Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A history of tiles and a Busted Flush

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I was invited, probably on the strength of the books I have written about bathroom design, to the launch of ‘Busted Flush’, a book by Geoffrey Pidgeon about who really invented the flushing water closet and the Pidgeon family’s five generation involvement in the bathroom business. Lucinda Lambton gave a rousing introduction and it was held in The Smith Centre, a fascinating small museum at The Science Museum.

One of the Humpherson early WCs as donated by Pidgeon to The Science Museum

One of the Humpherson early WCs as donated by Pidgeon to The Science Museum

A few days later I was in Bethnal Green to see Lee Thorley of Bert & May. He and his business partner Harriet recently opened a stunning new showroom in Vyner Street where they show not only reclaimed tiles from old houses and buildings in Spain and France but also new collections made in the encasutic style using natural pigments.

new encaustic tiles from Bert & May

new encaustic tiles from Bert & May

shadow people and jigsaw style tiles from B&M

shadow people and jigsaw style tiles from B&M

And this will be my last blog as Design Editor of The Times Magazine. I resigned last month so from 1st December I will no longer be working for News UK. I am now doing a number of exciting projects including a consultancy job for the Doyle Hotel group.

Berkeley Square and all that

In Uncategorized on November 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

First to Berkeley Square for the opening of PAD the fine art fair. What I love about it, apart from all the amazing artifacts, furniture and stylish people, is the way that the whole event works around the trees that have lived in the square for centuries. As well as seeing Michael Hoppen’s great stand and enjoying a delicious lunch I was also given a copy of The Art Book an amazing tome that is worthy of shelf space rather than the magazine rack.

Tree and fine art at PADPAD blog




Diane Blog

Diane looking leggy and leanDiane frocks blog                                                                               Examples of the D von F wrap dress at Phillips

  A few weeks later back to Berkeley Square to the amazing new Phillips Gallery for the opening of the Diane von Furstenberg exhibition, and the lady herself jetted in to over see things. She really looks amazing and it was a treat to see her iconic wrap dress in so many form and patterns, not just on the mannequins but also on so many of the guests.


Colour and Quirky designs

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

During London Design Week I had Georgia Small, a student from Durham University, doing a work placement with me . As part of her learning curve I suggested she wrote a blog about her experiences, for those of you who would like to see her view of things this is the link

My take on Design Week was COLOUR and quirky design…. a rainbow of  seat balls at 100% Design and a  wonderful cocktail and viewing ladder at the V&A

design week blog 1


Design week blog 3

Today I’m lunching in Berkeley Square for the opening of PAD  the modern art, photography, design, decorative and tribal arts fair. We recently did a shoot with photographic gallery owner Michael Hoppen who is showing at PAD, the feature ran in Saturday’s Times Magazine.

With Georgia Small, and photographer James Balston I also did a shoot at the home of the delightful Sue Timney who recently launched a collection for West Dean at the V&A based on the surreal designs of Edward James – all colour and quirky designs.

Home Coming

In Uncategorized on September 9, 2014 at 11:12 am

September again and there is that same old feeling of  ‘back to school’  although it’s really ‘back to work’  after the summer break.

This week I went to recce the home of the couple behind The Artful Project a gallery run on-line and from a converted ice-cream van. The aim is to encourage people to have art in their homes, so The Artful Project source art, posters and photographs at affordable prices. The house is colourful and fun so I’ll be back with a photographer in a couple of weeks.

There was also had a fun evening at the opening of the Mini Moderns exhibition at the South Bank Center Shop, glasses of Prosecco and singing on the pavement outside the shop

South Bank Shop full of Mini Modern

South Bank Shop full of Mini Modern


and more on Kitchenalia

Showcasing the power of styling, this sneak preview of a new book from interiors expert Vinny Lee, Kitchenalia, takes a classic kitchen from Martin Moore and shows how a kitchen can be transformed into something completely different, just through accessories and a change of wallpaper. The book is released on 25 September and features inspiring styling advice and ideas for furnishing the kitchen with old and new buys, whether starting from scratch or transforming an existing space.


The classic English Kitchen the designers worked with is referred to as the White Kitchen, although it is hand painted in a subtle off-white finish, giving a warmer feel than pure white.

Barbara Moore comments, “the design combines fitted and freestanding elements, both of which can be scaled up or down. It is adaptable and works in any period building, from rural cottage to period town house. For this opening scheme, showcasing the neutral canvas the designers were given to work with, the kitchen has been styled to look simple and understated.

“I especially like the look you get from mixing lots of different pieces of white china together; some is classic French style with scalloped edges while other pieces are contemporary with a textured, raised surface. But because they are all white they can be mixed and matched.”


Here the kitchen was given a makeover by kitchen shop, Summerill & Bishop, owners June and Bernadette. They chose bright glassware and linens to bring bursts of colour. Texture was brought in from platters and pots, many of which are vintage finds. Bernadette Bishop says, “I can’t envisage a house without some vintage pieces, they give a place authenticity,”

Vinny Lee comments: “The history and character that comes with vintage pieces is off set by the new, such as the coloured Clair Glassware that they have specially made by a French artisan and has the glassblower’s signature on the bottom of each piece. They chose this glassware as part of their scheme to introduce ‘spot’ colour to the plain kitchen. Texture is an important part of the scheme. These beaten tin-plated copper cooking pots are from Syria.”


Styled by founders of House of Hackney, husband and wife team Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, the kitchen is transformed by the bold Palmeral print used on the walls, china and linens including oven mitts. The striking and confident use of a single colour gives a contemporary update without detracting from the classic appeal of the kitchen. Keeping the same pattern throughout the accessories brings unity and cohesion to the scheme.

Vinny Lee offers this insight into the success of this makeover: “The Palmeral wallpaper comes with the more ‘boudoir’ backgrounds of midnight blue or black, but for the kitchen Frieda selected the print on a bright-white background. She also heightened the impact of the print by adding the same pattern on china and linens, but then kept the balance by diluting them with classic plain white china and transparent glassware, so that the whole scheme is balanced. The plant motif and bright green of the print give the kitchen a fresh and zesty appearance, making it the sort of room that is inviting and invigorating on even the darkest and dreary mornings. Because of the scale of the pattern it might become claustrophobic if used to such an extent in a smaller kitchen, so instead you could choose to use it on a feature wall and allow the printed linens and china to carry the theme through. And in a kitchen where the units are faced with wood or laminate wood-effect doors the ‘forest’ aspect of the leafy design may become exaggerated and overpowering, so it might be worth looking to other wallpaper prints that would work with a brown, wood element.”


Mini Moderns duo Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson used their range of wallpapers, paints and accessories, alongside some vintage finds to create a cheerful mix of colour and pattern for a bright, retro look.

Mark Hampshire reveals: “We used our Darjeeling wallpaper because it has a tiled look, making it instantly appropriate to the kitchen. We offset the freshness of this tessellated design with our rich 1970s-style Paisley Crescent wallpaper, used in the china cupboard and area above the stove. Then we added areas of plain blue Lido paint from our Environmentally Responsible Paints range. The pattern of the vintage Midwinter Cherry Tree china in the plate rack and cupboard combines the turquoise colour with olive and orange, so we brought together some new and old pieces that tied in with those colours, then added the “Granny Takes a Trip” framed print for a bit of retro graphic humour.”

Kitchenalia by Vinny Lee is £30, published by Jacqui Small.


In Uncategorized on August 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Kitchenalia cover

The new book is due out on 25th September but the publicity machine has already kicked in. Homes & Gardens have featured a shoot we did with Mini Moderns as part of their cover and there is a spread inside on the one kitchen 4 ways make-over from the book.

Homes & Gardens feature from Kitchenalia

Homes & Gardens feature from Kitchenalia

Having sent an email to June Summerill, partner of the great kitchen shop Summerill & Bishop who did one of the makeovers, I was shocked to hear that the lovely Bernadette Bishop had recently died. Such a wonderful lady and  a joy to work with.

Simple Things have also featured the book in their September issue, about to hit the bookshelves in larger W H Smiths -and there is a feature in the American magazine Red Book.

A Burst of summer

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2014 at 11:36 am

On my way to the Oscar de la Renta Home launch I walked through Berkeley Square  and got the full impact of Dale Chihuly’s fabulous 14ft glass installation, The Sun. Ten or more years ago I went to Seattle to interview Chihuly about his home and work and was accompanied by The Times Magazine Picture Editor Graham Wood who did the pictures. Graham got on like a house on fire with Chihuly and it was a very enjoyable shoot – so seeing the brilliant orange red and yellow sun brought back many memories.

Dale Chihuly's The Sun in Berkeley Square

Dale Chihuly’s The Sun in Berkeley Square

Then there was the trip to The Bargehouse behind the Oxo Tower to see Habitat’s Autumn Winter preview. I had a guided tour with creative director Polly Dickins, who was on Woman’s House a few days later talking about Habitat’s 50th anniversary this year.

new Habitat product at The Bargehouse

new Habitat product at The Bargehouse

Also a shoot with James Balston at the new home of budding designer Amber Jeavons. We featured her studio flat in The Times Magazine about three years ago, but she has moved up a rung on the property ladder to a one bed flat taking with her all her style and wonderful ideas, so we were happy to catch up with Amber and to do a shoot that will hopefully appear in the magazine sometime soon.

Amber's sunburst mirrors in their new home

Amber’s sunburst mirrors in their new home

Side effects

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

Sometimes I’m early, sometimes I misread an address but when I’m out and about I often come across unexpected delights. I was on my way to the Carter Wells Interior Design Forum the other week and went to the wrong entrance for the Pangolin gallery where the discussion was taking place. Instead I went to a side door and discovered a wonderful show of work by the eminent photographer Jane Bown.

Jane BownWhen I had had my fill I went to the right door and joined the discussion forum  led by Alice Wells and Lulu Lytle of Soane with input via Skype from two designers in New York. A very interesting evening and hopefully the first of many.



Book update

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

Many thanks to Country Living Magazine for an amazing feature of ‘Homes from Home in their May issue – and may it encourage many more people to indulge in small scale living!

Homes from Homes Country Living 1

Homes from Homes Country Living 2

Homes from Homes Country Living 3

Homes from Homes Country Living 4

The difference a day makes

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

We recently did a shoot at Strata the tower that dominates Elephant and Castle, with the wind turbines that don’t rotate. The day I went to recce the location and meet furniture designer Georg Oehler the sky was grey and the rain poured down

The Strata view on a rainy day

The Strata view on a rainy day

But Oehler was full of the joys of Spring and news of his Aesh & Tweed collection that is launching at Clerkenwell Design Week on May 20th. The duplex apartment was dominated by what must be one of the world’s largest knitted lampshade, also one of his designs.

The Big shade

The Big shade

A few days later we went back to do the shoot for The Times but the weather wasn’t a lot better, although photographer Jan Baldwin and her amazing assistant Pete did some digital wizardry in post production and you’d swear that the sun had shone all day.


Wining and Dining

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Last week involved a Coffee with Ginny Wain of Dulux to discuss their new Style Ambassadors, followed by lunch at the Rosewood Hotel to meet Ed Ng of  ABconcept.

The Rosewood is a stylish but somewhat misplaced new hotel near the Law Courts, its very glamorous but seems at odds with the institutions and wigged lawyers of Holborn. Then there was a shoot at the home of ceramics conservator and artist Bouke de Vries who will be exhibiting at the Adrian Sassoon stand at Collect 2014 opening at the Saatchi gallery on the Kings Road on 9th May.

A jolly lunch was had on a wonderfully sunny day the the Redloh House Fabric showroom in Fulham, the lunch was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of hand printing fabric and wallpaper company Rapture & Wright

Ladies (of the Press) at lunch

Ladies (of the Press) at lunch

as well as their fabrics Rapture & Wright were also launching their limited edition art prints including a very seasonal March hare, alright it’s April now and perhaps it should have been an Easter bunny!

One of the Rapture & Wright framed prints

One of the Rapture & Wright framed prints