I’m sure you remember Ellie mention Sparrow & Co. earlier on this year. Well, things have been very busy in the Sparrow household of late and Samuel Sparrow (great name!) has been creatively slaving away and his lovely on-line shop is now officially open. Once an interior designer for Habitat and Ikea, Sam now runs his own little homeware business with his wife, Laura, from their home in Glasgow. The photography and styling is beautiful and all done by the man himself:

Sparrow & Co, Samuel Sparrow, textiles, Glasgow, homeware, interiors, on-line, Moroccan, Ikat, artisan, ideal home, homeshoppingspy,1. Cableknit throw, £150; 2. Campfire candles, £20; 3. Ikat cushion covers in mustard and slate grey, £35.

Inspired by traditional crafting techniques, the collection includes handmade pieces designed by Sam and made by artisans around the world from bonnie Scotland to Morocco. Sam tells me the candles have a unique fragrance of leather bound books and gentleman’s cologne (hmmm..!) and the packaging, designed by illustrator Debbie Powell, makes me very happy indeed. You may recognise her designs from the M&S savoury snacks packaging!

Sparrow & Co. Samuel Sparrow, textiles, sheepskin rug, tealight holder, candlestick, artisan, welsh tapestry, ideal home, homeshoppingspy4. Welsh tapestry cushion, £50; 5. Tin lantern, £15; 6. Spool candlestick, from £45; 7. Sheepskin rug, £75.

handblown glasses, sparrow & co, samuel sparrow, artisan, ideal home, homeshoppingspy

Notebooks, Sparrow & Co. Samuel Sparrow, artisan, Scotland, ideal home, online, hopeshoppingspy

If you are a fan of Toast, love texture and warming autumnal colours – the site is well worth a visit. Look out for some of his designs in Urban Outfitters too. Sam plans to introduce two seasonal ranges a year and hopes to launch a Sparrow & Co. dining range (handmade in England). Can’t wait to ogle over that! Personally, I will be re-visiting on a regular basis. This man knows a thing or two about tasteful design. – Alice

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


March 3, 2011

I have so many flamingos living on my desktop. First, there were two. One day, I looked away and when I returned they’d multiplied and become a ‘micro-trend’, the cheeky little beggars. So, I upgraded them to my ‘Miami’ file. Then, I accidentally dragged my ‘Miami’ folder into a ‘Neon’ folder – and lo, a trend was born. (It’s not rocket science).

Fluorescent colours are HOT on the catwalks this summer, and they’re just creeeeeping into our homes, too. (We’ll see pineapple lanterns at Habitat, palm tree and pineapple cushions at Dwell, tropical colours everywhere else.) Think palm trees, fuchsia pinks, electric yellows, eye-wateringly-bright tangerines…erm, sunsets, Miami beach-front neon signs and a big fat dollop of kitsch. This is Club-Tropicana-meets-Peckham-Nail-Bar-chic. For the first time in my life, I’m ‘bang on-trend’ as they say in the business. *Puts on reflective high-vis cycling vest and pootles off* – Ellie

HOT SHOP: Garudio Studiage

December 20, 2010

You want screen-prints made using real Peckham dust? Quirky limited edition plastic carrier bags? Stunning owl lampshades? Flat pets for, erm, flats? There’s only one shop for you, then. The marvellous, magnificent and sometimes rather mental: Garudio Studiage

These ‘Wildlife of London’ tea towels are great. From the ‘Cockroach’ and the ‘Ferral Pigeon’ to the ‘Three-legged fox’ and the ‘Common/Brown rat’, all the old classics are here. Garudio Studiage is a Peckham-based creative collective set up by artists Chris Ratcliffe, Laura Cave, Anna Walsh and Hannah Havana; With individual specialisms in screen printing, jewellery and painting, the group sells quirky and gorgeous products online and at events.

The ‘appropriately glamourous and unpronounceable name’, is derived from the words: ‘Garage studio’ which is where the venture started in 2003, among the ‘sand, stray cats and broken car parts’ of Peckham. How very romantic.

From a ‘Camberhell‘ keyring to a ‘Peckham Palms’ tote bag, the products and the hilarious ‘Photo of the week’ entries gently and lovingly mock south London’s finest shops and streets…

And anyone who’s ever found themselves at a Morley’s, (‘Mmm, it tastes better’. But better than what? Hmmm.) will appreciate the ‘Ham Bag‘ range of glamorous fast food fashion accessories. – Ellie

Check out this new Fish and Chips print from designer Megan Price AKA Mr PS:

What could be more British than a ‘chip butty’ and a ‘batter’d sausage’?! Classy. I also like these fab new tongue twister tea towels with typewriter text…

Font-alicious! (groan) – Ellie


April 19, 2010

They spend their days strutting around town in broad daylight, with a smug I-have-no-predators look on their sly little faces. They play havoc with your bin bags, terrorise your cat, and steal things. At night, they gather together to scream like banshees beneath your window so your sleep-addled brain jumps to alarming conclusions such as: A) There’s an axe murderer doing some murdering on the patio. B) Ghosts DO exist. C) Both of the above. Should I call the police?

It’s impossible to escape the little blighters this season though. Cashing in on the whole woodland trend, and enjoying their moment in the spotlight thanks to the Fantastic Mr Fox film, foxes are popping up all over the place. Visit Three Dog Party for the gorgeous letterpress buys above, then pop to Anthropologie for a foxy door knocker. You want more? For fox sake…

Check out this fox design from New House Textiles, which is printed on to trays, aprons and oilcloth fabric. Then head to Lush Designs for gorgeous foxy lampshades, tea towels, mugs and greeting cards…

Shop at Donna Wilson and Tree Fox for fox cushions of the knitted variety. Mmmmmm:

I know I’ve waffled on about Studio Nommo before, but I can’t get this ‘Foxy’ wallpaper by Ashley Alexander out of my mind. It might end up in my hallway at this rate! The porcelain fox badges (perfect for a cardi or a plain cushion) are from Alison Milner.

Let’s end this fox fest with a little look at the lovely fox clock from Sesame Letterpress

I’m looking forward to the Cabbages and Roses 10th birthday party tomorrow night (check back later for stunning shots from the new book At Home With Country), and we’re gearing up for Autumn/Winter press shows, too. Scary how time flies! – Ellie

Finally. Those people lucky enough to reside outside the M25 can now shop at the quirkiest, coolest homeware shop America’s ever produced, AKA Anthropologie, online.

‘This is all very lovely, but where’s the stationery?’ she wailed…

…erm, there isn’t any. Yet. Hopefully the stock will grow, but for now the European site has a lot less choice than the US one, which is a bit disappointing. Probably just as well though – not sure I can afford much more Anthropologie temptation! – Ellie

Let’s start the week with some inspiration! Bethan’s just stumbled across Sadie Olive, a lovely blog written by Sara Duckett, a Californian photographer. Her love of vintage lace, antiques and all things pretty means every post is a visual treat.

This makes me want to rush home and tie pink velvet ribbons around my vintage cutlery too! At the moment, we store it all in French Cassoulet tins – practical, but not half as pretty!

What a lovely start to to the week! I love the vintage scales above, and the beautiful styling in these shots. On closer inspection, it turns out Sadie Olive is not just a blog – it’s a whole empire! Sara runs three shops – she sells antiques, postcards and prints of her photographs, does graphic design and sells collectibles…is there anything she doesn’t do?! She’s also on her third blog. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. – Ellie

Well knock me down with a feather! This amazing cuckoo clock looks like a stylish and expensive designer item, but the good news is, it’s not. In fact, it’s from the spring/summer 2010 collection at…wait for it…drum roll…TESCO!

tesco cuckoo clockThat’s right, folks. Supermarket-chic is moving in to a whole new realm of excitement next season…great news if you’re a ‘style on a shoestring’ kinda gal like me! We’ve been sessioning the spring/summer press shows this week, and there are lots of exciting things on the horizon, but I just had to share this sneaky peek with you today! It’s due to hit Tesco Direct in March, for just £45. – Ellie

Typefaces treat

October 28, 2009

Obsessed with Helvetica? Got a thing for Wing Dings? Fancy a bit of Futura? If you’re a typefaces geek like me, check out this gorgeous new book: Type, A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles. It’s a beautiful hard-back book, crying out to be cooed over – the kind of tome that deserves pride of place on your coffee table stack.

typography3Apart from the fact that this is a fascinating read all about the history of fonts and a lovely visual book to own and cherish, there’s another reason why I love it. Each copy comes with a unique access code to a huge online library of high-resolution graphics and typefaces, which you can download and use for free!

typography1Perfect for cheap wall art – I’m going to print a few vintage typeface specimen sheets out and frame them. And imagine the Crafting Potential! I plan to use the downloads to make some personalised stationery, vintage-style Christmas cards, cute labels for homemade jam…and some of the downloads feature vintage chemist labels, which you could print out and glue to jam jars or glass bottles for cheap yet lovely bathroom accessories. Hurrah! – Ellie