Tuesday 30 November 2010


Headed off at the crack of dawn today to hunt for treasure at the ever popular Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Racecourse.  It's been a firm favourite with the trade for years, and now gets an electic mix of trade and general public visiting every 2 weeks.

I would never normally come here in the bleak winter months as you have to get up in the middle of the night and stagger around in the dark with a torch (err why would anyone want to do that?) - and today we had the added pleasure of sleet and snow.  But needs must.  I have been commissioned to source furniture and props for a rather special project - Mary's Living & Giving for Save the Children.
The inimitable Ms Portas is working in collaboration with the Save the Children charity to create unique one-off charity shops around the country that are beautifully designed and packed to the rafters with donations of high end luxury fashion and accessories.  Heaven on earth.  

The concept for this particular shop is reclamation, vintage, old British style, so Kempton is perfect.  We struggled back and forth to the car with old zinc watering cans, tons of gilt frames, old wooden tennis rackets and croquet mallets, wooden easels and Victorian gardening equipment.  Tired, weary and more than a little damp, we made a last attempt to find some treasure in the indoor market.  And here we found what can only be described as the cherry on the cake (love a Maraschino).  Something so beautiful and slightly sad that it touches the heart on many levels.  And our find? A mid sized hand made Victorian cushion, created by a sweetheart as a keepsake for her brave soldier heading off to war.   Delicate threads run between coloured pins, creating intricate patterns that frame a photo of the brave soldier so loved by the cushion's artist.  Messages of love are stitched with bugle beads around the top: "Forget Me Not" and "Fondest Love" while "Good Luck" is painted above to help him on his way.  It is a very special piece and I very much hope it will find a loving home when it goes on sale in the shop. 

Go visit the new Living & Giving shop when it opens on 18th December 2010. 

MARY'S LIVING & GIVING SHOP, 109 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8UR

Monday 15 November 2010


Was lucky enough to be invited to a birthday party at this extraordinary venue last weekend.  Was expecting something special as I'd been warned it was good, but nothing could have prepared me for the visual feast that hits you from the moment you enter the driveway.  Mixing classical, gothic and contemporary decoration together, this really is a temple to extravagance and decadence.    Stuffed to the gills with Grecian plaster cast sculptures, taxidermy and theatrical decorative styling. It was like the British Museum, St John Soane's Museum, Covent Garden Opera House and Soho House all smashed and blitzed together in to some eye poppingly powerful and exotic cocktail.  Startlingly brilliant and truly memorable.

Polar in a bowler........

Sir John Soane redesigned the house between 1799 and 1804.  The collection of plaster casts on the walls of the library staircase are incredible and it feels just like being in the Soane museum in London.  
Chandeliers a-go-go
There's a plethora of traditional Grecian sculptures to view from inside or out......

 .....and then there's the stuffed giraffe, of course.

Moose in the house......

Contemporary (slightly risque) photography, surreal oversized hand wallpaper, Murano glass chandeliers and beveled glass screen - mixed together equals inspired design

Bejeweled geese watch over as you lie back on the huge purple velvet sofa accessorised with acid yellow silk oversized cushions

Immense gilt ormulu candelabras, antique glass floor to ceiling mirrors and ancestral oil paintings create theatrical corners
Sweet and funny little touches are found all around the house
 Sophie Ryder scultpure in the garden

Photos can't really do justice to this place.  If you get the chance, don't turn down the chance to visit, you won't regret it.

Thursday 11 November 2010


Heading back from a meeting yesterday I dropped in to this wonderful local florist.  Looking for inspiration for a concept board I need to create for a residential job I'm working on, I was immediately hit by a riot of floor to ceiling colour.  Flowers in every eye popping shade sung out at me.  Impossible to choose a favourite - I wanted to grab the lot and run home.  Beautifully styled shop with cleverly selected blooms - a local gem.....

Visit them or log on to see more.....

Sunday 7 November 2010


Autumn finally arrived - and it seems it's here for such a short time before the starkness of winter descends on us for the next 4 months.  Autumn seems to squeeze out the final bursts of colour from every leaf and berry.  Orange through to purple, red through to yellow, it's like space dust and sherbet dip for the eyes...

Wall mural, Notting Hill v. Acer, Clifton Nurseries

Autumn Leaves, Hyde Park v. Copper no.1, Knots Rugs

Thursday 4 November 2010


As we head in to November and wonder where the year went, I thought I'd post something bright and inspiring on a very grey but weirdly warm day in London town.

Emery et Cie - really special.