not great, but you get the idea!)

Ooh, and the knitted BRAID rug it’s sitting on is pretty tasty, too… – Ellie

Ooooh, have a look at these hot-off-the-press (or hot-out-of-the-kiln?) mugs from Welbeck Tiles (the shop we know and love for jelly tiles, cutlery tiles, coastal postcard tiles, etc)…

In pretty ice cream pastel hues, these new mugs feature vintage advertisements from British seaside resorts. Smart hotels, ‘gay’ shops selling ‘gifts that please’, hosiers and tea gardens – these font-alicious adverts hark back to a bygone era of seaside grandeur…

There’s nowt like a spot of ‘surf riding’. These mugs aren’t for sale yet, but keep your eyes on the Welbeck website – they’ll be available later this summer. – Ellie

Designer style at BHS

May 13, 2011

Spot the difference. On the left: Maria Dahlgren’s (2008) London tray. On the right: ‘new’ autumn/winter 2011 BHS cushion. Erm…

Maria Dahlgren’s designs are really lovely and can be seen on her website, Metagram. We spotted a couple of other look-a-likes in the collection, too. The top image (below) is a close-up of a ‘new’ AW11 BHS cushion, the bottom image is a close-up of Charlene Mullen’s hand-embroidered ‘London Calling‘ cushion:

Hmmm. – Ellie

We’ve been sweating around London today sucking up the Autumn/Winter trends and gathering all the latest shopping news to keep Ideal Home readers in the loop. Check out these gorgeous new products from H&M Home

I love this new keys cushion, and the new dark grey colour of last season’s SEL DE MER design.

Check out the cool cushions with ampersands, hotel-style signs and big blooms…and the new monochrome silhouettes bathroom range of towels, shower curtains and bath mats…

I like the harvest-themed kitchen textiles and table runners. But the one thing I can’t NOT buy is the pale grey linen dressing gown!

I think the H&M Home offering gets better every season! – Ellie


HOT TREND: Cassettes

May 10, 2011

Ah, the humble cassette tape. In case you’ve been living under a stone (or have better things to think about), FYI: The 1980s revival is in full swing and cassettes have never been cooler.

Exhibit A: The classic cassette wall sticker, from Danish style gurus at Ferm Living. (Did you know that Ferm means clever? Me neither.) Sure, I’d clocked the cool kids drinking out of old jars in the Hoxton Pony (or somewhere similar, probably, possibly, actually not really), wearing their retro-yet-ironic cassette tape jewellery. Yeah, I’d spotted the Hackney hipsters hanging out in TopShop, protesting, shopping, wearing their ‘Mix tape’ slogans on their skinny chests. Exhibit B: ‘Something retro on my necklace‘ from Truffle Shuffle:

But now this trend is creeping in to our homes, too. Press PLAY:

Exhibit C: (From the top) Monochrome cassette cushions and bags from the magical Mini Moderns; Evidence of indie-crafters going crazy for all things cassette-related on Folksy; Retro iPhone 4 cases and MP3 players from Accessory Bee and Littlewoods. Of course, the trend-hunters at Rockett St George are on the CASE already….

Exhibits D and E: Rockett St George’s arty prints from illustrator Hanna Melin. The one below can be personalised with your own ‘mix tape labels’…

Ah, cassettes. It’s impossible not to get nostalgic. They symbolise the pre CD, pre MP3, pre-GCSE era. As the Top 40 played, you’d hover; Listening, poised, finger at the ready to press RECORD and capture That Song on your tape. You tried to hit the STOP button before the DJ started speaking. You never managed this. You never actually caught the beginning or the end of any song EVER. But you persevered, and enjoyed sticking the pleasing little labels on it afterwards. You gave your new ‘mix tape’ a catchy name such as: ‘My Pop Music Album III (Ace of Base etc)’. You listed the songs and artists carefully on the little card in biro. Sometimes, you recorded yourself singing. Badly. Or you recorded your own ‘radio shows’ and made your little sister play all the jingles on a glockenspiel. Well, I did. Enough. Some designers have taken this trend one step further and are recycling (UP-cycling?) cassettes in to designer furniture and lighting. Exhibit F: The range from Ooomydesign:

Random DID YOU KNOW box: Apparently, when you see cassette tape wrapped around a lamp post or a tree it means a witch has recorded a spell or a curse on it. Hmmm. Moving on. Exhibit G: The Cassette Tape Closet:

You can find out how to make your own at Creativebarn. No, really. Obviously, this only applies to you if you’ve got oodles of time, a massive wooden frame thingy, some serious DIY skills and about a zillion old cassettes knocking about. And a lot of PVA, presumably. But before you hurry home to staple-gun cassettes to your coffee table, just remember: the 90s trend is next, so save a bit of space for CDs. eh. Or video tapes… – Ellie

(VHS notebooks, just in at Pedlars…)

Somewhere, on a soulless tarmac-covered, out-of-town retail park near you, waits a magical cave of wondrous home-related joy…

HomeSense is the sister of TK Maxx, but rest assured, there ain’t no comparison. Yeah, so every now and again TK comes up trumps and you stumble across a nice bit of Le Creuset or a bath mat you never knew you needed, but – it’s all so untidy. And homeware seems to be an afterthought, tucked away past the Calvin Klein pants, the peculiar soaps and the ‘decorative’ coloured olive oils with floating, erm, bits.

HomeSense is just homeware, no fashion, and although there are some great end-of-line products, there are also loads of new designs at low prices, as well as one-off vintage items that the buyers pick up on their travels. It’s a bit hit and miss – you have to pop in regularly to find the best stuff – and stock in every store varies, but it’s well worth a peep. I paid a visit to the Staples Corner store the other day and found Moroccan-style lanterns for under a tenner, pouffes for £29.99 and lots of affordable designer-style outdoor furniture, too.

I spent a long time playing with these hour glass timers – they come with natural, blue, pink or black sand and would look cool on a mantelpiece. The bird prints are gorgeous, too. I particularly like the bright, tropical-meets-tribal cushions and quilts in-store at the moment, all very Anthropologie SS11, and at such low prices…

I was amazed by the collection of blankets I saw, too. Row upon row of beautiful cashmere, angora and super-soft lambswool throws in a rainbow of colours. They could have cost hundreds elsewhere, but were all just £19.99 or less. Cue, the amateur photography…

I picked up a pale pink angora throw for just £8! Kerr-ching. There had just been a big delivery of vintage furniture from India, too, so I had a little look at that, then admired Tolix chairs for £39 each and French grain-sack-covered dining chairs for £99 each…

Note the little drawers! I resisted buying the metal E, although I WAS tempted. I might have to pop back for that bell jar, though. It was only £7.99…– Ellie