Summer in the City

Now that summer's really here we’re heading outdoors... London's art galleries and museum spaces such as Somerset House, The Royal Academy and Tate are taking advantage of the summer months and providing outdoor activities including theatre, film screenings, food vans and urban beaches.


For those lazy days and evenings when you just want to relax at home we had a look at a few ideas for transforming our personal outdoor space into a cool and calming urban retreat. We love Lombock’s Sambala Collection... perfect for outdoors but just as beautiful inside if you want to create a garden atmosphere or use in a conservatory. The range is part of the Trees4Trees scheme - with every item purchased from the Sambala collection, a contribution will be made towards planting new trees in Indonesia. Each piece is handcrafted from reclaimed Indonesian teak which is then distressed by hand, enhancing the natural characteristics of the wood. 

Lombok - Sambala Collection

With London’s microclimate, tropical plants can thrive, and just a few grouped together, either in borders or containers around a carefully curated seating or dining area can create the illusion of a tropical retreat. Urban Tropics based in London’s Highgate, show us how to transform even the smallest patio or balcony into a green haven, including advice on bursts of tropical flowers and plants which can thrive in the city.

Urban Tropics

We were delighted to discover East London Parasol Company - each of their parasols is traditionally handcrafted. The company maintains an ethos of producing ethical artisanal parasols and textiles. Many of the processes can't be mechanised, and if they were, the beauty and personality of the fabrics would be lost. 

Their textiles and cushions range can transform the most English garden into a tropical retreat.

Opium in Chelsea’s Worlds End is a treasure trove of Indian artifacts including antiques, furniture, mirrors and screens alongside contemporary crafts from India including these hand-made bamboo screens which could be used to create a shaded and secluded area, either on a balcony, patio or greenhouse.



Use an antique mirror to reflect your greenery and add a sense of space and vista to an area of your garden, or place a carved screen against a wall for an instant transformation.

Vintage throws on a chair or sofa, and the addition of candles and small artifacts completes the effect.

Here are some other ideas to complete the look... 

Even if you don’t have an outdoor space you can still create a cool green oasis indoors. The benefits of indoor greenery go further than the purely aesthetic. Plants are known to provide cleaner air by removing pollutants and can act as a mood enhancer. Patch will source and hand-deliver indoor plants suited to your environment and provide handy tips for easy plant maintenance.

For more garden inspo take a look at our previous Frida Kahlo blog. 

Urban Tropics

Mallorcan Ikat and Mediterranean Inspiration

'Ikat is an artistic technique that is quite remarkable, exciting and transcendental' - Pablo Picasso, 1957

Mallorcan Ikat has become emblematic of the artisanal heritage of the Island and is its unique version of Central Asian Ikat fabrics. Weaving and ceramic production are of great historical importance in Mallorca, and the skills and individual variation of styles have been handed down through several generations. 

© Teixits Vicens

© Teixits Vicens

Ikat is known on the island as ‘the cloth of tongues’ (llengues) because of the impression of a flame created by some of the patterns. 

© Teixits Vicens

© Teixits Vicens

There are three families of textile producers of Ikat fabrics, each with their own unique style and products. It's possible to take fascinating guided tours and watch the ancient weaving and hand processes they employ. One thing they share in common, as well as following a centuries old tradition, is that they all take inspiration from the mediterranean.

© Teixits Riera

© Teixits Riera

Teixits Riera is a family based artisanal textile workshop founded in 1896. Based in Lloseta, the company is dedicated to a manufacturing process which follows a time-honoured process handed down through generations of their family and nurtures a high regard for preserving the artisanal heritage of Mallorca. Their textiles are inspired by their proximity to the Serra de Tramuntana, the mountain range which cuts across the Island revealing incredible vistas of sea and mountain peaks. These vistas are reflected in the patterns and motifs of their designs. All Teixits Riera fabrics are of natural material... here are some of their colourful designs.


Teixits Vicens. At a young age and working from the notes left by his textile weaver father, Martí Vicenç went on to dedicate his life to continuing the family traditions, developing his own style of ‘llengües'. He expanded the classic patterns using traditional colours of dark & light blues, greens & yellows, combining new colorways and creating a freer style incorporating multi-colours, plains and stripes while staying true to the hand-made production ethos of his family. Inspired by nature and natural objects he also became a painter. His tradition continues and you can visit the factory in Pollença which also produces ceramics.


Here is our pick of the range on offer... sadly the adorable dog is not for sale!

Artesania Textil Bujosa founded in 1949 and located in Santa María del Camí just 15km from Palma, is a family-run business managed by a third generation of artisans. Alongside the iconic Ikat ‘telas de lenguas’ they also produce a range of silks, cottons and linens using traditional craft techniques and natural hand-dyed colours in stripes and plains.

While putting together some interior ideas inspired by the Ikat principles we were delighted to discover A Rum Fellow, a London-based design studio dedicated to artisan textiles and a desire for beautifully crafted homewares. Calling on artisans and weaving cooperatives discovered on their worldwide travels, the collection embraces a fine balance between heritage design and a contemporary lifestyle... an ethos which very much reflects the design principles of Devas Designs. Here are some examples from their range.

And here are some further Ikat and mediterranean inspired designs.

To find out more about the Ikat process watch this short video from the Teixits Riera factory.

Omega and Beyond

Omega Workshops and The Bloomsbury Group


"It is time that the spirit of fun was introduced into furniture and into fabrics." Roger Fry

Charleston interior © The Charleston Trust

Omega Workshops opened in July 1913 - the artists involved were members of The Bloomsbury Group... Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant. They were inspired by the work of Arts & Crafts pioneer William Morris, and like Morris, wanted to combine art with design, reject the new mass production and remove the separation between fine art and craft. 

Following in the Arts & Crafts tradition they felt that a well-crafted chair or a beautiful textile design was every bit as important as a fine painting, their work also grew out of a love of nature and a desire for their designs to sit alongside their paintings.

During its short lived existence Omega Workshops produced a range of objects for the home including ceramics, furniture, rugs, glassware, and even clothing - all incorporating bold colours, geometric forms and abstract patterns. Sadly it’s closure was due to what Fry described as ‘public indifference'. It’s hard to believe when today we place so much importance on our home and many of us, interior designers and home-makers alike enjoy the creative challenge of curating a personal environment.

Monk’s House, East Sussex, the home of Virginia Wolfe, sister of Vanessa Bell, decorated by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

Omega Workshops radical approach to home interiors and design went on to have a far-reaching effect on decoration as seen in these homewares from Anthropologie.

Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant eventually set up home at Charleston Farmhouse near Lewes in East Sussex... in May a festival takes place in celebration of their ethos and working partnership.

The garden at Charleston © The Charleston Trust

Cressida Bell is the granddaughter of Vanessa, and while her work reflects the influence of her famous heritage, she has created her own take and unique style across a range of gorgeous decorative items... from textiles to ceramics and lamps to bespoke cakes! Samples of her beautiful work are shown below - you can also visit her workshop in Hackney.

Madeleine Bradbury is a Brighton-based painter who creates hand-painted lamps, furniture and accessories inspired by the work of Omega Workshops. We have selected a number of items from her range with more than a hint of The Bloomsbury Group.

For a romantic bedroom inspired by the soft pink hues in the guest bedroom at Charleston (below left) we looked to Cox & Cox for their washed linen bedding and soft velvet chair.

We went in further search of some designs which reflect The Bloomsbury Group ethos and decorative styling. Here is a selection from Sandersons Bloomsbury Canvas Prints and Embroideries, complemented by their Bloomsbury Canvas wallpapers.

Farrow & Ball create wallpapers and richly pigmented paint colours which can be matched to any look or style you want to create. For further inspiration in-line with the design ethos of Omega Workshops we chose these colours from their colour range. 


The New Kettle's Yard

'A living place where works of art could be enjoyed... where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery.' Jim Ede.


Kettle’s Yard house and gallery in Cambridge has just reopened after a two year make-over and extension to its site, it now includes a café and gift shop. However, the original building remains the same and the eclectic collection of its founder Jim Ede is still displayed exactly as before.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard

What makes Kettle's Yard so unique and magical, setting it apart from any other gallery space, is that the modest row of interconnecting houses remain set up as a home. The style is simple and unpretentious, just as when Ede lived there, with sofas, tables, chairs and bookshelves and his collection is displayed without curators notes or labels.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard

Originally, the now iconic Kettle's Yard, was a row of small dilapidated workman’s cottages which Jim Ede, a former Tate curator, acquired and converted into a home for himself and his art teacher wife Helen in 1956.

Ede was an avid collector of modernist British and European ceramics and artworks and amassed a collection which includes paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miro, as well as sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Jim Ede would display a simple swirl or dish of pebbles with as much respect as he displayed a precious piece of pottery, displaying art and non-art pieces alongside each other.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard

Later he donated the entire collection and the house to Cambridge University, at which time its reputation as a place to visit with reverence grew. His style was based on simplicity and he aspired to create for each room "an atmosphere of quiet and simple charm". The house retains that charm alongside the history it carries within the carefully curated objects. 

We love the effortless style of the home Jim Ede created and the skill of the curators eye which he transferred from his time at the Tate gallery to his own home. We can all use our creativity to curate personal collections or memorabilia and, as Ede has shown in his shell and pebble collections, it’s often how we choose to show those items that is as important as the items themselves. Curating your own collection and changing things around regularly not only brings out our creativity but can make us see things afresh – we may not all own a Lucie Rie dish or a Miro painting but here are a few key ideas to get things started!

For a contemporary take on Jim Ede’s rocking chair and upholstered furniture, try Arlo & Jacob...

We really love the way the paintings and prints are grouped together, sometimes in quite unexpected places, and framed in simple wooden frames allowing the pictures to stand out and also unifying them. Try framing family photographs and prints in matching frames and creating your own gallery to add interest to a stairway or hall for example.

For its clean lines and simplicity, the Galvin Brothers handcrafted furniture is traditionally built but with a contemporary twist.

Have fun curating your own items, and if you want to collect on a shoestring try Habitat for very affordable studio-style pottery or for the real thing go to Maak who will be holding a contemporary ceramics auction in May (online preview from 27 April).

Kettle's Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge


Kettle's Yard

Festive Interiors for Christmas

It’s the festive season and the perfect excuse to get creative with decorations and table settings. Our own signature style at this time of year usually focuses on green white and silver or gold. By having a fresh, neutral theme as a contrast to the colourful food and drinks on offer, it can go some way to creating an air of sophistication even if the mood gets distinctly party!


By contrast we have also been inspired by the modern trend for mixing up colours, and Jasper Conran’s Christmas theme particularly caught our attention.

Brights like these work in both a traditional home and also a modern, pared-down interior, as long as they are used against neutrals or white as a backdrop and are not jostling with other colours and patterns.

You can get the look with these party decorations from the Conran Shop.

Flowers are an absolute must for Christmas and we love these vibrant arrangements by Rebel Rebel. They have also put together some gorgeous wreaths for the front door, to make just the right impression when guests arrive, and which we think look just as lovely inside or out.


Add some colour but without going overboard with vivid hues by using a pastel theme - stay with a single colour, or mix pastel shades and add some sparkle like this Heal's table setting.

And don’t forget the flowers. Take a look at these gorgeous wreaths and table arrangements from The Real Flower Company.


A Nordic-style colour scheme can be distinctly elegant. Decorate your table with deep red flowers, greenery and foraged pine cones - add some glamour with gold cutlery, scented candles and fairy lights.


We really are spoilt for choice, and it will be a hard decision this year but you can never get it wrong with a White Christmas! If you decide to go with an all-white theme add colour with greenery, and touches of silver in candles, cutlery and tableware. We especially love these mini pots of flowers with guest tags for each place setting.

With so many seasonal ideas around, why not try your hand at creating your own table decorations, experiment and have fun. Here is a short video showing how to make a simple centrepiece for your Christmas table:

Amara is one of our go-to Christmas shops - from tree decorations, cushions and wreaths to gift ideas, designer tableware and ornaments, with everything you need to prepare for the festivities. 



Impressionists in London

French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) - Tate Britain

Tate Britain’s current EY Exhibition tells the story of the artists who fled to Britain in the 1870’s to escape the Franco-Prussian War and insurrection in Paris. 

When we think of Impressionism, many of us immediately imagine the muted colours of Monet’s Waterlilly paintings, but this exhibition includes not just familiar tones, but also figurative works of London scenes such as James Tissot’s London Visitors (1873) and Monet’s Meditation, Mrs Monet Sitting on a Sofa (1870-1871). 

In many ways their inclusion provides a wider view and a fascinating insight into the connections these artists made with British social life.

A room is dedicated to Claude Monet’s studies of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament, painted in his iconic style.

Further paintings, including a number by Pissaro, who lived in the Crystal Palace area while in London, inspired us to put together our own moodboard to reflect the familiar muted shades we associate with the Impressionist style.

We took additional inspiration from Dulux paints. Changing a wall colour, adding some colour to an otherwise neutral palette or simply changing the colour of a few accessories can really change the mood of your interior.

These velvet cushions and bedding from west elm are ideal for cosying up the bedroom and their crinkle lush velvet cushions could also provide just the right impression in the living room, giving a quick seasonal makeover for chilly evenings. Monet said: “Colour owes its brightness to force of contrast rather than to its inherent qualities” – and this is why he chose to use orange and blue in several of his paintings. These two hues create a vibrant contrast as illustrated on the Grey Hamilton Sofa by flashes of turqoise and orange cushions.

Or try one of their rugs such as Flame or Verve, in a variety of colourways which also echo the hues and textures of the Impressionist style.

Accessorizing with a personal collection such as vases or ceramics which draw on a single colour spectrum creates a focal point - such as this collection from west elm.

The EY Exhibition Impressionists in London is on now at Tate Britain until 7th May 2018

Find out more here

Fashion and Textile Museum

British Textile Design with Wallace Sewell

The current show, at one of our favourite museums, is a 25 year celebration of the textiles of Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell. Graduates of The Royal College of Art, their work can now be found in around 300 stockists in 20 countries, including prestigious art galleries such as Tate in London and MOMA in New York. 

Their work echoes the aesthetic and ideology of the Bauhaus movement. Based between London and Dorset, their designs take inspiration from the textures and colours of both the countryside and cityscapes. Their manufacturing methods embrace traditional techniques such as hand-looming while fusing tradition with modern technology.

With colder weather on the horizon what better way to cosy up than with one of their signature pieces, a waffle blanket or a pinstriped lambs-wool or Shetland throw.

We are feeling especially envious of these lambs-wool block throws which perfectly echo the Bauhaus influence, particularly the designs of the female weavers of the movement, such as Benita Koch-Otte but with Wallace Sewell’s modern take. 

Woven Bauhaus textile by Benita Koch-Otte 1923

Wallace Sewell’s collaboration with West Elm, a Brooklyn based company with a strong fairtrade ethos and a commitment to sourcing ethical materials, has produced a very beautiful range of throws, wool dhurries and cushions.

This year Wallace Sewell launched a range of exquisite, hand knotted lambs-wool rugs, inspired by their collection of throws - they work particularly well when incorporated alongside them in an interior.

With Christmas just around the corner, Wallace Sewell have produced a number of items which would make perfect gifts. With scarves, cosmetic bags, coin purses, ties and totes all produced using their iconic textile designs there’s something for every member of the family … Christmas solved! Click here to see more.

Some items have been produced in collaboration with Tate Britain and have a distinctly arty style. The blue tones of this wool scarf are inspired by Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Silver Chelsea.

The bright colours of this scarf are inspired by Derain’s The Pool of London, and has been designed by Wallace Sewell specially for Tate Britain’s latest exhibition Impressionists in London.

Wallace Sewell: 25 Years of British Textile Design at the Fashion and Textile Museum is on now until 21st January 2018

Find out more here

Textiles as Art - Paule Vézelay at Tate Britain

The artist Paule Vézelay has been very much out of the limelight since her last exhibition at Tate Britain in 1983. The current Spotlight show at Tate Britain will hopefully re-establish her place at the forefront of modern art.

Despite her French sounding name she was born Marjorie Watson Williams in Bristol in 1892 but moved to Paris in the 1920’s and the influence of the abstraction of Joan Miro, Hans Arp, Kandinsky, and her partner Andre Masson can clearly be detected in her paintings.

In the 1950’s she also started designing textiles, Tate Britain’s current show only has a few of her textile designs on display, but we were intrigued to discover more about her earlier work and also inspired to carry out some further research on her textile designs for companies such as Heals and Ascher. Her influence on contemporary design is evident, not just in her paintings but also in her post-war textile designs as can be seen in a selection of her bed-linens, curtains and furnishing fabrics below.

Orla Kiely is a contemporary designer whose retro designs are inspired by post-war textiles but with a modern twist. She particularly favours the textile prints of the 60's and 70's because of their resonance with the vitality of modern art of the period.

Orla Kiely Designs

Designers Guild have a selection of furnishing fabrics and wallpapers, with a similar aesthetic but with an updated feel.

Designers Guild Furnishings

A number of artists, including Vezeley, put their art on silk scarves for Ascher from the 1940’s onward, with the idea of combining art with industry, demonstrating the connection between craft and art.

Take a look at our mood board of contemporary designs, textiles and furnishings which pay homage to the inspiration of 20th Century art in modern design ...

Lisa Corti is based in Milan and draws inspiration from the exotic and the painterly style of Matisse for her cushions, throws and bed linen.

Lisa Corti Designs

Maxine Sutton, based in Margate, originally trained as a fine artist and her current studio practise reflects this, she describes this interaction as “Holding on and Letting Go. In between cloth and paper”.

Maxine Sutton Designs

Helen Yardley's painterly rugs bring a living room to life with their vibrant tones. She describes her work as "fundamentally paintings about colour and shape and how they relate in space".

Helen Yardley

The Paule Vézelay Spotlight Display is open now until 5 November at Tate Britain.

Find out more by clicking here.

Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius

"Colour is a visual experience, not a scientific one. When I look at designers and colour theorists work of the past, the most interesting ideas arose from questioning colour" 

Hella Jongerius -

Colour is one of the most important aspects to consider when planning our living and working spaces. Whether we are considering wall and textile colours or individual items of furniture and accessories, colour plays a key role in determining the mood and atmosphere we wish to create.

The Design Museum’s current exhibition, Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius, is a joyful exploration of colour and how it enriches our lives and our environment.

The way we perceive colour can change depending on the time of day and the light available, both natural and artificial. By dividing the exhibits into separate spaces that simulate Morning, Noon and Night, we can see how colours change, subtly throughout the day, emphasising the importance that colour and design share.

Hella Jongerius is an industrial Designer who fuses industrial production with craft, and traditional with contemporary. She pursues her passion for colour in her designs for companies as diverse as Vitra and IKEA and the current exhibition draws on her many years of research.

"My research on colours, materials and textures is never complete ...

it is part of a never ending process”

A fascinating collection of faceted vessels called Colour Catchers demonstrate the way colour changes as light is refracted from the different surfaces and how a new colour is generated by shadows. These Colour Catchers also serve to engage us in Jongerius’ investigation into how we perceive colour.

Not just confined to hard surfaces, Jongerius is also fascinated by the way woven textiles can create an optical blend and a number of her textile explorations are also on display. These act as an explanation of the intricacies of creating colour through the natural warp and weft of woven fabric, and also demonstrate her respect of the rich tradition and history of craft.

"Cultural and historical awareness are woven into the DNA of any worthwhile product"

Hella Jongerius is convinced of the need to weave cultural awareness into her designs and recently worked alongside a theorist to create her manifesto Beyond The New as an exploration of her belief in combining traditional craft and manufacturing processes with contemporary design - read more here.

"Colour, and objects are influenced by the surrounding colour landscape"

As part of our own design ethos at Devas Designs we always start with a mood board which primarily focuses on colour schemes, then furnishings, working closely with the client to assess their requirements, and blending the old with the new.

Devas Designs - Country House in Ireland

This palette of soft hues of green, blues and greys reflects the seascape in this holiday home off the west coast of Ireland. Bursts of terracotta and red provide interest to an otherwise calm colour scheme.

An approach to creating modern interiors which successfully combine classic pieces with a sense of legacy, together with contemporary pieces has become very much a part of our style.

Devas Designs - Townhouse in West London

Sourcing antiques and works of art to enhance a contemporary lifestyle is one of the most exciting parts of Philippa's practice. Often an item of antique furniture, or a standout antique object, will provide a starting point, and drawing on its colour scheme or material can inspire and inform the overall interior.

We love the idea that simply by changing one or two items or adding colour in the form of accessories, an accent wall, or a piece of furniture it’s possible to transform and refresh an interior. While you may not always be ready to change the design scheme completely, it can be easy to ring the changes and add a few pops of colour for a special occasion or a seasonal makeover.

Here is our colour mood-board of ideas to inspire your own breath of colour ...

A stylish flower arrangement may be all you need to create a different mood. Colour doesn’t just mean bright; a calm palette of cream, whites and soft greys, is just as powerful an influence on our mood, and in setting the ambience of an interior.

Devas Designs interiors

Rebel Rebel are a London based contemporary flower company creating bold bouquets and displays. They also run flower arranging workshops - find out more here.

Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius is on now at the Design Museum London, until 24 September 2017.

Find out more here

Plywood: Material of the Modern World

The Victoria and Albert Museum has been collecting furniture for over 150 years and is a rich source of inspiration for designers. Not to be missed is their thematically arranged collection in the Furniture Gallery. We recently visited their exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World which brings together some of the pieces.

Plywood: Material of the Modern World traces the history of an often overlooked material and how it transformed furniture design and the modern world. Who would have thought a material once considered utilitarian could have become such a direct influence on modern design?

Unlike industrial materials, plywood can be moulded in small scale factories using simple tools, and this inspired pioneering designers of the 1930s to experiment with form and shape.

The exhibition explains how plywood is produced, its history, all the way back to ancient Egypt, its re-emergence in the 19th Century and finally its role in revolutionising the production processes for an incredible range of objects from planes to skateboards.

1920s Plywood Skateboard, © V&A Museum London

Of particular interest to us at Devas Designs, were the ground-breaking designs by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames. Many of their furniture pieces are on display and the exhibits clearly show how the designers themselves have made use of the flexibility of the material and how it has informed their work.

"Form must have a content, and that content must be linked with nature" - Alvar Aalto

Finnish designer, Alvar Aalto was at the forefront of experimentation, manipulating and forming plywood to create his iconic cantilevered chairs. Aalto rejected mass production and embraced the ethos of organic forms created from natural materials, and rejected tubular steel furniture which was popular with the Modernist Movement at the time. The introduction of plywood allowed him to create flowing simple forms which didn't rely on traditional frame construction.

Designs by Alvar Aalto

Ikea is a great source for inexpensive furniture inspired by the classics such as these stacking stools based on Alvar Aalto's design and this simple birch plywood chest.

Ikea's Frosta stools and Moppe chest

"I am as much interested in the smallest detail as in the whole structure" - Marcel Breuer

The architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer based this birch and plywood chair, below, on an earlier aluminium chair he had produced in 1932. Inspired by Alvar Aalto's use of plywood, and realising the appeal of the soft curves and the warm appearance of wood, Breuer went on to reproduce the design in plywood for the British market while working in the UK with ISOKON. The company is still going strong and a number of Breuer's designs are available to order alongside a number of other iconic designs from the 1930s.

Isokon, based in London's Hackney Wick, also produce contemporary pieces of handcrafted furniture such as this Loop Coffee Table and Bodleian Chair, both are contemporary pieces but clearly inspired by the clean lines and sculptural, organic forms of both Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer.

Isokon's Bodleian Chair and Loop Coffee Table - from their contemporary range

"I feel that the knowledge about an object can only enrich your feelings for the object itself" - Charles Eames

Charles and Ray Eames, the husband and wife team who created the Eames Look, with its sleek, sophisticated and beautifully simple forms, were inspired by Aalto and his use of Plywood which they described as ‘a flash of inspiration’. Many of their plywood moulded forms also incorporated their signature chrome tubular frames.

The Conran Shop is always a great source for simple classic styles very much inspired by the work of Eames, Aalto and Breuer.

Conran Shop designs

Finally we also spotted these very decorative vintage posters at the V&A's exhibition, celebrating the progress of new ideas and innovations in the world of design.

Kiki Werth is a London based dealer who has specialised in original vintage posters for over 30 years. We picked some of our favourites ...

Kiki Werth vintage posters

We also liked the Vintage reproductions by King & McGraw which are expertly printed in their Sussex studios, to exact museum conservation standards using inks and papers developed to create a perfect reproduction.

Vintage reproduction posters by King & McGraw

Plywood: Material of the Modern World is open now at the V&A Museum in London until 12 November 2017. Click here to find out more.

William Morris' Red House




Red House

Arts and Crafts pioneer and designer William Morris built Red House in Bexleyheath in 1860. The house was co-designed with the architect Philip Webb as a weekend retreat for Morris and his wife Jane. In this idyllic setting he was regularly visited by a number of Pre-Raphaelite painters, including Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, who contributed to the decoration of the house.

We went in search of the Red House and discovered a treasure of early Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite influences including beautiful stained glass windows, murals, tapestries, painted furniture, and a lovely garden and tea room.

Working together with Ford Maddox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite painters on the decoration of Red House, but finding it difficult to find hand-crafted items which satisfied his aesthetic, Morris was inspired to co-found his first decorative arts practice. Their utopian ethos included a desire to return to reinstating decoration as a fine art, and rejected the rising mechanisation of the Victorian era. Adopting hand-craftsmanship and returning to the appreciation of artisan production would become the foundations of The Arts and Crafts Movement.

We have always loved Millais’ painting of Ophelia and been fascinated by the story of the model Elizabeth Siddal. She was a very unusual choice of model, and like the Pre-Raphaelite painters she was quite unconventional for her time. Having fallen in love with Rossetti, she became a regular visitor to William Morris’ Red House. Recent renovations of William and Jane Morris’ bedroom have uncovered a mural with self portraits painted by Rosetti and Elizabeth Siddal. It seems Elizabeth was not just the pretty face we see in so many Pre-Raphaelite paintings but also a talented, if unsung, artist in her own right.

Millais' 'Ophelia'




This hallway in Red House, called Pilgrim’s Rest, incorporates a blue-painted and mural decorated settle, in classic Morris’ colours, with a Persian rug. Although he insisted on British design as his main inspiration, Morris also incorporated Persian rugs and Delft inspired tiles, alongside embroidered wall hangings and weavings created both by him and his wife Jane.

William Morris' 'Pilgrim's Rest' at Red House

In this conversion of a Mayfair Town House into a comfortable office, Devas Design used similar colours for the walls and Oriental rugs to create an interior which both reflects the building original use as a home and to create a relaxed sanctuary from the pressures of the working day.

Devas Designs Mayfair Townhouse

In this Belgravia Town House, Devas Designs created a reading room and library and an elegant dining room inspired by the gothic fireplace and wall hanging, all of which reflect Morris’ love of traditional colours to create a calm palette.

Devas Designs Belgravia Town House

Throughout June, Red House is hosting ‘Roses at Red House’ celebrating William Morris’ love of English gardens. The roses, honey suckle, jasmine of the Red House gardens together with an appreciation of the natural world were an inspiration for Morris’ hand blocked wallpaper designs.

Click here to take a look at Morris & Co. for original wallpaper designs and fabrics.

Tulips from Amsterdam ...

'Choose only one master - nature'

- Rembrandt van Rijn -

May is a wonderful time of year to visit Amsterdam. Even if you don’t venture out into the tulip fields you won’t miss the flowers as the city of Amsterdam is ablaze with tulips. A visit to the Amsterdam Flower Market is uplifting, situated on the banks of the Amstel, with its cafes, shops and delightful gabled Dutch houses.

A well as the colourful displays of flowers the classic colours of the Dutch buildings are inspiring.

Papers and Paints in London’s Park Walk have an incredible range of traditional paint colours and will also mix and match tailor-made colours using a unique method called spectrophotometry to ensure complete accuracy and since 1995 have developed unrivalled expertise in this work. You can take a sample as small as a flake of paint or a small swatch of fabric and they will colour match for you. We couldn’t agree more when they say that colour is one of the most important choices we can make.

The Modern Dutch style shares many of the aesthetics of Scandinavian Style in terms of utilising natural light sources, an effective use of wood and a palette of gentle hues. Soft blues and greys against pale walls, sometimes with a signature wallpaper or colour, and an emphasis on the family dining table at the heart of the home all add to a harmonious living environment. The interior details and table linen below are from Designers Guild while the table setting and crockery are from John Lewis.

One of our favourite hotels to stay in Amsterdam is Hotel De L’Europe in the heart of the city overlooking the beautiful Amstel and a stone’s throw from the Rijksmuseum. The hotel exudes an air of sophistication and interestingly has used oversized images of Dutch Masters on the walls. These have been recreated from the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

Did you know....

Europeana Collections has, alongside other organisations and initiatives, worked with The Rijksmuseum since 2011 to make their public domain collection available online without restrictions. This has resulted in over 150,000 high resolution images for anyone to view, download, copy, remix, print and use for any purpose.

See more by clicking here.

The occasional signature of traditional Dutch tiles and Delftware are used in a very understated way at Hotel De L’Europe but are cleverly combined with contemporary elements.

We also love to add accessories and textiles to ring the changes. Take a look at our Delft inspired mood board for a contemporary Dutch look - which includes accessories from Designers Guild. Their Delft Polonaise cushion and Murrine Delft fabric echo the blues of traditional Delft tiles.