Ever since my daughter has been a little girl watching films such as Annie and Home Alone, and then as a teenager, Gossip Girl, she has longed for a trip to the Big Apple. I promised her many years ago that when she turned 16 I would take her for a special birthday treat and not being one to make false promises, when the time came last December for her birthday, I presented her with tickets and a hotel booking, tucked inside her birthday card. This trip was just as exciting for all the family, as none of us, other than our elder son had visited the US before and New York was a treat we were all going to enjoy together.

Our trip was booked for April, which we discovered was such a perfect time to visit New York, not too hot, not too cold, but warm and sunny with the cherry blossom trees in full bloom, making the city look a lot prettier than I ever imagined.

But more of the city in a later post. I wanted to break this post down into two separate parts as there is just so much to say about New York and I’ve been asked by quite a few people through my instagram account, who are planning a trip, if I could give them some ideas of where to stay and what to do when they arrive. So I though the perfect start would be to write about our hotel, MADE and the surrounding area of Nomad in Mid town where the hotel is located. This post is not sponsored or paid for by MADE, it is my own words and opinions but, I thought as we had such a great experience at the hotel, it would be useful to recommend it to any of my readers that are thinking of going to New York?

We arrived at JFK airport after a fantastic and very comfortable flight with Thomas Cook Airlines. We wondered how it would compare to other flight companies who were more expensive, but I have since compared notes with a friend who flew a few weeks before us with Virgin and it seems that we got pretty much the same service and deal for only £320 return each. This included, two hot meals, lots of leg room & blankets and a pillow for the return evening flight. Films were included in the price and you could upgrade for £5 each for new releases and a more varied range.

After standing in the immigration queue for about 1.5 hours we found our taxi driver waiting for us. We had pre booked a taxi with Rideways from the airport to our hotel which was a great idea as we didn’t have to queue and the fare was exactly the same as jumping in a yellow taxi at the airport. There are obviously other cheaper modes of public transport to get you to Manhattan but quite honestly after a long flight and a couple of hours at immigration the $50 fee was well worth it?

If you’ve never been to New York, as we hadn’t, nothing can prepare you for the sight of the Manhattan skyline as you drive over George Washington bridge. I defy anybody not to have the words 0f “Empire State of mind”  running through their head at this moment or re-imagine that scene in The Great Gatsby as the main characters drive into the city from Connecticut.

Photo from Wikipedia

On arriving at the entrance to MADE Hotel you can immediately see how new the building is and how the area is quickly changing. MADE is wedged between two existing older buildings and completely clad in dark wood, like a giant log cabin in the middle of a city. This is an area under construction and in the midst of gentrification, home to some very stylish global leisure and retail brands. On the same road is the Ace Hotel and Le Labo perfume store and Opening Ceremony is just around the corner. Nomad, meaning North of Madison Square Garden, was given it’s new name in 1999, and is the perfect area to stay for your first trip to the city. Mid town, is as it says, the middle of Manhattan island. So you are perfectly placed for discovering either end of the island, Uptown, around the museum and gallery area and Central Park and Downtown, Wall Street and the Staten Island ferry terminals for trips to The Statue of Liberty.

We were greeted by the very friendly staff and immediately knew we would feel at home in this vibrant, modern hotel. The ground floor area, consists of a bar area and separate coffee lounge, Paper, which was full of young people working away on laptops. This hotel is the perfect resting place for a city nomad, the millennial generation, who can work remotely from any city providing there is excellent WIFI, craft beer, good coffee and a community atmosphere. MADE is one of these new styles of hotel.

Our room was a family room for the four of us. A bit worrying I know for four adults, 2 parents & 2 grown up kids, to share such a modest space for 5 nights but, although the room was small, a given in most city hotels and particularly New York, the oversized windows with amazing views over the Mid town water coolers and town houses, gave a greater sense of space. The room was well designed, using a mix of raw materials, such as concrete, wood and stone, with a large and spacious bathroom with walk in power shower, quality towels and bed linen and lovely toiletries. I did quickly note the New York extortionatley priced mini bar, peanuts $14, bath robe $250 and laid down the house rules (don’t touch!) before the kids managed to run up a bill we weren’t expecting!

Other great areas of the hotel that we discovered as the days unfolded were Ferris restaurant, with it’s open kitchen, serving fresh seasonal urban food by a noted New York chef and the amazing roof top bar ,Good Behaviour, serving afore mentioned craft beers, sharing cocktails and tiki inspired drinks. What the bar doesn’t prepare you for is the astonishing, almost reach out and touch it, view of the Empire state building. In the evening, this view takes your breath away! Note to anybody with teenagers staying here, nobody under the age of 21 is allowed up there, even if you are guests. The US have very strict licensing laws and they stick to the rules ridgildly but, if you’re lucky a staff member might let your children take a sneak peak of the view.

If you don’t want to eat breakfast at the hotel every day and fancy the all American diner experience, I can recommend two great diners both within a 5-10 minute stroll away. First up is Tick Tock Diner, very famous in this part of New York and used by the staff of The New York City Fire Department which is close by. It’s very authentic, the food is amazing and very varied but it’s quite expensive if you’re eating as a family. $80 for breakfast for 4 was not unusual for us? A cheaper and just as good, but very small and you might have to queue outside, is Johnys Luncheonette, which quickly became a favourite of ours. It seats probably 8 at the back of the diner and has a long counter seating approximately another 10 people, but the food is delicious and quick and half the price of Tick Tock and Johnny & his staff are so friendly and quickly remembered we were the Manchester family and knew our drinks order as soon as we walked in after the first time!

Thats New York service for you!

Finally just for anybody suffering from Coeliac or a gluten intolerance and thinking you won’t be able to enjoy a New York burger whilst you are in the city, I can highly recommend Friedmans. I always do a bit of research before I travel just to check out my options for local food establishments and Friedmans was where we ate on the night we arrived. They have a branch just around the corner from MADE, about a 10 minute walk, but others are dotted around the city, 6 in all. The atmosphere is fantastic, they have a great selection of gluten free food and beer and it’s reasonably priced. A definite recommendation from me.

For my next post on some of the best things to do on a first trip to New York, please subscribe and keep reading and I hope you found this post useful?

 

My job as an interiors stylist involves a large amount of shopping for props. “Great” you might be thinking “nice job” but believe me when you’ve designed up to 6 room sets in a week, you can quickly exhaust your usual suppliers of props and homewares, which is why it’s always great when you discover another shop, brimming with beautiful stock with consideration to current trends.

Every time I have been into Kate Harmans shop, Edit & Oak  I’ve come away with bags full of lovely pottery, cushions and candles. The collections are bought very much with current trends in mind but discretely enough that they can be edited into a current scheme.

Kate says “The name Edit & Oak was derived from the blend of items I wanted to source for the shop. A mixture of objects chosen for their colour or pattern, with a slight nod to a trend, with a mix of more rustic European, one off finds, which have an age and patina that add a natural texture and interest to a home.”

Kate was previously a homewares buyer before she launched her own shop so she has a great understanding of what people need to update their homes with seasonal and current accessories or colours, without the need to change a whole room scheme.

As well as interior items, Kate also stocks a carefully curated selection of jewellery, accessories and scented candles, making Edit & Oak a perfect destination for gift shopping.

Kate first opened the doors to her shop back in October 2015 perfectly in time for the once neglected Altrincham market to be reborn and rebranded as a destination for food lovers and a place to find independent retailers, salvage dealers and artisans regularly selling their wares from permanant stalls. The whole of Altrincham has benefited from the thriving and busy market but Edit & Oak is at the opposite end of Greenwood Street to the market and almost constant building work outside the shop, over the last 2 years, has made it difficult at times for passing trade. However, this has only encouraged Kate to ensure that the stock she buys is completely unique from any of her competitors which has helped to build up a loyal and returning clientele. She’s also very keen to support other business’s in the location to ensure that the area remains a shopping destination and she does this by avoiding stocking any brands that similar shops in the area sell.

It’s a smart move and one that should see Edit & Oak grow from strength to strength.

 

 

 

 

In recent years there has been a steady interest in Mid century designed furniture but that interest seems to be escalating. So much so that popular designs are now being reissued as vintage prices continue to soar and make some originals now out of most of our reach?

Unless you are a keen collector and willing and able to pay top dollar to add to your collection, some amazing designs, in good condition and reasonably priced, still exist if you know where to look?

In the North West of England, where I live, we are very lucky to have The vintage Home show three times a year which is a dedicated event for vintage and retro home wares dealers to sell their stock. Its a great day for shopping but also making connections with dealers if you are looking for a special piece for your home? You can exchange contact details and hopefully the dealer will, eventually, come up with the goods. This event is run by Keeley Harris of Discover Vintage and is held at Victoria Baths a fully restored and quite beautiful Victorian bath house. The venue itself is worth the visit alone. For details of further events check the link here. Other similar events run by Keeley are held in Leeds and The Midlands.

This year was also the first time The Mid Century Modern Show ventured North and exhibitors showed their collections at The Hepworth Gallery Wakefield. It was probably a collection of some of the best Mid Century furniture I have seen and prices were high but there were some amazing stand out items. Check their site for future venues and dates.

A great local Manchester warehouse full of antiques, salvage and mid century furniture is The Old Mill Antiques in Failsworth. There is always a constant rotation of stock as house clearance vans are regularly off loading their stock on an almost daily basis. Also Insitu Manchester have some great pieces but less on the furniture side now, so ring ahead if you are looking for something particular. Laurence, the owner, has been buying for years and is constantly sourcing stock all over Europe so will keep his eye out for items if he knows you’re a serious buyer?

If you haven’t visited Pear Mill in Stockport, you should. Here you’ll find a plethora of dealers, many specialising in Mid Century pieces, such as US born Laura Gaither who goes under the name of Planet Vintage Girl and regularly visits LA’S Rose bowl bringing back state side goodies for us. One of my favourite ex Pear Mill dealers who have now branched out solo are Whittaker and Gray. They have some of the best Mid century pieces I’ve seen from dining table sets, to sideboards to statement arm chairs.

I’ve blogged about Leek in Staffordshire before here but Odeon Antiques has got to be one of my favourite antique shops ever for the quality and quantity of the finds there. The prices aren’t the cheapest you’ll find but the quality speaks for itself.

Retrovious in London are specialists in salvage and decorative antiques and often find quantities of dead stock which they sell quite reasonably. Sign up to their newsletter for updates on regular stock. They usually have a great selection of mid Century seating.

Also based in London is Mid Century specialist dealer Fiona McDonald.

Her instagram bio reads stylishly restored midcentury furniture and it is exactly that. For beautiful lighting, mirrors and furniture, make sure you follow Fiona’s account here.

A new website that has recently come to my attention is Selency a French site for buyers and sellers of contemporary and vintage furniture. The pieces can all be shipped to the UK and must be in good condition before loading onto the site for sale. I’ve not used it yet but the reviews in this months Elle Decoration are favourable.

Of course for the best selection of antiques from any era, the European antique fairs held at Newark and Lincolnshire Showground and on a smaller scale Wetherby in Yorkshire are always a great day out. For dates of events check their sites.

Happy hunting!

 

Manchester based Little Greene Paint company are soon to launch a collection of greens in association with The National trust. The 31 colours, 20 of which have been derived from important national Trust properties such as Beatrix Potters farmhouse and Sir George Bernard Shaws writing hut, have been chosen with the modern home in mind. Each are relevant for todays interiors in different ways. From bright greens and turquoises inspired by retro schemes to soft and delicate greens and dark moody tones suitable for a more period look.

This streamlining of one colour to one paint chart is something they have done before with blue, pink & grey and it’s a really useful tool to have and use, making it easy to navigate as it’s broken down into 5 columns of varying tones of green.

From the sale of each one of these colours, a contribution will be made to The National Trust to help them with their important conservation work.

These beautiful colours shown below demonstrate just how versatile one colour can be, from fresh and uplifting, to soft and relaxing and intense and sophisticated.

 

The shot below is one I styled for a client using Little Green Paint Company’s Citrine and Pale Lime from their main paint colour chart all other images are from Little Green Paint Company blog.

To find out more about the national trust paints and for a full range of Little Greene Paint company’s colours check their website here.

The other day one of my friends sent me a picture of a chair she’d bought for her new office. “Should I add a fringe?” she said

Hell yes! Fringes were everywhere at Milan and are sure to be appearing in any self respecting design addicts abode any time soon.

My only requirement for fringing is that it be fine and silky, none of your twisted cord type fringing if you don’t mind, reminiscent of Auntie June’s bedroom chair from the 1950’s. We’re talking chic deco inspired fringing of the sort seen swinging from silent star, Louise Brooke’s hem line.

I am stunned by the beauty of these boudoir stools by Milan based furniture designer Lorrenzo Bozzoli. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite so beautiful in a glam rock style way since I first clapped eyes on David Bowie in his Ziggy incarnation!

This fringed mirror is also pretty spectacular by Ben & Aja Blanc but as I’ve not been able to find a UK stockist, I’ve included this fringed mirror by Oliver Bonas which is reduced in the sale, so if you’re quick you might snaffle it?

Apollo mirror ben & Aja Blanc

Nappa large fringed mirror Oliver Bonas

I love the colour and the triple fringing of this sofa which is just unbelievably Hollywood glamour, you can almost imagine Jean Harlow reclining on it?

Fringes sofa Contract Furniture Store

If you want less of a statement piece and something smaller to add to your current furniture collection, this china blue chair is beautiful?

Fringes armchair Munna

If the Lorrenzo Bozzoli stool is too much of a statement piece but you love the fringing idea, how about this more modest version by Bloomingville?

Online British lighting company Beauvamp make beautiful bespoke fringed lighting. Check out their online gallery for pendant and lamp shades in various colours or custom order your own colours and finish.

Oliver Bonas currently sell this pretty coral and brass Nappa table lamp £130

Or of course you can do a DIY version like my friend and add your own fringing to anything?