January 8, 2012

Now then, I thought you might like to know, Tesco Direct are introducing some rather covetable homewares next season. Available from February onwards, here’s a little preview of their best pieces (in my humble opinion) and I have to admit, at first glance I thought this mid-century-esque sideboard was a ‘stylist’s own’ situation, but oh no…

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Retro Oak veneered sideboard, £229; Cream barrel vase, £5.

..it’s theirs! I love the handles and at only £229 it gives Ercol a run for their money. Perhaps less about quality craftsmanship but a great ‘get the look for less’ option! Elsewhere, you’ll find cute ceramic tea light holders in the form of rather podgy, but friendly owls. I do appreciate the rustic shelving and apple green bakers twine too…

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F&F Home ceramic owl tealight holder, £6 each.

Other home accessories include these gorgeously glossy picture frames in teal and plummy shades, statement ikat cushions, bottle vases and chunky woven throws…

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From top: 5x7cm gloss frames, £7 each; teal ikat cushion, £10; bottle vase, £4; teal check throw, £15.

And if you’re looking for something a little fresh and more Spring-like this armchair in a citrus retro print is quite the number. It’s looks very at home on the white wooden floorboards with natural linen blinds…

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Exeter Accent chair, £250.

But, I’ve got my eye on this stunning silver anglepoise style lamp for only £18!

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And if you’re a fan of  Dutch clock brand, Karlsson, and looking to add a pop of colour you’ll also find the multi spider clock in their range. BOOM!

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This is supermarket-chic at it’s best. Looking for more decorating ideas and stylish buys but feeling the post-Christmas pinch? The new February issue of Ideal Home is packed full of budget ideas for the home so make sure you bag yourself a copy. Out now! – Alice

A Suzani tsunami is sweeping SS12 high street home collections. Just back from the Next press show where I spotted another little gem. Decided ’twas worthy to be added to our Crazy Cushion Quiz… SO, for extra (brownie) points: Which of these did I spot for £150 in Liberty yesterday, and which will be £16 come February time in Next?

I’m debating cutting up my Suzani quilt to turn it in to cushions – but can’t quite bring myself to do it! – Ellie

They’re referred to as ‘the handbags of interiors’ – little accessories you can afford to change more often than the bigger elements of a scheme. Racing around the Autumn design exhibitions recently, I’ve noticed so many cool and crazy new cushions. My iPhone memory is just about full of the dang things, in fact. It’s tricky to narrow down favourites, but here are my top five picks…

Numero uno, beautiful new designs from our bus blind friend (that came out wrong, she’s not blind, you understand…) – dear Barbara Coupe. At Decorex, Barbara showed me her fabulous new Origami-inspired cushions, some psychedelic 1960s swirly ones in hot fuchsia pink and a few trademark wordy ones thrown in for good measure. “I couldn’t decide between HOUSE PARTY and PARTY HOUSE,” she told me. We discussed the difference between the two for some time, deciding HOUSE PARTY is more of a single occasion, whereas PARTY HOUSE is kind of ongoing fun. I’m freelance these days, so have time to think about such things. Hmmm.

In at number two, we find some extremely fun and funky designs from our Scottish pals at Showpony. They’re reversible, so if you lose your voice or are feeling lazy, you can hold them up to answer simple questions while lounging on the sofa. ‘Cup of tea?’ YES. ‘Can we watch Match of the Day instead of Downton Abbey?’ NO. That kind of thing…

In the number three slot, we find new cushions from Michelle Mason, created for record label DECCA and due to launch TOMORROW. Another swinging sixties theme here – with Michelle’s signature bunting of course – and some pretty groovy vinyl records, too!

Moving on to number four now…creepy cushions by Naori Priestly, launched last week at Tent London and inspired by the dark and sinister tale of Little Red Riding Hood…

Her appliqué felt cushions feature frightening wolves and blood-soaked woodcutter’s axes; Cute Uzbek-style folk pom-pom trims juxtaposed with jagged silhouetted shadow-puppet-esque shapes. She’s one to watch…

Finally, in at number five are some 1980s-style colour-blocked babies – ‘Technicolour’ wool felt cushions from the trend-setters at Room39. I love the colours here – fresh turquoise, sky blue, hot pink and orange – the next big thing:

Colour-blocking was a huge trend in fashion this summer, and it looks as though it’s trickled down in to interiors already! It’s a tough call, but I think these ones are my favourites so far this season. – Ellie

Beetle tea towels, American aprons and plenty of stationery porn – the new Natural History collection has arrived. Think hummingbirds, handwriting and curious coral accessories…

(Homer Simpson:) “Mmmmm. Eames rocker. Blue coral cushion. Dark blue walls. Mmmmm.”

I spotted these hummingbird cushions and prints at Top Drawer earlier this year – don’t the prints look great grouped together like this? (Lloyd Grossman:) “The symmetry between the bars of the love seat and the bars of the bird cages is not to be ignored. This subtle allusion to issues such as imprisonment, freedom and the concept of escape is crucial to our understanding of this exquisite piece. The birds above the bench appear to have escaped their cages; they seem to be free, but on closer inspection, we realise they’re still trapped – framed forever behind sheets of cold glass. Yah.”

(Lady GaGa:) “N, N, N, Notebooks, N N N, Notebooks.”

I’ve admired these American Ice Milk aprons from afar for some time, so it’s great to finally find a UK stockist. They look more like cocktail dresses than aprons! Knowing my luck, I’d probably just slop lasagne down the front if I owned one…

There are so many lovely products here, but my favourite is still the beetle tea towel. So much so that I’ve turned it in to a cushion for my sofa! – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Betsy Jarvis

April 4, 2011

Back to the realms of reality today, (the bunny pills post was an April Fool so I hope the animal rights activists stop emailing me now. I love rabbits…) time to take a little trip to rural Lincolnshire, to a vintage emporium: Betsy Jarvis. Think linen. Think typography. Think dictionary definitions printed on grain-sack cushions and ‘Larder Labels’ tied to Kilner jars (even though they are generally see-through) with rustic string…

As a Sacks Addict, of course I like these industrial-chic cushions with definitions of words such as NEST, LOVE, COSY and PLUMP…

Elsewhere there are pretty Paris-inspired designs, accessories made using old advertisements for intriguing products such as Crab Apple Blossom perfume, and elegant heart decorations. Check it out. – Ellie

Barbara Coupe: NEW cushions

December 4, 2010

Inspired by the segregation signs on the wall of her converted school house in Battersea, Barbara Coupe has embroidered these gorgeous ‘BOYS ONLY IN THIS AREA’ and ‘GIRLS ONLY IN THIS AREA’ cushions. These new additions to the fabulous London Calling collection were shown at Top Drawer and Decorex earlier this autumn and are now available via Barbara’s website and at Rockett St George.

Nice use of the Financial Times newspaper here by stylist Twig Hutchinson!

These segregation cushions remind me of the amazing 1800s school log book my other half got hold of recently. There are some hilarious entries about a lazy caretaker and lots of references to the annoying boys in the next playground who throw objects at the girls, much to the chagrin of their prim female teacher! I will try to dig it out and scan a few of the pages, then add the extracts to this post next week. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a scanner now. And an Apple key at that. And a lap top that doesn’t burn my leg with a stupidly-positioned fan. SIGH. #workingfromhome.

JAN 2011: Well, finally, I got round to borrowing the log book and taking some DREADFUL photos of the extracts I was waffling on about weeks ago! Here they are! In case you can’t read the fabulous hand-writing, I’ve copied them out below, too.

“I had to complain to the caretaker, that for the second time this week the communication door between the girls’ and boys’ playgrounds was open at the time of dismissal. The boys were allowed to run into the girls playground, causing them much annoyance.”

“Septem: 3rd. During Standard 4 Drill in the playground on Friday afternoon, August 31st, Flor Page had her head cut by an inkwell, which had come from a window in the Boys’ Department.”

Class dismissed! – 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

NEW Louise Body fabrics

June 11, 2010

Good old Louise Body. Not content with making some of the prettiest wallpapers around (I featured the Garden Birds design in my BIRDY trend feature in the May issue of Ideal Home, and you can see the Harry’s Garden paper in action, looking lovely, in the hallway of Patchwork Harmony blogger Caroline), she’s now making fabrics, too. You’ll find a few fabrics on her website already, but a little birdy tells me that this September she’s going to release a whole new collection at Decorex, inspired by her ‘Plant Life‘ digital wall panels….

Louise’s inspiration is often drawn from her childhood memories – the lengths of lace given to her by her maternal grandmother were incorporated into Marney’s Lace, while the ferns and wildflowers pressed by her paternal grandmother inspired Autumn Woods and Flower Press. Louise says her new collection stems from a beautiful Victorian greenhouse in the grounds of a shabby-chic house where she spent many holidays as a child, while the palette is reminiscent of the colours found in retro 1960s interiors magazines she inherited.

I can’t wait to see the full collection in the autumn – cushion-makers, go forth and celebrate this great day! – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Random Retail

April 14, 2010

I think I’m in heaven. Imagine if a clever textile designer mixed typography, with vintage TAT, with gorgeous screen-printing techniques to produce a collection of ultra-chic, unique home accessories. Well, Joy Jolliffe (mother of photographer Holly Jolliffe) has done just that with her stunning new Random Retail range…

What’s not to love? Quirky vintage adverts printed in fabulous font-age, shot with cute enamel storage jars above tongue and groove panelling. These are a few of my favourite things – all in one shot!

The official name of the collection is ‘Birdsongs and Wordsongs’, and I like the birdy buys in the range, too…

As well as cushions, there are some very cool tote bags, draw-string laundry bags and posters in the range – I’m a fan already!

Talking of tote bags and typography, I’ve also got my eye on a lovely intial tote bag from Alphabet Bags, (another triumph from the dynamic Keep Calm Gallery duo)…

Right, I’m off to paint a bird box with leftover F&B Vert de Terre exterior eggshell – don’t ask. Oh, you didn’t. – Ellie

Having a WHALE of a time

February 4, 2010

Shiver me timbers, Thomas Paul‘s released some fabulous new designs. You’ll find these fantastic Scrimshaw-esque plates in his new collection at Supernice. Apparently, Scrimshaw is an art form traditionally practised by sailors at sea who used whale bone or teeth as canvases for drawing and carving elaborate whaling scenes.

Luckily, Thomas Paul‘s plates are made of dishwasher-safe melamine, not whale bone!

His soft furnishing collection features similarly nautical designs, so you could have your whole house ship-shape in no time. – Ellie