Bonhams: Britain Defining the Interior

This week Bonham’s is holding one of its regular ‘Britain Defining the Interior’ auctions. At Devas Designs, while we love sourcing a range of European and international items we also enjoy being able to triumph and support the work of British artists and craftsmen. The eclecticism of items on sale is a true testament to British skill and craft and in this blog post, we wanted to share some of our favourite items from this month’s sale.

First to catch our eye was this George III breakfront bookcase. Made from a dark mahogany it has a real sense of grandeur, owed instantly by its lofty stature. The upper part features a broken fret carved swan neck pediment with beautiful foliate scrolls. We loved its classical features, that extend throughout the upper part of the design, lending a traditional aesthetic that would look lovely in a classic interior. The bookcase also features a pair of astragal glazed panel doors and double panel doors on the lower part on a moulded plinth base. While a piece like this would need a well-thought out space to fit, it would be a wonderful addition to a library or study room.

Estimate: £30,000-40,000

This set of six George III mahogany armorial chairs were also a stand-out lot for us. Their shape is elegant and classic, each featuring a pierced lattice back headed by shaped and moulded tablets decorated with the arms of Stackhouse family. The serpentine dished seats on fluted legs perfectly perfectly balance with the latticed backs. The chairs were originally the property of Edward William Stackhouse (1775-1853) who was an MP for Lostwithiel in Cornwall, he assumed the name Pendarves in 1815 having inherited the Cornish Estate. It is thought that along with the estate and the many items inherited from his parents, these chairs were part of that inheritance and are most likely designed by either John Linnell or Thomas Chippendale, two of the most prominent London furniture makers of the time.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

These charming late George III armchairs made in the style of John Gee also caught our attention. Made from beech, they are painted with beautiful pastel cream colours. They feature pierced top rails above caned backs which are flanked by moulded arms. The caned backs and ring turned tapering legs lend a classic quality that will remain elegant. We often enjoy mixing both classic and contemporary style and while these chairs would perfectly fit in a classic interior, their pastel tones and timeless design could bring character in a modern, white space.

£3,000-4,000

This wig comb and case was a rather more unusual piece for us to choose, but we couldn’t help be drawn in, it also comes with both a controversial history and a surprising price tag …

The wig comb and case were owned by Paul Bennett of Port Royal and are from the late 17th century, made from tortoiseshell. One side bears an engraving of a vase with flowers and the inscription ‘Jamaica 1678’. The reverse side features an engraving of a banana tree with a pair of cactus plants and a scrolling leaf border and the V&A has a similar designed comb.

Estimate: £15,000-20,000

Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire Auction at Sotheby's

This March Sotheby’s in London is auctioning the collection of furniture, objects, artworks and jewellery owned by Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire. Deborah (1920-2014) was the last of the Mitford sisters. The ‘Mitford Sisters’ were six sisters renowned for their social celebrity status and contentious political alignments.

Deborah was somewhat less politically controversial than some of her sisters and was a great patron of the arts. Her collection is a portrait of her interests and friends, most of whom were writers and artists and there are some charming pieces on sale. We’ve chosen a selection of our favourite items …

This portrait of Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire was painted by Duncan Grant. We loved the colour palette and post-impressionistic style. Grant was a member of the Bloomsbury Group and was influenced by both the work of French post-impressionists and his fellow Bloomsbury painter Roger Fry. Grant was co-director of the Omega Workshop with Vanessa Bell whom he shared both a personal and creative relationship with. We are often drawn to the colour tones of the Bloomsbury Group and even drew inspiration from their work for our previous project in Ireland - which you can read more about by clicking here.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

We also liked these three pairs of George III armchairs (c. 1790). Each have a moulded square back with in swept arms and square tapering legs, and are all in pastel painted beech and cane. They are elegant in their simplicity of design and now have a more rustic feel with their antique paintwork. They were most likely designed by James Wyatt.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800 (per pair)

We were struck by this drypoint portrait of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough by Paul-César Helleu whose work we greatly admire. Helleu is known for his drawings of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque era. He has a real sensitivity of style in both his drawings and engravings. The balance between the subject’s detailed face and more impressionistic clothing create a beautiful harmony.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This next piece, a Regency black painted and cane settee was rather striking. Made after a design by Gallows the black frame has ebonised and gilt-line painted decoration. The back features three cane lunettes and segments painted with cherubs. There is a beautiful balance between the rich detail and geometric design which results in a an elegant piece of furniture which could be a real centrepiece in a sitting room.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

Christie's Interiors December Sale

Following our blog about Christie’s Interiors December sale and the stunning works of art included, we also wanted to share with you our favourite items of design and furniture from the sale.

This gold-painted model of a tree is an unusual addition and instantly caught our attention. It has been made from steel and wood, painted gold which imbues a real sense of glamour. Its design is in the style of Curtis Jere, the American metalwork company founded by Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

While the work above is styled on Curtis Jere designs, these two bronze skiing sculptures are originals by metalwork company Curtis Jere, and both signed ‘C. Jere’. Each has been cast from a model, one of a slalom skier and one of a young boy pulling a sled. They sit on sloping onyx bases, and we love the use of this material to evoke their snowy landscape. Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels started C. Jere in the 20th Century, the company has since been sold and resold but their original designs such as this one are highly regarded in auction houses.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

This Chinese famille rose and gilt dish is a charming item. It is decorated with a pair of ducks and a lotus pond and also features a kingfisher perched on a peony branch. The gilt forward border adds an extra detailed feature which beautifully holds the design together. This dish is decorated in a typical Yongzheng Period manner and would be a wonderful addition to a collection.

Estimate: £500-800

This next lot comes in an impressive size, it features ten French stained-beech dining chairs. We love simple designs like this, they have a timeless elegance that can work in both classic and modern interiors. There is a lovely elegance in their colouring as well, the tones of the stained-beech and mahogany balance beautifully with their pale grey fabric covered seat.

Estimate: £700-1,000

Christie's Interiors // November

Regular sales like Christie’s Interiors are excellent for finding pieces for your home.We make sure we keep track of London’s best auctions and regularly attend to pick out stand out pieces for our clients. Christie's have a guaranteed standard of quality with the finest hand selected items of furniture, works of art and decorative pieces. Their Interiors sale this November is no exception and there is a fine selection of pieces on sale.

We wanted to share with you a selection of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale at Christie's ...

There was an impressive selection of antique carpets that would be stunning in a classic interior. We were particularly struck by the two designs below. The carpet on the left has a classic ziegler design, its dual tones could even provide inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. The carpet on the right is from Tabriz in Iran and its decorative design would add a real charm to a sitting or dining room.

This pair of bronze and gilt torches caught our eye. Complete with five light spaces, the touches are decorated with an orb supported by an eagle. Their five branches emanate from lion masks while the triform bases are decorated with dolphins. The details on these torches is exquisite and they would be beautiful centrepieces for a dinner table, truly lighting up the table.

Among the items of furniture on sale were two tables that particularly stood out to us for their classic designs and elegance. The table on the right is made from regency rosewood and tiger maple. It features charming ivory handles, and frieze edged in trellis parquetry.

We also loved this French brass-mounted mahogany bouillotte table on the right. It is in a classic Louis XVI style with a grey-veined white marble top and two ash lined drawers.

This pair of modern stools has been upholstered in floral cut-velvet and are a beautifully rich colour.


Collections Sale at Sotheby's

We love the items in this month’s Collections auction at Sotheby’s. It’s a real eclectic mix of antique, classic, unique and collectable items. We wanted to share with you a selection of the items that really stood out for us.

This exquisite piece instantly caught eye, it is a rare Vincennes group of Venus and Adonis (c.1750-52). L’Heure du Berger is represented by the reclining female figure in loose drapery, with a male youth balanced and twisting towards her. There is a real sense of elegance to this piece, aided by the white colouring. A smaller piece like this is easy to display and can add beautifully to an existing collection.

Estimate: £12,000-18,000

While we enjoy sourcing all types of items for our clients, we love finding precious artworks. A unique and sensitive work of art can make a big impact in your home. This work by old master Rembrandt instantly stood out to us. The etching, made in 1630, shows the bust of a man wearing a high cap, and the model is thought to be Rembrandt’s father.

Estimate: £800-1,200

The Italian 18th Century work below is a charming depiction of the temple of Clitumnus, near Spoleto. It has been drawn in pen and brown ink with a grey wash over traces of black chalk. Its limited colouring makes it versatile, and although it would perfectly suit a classic interior, it could bring character and charm to a contemporary living space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

These George III carved gilt wood and gesso wall lights (pair) from the late 18th Century are truly exquisite. Both elegant and grand, they are typically characteristic of the neo-classical taste of late 18th Century England. They feature the typical classical urn, ram’s head and bell-flower garlands.

Estimate: £4,000-6,000

This walnut dining table (c. 1970) is a real centre piece. Its simple design is both bold and elegant and it sits on six hexagonal shaped steel legs. This table comes from the collection of British filmmaker, Bryan Forbes, best known for directing ‘The Stepford Wives’.

Estimate: £3,000-5,000

Fabric Inspiration

For this week’s blog we want to focus on fabrics. We just visited Chelsea Harbour’s Design Centre to source fabrics and were inspired by the incredible selection we saw.

When we work on an interior design project, we often make use of high quality and beautifully printed or painted fabrics. High quality fabrics can be used for either furnishing or wall coverings and can really infuse charm, colour and elegance into your room. Whether you are choosing fabrics for furniture and small furnishings or larger wall coverings, it is crucial that the colour and design tie in with the look and feel of your interior - if you’re completely drawn to a fabric it can even inspire your overall colour scheme.

Elizabeth Eakins set up her rug and textile business in 1978, with a focus on making by hand. All of her fabrics are made from natural fibers and include linen, hemp and wool blends. We were particularly drawn to this natural hemp linen fabric, ‘Esther Young’ in azure and rose.

We also loved this fabric from Harlequin’s Amazilia collection. The fabric has been digitally printed for accuracy with botanical-style representations of hummingbirds in beautiful and crisp colours. The detail is exquisite and would add both a splash of colour and a real sense character to either a classic or contemporary interior.

Parisian company Pierre Frey has always been a favourite of ours. Founded in 1935, they remain a family owned company who design, create and manufacture fabrics, wallpapers, carpets and furniture. They are real ambassadors of french taste and integrate french craft and style into their work.

We loved the fabric below, from the Collection Braquenie, ‘Les Muses et Le Lion Rouges’. This Toile de Jouy fabric was based on classic designs from their archive. Our favourite colour was this rouge celadon, which is both bold and elegant.

Turnell and Gigon distribute beautiful fabrics which range from both classic and contemporary designs. The designs below, percale persan would add a real charm and character to a room. We loved these deigns in cream and blue colours, the coloured detail looks beautiful over these subtle backgrounds. 

'Made in Britain' // Sotheby's

This month’s ‘Made In Britain’ sale at Sotheby’s had an impressive collection of works from Britain’s leading artists, designers, photographers, ceramicists and printmakers. The sale aimed to celebrate the diversity and innovative spirit of these British artists and really succeeded. We had a difficult decision choosing just a few of our favourites, but take a look at some of our highlights and let us know what caught your eye!

Howard Hodgkin’s work always catches our eye for its expressive colouring. The work below, entitled Moonlight (1980) is a beautiful lithograph printed in colours with additional hand-colouring. Hodgkin is one of Britain’s most important printmakers and painters and his bold style is completely captivating. Since the 1970s expressive patterning has dominated his work, combining printmaking techniques, bold brushstrokes and bright daubs of paint to produce punchy abstract works that would instantly enliven a room.

There is a finely balanced tension that we find interesting in Victor Pasmore’s work; the balance of saturated colour and fine black strikes. We were drawn to this piece entitled Senza Titolo (1991) for its unified hue. A work like this can really inform a colour scheme if you are designing a new interior, or help to tie together an existing colour scheme. We are inspired by works of art and their expressive colours and often use them as starting points for a new project’s colour scheme.

There was also a fantastic selection of ceramics on sale. The four pouring vessels by Rupert Spira, below left, are beautifully elegant in their shape and blue glaze. We were also drawn to the ceramic pieces on sale by Lucie Rie. The footed bowl, below centre, has a beautiful matt blue glaze and bronzed rim. On sale were also ceramics from one of Britain’s most respected and influential potters, Bernard Leach. The fluted bowl, below right, is made from porcelain with a celadon glaze. Its size, form and neutral glaze give it a sense of timeless elegance that would sit beautifully in either a modern or classic home.

We were also struck by the painting on sale by Mary Fedden. Fedden’s work is characterised by her use of bold, often contrasting, expressive colours. The vivid colours in the painted still life, below, left, with reds, purples and greens would really bright a vibrant splash of colour to a neutral room. We often enjoy pairing vibrant works of art with interiors that have muted colour schemes, and tie it in with details like cushions that work with the colours.

With the Tate’s major retrospective on this month, we were also looking out for works by Barbara Hepworth. The lithograph printed in black and yellow, below left, is beautifully harmonious and would perfectly compliment an interior with a muted and subtle colour scheme. The screen print, below right, by Ben Nicholson has been printed on woven silk. The delicate quality of the material blends beautifully with his subtle and sensitive colour scheme. Whether your interior is modern or classic, works of art that are elegant and subtle like this piece can really add charm to your home.

The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair - Autumn 2015

As you might have noticed from our recent blog posts, we’ve been going to every antiques and art fair this summer in London.  This week we had a lovely time this week visiting The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair in Battersea, their 30th fair. Here are a few of our favourite pieces.

We’ve featured items from Hugh Leuchars before, he specialises in 18th Century continental furniture, particularly French furniture, so we always seem to find a piece that catches our eye.  We like the charm of his pieces, while they follow classic styles they often feature playful elements like the pieces below. 

Shane Meredith’s display was also full of intriguing and beautiful pieces of English and Continental furniture. We particularly liked this late 18th Century commode made from yew and walnut woods.

We were pleased to see Dominic Everest and his collection of stunning Ziegler carpets. Dominic set up his business at the age of 22 and has continued to make a name for himself, supplying carpets to iconic British estates. The Ziegler carpet, below right, from 1880 has a beautiful colour scheme, combining reds and greens. As well as artworks, we have also used carpets as inspiration for an interiors colour scheme. If a centrepiece like this really catches your eye, its colours and patterning can act as a starting point when deciding colours, textures and decoration for an interior design project.


Colours of the Mediterranean

This week's blog comes from Palma de Mallorca and is inspired by the art of Joan Miro and his love of mediterranean colours. Born in Barcelona, artist Joan Miro settled in Mallorca in 1956. His magnificent studio was designed by his friend and collaborator Josep Luis Sert. It was in Mallorca that Miro found a place where he could create in peace and freedom. For over 25 years he produced some of his most vibrant works of art from this studio.

Miro worked with a limited palette of unblended colours, favouring reds, blues, yellows, greens and black. His colouring is bold and expressive and gave inspiration to a generation of colour field painters - we often take inspiration from works of art and Miro's colours provide a beautiful but bold balance which can perfectly translate into an interior's colour scheme. His semi-abstract forms also provide a charming playfulness relating as they do to natural elements of life including the sun, the stars, birds, fish, the sea and the human form.

Take a look below at Miro's Danseuse Dancers (1969) paired with Farrow & Ball's Blue Ground and St Giles Blue. A work of art with pure colours like this provides inspiration for a seaside home and could beautifully reflect its natural surroundings. Alternatively, these soft blues would look lovely in a children's bedroom to create a subtle but fresh feeling.

In the central image below Miro has painted a signature red wall in an otherwise white interior in which to create a simple display of his Spanish dolls. Farrow & Ball's Radicchio and Red Earth paint colours echo this earthy theme.

Milo's colours often reflect the tiles, houses and traditional craft works of Mallorca, like this tiled advertising wall piece below right. Farrow & Ball's Dayroom Yellow perfectly reflects the atmosphere of Miro's painting below left, Bird Against The Horizon (1976), and could bring some Mediterranean sunshine into your home.

If you find yourself in Mallorca, make sure you visit Miro's studio and home which has a beautiful permanent exhibition of Miro's work.

You can find out more on Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miro a Mallorca here

'Style and Spirit' at Christie's

We were very keen on exploring Christie’s sale ‘Style and Spirit’ this September as its features a carefully chosen selection of piece from Core One’s collection. Sadly, Core One Antiques, known for being one of the best and most discerning spaces in London to buy antiques has been forced out from their Kings Road gasworks location. Some of the dealers who shared the space are moving together to a converted aircraft hangar in Gloucestershire so thankfully Core One will live on. Christie’s has marked this moment by auctioning a selection of Core One’s finest pieces, among other spectacular pieces from various sources for ‘Style and Spirit’.

We wanted to share a selection of our favourite pieces from the sale.

We were struck by this marvellous collection of ten French armchairs. Painted blue, they have elegant circular seats within a wire-work frame. They were designed by Pascal Mourgue who aimed to design pieces of furniture that were both modern in design but had a timeless style. He focussed on designing for both home and office interiors. His initial training in sculpture was stayed embedded in his furniture design, and these armchairs are a beautiful example of his sculptural moulding.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

This Italian stone console table really stood out as being a unique piece. Atop its stone legs sits a stunning specimen marble top. The top is inset with various onyx, granite and breccia marble specimens. While its top has a real sense of luxury, its simple design give it an overall elegance that would sit perfectly in either a classic or modern interior and compliment a subtle colour palette.

Estimate: £1,500-2,500

We loved the elegant simplicity of this Italian vellum and fruitwood sideboard. It was designed by Paolo Buffa in c. 1940 and features a beautiful pleated satin top. Buffa worked initially as an architect and even had a brief stint working for Gio Ponti. Alongside designing incredible buildings including country houses and civic buildings, Buffa designed tables, carpets, lighting and even an espresso machine. He employed renowned artisans such as Mario Quarti and Angelo Marelli to build his stunning pieces of furniture. Buffa's trademark style blends both classical and modern design elements, which is why this sideboard caught our eye. Its elegance means it would look stunning in either a modern or classic interior, and it has a timeless beauty while still hinting at its Midcentury origin.

Estimate: £2,000-3,000

While the items of furniture on sale definitely stood out for us, we were surprisingly drawn to this abstract composition by Charles Gordon. It’s abstract dotted patterning also reminded us of Australian Aboriginal dot paintings. We often find that as well as complimenting an existing interior, if you are really drawn to a particular work of art it can inform and dictate the colour palette for a new interior design project. A work like this would look eye catching in an interior that was based around subtle tones with splashes of matching colours 

Estimate: £1,500-2,000

Christie’s Interiors Sale // September

Christie’s has another fantastic Interiors sale this month.

Do you read Christie’s Interiors magazine? We love receiving our copy each month as it is always filled with interior design inspiration and interviews, if you want to read more just click here

We love attending the Interiors sales each month, there are always stand-out and unique items of furniture, works of art and decorative objects. We source items for our clients, as part of projects and as a one-off, so we are always on the lookout for interesting pieces as well as spotting the latest trends. This month Christie’s Interiors sale impressed once again, here are some of our favourite items from the sale …

Take a look at this charming French three-piece salon suite from the late 19th Century. The small sofa and two armchairs are made from French giltwood in a classic Louis XVI style. They have been designed with a Louis XVI style tapestry which depicts sweet scenes of children and animals. Their subtle colouring could blend beautifully in a sitting room with a muted colour palette.

Also on sale were a group of three Chinese Thangkas which particularly intrigued us. Thangkas are Tibetan Buddhist paintings either on cotton or silk appliqué which most commonly depicts a Buddhist scene, deity or madala. This group of Thangkas come from 19th and 20th Century China and the first thangka depicts an Avalokitesvara mandala, the second depicts a Mahottara Heruka mandala and the third represents Jambhala on a lion. Thangkas are traditionally hung on a wall and with a piece as elaborate and stunning as this, this could form the inspiration for your interior or room’s colour palette.

This Famille verte bottle vase from 19th Century China also caught our eye. Its exterior is beautifully decorated with continuous floral motifs separated at the shoulder by impressive emblems. The base has been painted with an apocryphal Kangxi mark. Decorative pieces like this can add a real character and eclecticism to your interior.

This pair of parcel-gilt tripod tables really stood out for their sense of elegance. Made from rosewood, their tops have been decorated with gilt and ebonised palmettes on a spiral turned base. The bases are Regency from c. 1800 while the tops are a later addition. 

We also loved these charming brass and glass wall appliqués. Made in the 1930s, they were most likely designed by Bagues in Paris. Bagues set up his business as a creator of art lighting in France in 1840 and became known internationally once he began incorporating bronze lighting. Bagues' recognition rapidly rose with the use of electricity by the end of the 19th Century and set them out as one of the most popular lighting companies in the world. These wall appliqués have mirror backs which support a pair of scrolled candle branches hung with clear glass beads. They also feature fruit decoration with green glass foliage.

London’s Inspiring and Historic Interiors

Living in London, we’re surrounded by incredible and historic buildings whose interior designs are a great source of inspiration. We wanted to share with you some of the stunning buildings that we love visiting and their impressive interiors.

First up has to be Leighton House in Holland Park. Now a museum, Leighton House is the former home of the painter and sculptor Frederic, Lord Leighton. It was designed in 1864 by architect George Aitchison and is perhaps his greatest architectural feat. Its interior is known for its beautifully elaborate Orientalist and Aesthetic designs.

The centrepiece of the house is its Arab Hall which was designed to display Leighton’s collection of Islamic tiles. Over 1,000 tiles decorate the walls, together with coloured marble clad walls, a golden mosaic frieze and a central fountain.

Eltham Palace and Gardens near Greenwich is another stunning home to visit. Originally a Medieval Royal residence, it was bought by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld and redesigned by architects Seely and Paget in 1933-6. While the house features an eclectic mixture of styles including Medieval and 20th Century elements, it is its Art Deco designs that most stand out.

There are beautiful features like these doors from its Art Deco dining room which feature animals and birds, all originally drawn from life at the London Zoo.

Virginia Courtauld’s bathroom has walls lined with onyx and incredible gold mosaic tiles.

Another magnificent building is Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham. Built by Horace Walpole from 1749, it is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture and design. The ‘castle’ became a tourist attraction even in Walpole’s own lifetime and he allowed four visitors a day to come along and explore his home. The Gallery is a stand-out room, it has an impressive papier mache ceiling with newly restored gilding and the walls are hung with a rich crimson Norwich damask.

There are beautiful and often surprising colour combinations throughout the house, including the blue bed chamber and a Beauclerc closet decorated with Indian blue damask.

Have you visited any of these beautiful spaces yet?

Let us know if you have, or if you have any favourite spaces that inspire you!

Christie's Interiors August 2015 // Part II

Did you see our recent blog post about the stunning works of art on auction at this month’s Interiors Sale at Christie’s – you can read it by clicking here.

Christie’s South Kensington is celebrating its 40th year with some brilliant talks and events, we recently attended a talk on The Art of Interior and had the chance to preview the Interiors sale.

As you’ll see from our post about the incredible works of art on sale, we were struck by the work of Polish painted Zdzislaw Ruszkowski and the chalk drawings by John Golding. The highlight of the Interiors sale was however the exquisite pieces of furniture on display. We source pieces of antique furniture for clients so we are always looking out for pieces that stand out and could work in a variety of both classic and contemporary homes.

Here are some of our favourite pieces from this month's Interiors sale ...

We were instantly drawn to this Swedish parcel-gilt and bronzed sofa. We liked its classic Gustavian style, a style marked by its subtle colours, clean simple designs and handpainted technique. The classic Gustavian design gives it a sense of simplicity and together with its white linen seat and beautifully lotus-carved legs has an overall elegance. This sofa appealed to us for its versatility, it could look beautiful and elegant in both a traditional or contemporary interior and add a classic touch.

Estimate: £1,200-1,800

Price Realised: £3,250

We also loved this set of English iron garden benches, pair of chairs and a table. They have been designed in a Gothic style with charming details. Their pale colour and the delicate sizing of the iron material gives them a feminine and graceful look. These would work perfectly in either a large or modest English garden, providing an elegant place to sit without dominating the space.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £4,750

Although this set of English Coronation chair might seem extravagant for their history, having a few historic and unique pieces in your home can add a real sense of charm and provide a great story! This set comprises two George VI chairs, a George VI stool, two Elizabeth II chairs and an Elizabeth II stool. They are all stamped with the Coronation crown and their makers details, dated 1932 and 1953.

Estimate: £800-1,200

Price Realised: £2,750

This gorgeous George III painted side table is decorated with bell-flowers, paterae and a border of palette and running scroll. It features small cupboards with transfer-printed oval vignettes. Its pastel tones, delicate details and graceful tapered legs give it a sense of chic elegance. It could fit perfectly into a classic interior or add a graceful charm to a contemporary room. At Devas Designs we enjoy blending classic and traditional styles with contemporary interiors.

Estimate: £1,000-1,500

Price Realised: £2,375

Christie's Interiors August 2015

Christie’s South Kensington is celebrating its 40th year with some fantastic talks and events. This week we attended a the Christie’s Interiors August auction and a talk on The Art of Interior Design with some great speakers including James McWhirter and Sarah Morris of McWhirter Morris. The talk covered how to decorate small spaces and decorating a room using both antique and modern furniture - James described redecorating a small flat in London cleverly using every inch of space and using a four-poster bed in the bedroom which made it incredibly inviting.

You might have noticed from our previous blog posts that we make sure to take advantage of London’s cultural events and networks since we also source art and antiques for clients, either as part of a project or as a one-off. We visit as many art, antiques and designs fairs as we can and are always on the lookout for unique pieces. Here are some of our favourite pieces from Christie’s Interiors August auction – the auction is on August 18th so do pop along to take a look at what’s on sale.

Alongside items of furniture are a stunning selection of 20th and 21st Century paintings. The work of Polish painter Zdzislaw Ruszkowski (1907-1991) particularly caught our eye. During the 1930s Ruszowski moved to France where he discovered the work of Cezanne and was hugely inspired by his colouring and Post-Impressionistic approach. There is a beautiful and sensitive lyricism in Ruszowski’s work, aided by his playful yet harmonious colour schemes.

We were also intrigued by these coloured chalk drawings by John Golding. The colour scheme, with subtle hints and richer tones could provide the perfect inspiration for an interior’s colour scheme. This is a great example of how one piece, like a work of art, can really influence and dictate your interior design choices.

 

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 Showrooms

As well as the myriad of pop-up design stands and exhibits at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015, Clerkenwell is known for its impressive array of design showrooms. We visited a few of our favourites that were open during CDW.

West One Bathrooms always intrigues us for their display of both classic and often surprising bathroom designs. One of the ranges that caught our eye was the Vir Stil collection (below left) for Kallista designed by New York designer Laura Kirar. Kirar’s collection was inspired by different design periods including Danish Modern and traditional Japanese forms. From these inspirations she’s created an elegant collection that retains a classic sense of refinement together with subtle modern touches and materials. The console top comes in Calacatta Borghini marble with finishes in bronze, chrome or nickel. 

We also took a look at bulthaup’s showroom, which never fails to impress for its focus on perfect design and innovative kitchen solutions combined with a real sensitivity for the existing architecture of a building. We really liked the bulthaup b2 kitchen workshop (below) which really is designed to be functional and spatially economical.

We were also intrigued to see their arrangements of vintage tools and furnishings. In line with the young designers from our previous blog post, bulthaup also seems to be harking back and drawing influence from classic and older design sources.

Havwoods certainly went for a standout display method, their collection of exquisite wood floors was showcased atop an old fashioned Routemaster bus. Havwoods flooring can really transform a room, their exquisite quality and range of finishes would suit both a classic and modern interior.

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015

Clerkenwell Design Week was a truly inspirational festival, a real celebration of craft and design. CDW2015 showcased both established and emerging designers and companies. There was a really refreshing variety of work, but what we were most struck by was the shared sense of nostalgia. There seemed to be a focus on looking back to historic design movements for inspiration as well as keeping craft alive.

We spoke to the designers and craftsmen at TedWood about their work. Started by Ted Jeffries, TedWood uses sustainably grown British hardwoods for their contemporary wooden furniture, which is not only stunningly designed but holds a family value and history. They'd brought their working bench from their studio in Sussex to exhibit alongside pieces of furniture and lighting, having been passed down from Ted's grandfather and father who both used it. It's exciting to meet young designers who really are keeping this traditional craft going, but reworking it with their own contemporary designs. The leather shades on the lights (below right) were made by Ted's mother, a true family collaboration.

This Robin Day chair (below left) caught our eye as soon as we walked in. Day undoubtedly transformed British design and high street furniture, his 'Polyprop' stacking chairs has become one of the best selling chairs of all time. It was his postwar modernist furniture though that has been so influential to contemporary design as he developed low-cost but sensitively designed items.

His influence was evident in Stellar Works 'Utility' range (below right) which centres on this idea of function and efficiency. Their return to industrial design is counterbalanced by their use of soft leather and smooth woods.

Stellar Works Laval desk (below left) is a collaboration between French furniture maker Laval and Danish design studio OeO. The collection aims to merge a sense of French elegance and simplicity with a more modern need for comfort and utility.

Tomas Alonso’s Offset Table (below right) designed for Maxdesign responds to the need for flexibility in modern working home offices. The table can be broken down and customized for varying lighting, cable and size requirements. Alonso describes it as ‘a place to eat, a place to work and a place to meet all at the same table’.

It was great to meet the team at James UK as we really value their emphasis on British craft. All of their furniture is made in the UK by a team of skilled carpenters and upholsterers. The Norton Cove sofa (below left) is a larger take on the typical armchair.

Furniture brand H were inspired by a belt-making loom found in Oaxaca, Mexico for their Loom chair (below right). They've been collaborating with a textile designer whose colour choices perfectly balance with the hardwood frame.

Thonet's iconic range has been updated to suit contemporary interiors. Their display focussed on their design history showing the evolution of Thonet’s curved wooden designs to Marcel Breuer’s curved tubular steel designs.

From Roentgen to Faberge at Christie's

Another exquisite auction was held at Christie’s last week. ‘From Roentgen to Faberge’ contains stunning pieces from a single European private collection. The collection was formed over three decades by a connoisseur whose taste was clearly impeccable. There were many standout pieces, but we’ve chosen a few that particularly interested us.

As expected, many French pieces caught our eye, particularly this pair of Louis XV grey painted fauteuils (c. 1755-60). Each has a channeled frame and cartouche-shaped padded back and serpentine seat. Their peach mohair velvet coverings give them a beautiful and elegant lightness combined with a rich texture. They were made by Jean and Jean-Rene Nadal, the Parisien Nadal family of furniture makers who had a flourishing business during the mid 18th Century and were known for their master skills, craftsmanship and fashionable Louis XV style. 

Estimate: £4,000 – 6,000

Price Realised: £4,000

There were several dinner service sets on auction as well as this Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica part dinner service. This Danish design varied from the grand Russian gilt set underneath, instead painted with a feminine flower design with serrated gilt rims.

Estimate: £25,000 -35,000

Price Realised: £74,500

While we often like to focus on simple and elegant pieces, this lavish and luxurious Russian porcelain dinner service (c. 1840) couldn’t help but grab our attention. The set features plates and dishes all decorated with gilt scrolling acanthus, with a gilt rosette at the centre. The dinner set is steeped in history as it came from the dowry service of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna. Its grand history and appearance would make a tremendous and memorable addition to a dinner party.

Estimate: £10,000 – 20,000

Price Realised: £35,000

This next piece, a hardstone and diamond table ornament is admittedly a slightly more characterful choice for us. Among the carved spray of wild strawberries are nephrite jade leaves and white hardstone flowers with diamond centres. The gilt stems add a further dazzling touch as does its grand jasper plinth.

Estimate: £3,00 - 5,000

Price Realised: £13,750

Philippa's Philosophy and Design Tips

Philippa Devas is the Founder and Managing Director of Devas Designs. Here, she tells us a little about her design philosophy and offers some top tips.

What philosophy do you think shapes your design style?

I think it’s important that interiors are interesting and aesthetically beautiful. Above all, my philosophy is about creating elegant and practical spaces where people feel comfortable and enjoy entertaining. My passion for art, furniture and textile design has always inspired my work. I love to work collaboratively with clients to discover their ideal living space and develop the most perfect environment for their lifestyle.

Do you think there are certain things we should never compromise on when creating an interior? If so, how can we save money at the same time?

The areas I believe one should never compromise on are; the interior architecture, the structural work and the services – if your spaces don’t work (proportionally or practically) then the interior will never feel right. When it comes to saving money or if you’re working to a tight budget I think it’s possible to create an interesting interior by focusing on one or two exceptional features. Using neutral, inexpensive materials alongside them can really set off these key pieces. I often introduce splashes of colour that tie in with cushions or a rug, which can create a really striking effect.

When it comes to luxury finishing touches, what are your go-to pieces?

My favourite luxury detail is beautiful linen, new or antique. Whether it’s linen sheets, a tablecloth, napkins or hand towels, they always feel and look wonderful.

Phillips Design Sale April 2015

This week we attended Phillips evening and day Design Sale, the first design auction at Phillips new Berkeley Square location. The two sales were auctioning some truly exquisite pieces from top designers from the 20th and 21st Century. With over 250 lots, the sales showcased pieces from almost every major movement during these times, with some classic items and cutting-edge, contemporary designs. Here's a few of our highlights from the two auctions.

While Jean Royére revelled in rich colour and jewel tones, we loved this organic oakwood dining table (below left) from c. 1955.

Est. £70,000-100,000

This folding campaign bed (below right) came from the private collection King Georg V, Royal House of Hanover c. 1800. Its designer is unknown but undoubtedly holds a great deal of history. The combination of forged iron and maroquin leather give it a real sense of elegant luxury.

Est. £30,000-40,000

Sold for £35,000

This pair of wall panels was designed by one of Art Deco's finest lacquer artists; Jean Dunand. They were originally designed for the smoking room of the French Embassy Pavilion at the world renowned L'Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Executed in lacquered wood and silver leaf they are a true testament to Art Deco design.

Est. £70,000-90,000

Sold for £80,500

Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge (below left) c. 1990 was a major talking point at the auction. Newson has become one of the highest selling designers at auction of all time. This piece shows his Biomorphic influence and with its organic curvature and fluidity and really is a spectacular piece of design that could become the unique centrepiece of any room.

Est. £1,500,000-2,500,000

Sold for £2,434,500

Shiro Kuramata's rare two seater sofa uses copper-plated steel mesh and copper-plated steel. Its lattice effect gives it an airy lightness despite its use of durable materials.

Est. £40,000-60,000

Zaha Hadid always triumphs with her modern elegance and purity of design. This white Aqua table below instantly caught our eye. The fluidity of its design is typical of her design and architectural work.

Est. £40,000-60,000