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

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And there was me thinking we were supposed to be knitting our own home accessories for our lovely, eco-friendly, credit-crunch-busting, recycled  Homemade Homes. But clearly that’s SO 2009.

Kirstie Allsopp is about to launch a range of country-style home accessories. Here’s a sneak preview…

If this floats your boat, it’s going to be in House of Fraser shops from this October. A double duvet cover will be £60 and a pair of pillowcases will be £18.95. Now, where are my knitting needles?…  – Ellie

See inside Anthropologie

October 22, 2009

Is there anything I DON’T want in this shop? Erm, no. London’s new Anthropologie did not disappoint when I checked it out yesterday. It was everything I hoped it would be – and more. The interior of the shop is fabulous in itself, before I even get started on the lovely stock! From the huge luxury changing rooms, to the gigantic whale hanging from the ceiling and the incredible living vertical garden wall with 18,000 live plants in it, this shop interior is by far the coolest London’s ever seen.

anthropologie londonThe plants in the vertical garden are watered by rainwater collected on the roof, and reminded me of an eco-house I saw in Paris recently. Every 12 weeks, a team of style gurus and creative set designers will put together a fresh interior look, so it’s going to be one of those shops you’ll never tire of. I spotted strips of vintage sewing needles on the walls, huge apothecary-style chests of drawers, china plate clocks and a curtain made of tea bags.

anthropologie london2Can I just say at this point that, tragically, just when I needed it most, my stupid digital camera failed me and the battery ran out at a crucial moment, so the images on this post are a mixture of PR shots and some snaps taken by the wonderful Wee Birdy, to whom I am very grateful!

anthropologie ukI spent hours browsing and had to be very restrained spending-wise. I basically liked/wanted everything I saw. It was good to see a mixture of American products and stock from home-grown designers such as Becky Oldfield (stunning Union Jack quilts) and the lovely Lisa Stickley. There were too many interesting home buys to mention, but highlights for me included: paint-by-numbers plates from Trey Speegle, cute stamp sets from Yellow Owl Workshop, gorgeous Tokyo Milk bubble baths, cook books from the likes of Ginette Mathiot, Alice in Wonderland drawer knobs, zinc letters, beautiful cards and notebooks, stylish chemistry-set style flasks, and coloured folksy aprons – straight out of Hansel and Gretel. The new folk trend has been embraced by Anthropologie in a big way – I spotted wooden mushrooms, ceramic owls, folk-style patchwork quilts and an unusual vintage-look book titled: ‘Mushroom Magick, a comprehensive guide to psychedelic ‘shrooms‘!

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anthropologie uk3Even the packaging is delicious at Anthropologie, and I was delighted to be given a little Nathalie Lete lily soap in my red-handled goody bag, which made it twice as nice! ‘Mon savon qui sent bon’…sigh. I’m already planning my next Anthropologie trip. – Ellie

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nathalie lete soap

Oh, we’ve waited patiently. We’ve never complained. We’ve twiddled our thumbs and admired Anthropologie.com politely from afar on blogs and in American mags since 1992, with never a moan or a mutter. We waited for the genius Mr Hayne, of Urban Outfitters fame, to remember little ol’ Europe, pack his designer suitcase full of eclectic homewares, and pop over here to open a shop. And now, he’s finally answered our prayers. The UK’s first Anthropologie opens at 158 Regent Street, London, this Friday 23rd October, but I’m going to the sneaky peek press launch at the store tomorrow. Be rude not to really.

Picture 20There’s a Kings Road store planned soon, too, and the online shop Anthropologie.co.uk is launching in spring 2010 to spread the love to the rest of Europe. I haven’t been this excited since 1987, at my 5th birthday party, when I had to be shut in a room to calm down because it was all too much fun and I was in danger of actually popping with joy. Anthropologie, welcome to the UK. We love you. – Ellie

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