Out of the blue fifty years of Designers Guild

I recently saw an exhibition of the work of the textile designer Tricia Guild better known for the label Designers Guild. It is currently at the Fashion and Textile museum in Bermondsey in London and is owned by the flamboyant textile designer Zandra Rhodes.IMG_5639.jpg

Exterior view of the Fashion and textile Museum.



Painting of Zandra Rhodes by Samira Addo.

The main focus of the Tricia Guild exhibition was a retrospective of the work produced by Designers Guild since it started in 1971 in the Kings Road in London.

It highlighted early inspiration, mostly floral and natural themes and showed the process from painting the images using a range of media, through to how the ideas end as a repeated design.

Over the years designers Guild have moved from producing textiles to entire Interior decorating schemes, putting a whole look together.





They work by first of all putting mood boards together for inspiration, pretty much like how it works in Interior Design. And then work on the colour ways for each design.


When the collections are completed, they use their showrooms to put interior installations together to show how the fabrics can be used , together with furnishings and accessories.





Over the years and as an Interior Designer, I have always found myself drawn to Designers Guild fabrics because I admire the way they threw the rule book out the window. Where previously it was believed that certain colours “go” and others should never be seen together, they would deliberately use “clashing” colours and it worked! They have also adapted the palette over the years in line with trends which is probably why they have stood the test of time.

A visit to Decorex an Interior Design show in London

I recently visited Decorex Interior Design show at Syon Park in London. I am always encouraging my students to visit trade fairs as it is important as a designer, to know what is new to the market, but , so that you have more innovative and inspirational items to offer your clients. This is largely because, if someone is paying you a design fee, they want to see something that they could not have found themselves and Decorex is one of the main platforms  on which companies from all over the world can showcase their new collections to the trade.

All through the show are stands set up to create inspiring room sets and to display new products. New this year, were actual artisans working on the stands to show that many of the items on show were hand crafted rather than mass produced. ‘Craftwork’ was also a platform for the next generation of designers across the disciplines each displaying a high level of artisanal craftsmanship.

Decorex is one of the main events in the design calendar and one which is attended by all across the field of design and for anyone hoping to source and select items which are either new to the market or not readily available to the mass market.

As well as the display stands, there was also a seminar programme opening with a discussion about the relationship between architect and designer focussing on how the two disciplines can work together fruitfully , the challenges experienced and tips on how to work well together in to the future.


William Holland Ltd handcrafted copper baths and basins. A really nice display of mini baths showing the different finishes to choose from.


Pooky Lighting Ltd creative and affordable lighting company including new marbled lampshades, statement mirrors and contemporary pendants.


Hellooow Design and concepts. This company supports HIV + women, teaching them to hand make  clay bead chandeliers and other bespoke pieces.

An interesting display showcasing items from the Sir John Soane museum, curated by the  designer Sue Timney.

Annie Sloan Interiors Ltd. The world leader on paint, colour and technique. In 1990, she created chalk paint, then wall paint and now also a fabric collection.

So, just a small taster of what was on offer, but I would suggest, definitely worth a visit next year.

A visit to Agatha Christies house in Devon

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Agatha Christies country retreat in the beautiful Dart valley in Devon.

On arriving, and making your way around this grand house, you are completely taken by the wonderful views over the  sparkling Dart estuary and where there is a path leading down to a boathouse through a beautiful woodland garden and beyond. The views as you walk down through the gardens are breathtaking and the walk back reveals Greenway house in all its glory!



Looking at this old photo I took a picture of in the house, the exterior has hardly changed.

Although Greenway is now owned and managed by The National Trust, the writer Agatha Christie previously owned it and spent most of the 1950’s here with her family who were great collectors and as such, the house is full of interesting objects and artifacts , books (including many first editions of her own books), archaeology, silver and porcelain and, of course, lots of old family photos.


View from the front of the house across the Dart estuary.



Some beautiful Neo classical style bookcases in the sitting room.


And a collection of rather creepy toys !


I have always loved these types of curved doors! And when you see mahogany furniture in this context, its difficult to understand why it ever went out of fashion!?



And the beautiful entrance hall with views out to the Dart estuary!

After your visit to the house you can have a lovely Devon cream tea and sit in the courtyard and admire the converted stable buildings.

I would highly recommend a visit next time you’re in this part of Devon!


An inspiring minimalist interior

Living in a world of consumerism and excess, these habits commonly translate into abundant decor. Sometimes though enough is enough. We want peace and calm when we return to our ‘nests’. We want less. Wanting less however does not mean we do not desire a welcoming home or comfortable furniture. No. Minimalism isn’t about depriving…

via Minimalist Home With Blue And Yellow Accents — Interior Design Ideas

More than just a headboard

If you would like to create a focal point in a bedroom where there is no architectural feature such as a fireplace, I suggest you re- think the headboard?

Long gone are the days when a headboard was something that came attached to a bed frame, either wooden or upholstered!

Some kind of decorative headboard could form the starting point to how you will decorate the whole room.

Take a look at the following examples for some inspiration.


Well, most people will have a mirror of some description in the bedroom, so why not over the bed?


Wooden pallets and re claimed floor boards, another great idea, which goes along with the whole trend for up cycling and re purposing! And I love the deer antlers used to store jewellery!


In fact, why not continue the theme up to and across the ceiling?


Or maybe the headboard could have a function? As we can see here it creates useful shelving? A great idea in a kids bedroom!headboard_ideas_painting.jpg

Maybe a large scale painting from which you can extract as many or as few of the colours to use around the room!


Following on from the reclaimed theme, this is a lovely use of old structural beams used to form a frame around a recess for the bed.


And maybe some old sticks? Just make sure they have been sanded and treated first!

There is no end of possibilities as to what you can create for a headboard so just let your imagination run wild and create something truly unique!!

















How to pack a punch in interior design using colour and pattern.

My students often ask me what is the simplest and most cost effective way to change an interior and I always tell them to introduce colour and pattern. It’s much easier now to introduce colour because of the new muted tones introduced by companies like Farrow and Ball. They can be used all over or to create a one wall focal point. Muted tones, like the grey wall here, can act as a backdrop to stronger or brighter accent colours like the pink coffee table. It is also popular to paint out the woodwork, walls and any architectural features, using the same colour. There is also a move away from white ceilings in favour of a lighter version of the wall colours. Of course, if you have a room with very high ceilings, you are more able to use a darker colour to give the impression of lowering the ceiling. A light colour by contrast, will heighten the appearance of a low ceiling.



Of course colour and pattern are used differently now. The scale of pattern is much larger. Colours are bolder and usually applied to a single wall rather than all four, which would be difficult to live with.

Pattern is also being applied in areas where they weren’t seen before such as on ceilings and floors.



And to create an interesting focal point that isn’t a fireplace or TV?!


This example is interesting as it takes your eye across and up through the space! Is neutral in tone but still makes a bold statement!

Its also ok to mix up patterns such as floral with geometric but try to keep it small with medium or medium with large?


Most importantly, have fun and be bold and try to create a space that says something about you and what you like rather than being over influenced by what is in fashion. After all, its you who has to live with it?!!


Mirror Mirror !!

It has long been understood in the world of Interiors that using mirrors or finishes with a reflective surface can make a small room look bigger, but the use of mirrors is being taken to a new level where its use can move between decorative and architectural.


The use of mirrors decoratively has moved on from having a single mirror on a wall, say, above a fireplace, to displaying collections of different designs together on a wall. I particularly like the example shown which is a display of hand mirrors which were never designed originally to be displayed on a wall.


Then there are mirrors which are used in a way where they become part of the interior structure of the room, integrated in to the walls and occupying  the full width and height of the wall.


This is all ultimately moving towards an entirely architectural use of mirrored finishes where it is used to clad an internal area within a larger open plan space!


This type of use of a reflective surface gives the illusion of space, while at the same time blurs and softens the edges of the structure. I particularly like the use of diagonal lines cut within the surface finish here, another way of distracting the eye from the overall mass of the partition walls.

The Defining a Style Series: What Is Contemporary Design? — Freshome.com – Interior Design & Architecture Magazine

What features make up contemporary design? Keep reading to find out. Image: Openspace ArchitectureWhether you’re new to the world of interior design or have been an aficionado for years, sometimes it can be hard to tell design styles apart. Admittedly, there is a lot of crossover between aesthetics and nowhere is there more crossover than…

via The Defining a Style Series: What Is Contemporary Design? — Freshome.com – Interior Design & Architecture Magazine

Beautiful Homes of Instagram — Home Bunch Interior Design Ideas

If you’ve read Home Bunch for some time you might recognize Hollie from @artfulhomestead. I first featured Hollie’s main home on “Beautiful Homes of Instagram” in 2016 and she has been featured many other times on Home Bunch after that, but today she comes back not to feature her main home, but instead her dreamy…

via Beautiful Homes of Instagram — Home Bunch Interior Design Ideas