Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cult Shop

Those of you who like your shops small and interesting should hot foot it to Hoxton tout de suite for there you will find SHOP, a mini boutique offering just three collections. There are stoneware pots whose simple modernist shapes belie their recycled origins (they're made from the clay left over after throwing and turning) and whose bold colours would have delighted Le Corbusier himself. Then there are the witty seat pads with their images of ipods and take out coffee cups (sewn and printed by the same Vicky Thornton who made the pots) and finally Morag Myerscough's eclectic and eccentric collection of vintage chairs.
SHOP@Her House can be found at 26 Drysdale St, London N1 6LS (020-7729 2760). The doors close on 12th December so you'd best hurry.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Marvellous Melamine

If you think November is an odd time to launch a collection of melamine tableware then you clearly haven't come across Thomas Paul. (Shame on you.) The crowned king of this particular nice of the tableware market, Paul's latest collection, somewhat ironically titled the Luddite Collection (cue interesting fact of the day: the Luddites were a group of British textile artists who formed a movement protesting against the changes the Industrial Revolution brought to their industry) features tumblers, dinner plates and trays printed with witty references to the motifs used in traditional fine bone china. So not just for picnics as they say.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Storage Glory

It's not everyday I find myself lusting after a modular storage system but when news of this one arrived in my in-box, I was smitten. Launched to celebrate Montana's founder Peter J Lassen's 80th Birthday, it's a Limited Edition version of Model 1120 ( a vintage model if ever there was one) boasting, alongside it's truly glorious colour, doors decorated with gold line drawings and the great man's very own signature. It's a design geek thing...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pop Up Shop

Pop up shops are, well, popping up all over the place these days and a jolly good addition to on-street shopping they are too but if you only visit one in the run up to Christmas, make sure that it's Settle.
Conceived by textile artists Helen Minns and Eleanor Pritchard, ceramicist Louisa Taylor and mid century furniture specialist Stefanie Legros, Settle is a small but perfectly formed gallery of gorgeous things - we're talking exquisite hand thrown porcelain pots, soft, woven blankets in muted shades of grey, cotton/linen lampshades printed with charming illustrations of leaping hares and pieces of vintage children's furniture.
Those of you drawn to understated craftmanship will find beauty in every piece here but I defy anyone to leave 14 Woburn Place, London WC1 without having lingered over something.
As with all pop-ups, Settle is a blink and you miss it kind of a place so get these dates in your diary: 20th November - 7th December 2010.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Plate Spinning

Robert Dawson has made his name doing subversive things with Willow Pattern - the nation's most favourite tableware motif - but his latest re-working is the wittiest yet. More Spin, Less Spin is a set of six dinner plates on which Dawson has progressively blurred that distinctive blue and white print as if the plate is spinning, faster and faster, on a potter's wheel. It's clever, beguiling and would look fabulously ironic on the wall.
Contact to discuss ordering.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Kitchen Glory

How fabulous is this? Designed by the ever-inventive Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama, it's a mobile outdoor kitchen designed for those of us who love the idea of cooking outside but can't cope with live flames.
Consisting of a proper gas hob, a chopping board, storage for crockery, utensils etc and a jolly bucket sink (water comes through a standard garden hose and is collected in a watering can beneath the sink so it can be re-used), it's part Heath Robinson, part high design and wholly desirable.
In true Studiomama style, the Outdoor Kitchen is available to the public as a set of plans but be warned, construction calls for proper carpentry skills so amateurs would be better off calling in a pro.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Calling all industry insiders looking for innovative, well-designed home and fashion accessories.
Top Drawer opens on Sunday 12th September and this year sees the launch of Spotted, a feature area showcasing my hand picked selection of 10 of the country's most dynamic small businesses. It's a diverse collection - think belts made from recycled bicycle tyres (, hand printed wallpaper (, earthenware crockery made at one of Wales' oldest potteries ( and witty lights formed from brown paper bags ( - united by each maker's commitment to quality and originality.
The show runs until 14th September and is well worth a look so register now at

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hot Shop - Vintage Home and Garden

No self-respecting table should be without a mis-matched selection of crockery these days but if, like me, you have an aversion to spending Sunday mornings rummaging through car boot tat, sourcing said retro china can be a challenge. Imagine my delight therefore when I came across a road-side shed boasting shelf upon shelf of interesting vintage plates, jugs and glassware which owner Jo Griffths has unearthed, cleaned up and prettily displayed. All I had to do was decide which pieces to buy. Joy.
Vintage Home and Garden stocks all sorts of other lovely vintage things (think enamel bread bins complete with character-giving rust patches, recycled wool blankets and linen cushions) and can be found on the side of the A149 at Drove Orchards, Thornham, Norfolk, PE36 6LS

Friday, 23 July 2010

Wallpaper Watch 2

Reason 8039 for loving wallpaper, Cole and Son's forthcoming Frontier Collection. To see it is to want it. All of it.

Available from September,

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Upcycling (which, as I'm sure you all know, is the art of turning bits of old junk into objects of desire) is a growing trend and this week I've come across a newly established designer doing some very clever things with bits of fishing trawler, antique machinery, musical instruments and pieces of old timber.

'Anything can be reused and reworked,' he says, a statement which, judging by his current body of work, is probably true for Isaacs but should be treated with caution by most.

Check out his industrial chic lights and wooden furniture at or, if you're in North Cornwall before 20th August, catch his exhibition at the North Cornwall Museum & Gallery, Camelford

Monday, 5 July 2010

Name to Know 2

New Designers, the annual showcase of Britain's brightest design graduates, is currently filling Islington's glass-roofed Business Design Centre. For me, this is the most exciting and inspiring show of the design calender, as well as being the best place in the country to pick up a classic of the future. This year's must-buy is Phil Proctor's two-legged side table, Quello. Created in reponse to a student design brief (set by iconic furniture manufacturers Ercol) to come up with a piece of innovative bedroom storage furniture, Quello is designed to lean against the wall and features a neat sliding lid with a recessed handle. Beautifully made from American oak, this piece is striking in it's total simplicity. Make a note of his name.

New Designers runs 8-11th July

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Wallpaper Watch

Ok, so I am more than usually interested in wallpaper (cue plug for my book, Wallpaper The Ultimate Guide, available to buy right now from all good bookshops) but I have recently come across two new papers guaranteed to trigger must-buy urges in anyone with an aesthetic pulse.
First up is a collection of digitally-printed, architecturally inspired papers by up-and-coming textile designer Sam, alias 'Mr', Wingate. (See images, centre and bottom.)
Wingate, who was tipped as a hot talent at last year's New Designers exhibition, builds up his patterns using small images which he has either drawn or photographed and then layers them with larger scale pictures of buildings or architectural motifs.The result is a collection of wall coverings that are striking, contemporary and uncompromisingly urban yet still retain that most essential wallpaper characteristic, soothing rhythm.
At the moment, his papers are all made-to-order but he tells me there's an off-the-peg collection coming soon, so start preparing those walls. (
The latest addition to Fromental's collection (see image, top) confirms the company's position at the top of the Exquisite Bespoke Papers league. Ponti, created as a homage to the legendary architect and designer Geo Ponti, is a giant-sized, geometric print featuring inter-cut silks rendered with metallic, marbleised washes that look like Travertine stone and it is utterly beautiful.
Ponti isn't available until September but since it costs £235 per square meter, I thought I'd alert you all now so you can start saving. (

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Name to know: Designedmade

I've been watching this fledgling design company for a while now and was delighted to discover that Jonathan Krawczuk, the designer behind it, scooped up Thorsten van Elten's 'Best Newcomer' award at Pulse last week.
Amid all the faux-retro T-towels on display at the show, Krawczuk's clean lined, primary bright steel accessories looked exciting and contemporary. I was particularly impressed by his range of fruit bowls: the Meshed, Squared, Cubic and Globe bowls all feature geometric cut-outs which cast beautiful, geometric shadows across surfaces and play with your sense of perspective. What makes DesignedMade really stand out though is Krawczuk's insistence on functionality - those lasercut holes, for example, also allow air to reach the fruit in the bowl.
He says he makes things with pride and thought and it shows. Check him out at