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nearly spring

Posted: 12 March 2014

I have been meaning to post for eons and make no excuses, except that we moved house and the new place has been something of a challenge. I’ve made it a lab for trying out design ideas – paint colours etc – on less than a shoestring, and as it’s a rental – my scope is very limited. The house has the most awful laminate flooring (laminate should really  be banned it’s so dreadful), wood chip ceilings, some weird textured effect on the bedroom walls, screamingly frightful window treatments. I changed all the overhead lights, painted the varnished pine bath surround in a Mylands off white shade called “Clerkenwell” which has hints of pink and grey – based on natural clay tones.

The house had been given a fresh lick of paint before we moved in – problem though it was a slapdash job in a trade ‘Magnolia’ a bog standard  pale yellow. An unpleasant shade. I have learned something about east facing rooms. The front reception faces east and every single colour I daubed on the wall gained a bluish tinge. I tried Farrow and Ball’s Shaded White, Mylands Honest John and Temple Bar – all shades of off  white which I thought would look warm. Wrong. They were too dark and drab. In the end I settled for Mylands pure white (not too harsh and stark) and it looks nice – with greyish tones.

I wish I had ‘before’ pictures of the kitchen and reception room, but I will document the other parts of the house as I go along.


Above – the recption room in Mylands Pure White



The kitchen (above) painted in Mylands ‘Clerkenwell’ with hints of pink, yellow and grey ased on a natural clay colour.


Love the Toast Spring Summer  House and Home collection.





Wonderful dashes of colour.  I love the strong shades in this Plain English kitchen and the pink splashback in the one below.






sadly bye bye to Borgen

Posted: 30 December 2013

I’m in mourning for the end of the 3rd and final season of the Danish mini series Borgen. The story about a female politician balancing family and political life was about the most engaging and intelligent drama on television this year. What’s more it offered a glimpse into Denmark’s culture and style that every design person alive would respond to.  I’m talking ‘hygge’ – the Danish word for all things cosy, candlelit and cuddly – a term I learnt a couple of months back and wrote about in this blog. The final episode ended totally hygge. Birgitte’s new political party won an unexpected boon in the general election and she and her colleagues clink glasses in her totally hygge apartment lit by a million candles. Less hygge but totally cool was the television studio set – modern and sleek (not at all like the tv studios I worked at in the past). How do the Danes seem to get it right all the time? Design genius must be in their DNA.  Inspired, I went to Ikea before Christmas and bought loads of candles and have been lighting them every night to keep winter gloom at bay and a soft flickering romantic atmosphere within. Below is a photo of Danish designer Finn Juhl’s house as seen in Mid Century Modern Magazine.


Fritiz Hansen chair


Fritz Hansen 2

other inspirations this year include kitchens, displays of pots and pans and ceramics:

toast plates












appleyhoare confit pot_large



what I’ve been up to and what I’m liking

Posted: 17 December 2013

These last few months have whooshed by and I haven’t had a moment to post anything on this blog. So this is the beginning of a mega post to include images I’ve collected which have grabbed my imagination and tickled my fancy.

First though a little project I worked on early in the autumn (September through October). The brief was to create an office hub for eco start-ups in a business centre in Loughborough Junction, a truly bleak spot on the edge of Brixton.  The room we designed has two large windows which looked out on a train line and offered amazing views of the City of London. In the hazy distance the Shard, the Gerkin and other towering buildings could be seen in contrast to the gritty and graffitti-ed railway track  We found some vintage double school desks, the sort with lift up tops.  When they arrived to my horror, half were the size for tots not adults. We had no choice but to chop off the little legs and replace them with found wood. Attaching new legs was a challenge. We painted the inside of the desks in Mylands colours of London range – Lollypop, Beaufort, New Lime, and also blackboard paint.





We painted a segment of wall in New Lime and coated it with a special clear white board substance from SmartWall.


We wall mounted two desks against the bick back wall.


I like this old school room cafe:


a desk made from an old plank of wood at atraveller’s hotel in Mexico seen on Remodelista

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retro ply chairs on ebay

chairs ebay

Piet Hein Eek’s lacquered furniture made from salvaged wood seen and photographed during London Design Week






a deconstructed table also photographed during LDF (unfortunately I didn’t make a note of the designer)


retro looking chairs by Softwood


sleek work great light


Love this  desk

white bricksjpg

more to follow…


wood and cardboard

Posted: 30 September 2013

Wood: old reclaimed salvaged weather worn. The master of reuse Piet Hein Eek was represented at both 100% Design and at Decorex this year with both furniture and his wood wallpaper.







I was pleased to see that Graypants, a Seattle basaed company making lampshades from recycled corrugated cardboard (which I happen to have big love for) is now producing in the Netherlands, employing a workforce of people who normally would have difficulty in finding a job. Good spirit and wonderful product.




stitch and weave

Posted: 30 September 2013

London Design Week went by in a whirl as usual – trying to dash around as many shows as possible. Tent was very good this year with a mix of emerging designers, more established names and a dash of vintage.  Architecture for Humanity was part of a talk.  At Designjunction I enjoyed chatting with Jasper at Icons of Denmark who introduced me to the Danish word ‘hygge’ meaning cosy and snug – evoking candlelight, a warming fireplace, a table laid with good food enjoyed among family and friends. I wish everyone a most hygge time.

The ultimate ‘hygge’ chair at Aram.




I love the leather button and open weave linen cushion.

texture, weave, stitch


180 degree design studio incorporates naturally tanned English leather with twine for their bench and chair seats.


woven wood chair


woven light shades by Kit Kemp


knitted cosiness – I think very ‘hygge’ too


Eleanor Pritchard woven throws


Footstool at Designers Guild


from Studio Salvage


on the wall

Posted: 15 September 2013

I am a big fan of cork walls. I like the natural warmth it adds to a room, in colour and texture, and as a way of displaying images. I’ve used Siesta Cork who offer a pretty good selection and it’s relatively simple to adhere it to the wall with their recommended glue.  The humble pegboard is another simple way to hang items up for easy access and display. Cork and pegboards – in their natural state – offer a utilitarian aesthetic.  Both can be painted.





and ply as well lends woody warmth



what a day for a daydream

Posted: 13 September 2013

Whether cosying up in bed with a book or reclining on a stylish chaise lounge and staring into space here are a few inspirations

Bailey House’s bed with pipe headboard, Bancotaka’s mid century daybed, the Dmitry daybed, faux bamboo from Macintosh Antiques and a vintage bed enlivened with ombre cushion


bancotaka day bed 1957 takahama


macintosh antiques faux bamboo daybedjpg




think pink

Posted: 4 September 2013

Pink is a Big look for A/W13 according to the style pages.  A pink wool coat apparently is just the thing (if practicality isn’t an issue) and the idea is a tougher take on the pastel shade.

As a colour for interiors pink can be taken out of the girly bedroom into other areas of the house without looking bubble-gum sweet. In fact a touch of pink can be ulifting and delightful.








Farrow and Balls Calamine on the walls


Farrow and Ball Cinder Rose on chair

pink. jpg





more summer paintings

Posted: 28 July 2013

Taking time out to enjoy the weather and do some painting.

paintings 2x-2

paintings 2x-5



Posted: 26 July 2013

  roll it…

antiques and objects tablejpg



above coffee table from Bodie and Fou

and below from JamesPlumb




Posted: 25 July 2013

This is the time of year when I feel nostalgic for the non stop chirp of crickets, screened porches and the whoosh of sprinklers on the lawn – glistening grass and shimmery rainbows. American summer in all its hot sticky glory.

Here in London, we’ve been enjoying the first warm summer in SIX years. We have breakfast in the garden.  We are living on Greek salads. It feels like another country.

screend porch

This is a rather upmarket screened porch – that wonderful inbetween inside outside space that is so American.

Below planters made from old fire bucket. galvanised dolly tubs and wrapped in green paper.

flower pots

french tin planters

galvanized dolly tub planterjpg

planters firepots


summer paintings

Posted: 24 July 2013


















Posted: 24 July 2013

anything as longs as it’s black





small french sofa blackjpg

fiona macdonald italian chairs _edited


dyed Bolivian throwJPG

kirsten hecktermann spoons_0








the lure of linen

Posted: 16 July 2013

Summer calls for linen – and old linen is particularly lovely. Appley Hoare has a good selection of antique French linen and so does Josephnie Ryan. Both have shops in Langton Street SW10.

old french linene sheets appley hoarejpg


toast cupboard9


old skeins of linen



pop-up continued

Posted: 8 July 2013

Our two week venture at the YMCA Furniture Warehouse in Tunbridge Wells came to an end. It was a great experience and we had warm and positive feedback from people visiting the space. As things got sold I madly painted up new pieces and rearranged the room. It was fun. In an attempt to conjure up summertime, I set up a little old fashioned lemonade trolley outside. The colour palette was a nod to British summer – in the garden and by the seaside. Typically the weather was iffy during the fortnight. But what a difference a week makes. Now the sun is shining, the temperature rising. We’re having a heatwave.

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an old school desk

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our workshop cornery design pop up wk2-03

vintage clothes in a black painted wardrobe

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I exhibited Joe Hoare’s small scale ceramics

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a desk in ‘Louis blue’ Annie Sloan paint

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window by Cameo and Zoe

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This wonderful chair – seat cushion recovered in a vintage tweed I found in Portobello Market and the cushion was made from a Lewis and Wood fabric. Everyone fell in love with this chair.

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y design pop up wk2-06Designer’s Guild always uses colour in a fresh and vibrant way.

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a pop up shop in Tunbridge Wells

Posted: 16 June 2013

I’ve been fantasising for over a year about doing something at the YMCA Furntiure Warehouse in Tunbridge Wells where my community design project has sourced all sorts of  pieces for upcycling. The warehouse is in a great building on a dusty corner next to a shopping mall and car park near the centre of town.  In partnership with the YMCA we transformed one big room (normally the repositry for lumpy old sofas) into a bright and airy space.

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Clerkenwell Design Week

Posted: 16 June 2013

The last couple of months have been hyper busy. First there was Clerkenwell Design Week and an Architecture for Humanity  project to build four installations around the exhibition site. Four teams of volunteers worked on the four structures. We called them huts and an each had a different theme reflecting the spirit and ethos of AfH. There was the Green Hut (urban growing, community edible garden),  the Water Hut (with a copper pipe cloud demonstrating how we waste water), the Textile Hut (using miles of donated recycled hot air balloon material) and the Remakery Hut (in homage to the Brixton recycle centre).

remakery hut at cdw night

the Remakery Hut – made from old wnindows – on site at St John’s Gate in Clerkenwell at night

green hut at cdw

The Green Hut covered in edible plants

water hut at cdw day  

The Water Hut with a pipe cloud isntalled above the old well of Clerkenwell

textile hut at cdw 2

The Textile Hut nestled in a little garden in St John’s Street behine the Order of St John – festooned with ribbons of shredded hot air balloon.

We kept a separate blog about the making of the four huts: http://



Posted: 28 March 2013

I know my posts tend to be a continuous lament about the British climate, but enduring this Never Ending Winter has been a strain beyond anything. I go forth into the cold, clad, swaddled, layered like an Inuit crossing the Arctic tundra – eyes streaming against the wind, hands frozen claw like. I dream of  spring and soft balmy breezes, the play of light through leafy trees, dappling on the grass, air sweetly infused by blossom and the freshness of green growing things. Oh for the gentle delicate pastels of  life beginning instead of this dull grey monotone of perpetual cloud cover.

My homage to Spring in pale shades


painted chairs from Goose and home

neisha crosland for chelsea rextiles

Neisha Crosland textile design from Chelsea Textiles

pale blue chairs

1950s Italian chairs covered in duck egg blue

toast plates

Brickett Davda plates for Toast

toast cupboard9

 Toast’s soft dyed linens


Wool House

Posted: 21 March 2013

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The only thing for keeping snug and toasty in this damp cold climate of ours where the wet winter weather seems to be lingering forever is to don something knitted, worsted or woven in wool. The Campaign for Wool curated an exhibition currently on at Somerset House in the West Wing (13-24 March) to demonstrate the versatility of wool – and to show that it can be used in a vivid modern sophisticated way – particularly in interiors, as well as in cosy clothing. An extra large easy chair covered in sheepskin welcomes visitors to the exhibition. The sort of chair you never want to get out of.


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Half the exhibition is a series of interior designed rooms using wool. Donna Wilson’s nursery is enchanting. A felted wool mobile of rain drops, a blanket tent, a funny eccentric menagerie of woolly animals, and a very friendly replica sheep creates a child’s haven. I visited the exhibition with a friend and her two-year old charge who slipped through the barrier and chortled with delight at everything – particularly the very strokable sheep.

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Kit Kemp’s take was more urbane and sophisticated like the interiors of her boutique hotels. A remarkable felted wool panel – more a bas relief – in vivid colours expressed the modernity of wool in a space designed by Anne Kyrö-Quinn.

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The other side of the exhibition is devoted to craft – from spinning, to knitting to weaving. Natural dyed wools and yarns in a variety of textures and thicknesses. I particularly love the ‘felted finger’ wool made in South Africa.

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paint it black (and other colours)

Posted: 14 February 2013

We moved house last month. A leap across the river from Chelsea to Herne Hill on the Brixton border. Feels like another country. I now take a suburban overground train to go to ‘town’. There’s a farmer’s market in the square on Sundays and – despite terrible weather – friendly stall holders come out in force to sell wonderful produce, happy poultry, bio-dynamic meats, artisanal bread. The house is an early Victorian terrace with stripped floorboards and a pared down air which suits our furniture fine and feels like our old place in Brook Green.

Before the move I finally motivated myself to restore some very shabby pieces with a fresh lick of paint. I chose Annie Sloan’s graphite to update the chest of drawers in my daughter’s room, the flaky old drawers in the bathroom, a little side table and my husband’s desk. With Hannant’s soft wax I buffed the pieces till they resembled rain slicked slate. Maybe I was in a dark state of mind, moody and brooding. In any event, I like the effect.

little chest of drawers in bathroom

In fact I love painted furniture full stop, especially when a history of coats reveal layers of colour. Here are some images which inspire me and maybe you too.

a French buffet d’office

a vintage chest

a Georgian cupboard sold by Original House

an eau de nil painted cupboard from The French House

a pale blue painted chest of drawers

a painted box


tis the season for quiet thoughtfulness

Posted: 27 December 2012

Seemingly random unconnected images below – but to me they collectively evoke something about the holiday season – dark winter days and the twinkle of candle light. I have long been a huge fan of Ted Muehling – particularly his exquisite earrings – and adore his delicate sculptural candlestick holders. There is something poignant and beautiful about old weathered objects revealing layers of paint. I love the minimal clean lines of a white painted Ercol chair. The warm sheen on the brass light fittings below with a hint of industrial utility would chase away any winter gloom.

simple vintage brass light fixtures at Drew Pritchard

Ted Muehling candleholder

More from Ted Muehling – egg and dart candle holders

old doors as wall panelling

old corner cabinet

a time weathered commode

a white Ercol chair


A stroll down Langton Street

Posted: 14 December 2012

Langton Street in Chelsea has recently become even more special with the arrival of two new design shops – Appley Hoare and Josephine Ryan – a few doors up from Cabbages and Roses, which sells charming clothes and furnishing fabrics, and next to La Familigia an Italian stalwart of a restaurant. Appley Hoare and Josephine Ryan both find their aesthetic through simple French antiques, worn and weathered. The colour palette in both shops is bleached but not bland. Texture gives interest as well as the juxtaposition of humble objects and fine furniture. Josephine Ryan has a monastic sparseness and religious figures including (a statue of Christ in an apse-like nook) add to this mood. Appley Hoare is merrily secular with kitchen signs from rural France and a bicycle repair corner.

Walking back along King’s Road – the Designer’s Guild vibrates with colour and zestiness.


black and white and things I like

Posted: 7 December 2012

Tonal and textured – here are some of my current obsessions

Cotton throw by Khadi & Co

ticking by Ian Mankin

a black and white painted chair

African textile

Côte Bastide clothes rail

Bronze and ebonized cabinet at Foster and Kane

Japanese ceramic bowls



Getting snuggly

Posted: 19 November 2012

It’s dark now by 4.30 in the afternoon. Feels like night. While my brain says carry on with being workmanlike and conscientious, my instinct is to slip into something comfy and retire for the day on a bed piled high with blankets and throws.



little shelves are loved again

Posted: 5 November 2012

Seb who manages the Y Warehouse in TW gave us a little project the other day. He told us do something -  anything -  to improve a sad little piece of donated furniture: a corner shelf unit with a rounded front,  formica top and peeling plastic rim.



We mixed up a colour which works with the formica – a dramatic luscious deep orange,

and added black and white trim fixed with upholstery tacks to finish the rim.

Back to the Y – in the window with the blackboard I made from an old picture frame. The little picture in the front is an ad hoc painting I did at the community centre.


a little burst of colour here and there

Posted: 12 October 2012

By nature I gravitate towards a neutral pallette when decorating my interiors -  shades of white, grey, taupe. Calm and comforting oatmeal and pussy willow. But ignoring the full vibrant colour spectrum denies spice, zing, drama.  Lately my eye is drawn to bursts of colour. So at our little atelier on top of the YMCA second hand furniture shop in Tunbridge Wells, we’ve been painting chairs in red, blue and fuschia.

See the Jackson Pollack-esque chair I painted  – in my previous post. Well – the exciting news is that we put our colourful chairs in the window and they sold within three days making a nice profit for the Y! So we said we’d paint other pieces of donated furniture and see where our artistic whims take us.

Love this industrial green chair. And the green bar trolley below.

A softer pallette of mix matched distressed painted chairs in this calm and beautiful kitchen.

The lime green counter top adds zing to the white kitchen.

There’s something very happy about this orange wall.

It’s wallpaper if you can believe – but could easily be one’s own abstract expressionist effort. I  love it.



Posted: 23 September 2012

I went to Tent yesterday – a bright clear sunny September Saturday – with more than a hint of autumn in the air. I haven’t been frantically running around town catching every single show this London Design Festival as I usually do partly because I was part of an exhibition with Architecture for Humanity at Designersblock. But I was pleased to to catch the Tent show.

This year Tent was about textiles – so many stands seem to feature textiles and textures in one form or other. A round up of notable exhibits:

Studio 180 degree set up by two young Swiss designers making hand crafted furniture and soft furnishings with exquisite natural English materials.Their Tran sofa and bench are both sublime examples of the art of waeving. The body of both pieces is meticulously crafted using a combination of materials – highest quality saddle leather, twine, flax, string, braided, woven.  A seat cusion in the softest wool fastened with natural horn buttons.

Texidors is a Spanish company which I became acquainted with last year at 100 % Design. They make the most beautiful blankets, throws and shawls from the finest natural flaxes and wools, woven by a socially inclusive cooperative.

I’ve written about Claire Anne O’Brien before -her knitted furniture is both witty and cozy.  I was pleased to see her at Tent this year with a few new pieces including the Fite bench with ash legs and the Corda stool.

Rose Sharp Jones is another designer knitting seat covers and stools.

Katie Mawson is based in Cumbria and makes colorful throws and cushions from wool.

Washable cactus rugs from Columbia – fabulous!

chairs and stools covered in coffee bean bags from Brasil. We did something similar in our recycling project in Tunbridge Wells!

Samuel Onyechi describes himself as a textile designer. His plastic mesh bowls are made weaving together plastic flex then melting it to fuse.

I love the chair and bowl made from pulped bamboo and the ceramic topped table offering a contrast in texture.

Group Design showed the 490 desk lamp which retails at £150.  The LED lamp gives good illumination.

Witty coat pegs. From Daniel Schofield Studio.


a painted chair

Posted: 21 September 2012

It’s been a whirlwind week what with London Design Festival and our Architecture for Humanity set ups at two venues (more about that later). Want to share first a bit of madcap upcycling in Tunbridge Wells where Bonnie and I were given free reign of an attic room at the YMCA Charity Shop. I got somewhat carried away with a few pots of zingy paint.

aspiring to the more finished collection as below

Crossing the footbridge to the South Bank where Architecture for Humanity is exhibiting with Designersblock as part of the London Design Festival

ra-ra’s ping-pang-pong table being built

and the Love Hut going up

Over at Design Junction at the Sorting Office in New Oxford Street I visited Russell Pinch at his stand.

I love the slender oak bench

Design Junction was quite fun – a larger show than last year with Tramshed exhibiting with them. Acres of pale wood – new and recycled.

Designersblock is a younger show. I rather like Sam Weller’s stackable shelves.

and Hendzel and Hunt’s High Shore Cabinet made in Peckham from reclaimed wood. Available from Folklore (193 Upper Street Islington London N1)


on the shelf

Posted: 30 July 2012

Display. Curate. Open shelving adds interest to any room.

The Ikea shelves run the full length of the room

A simple wall mounted shelf in natural wood with metal brackets

open shelving in Ted Muehling’s kitchen


kitchens to inspire

Posted: 27 July 2012

Ikea’s mini kitchen for small living spaces.

Another mini kitchen – Boffi’s mobile unit with clever storage drawers.

The cream Smeg, the white units and industrial cooker work together in perfect harmony – simple and fresh with edge.

Textiles play off the reflective white floor

A mixed selection of vintage chairs add interest to a sleek wood kitchen table.

I love black and white check floors and white wall tiles. Note the Josef Frank wallpaper on the stairwell.


off the wall

Posted: 27 July 2012

Wallpaper seems to be going through some kind of revival these days. Midcentury designs – often pictorial, whimsical and bright – are being re-issued by companies like Sanderson and Warner. Mini Modern launched their company making wallpaper for children’s rooms and have expanded their repertoire to sophisticated retro patterns that are playful and grown up at the same time.  Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek’s salvaged wood wallpaper has been a runaway success for people wanting the rough hewn industrial look without the dust and splinters. Two new wallpapers designs  coming out of Holland -  ‘Concrete’ paper by Piet Boon and Merci’s tin tile paper.

‘Rouen’ by Warner Archive Wallpapers

Josef Frank’s midcentury designs are back in vogue

Mini Modern’s Festival of Britain wallpaper

‘Brooklyn Tins’ by Merci

‘Concrete’ by Piet Boon


home made and well worn

Posted: 29 June 2012

Turning assorted fabric swatches into patchwork cushion covers at our ‘house to home’ project in Tunbridge Wells.  Quick and satisfying results.

We backed the cushions with artist’s canvas – cotton duck.

the beauty of a simple bench and well weathered wood

Appley Hoare sells the trestle table below and similar

Anthropology on Kings Road clads their sales counter with slats of reclaimed wood

A wall of old wood

2nd Cycle is Artek’s project to give a new lease of life to their classic chairs and tables which they’ve collected from flea markets and schools. They’ll be on show at Designjunction’s café space during London Design Week in September and will be available to buy.


and it’s still raining

Posted: 11 June 2012

It feels like it’s been raining forever bar one summery week at the end of May.  Oh such gloomy weather.  I’m looking out the window from my study at the wet street below feeling very melancholy.  June and still wrapped up in winter wool.  More cheerful than me is my newly planted herb garden on the balcony.  I was inspired by a post on Remodelista about a woman who planted vegetables in a series of wooden wine crates  (in distinctly sunnier climes) which looked so enchanting. I trotted over to my local branch of Nicolas for some empty boxes (and also a couple of bottles of rather nice rosé). The builders next door kindly drilled holes in the bottom.Below is the Remodelista image that inspired.  Looks great.

Meanwhile, back down in Tunbridge Wells where our interior design programme ‘My Place’ happens, we’ve been busy spray painting pieces of furniture found at the YMCA charity shop -  which has become a regular haunt. We’ve been using a spray paint from the local art shop – a matt acrylic which comes in divine colours, although we’ve discovered not very practical for furniture -  and – omg the fumes.  Posted below a chair and a bookshelf – first recycling attempts – not perfect by far – but promising.  The patchwork seat on the blue chair is made from a selection of wool swatches from Bute.


Clerkenwell Design Week

Posted: 23 May 2012

We didn’t have time to catch our breath when Architecture for Humanity was invited to join Clerkenwell Design Week. Workstation, a slick showroom featuring Herman Miller office furniture asked us to display our project posters and strut our stuff. After our whirlwind week in Rivington Street, battered by wind and rain and some wild moments featuring ra-ra’s three way ping pang pong table – we girded our loins and headed over to St John’s Lane. A few frantic days – but then the sun came out for the first time after two months of gloomy wetness. The astro turf was laid.  Cameo re-built  her Love Hut for Humanity and a new and improved p-p-p table was erected by the archway at the top of the lane. We blithely refer to our installation as the playstation and it has attracted passers by into the showroom. I like to think we’ve done a good turn for the office furniture folk.

I received an invitation to the Ochre party at their new showroom in Britten Street and it was the only event I made a point of attending. I am a huge fan of Ochre. I think everything they make without exception is beautiful and covetable and if only I didn’t have the most petite budget…

This was my first time at their new showroom which has a more refined atmosphere than their previous place up the road. A sun-dried tomato red stool in buttery soft leather took my breath away – a dense shot of colour within an otherwise subdued palette. Ochre is all about softnesses – and juxtapositions of texture – velvet next to linen next to leather. An elegant chair combining black linen and a denser black velvet seat. Cushions – restrained but with a  graphic stripe.heaven.


Posted: 22 April 2012

I can’t believe April has whizzed by as if in a blur from the window of a high speed train with rain lashing against the windows. March was so balmy and bright with an air of spring about it.

I’ve been swept up with such interesting projects.

In a whirl organising Ideas on a Postcard, please ( for Architecture for Humanity 3-9 May at Space fiftyfour, 54 Rivington Street, London EC2.  We’re launching the publication of Design Like You Give a Damn 2,  and there will be scheduled events and workshops.  Studio 54 Architecture generously donated the space.  For the opening night, we’ve devised a special cocktail made with seasonal and locally sourced rhubarb – calling it the ‘Hakini’ i.e. the Hackney Bellini. Our logo, designed by Risa Sano of Mentsen, depicts the theme of the event – which is to come up with a ‘design like you give a damn’ project that would benefit London – and put it on a postcard. We’re exhibiting everyone’s postcards in the gallery. The postcard template can be downloaded from the website. And I’ve also been busy with ‘Making it My Place’ – an interior design project working with a group of people who’ve had the misfortune of being homeless but are now living in their ‘first step’ flats. Three really nice guys have signed up and week one (we’re in our third week) we made applique fleece blankets. Week two was spent sanding and spray painting furniture culled from the local YMCA charity shop. We’ll be whizzing up curtains with the help of our resident soft furnishings expert and doing some repair and painting to bring the flats up to scratch. Some inspiration for up-cycling with paint:

Piet Hein Eek is the master of turning old and paint flaky wood into furniture poetry.

Jo Nagasaka uses resin and pigment to turn old tables into works of art

another great idea – using palettes as a sofa base with layers of felt covered foam.

On a totally different tack my love of earthy tones and textures knows no bounds. I love the industrial vintage stacking chairs below from Cream and Chrome.

and arts and craft stool below is so charming.

and to conclude on a surreal note: Kathy Ruttenberg’s ‘Messenger’ sculpture

and David Shrigley’s pumpkin Barbie