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?

 

For a long time now we have been decorating our homes with a very subdued colour palette of monochrome and shades of grey, influenced heavily by our fascination with Scandinavian design. While I will always advocate a monochrome scheme for it’s timeless and classic qualities, I am a huge fan of colour and pattern, inspired primarily by my enduring love affair with textiles.

So of course I was delighted and somewhat relieved to read about the riot of colours exhibited at this years Milan design fair and Dulux and Pantones predications for the colours of 2019, which include, amongst others, tones of orange, yellow and green.

One of Pantones colour palette predictions for 2019 “Cravings”

In fact Pantone have named not just one colour for 2019 but two key colour palettes.  First up is “cravings”, a selection of spice tones infused with rich purples, influenced by what we eat and also “Classico” as it says on the tin, a classic palette of camel, deep reds and teal. The good news is anything goes and what could be more joyful than creating a truly individual home, with no rules? I think we’re all a little over seeing the identikit scandi minimalist homes on social media and ready for something new to pique our interest? Although I do like this look a lot, it’s sometimes a little too formulaic and as a designer and a creative, I need to surround myself with items that are meaningful to me. Pieces collected over years, on travels and bought at early morning boot fairs or from little individual shops that I may never find again? Suffuse this with a backdrop of lush colour and carefully layered patterns and for me that is a home.

Whilst doing some research recently for a colour block trend shoot for a client, I found this video by leading Australian design blogger Lucy Feagins, founder and editor of  The Design Files, which perfectly captures the excitement of what Milan showcased and what we can all look forward to in the coming year.

https://www.dulux.com.au/colour/colour-trends/2019.html 

Elle Decoration are calling this return to colour and pattern “Happy Design” and it’s no coincidence that it is being propelled by the general global mood for a need for small moments of happiness. If we can’t achieve world happiness, we can create our own joyful mood at home?

Here are two colour block shots I created and styled for a commercial client showing how, by just changing the colour in a room, you can create a completely different mood? The orange shot above was created using three different orange tones from Farrow & Ball. D’Egypte, blazer & Charlottes locks.

The shot below was created using Missprint Muscat wallpaper and Sudbury Yellow paint by Farrow & Ball.

Some of the interior and product designers I admire the most, are constantly experimenting with clever use of colour and if I’m ever feeling a little apprehensive about my choice of colours, I’ll look at their work for added inspiration. Some of my favourites are Maria Speake of reclamation company Retrovious who uses a warm retro colour palette within her designs to sit along side the thoughfully sourced furniture they find for their clients.

Ben Pentreath known for his classic English country house style is no stranger to colour which he uses like the skilful artist he is.

The designers for Soho House showcase a master class of pattern and colour at one of their London hotels, The Ned

Studio pepe  are skillful interpreters of modern day Ettore Sottsass exciting and experimental style.

India Mahdavi architect led the way with an exciting colour palette in 2016 with her design for Red valentino in London.

If you’re considering experimenting with colour but would like some encouragement, I would recommend any of these books.

I recently realised flicking through some old photos, that my style hasn’t really changed since I was about 18. I have a photo of me standing outside Fiorucci in Italy on my first foreign holiday with a boyfriend, who was swiftly edited after said holiday, wearing a pair of white cropped culottes, a bardo neckline 3/4 sleeve t-shirt and white plimsoles, not that dissimilar to what I’m wearing today as I type this? Topshop denim culottes, striped elbow length Whistles t-shirt, Bensimon plimsolls? I obviously knew as a teenager that classic casual style, such as the clothes i’d observed, worn by Diane Keaton in Annie hall, Lauren Hutton and Ali McGraw, was the way I wanted to present myself to the world and little has changed. I’ve always loved tomboy style.

Dressing with the same mindset but an older curvier body, just simply means being more selective in quality, fabrics and cuts but this doesn’t necessarily mean spending more? My High Street go toos are Cos, Topshop Boutique and Zara who all offer good quality fashion conscious choices and I mix this up with a dash of more individual designs from the smaller independents retailers. I’m lucky living in Manchester that we have a few great stores selling hand produced garments in natural fibres such as linen and organic cotton. Object Style & Beaumont Organic   both have a gorgeous selection of ethically sourced garments and i can always guarantee a beautiful selection of jewellery and bags from Moth.

A linen jacket from Object Style A/W 17 Look Book which I styled

I have this jacket and I wear it with everything, the soft sage green is such a versatile colour

Beaumont organic Manchester

As I get older, I don’t follow trends as much but I’m still fashion obsessed and continue to subscribe to Vogue as I have done for 35 years, read brilliant fashion blogs, which include favourites That’s not my Age by Alyson Walsh, Style Memos and a newly discovered Goodbye Crop Top, but I’m true to my style and know what I like. No tight structured clothes or heels for me, trainers with almost everything, lots of stripes & in recent years, lots of jumpsuits and dungarees.

Age is a number that’s slowly starting to mean nothing when it comes to the way we dress and amen to that. No more elastic waists when you reach a certain age, although those Topshop denim culottes I’m wearing are actually elasticated and that’s the best thing about them 🙂

I really applaud the minimal wardrobe advocates who can restrict their choices to 10 outfits seasonally and I admire their ethical values enormously. Two of my favourite bloggers who manage to do this effortlessly and stylishly are Jessica Rose Williams and Rachael from Seth Style. I have to say though, although my style is definitely bordering on minimalist, I am still drawn to clothes like a moth to a flame. The changing colours and silhouettes of fashion will, I hope, forever enthrall me and whilst I am no oponent to the ethos of the minimalist wardrobe, which of course makes dressing for everyday so much easier by cutting our choices, I still love nothing more than when the new seasons offerings arrive in store or I manage to purchase a fabulous end of sale bargain.

Here are some of the High Street and online items that have caught my eye this summer, some of which have made their way into my wardrobe. I can’t guarantee they’ll all be available at the time of posting this but some may be reduced in the sale by now if you’re lucky?

  1. Islay cotton gauze T-shirts – A Woodland Gathering
  2. Khaki jumpsuit – Olive clothing
  3. SPF30 (wished I’d used this when I was 18!- Madara
  4. Ticking stripe dress – Olive Clothing
  5. linen skirt – Muji
  6. One piece – Boden
  7. Swedish wooden sandals – Toast
  8. Striped dungarees – Pull & Bear (A recent High Street convert thanks to my daughter)
  9. Those elasticated waist cropped denim culottes (available in other colours) – Topshop
  10. Bensimon plimsoles – Anthropologie
  11. Straw lined washbag used as clutch – Baileys Home