Zara Home is doing some extremely cute kids’ accessories at the moment. Like the best children’s homewares (or maybe it’s just me) you kinda want them for yourself. If I had a decent little home office I’d definitely be resting my back against the sheriff’s badge cushion.
Wobbly, imperfect glassware always lends a hand-made touch to your home. This wonky vase in a stormy blue-grey looks like an artisan piece – but it’s Littlewoods (£32)
I saw a green, floral patterned sofa in a Florida thrift store about two years ago, and I’ve been unable to put in out of my mind. So, when I buy a new sofa, it’s not going to be plain, or neutral, it’s going to be upholstered in a gorgeous floral patterned fabric. And don’t say I’ll get bored of it, or it’ll go out of style, because there are plenty of much more important/dull decisions that need to be made based on what I’ll be doing in ten years, so I might as well have fun when it’s a only a sofa. I’ve long been a lover of Scandinavian fabrics, especially the botanical ones on a dark ground, so the colour jumps out at you – the absolute cream of the crop is Swedish designer Gocken Jobs’ bright and beautiful flower prints, actually rather more like botanical drawings than the usual stylised Scandinavian style, and slightly weird in its choice of flora (rhubarb anyone?). I’ve yet to find anything that comes close in my price bracket, but a lengthy search did throw up some other beauties – not all of them upholstery fabrics, but good for curtains, cushions etc – that are pretty reasonable. My absolute top tip, if you’re a sucker for higher-end Nordic brands like Marimekko but have no cash, is to get yourself to Ikea; its fabric ranges have all the graphic punch and occasional forays into surrealism, but at much nicer prices (it’s also often the quietest place in the whole shop, useful if you’re suffering from Ikea Stress Syndrome). Here are my finds; and if anyone can find me a Gocken Jobs-alike for under £70 a metre, let me know….
Eivor Leva, £7/m, Ikea
Cherry orchard by Marianne Westman, £28.94/m, from New House Textiles
Rhubarb, by Jobs Handtryck, £143/m, Skandium
Amalfi Ofelia by Sandberg, £71.50/m, Tangletree Interiors
Spira Haga, £29.95/m, Hus & Hem
Kvitter blue, £22.95/m Hus & Hem
Having written a couple of features about garden furniture and furnishing your conservatory over the past few months, plus having been on the hunt for a good budget garden furniture set myself, I reckon I am well placed to give … Continue reading
There’s a rash of furniture around that plays around with the contrast between plain, pale timber and slashes of bright colour. It seems that you need to get the balance right (lots timber, and a little colour) and also get the colour itself right, which needs to be blisteringly bright to catch your eye. For designer brands look to Colombian Reinhard Dienes, whose Le Belge shelving fits together with bright green butterfly screws, or Brit Charlie Crowther-Smith, whose Dowel desk features a coral-coloured brace linking its rear legs (both designs are unified by their simple construction). And on the high street, Terence Conran’s Webster dining table for M&S hits the spot. It’s a bit of frivolity in a serious world.
Le Belge shelving, Reinhard Dienes
Detail of Le Belge shelving, Reinhard Dienes
- Dowel desk, by Charlie Crowther Smith
Webster dining table, Terence Conran for Marks & Spencer
I love a bit of neon, so much so that I practically crashed the car the other day while trying to get an eyeful of this neon shop in Walthamstow (I wonder if they ever have sample sales?). But most of the ready-made signs you can buy are skewed towards retail, or people with full-sized bars in their cellar, so you’d probably have to get one made bespoke if you wanted something good. But then I saw Italian brand Seletti’s brilliant build-your-own version, where you buy one letter at a time and make up whatever word you want; there’s even a heart-shaped one, aww. It’s in a lovely typewriter-esque typeface and you wouldn’t need many to make an impact – maybe even one initial letter would do it. The transformer that links the letters together, which you buy separately, does look a bit clunky, but it sort of seems to go with the no-nonsense style of the typeface so I’m not gonna go on about it. Available from Panik Design.
Walker Greenbank (which owns big-name wallpaper/textile brands like Sanderson, Zoffany and Morris & Co) has just launched a ‘youthful’ new brand called Scion. ‘Youthful’ in this context seems to mean graphic, Scandinavian-inspired prints and lots of bright colour, although that is pigeonholing it somewhat as there’s pretty much something for everyone in its first collections – Melinki, which concentrates on print and pattern, and Plains, which are, er, plain. I’m hoping that the brand is aiming to become a sort of Top Shop of the textile world, taking the best designer pieces and turning them something more accessible and less expensive, retaining the sort of quality you’d expect from its umbrella company. 100% cotton prints start at £25/m and wallpaper from £30/roll.
Berry Tree wallpaper
Lace wallpaper/Mr Fox fabric curtains