London Design

October 15, 2015

I recently made a quick trip over to the London Design Festival as I always like to keep on top of what is current and to tie in a visit to Decorex and Chelsea Harbour.

This year, colour and bold prints were very much in vogue, from pineapples to palm trees we saw it all. Pretty much anything goes with fabrics and wallpapers this season- daring patterns on patterns and brash colours alongside subtle tones were out in force with the majority of the textile houses. Another change I saw this year was the growth in numbers of new smaller companies developing their own collections of hand-made wallpapers and fabrics and it was super to meet the faces behind the products to hear about the work and detail that is put in to every single item.
A Master at work- ‘Fishes’ by De Gournay

Along with meeting fantastic new designers we also saw first-hand the craftsmanship that it takes to make bespoke pieces. The photo above is of the iconic De Gournay ‘Fishes’ wallpaper being painted in front of our eyes. It was an extremely humbling and fascinating experience to see the time and talent it takes to produce each roll of wallpaper. De Guornay has always been a favourite of mine, we recently installed an antiqued country scene wallpaper in a project and it was breathtaking- a work of art.

Personalising a ceramic sink with peacock feathers- De Guornay

It certainly helps me in my quest to include more De Gournay in my designs and how they create unique and truly timeless pieces using age-old techniques passed down through generations. We are constantly explaining to clients about the amazing techniques that are used for bespoke furniture, fabrics and wallpapers and how special they are. Seeing these talented artists in action gave me extra enthusiasm to promote bespoke designs.
Stunning lighting showing true craftsmanship using ancient techniques to produce modern sculptural pieces
The Conservatory, The Haymarket Hotel

When in London, if possible, I like to stay in a Firmdale Hotel as I am so tired of staying in hotels that are carbon copies of their brand worldwide. I like to take advantage of staying in interesting Boutique Hotels. For this trip we stayed in the Haymarket Hotel located in the heart of the Theatre District.
A pretty vignette from the conservatory

The Firmdale Hotel chain is owned by Tim and Kit Kemp. Kit is an award-winning designer who brings a fresh approach to hotel design. Kit mixes vibrant patterns, textures, artwork and sculpture with antique and modern furniture in a contemporary classic setting and it works! Her quirkiness leads to an incredibly exciting hotel experience, there is something different around every corner. It was hard not to swamp you on Instagram with all the photos I took!
Conservatory artwork by Paul Winstanley

The collection of art in the Haymarket bind the eclectic designs of each room together.
The Library at The Haymarket
Rows and rows of devine fabrics

The next day was a fabric and furniture marathon. We visited a number of our current suppliers to view their new collections. For our supplier appointiments I try to alternate between furniture and fabric companies as it can become quite overwhelming when faced with hundreds of fabric choices in a number of hours. This way, it keeps it interesting and we don’t collapse until we get on the plane!

The theme of craftsmanship continued in the Design Center with artists demonstrating how they gild and antique mirror frames and light fittings. Watching them using gilding techniques to get to the finished product was incredible, the piece that was being worked on took up to ten different specialist layers…
Cabinets filled with a wonderful assortment of fabrics
Working hard!

As we are at the furnishing stages for some of our projects our trip was planned with military precision to make the most of every minute we had. I always envy Designers who have close access to Paris, London and New York for fabric houses and furnishing stores,  they have all the choices right at their fingertips. But actually maybe it’s good that I have to make special trips,  if I was nearby I would never leave!

Now back to work for me…!

Miriam (aka Minnie)



  1. Suzi says:

    Great post, lovely pics, nice to know where you stay, will def check out firmdale hotels, they look gorgeous.

  2. Clara says:

    There is no one else like you in the industry
    My eyes melt
    My heart swells
    It brings such joy to be kept up to date and have a tiny INSIGHT while walking alongside you *always one step ahead
    Just brilliant!

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