WhEn I told my mothEr I was addictEd to Es, shE assumEd I had a drug problEm. ShE soon realisEd, howEvEr, that I was, in fact, still just a mild alcoholic, but obsEssEd with sprinkling lEttEr Es all around my housE.

It bEgan with a fEw old printing blocks, pickEd up in LillE for pEncE (or cEnts). Things got sErious whEn I trEatEd mysElf to a massivE rusty E from RE. Caravan stylist Emily ChalmErs sharEs my initial and hEr collEction of Es madE mE grEEn with Envy. I bought morE. And morE. I got grEEdy for Es. An Emily REadEtt BaylEy E or thrEE appEarEd, thEn an E from PaperchasE – morE Es for mE. ThE boyfriEnd dEspairEd. I bought him a big ‘R’ from Bo ConcEpt, but hE still didn’t ‘gEt it’. ThE vintagE ScrabblE tilEs wErE thE final straw. ‘Enough with all thEsE Es’, hE scrEEchEd.

‘At lEast I’m not writing ‘EAT’ in the kitchEn and ‘SLEEP’ abovE thE bEd and ‘WORK’ in the officE’, I said. (LovE If ThE LampshadE Fits post on that malarky, by thE way). OnE day, HE wrotE ‘mEntal stylist’ in big lEttErs on the fridgE. I stopped.

So, I was dElightEd, dEar rEadErs, to opEn an EnvElopE today from DEsign LEttErs, containing my initials: ET. I know. Extra TErrEstrial. PhonE homE. Etc Etc. Enough.

ThEy’rE just £3.95 Each from 95% Danish – and arE madE by Danish company DEsign LEttErs, foundEd by journalist MEttE ThomsEn. LovEly. – ElliE

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HOT SHOP: Alison Milner

January 7, 2011

Tree silhouettes are – as we say in the trade – so hot right now. Think spidery branches twisting and curling against a grey winter sky. Head to Alison Milner for beautiful prints of oak trees sketched on the South Downs – often featuring a sinister magpie or two:

I took lots of snaps of wintery trees over Christmas – I think Alison’s artwork captures the shapes of trees beautifully. She also likes retro kitchenalia…

…and leaves!

As if that wasn’t enough, Alison also makes retro bespoke formica coffee tables and cute little porcelain badges…so many treats!

Why can’t I get over my thing about crows and birds in general? Still trying to convince the boyfriend that having a big black evil-looking plastic crow (eg, from Caravan) in the living room is cool – and not in a garden gnome or Hitchcock way, but no luck yet. Also, I’m rather envious of our stylist Robin’s (appropriate name!) new Christmas gift – a pink pigeon light by Ed Carpenter. The birds, the birds, the birds! – 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

Caravan cool

February 10, 2010

Oh, if only I had a 1950s caravan to play house in and decorate in a crazy, retro way…

Our lovely Book of the Week is My Cool Caravan (£14.99, Pavilion), and it’s packed full of inspiring interiors. This first one makes me want to sew some Cath Kidston bunting, fill a vintage thermos flask with tea and take to the road for an adventure!

I love the moody Ralph Lauren floral wallpaper and the pretty Cole & Son Hummingbird paper in this next caravan (which used to belong to Pearl Lowe apparently)…

Note the glamorous crystal light fitting in this interior – just because a room’s on wheels doesn’t mean it can’t ooze decadence!

This next caravan has an American country diner feel about it. NICE Coca Cola chairs…

…wooden panelling and checked curtains? yes, ma’am…

…and this retro Mike’s ‘drive in’ hot dogs sign is a thing of beauty:

The last caravan we’re going to take a peep at belongs to Shoreditch stylist extra-ordinaire, Emily Chalmers, who owns the appropriately-named shop, erm, Caravan

Now, here’s the thing. Her ‘caravan’ is actually a vintage French undertaker’s van! (Hearse Chic? Stop it.) But she’s made it look very pretty all the same…here are some more cute pics of it (borrowed from Casa Sugar):

To see all these gorgeous interiors and many more, place your orders now – My Cool Caravan is out later this month. – Ellie

Emerging from the Antiques Barn the other day, like a mole, blinking and blinded by the cold, harsh light of day, I felt a wave of happiness wash over me, for in my pocket was a key – the final item on my Top Five Vintage Magpie Buys list. The quest was complete. The search was over, the misson at an end. And I could rejoice.

vintage key1. A key. Preferably old, ideally big, slightly rusty, with an interesting shape and a Secret Garden look. Illustrated here by Yvette Inufio‘s lovely photograph – which you can buy on Etsy incidentally. Tie an antique velvet ribbon to the key, then place it on a pretty, vintage book for the ultimate effect. Alternatively, tie a luggage label to the key with words ‘La cle de mon coeur’ on it in old-fashioned letter stamps. Pretentious? Yah. Lovely? Oh yeah.

Picture 92. A pair of wooden shoe lasts. Yes, they’re creepy. They look as though they might start tap dancing around your house at midnight, but they’re SO handy as door-stops, and look pretty darn cool on a shelf, too. You can buy them in Pedlars, and they’re always knocking about at car boots, but check for woodworm.

vintage scales3. Vintage kitchen scales. Retro, metal, old. The larger the better. Of course they will take up valuable work-top space and are completely impractical and often inaccurate or broken and unusable but they look so completely and utterly charming, you won’t care. You might be unable to cook but at least you’ll have a cool kitchen to admire. And you can put things in the bowl, such as apples, onions, or a small cat.

emily chalmers e collection4. Letters. Collect them. Preferably your initial. Think rusty signs, inky wooden printing blocks, old Scrabble tiles…I wish I could pretend that this beautiful collection of Es is mine. But it’s not. It belongs to stylist Emily Chalmers of Caravan fame. SIGH.

anglepoise

5. The Anglepoise lamp. Effortlessly cool. Always a winner. The Little Black Dress of interior style. If you find a vintage one you fall for, but it doesn’t work, don’t despair. If you visit the Anglepoise website, you can buy a re-wire kit, and download a handy PDF of instructions too. Hurrah. – Ellie