New at Habitat for AW14

A little while back I attended an Autumn Winter preview of what would be new at Habitat this season. I was so inspired by the new designs, materials and trendy homeware items, perfect for everyday use. The launch was held in an old warehouse and showed off their new pieces brilliantly.

Habitat is back on top form with simple elegant designs leading the way.  Below are just a few of the  new products I liked at the show.

Blossom side table, £55, Balham jars, £15, Natalie sofa, £1200, selection of dining chairs, all HabitatAbove, clockwise: Blossom side table, £55,  Natalie sofa, £1200, selection of dining chairs, Balham jars, £15, all Habitat

Never shy of colour, this season the palette includes, terracotta, emerald, copper, sage, greys and tan. Look out for ‘new Scandinavian’ inspired design, a pared down look in furniture made from pale timbers.

 

Beck candle holders, from £10, Copper vases, from £20. Selection of ceramic vases, from £8. All HabitatAbove: Copper vases, from £20, Beck copper candle holders, from £10 . Selection of ceramic vases, from £8, all Habitat

Material like copper brings shine to accessories and also offer a pretty rose gold luxe feel. The textiles appear to be quite colourful and their fragmented patterns make them fun and modern.

 

Selection of cushions, from £12. Selection of  rugs, from £40. All Habitat.Above: Selection of cushions, from £12. Selection of  rugs, from £40, all Habitat.

My favourite area at the show was the rugs room – a huge dilapidated room with the floor filled with overlapping rugs in all patterns and sizes, illustrating the idea of ‘Living Colour’, an awe-inspiring room.

 

Myriad LED-lit mirror, £350, Lansbury green floor lamp, £85. Selection of fairy lights, from £5. All Habitat.Above; Myriad LED-lit mirror, £350, Lansbury green floor lamp, £85 (seen in reflection). Selection of fairy lights, from £5, all Habitat.

The lighting is quite slick and modern with the return of smoked glass, brushed copper and again streamline simplified designs. The Myraid mirror-light (image above) is brilliant and real showstopper.

 

Photos and Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Darling dahlias, part 1 – Friday Flowers

Dahlias has always been one of my favourite flowers for many reasons. As with fashion and interiors, trends often repeat itself and so it is the same with flowers. It seems like the dahlia has made a come-back in the last few years, no doubt, thanks to the vintage look that has been so popular in interiors. Here’s a few of the dahlias that I have been growing in my garden.

Dahlia selection from my garden

Dahlia selection from my garden

Their colours are so vibrant, ranging from pure white shading to yellow, orange, pinks, purple not forgetting the dark red and almost black ones. With varied styles like round pom-pom ones that get fuller and rounder as they open, to the more flat ones with narrow pointy leaves, or the colour shading of the dipped-in-dye-look and then also the elegant flat leaved anemone style ones, I adore them all.

Garden dahlia's in coloured champagne flutes.

Garden dahlia’s in coloured champagne flutes.

A simple display of single stems in coloured champagne flutes make a striking display on my side table.

Garden dahlia's in vintage turquoise milk glass urnGarden dahlia's in vintage turquoise milk glass urn

Garden dahlia’s in vintage turquoise milk glass urn

The same dahlias I then also cut very short and put them in a vintage turquoise milk glass urn, I just had to see what the turquoise and pink combo looks like.

Photos, Styling and Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Fenella Smith, Best in Show

One of my favourite homeware ranges has to be the designs by Fenella Smith. Pure and simple in shape and form, and distinctive in design, her items are pieces for everyday use. Cute animal illustrations with a hint of humour that make you smile, stylishly adorn tableware, linens and stationary. Look out for the gorgeous jugs with their unusual shapes, the pouring one without the handle is such a lovely addition. Starting off in ceramics, Fenella has now expanded her business into printed textiles like cushions, and kitchen linens and elegant stationary too. I also love that she is a person whole likes to ‘give back’ and her Dogs Trust range is just so adorable, totally irresistible.

Here, Fenella tells us a bit more about herself and her lovely collection.

Fenella Smith with her dog Bramble

Fenella Smith with her dog Bramble

Tell me a bit about yourself. 

I live in the countryside outside Henley on Thames with my husband Simon who is Creative Director at Arcadia and my three lovely step children. We have two rescue dogs, mildly bonkers in their own way. Bramble a Lab Collie cross and Fox a Border Collie.

How did you get into designing ceramic ware? 

I inherited a lot of ceramics from my Nana Adelaide, she had a real eye for unusual shapes and designs. Her fascination with ceramics was most certainly passed onto me!

 

Hunting Shooting Fishing range, from £14.50 for a mini mug, all by Fenella Smith.

Hunting Shooting Fishing range, from £14.50 for a mini mug, all by Fenella Smith.

 

Your range has developed from ceramic ware into many more items, what else do you have in your range?

We have moved into fabrics – aprons, tea towels, aga toppers and oven gloves. I love sourcing and working with fabrics.

We also have a stationary range, my father, before he retired was a print merchant so it seemed only right, with his guidance to develop stationery.

 

Dachshund apron, £35, Pug cushion, £40, all by Fenella Smith

Dachshund apron, £35, Pug cushion, £40, all by Fenella Smith

Animal gift wrapping paper, £2.50 per sheet, by Fenella Smith.

Animal gift wrapping paper, £2.50 per sheet, by Fenella Smith.

 

What inspires you? 

My childhood is a huge inspiration, we had a fun very bohemian childhood, lots of pets and waifs and strays. I also travel a lot with my husband, different sounds, colours and textures can lead to great ideas. I’m also a true daydreamer and this is often where I find the beginning of an idea forms.

Where would you love to see your pretty pieces being used? 

Everyday in everyone’s homes. They are well made, elegant objects but I have made them so they enhance daily life, not only through the design but through how they are used. For example the handle-less jug fits in a fridge door and the oven dish has handles on the side so you don’t dip your oven gloves in the food as you grab it out of the oven.

Stationery: A5 notebook, £8.50, A6 notelets, £9.50, Greeting card, £2.30, all by Fenella Smith

Stationery: A5 notebook, £8.50, A6 notelets, £9.50, Greeting card, £2.30, all by Fenella Smith

 

So far, what has been you career highlight or proudest moment? 

Working with Fortnum & Mason has been a huge highlight, they are such an important part of our heritage and I have such wonderful and vivid memories of visiting every Christmas as a child. They are also quite simply really very lovely people to work with.

Which ceramic ranges (yours or other) do you use in your own home? 

We have them all, I test everything by living with it before we launch it. It is only by living with an item do you find out if it actually serves its purpose.

Labrador table jug, £34.95, Pug mug, £17.50, Dachshund set, £80, Dachshund dog bowl, £ 28, all by Fenella Smith

Labrador table jug, £34.95, Pug mug, £17.50, Dachshund set, £80, Dachshund dog bowl, £ 28, all by Fenella Smith

 

From your own designs, what is your favourite piece and why?

The Labrador Table Jug is my favourite. I love the shape and the Labrador design was inspired by my lovely dog Bramble.

What is next, what should we look out for? 

Breeds the book I wrote with my brothers has just launched. I have also launched a range in conjunction with Dogs Trust, 25% of sales goes directly to them.

We also have a lovely Christmas stationery range of Christmas cards and wrap.

Dogs Trust charity  range, 25% of all sales will be donated. From £2.30 for a card, from £14.50 for a mini mug, all by Fenella Smith

Dogs Trust charity range, 25% of all sales will be donated. From £2.30 for a card, from £14.50 for a mini mug, all by Fenella Smith

If you were not a ceramics designer, what would you be in your next life? 

I’d be the harbour master on the Ile de Re. It is my favourite place in all the world and I could think of nothing better than watching the sailing yachts come and go each day. The island also has some fantastic storms which would add some excitement!

What is your favourite colour?

Yellow. My husband always jokes that something on my person is always yellow, be it my shoes, handbag, iPhone cover… there’s always yellow somewhere!

Personally I  could never choose a favourite design, however, like Fenella I do have a soft spot for the Black Labarador Jug, as that was also my first Fenella Smith piece given to me as gift, one I use all the time.

 

All images supplied by Fenella Smith.

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles.

Roses in Antique Silver – Friday Flowers

The last of my roses, ‘The Generous Gardener’ (Ausdrawn) by David Austin, deserved to be showed off in something special. These antique silver epurns hold single stems or mini posies beautifully. And as a trio on my silver antique plate, they look so stylish and if they are from a bygone era. Both the silver items are special to me, the front silver epurn my sister Ursula gave me and then the other two I’ve collected over time. The silver plate I bought in Nice a few years ago on a trip with my brother, Jan. It was part of a set and I gave him the other plate, it’s inscribed on the rim with ‘Cafe de Paris Nice’, so gorgeous. I love how the delicate edges of the rose petals mimics the scalloped edges of the plate and the epurns, a match made in heaven.

'The Generous Gardener’ (Ausdrawn) Rose by David Austin in Silver spurns.

‘The Generous Gardener’ (Ausdrawn) Rose by David Austin in Silver epurns.

Photo, Styling & Feature: Theoda Solms Iles

Cath Kidston, standing the test of time

20 Years on and Cath Kidston is still standing the test of time. After making chintzy florals chic and having all of us fall in love with ditsy flower prints, colourful spots and candy stripes, this lady is again leading the field. Celebrating 20 years in the business is now mean feat and this AW 14 collection is literally looking back in time. Prints and designs are more retro inspired than vintage, definitely more statement pieces then blending in with the rest of your 50’s wardrobe or eclectic home. Everyday items like newspaper print and clocks are incorporated on textiles and fashion items like dresses and bags and cushions and ceramics. There are still plenty of playful elements in this collection, I especially love the ‘Stanley lamp’ and also the ‘Stanley pie funnel’. My favourite print this season is the ‘Townhouses‘ and the navy background of this design makes it so chic. Have a look below, I hope you like it as much as I do.

Spot Velvet cushion with piping TEAL £30 | Spot Velvet cushion with piping Orange £30 | Autumn Bloom Large Velvet cushion with piping £35 | Autumn Bloom Rug £95 | Stanley Lamp £68

Spot Velvet cushion with piping TEAL £30 | Spot Velvet cushion with piping Orange £30 | Autumn Bloom Large Velvet cushion with piping £35 | Autumn Bloom Rug £95 | Stanley Lamp £68

 

Spot Velvet cushion with piping TEAL £30 | Spot Velvet cushion with piping Orange £30 | Autumn Bloom Large Velvet cushion with piping £35 | Clocks cushion £22 | Townhouse cushion with piping £22

Spot Velvet cushion with piping TEAL £30 | Spot Velvet cushion with piping Orange £30 | Autumn Bloom Large Velvet cushion with piping £35 | Clocks cushion £22 | Townhouse cushion with piping £22

 

Kingswood Rose alarm clock £22 | Billie alarm clock £22 | London Kitchen Clock £35 | London Alarm Clock £22 | Scattered Stars watch £65 | Mews Ditsy Watch £65 | Billie Watch £65 | Freston Rose £65

Billie alarm clock £22 | London Kitchen Clock £35 | London Alarm Clock £22 | Scattered Stars watch £65 | Mews Ditsy Watch £65 | Billie Watch £65 | Freston Rose £65

 

Clocks pie dish £24 | Stanley Pie Funnel | Clocks salt & pepper shakers £ | Set of 4 clock plates £28 | Set of 4 clock tea cups and saucers £42 | Clocks cereal bowl £8.50 | Clocks tea cosy £22 |

Clocks pie dish £24 | Stanley Pie Funnel |
Clocks salt & pepper shakers £ | Set of 4 clock plates £28 | Set of 4 clock tea cups and saucers £42 | Clocks cereal bowl £8.50 | Clocks tea cosy £22 |

 

Autumn Bloom hedgehog door stop £30   Clocks Large Sewing Basket £42 | Clocks Knitting needle roll £22

Autumn Bloom hedgehog door stop £30
Clocks Large Sewing Basket £42 | Clocks Knitting needle roll £22

 

Clocks Sleeveless Jacquard Print £65 | Yarn Over Check Cardigan £55 | Newsprint sleeveless printed dress £65   Large Tote Mews Ditsy | Large Tote Big Spot | Large Tote Autumn Bloom | Large Tote Townhouse | Large Tote clocks all £75

Clocks Sleeveless Jacquard Print £65 | Yarn Over Check Cardigan £55 | Newsprint sleeveless printed dress £65
Large Tote Mews Ditsy | Large Tote Big Spot | Large Tote Autumn Bloom | Large Tote Townhouse | Large Tote clocks all £75

 

Large Clock Tote £75 with gorgeous doggie.

Large Clock Tote £75 with gorgeous doggie.

 

Images supplied by Cath Kidston

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Decanters as Vases – Friday Flowers

My collection of cut glass vintage decanters usually gather dust at the top of an old dresser unit. I love my decanters but hardly ever use them, so I was so pleased to show them off using them as vases for these elegant tall blooms. The pink-purple Stock provided the scent while the tall purple Monkshood created height and elegance and then the Japanese Gentian brought an exotic vibrance to the table.

Purple Monkshood, Japanese Gentian and Stock

Purple Monkshood, Japanese Gentian and Stock

 

Purple Monkshood, Japanese Gentian and Stock in vintage decanters on my table

Purple Monkshood, Japanese Gentian and Stock in vintage decanters on my table

I love how the cuts in the vintage glass differ and throw shadows on the base, making such pretty patterns on the table.

Vintage Cut Glass Decanters

Vintage Cut Glass Decanters

 

Purple Stock

Purple Stock

Monkshood

Monkshood

Japanese Gentian

Japanese Gentian

Photos, Styling & Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Fornasetti does Floral

Before the summer is over in the northern hemisphere, let me just share this with you. I was fortunate enough to attend luxury Italian brand, Fornasetti’s launch of new candles.

Piero Fornasetti  (b.1914 – d.1988) was an artist, painter, sculptor, poet, printer, and many more, he saw himself as a decorative artist. His beautiful hand drawings are uniquely distinctive and always with a hugely imaginative flair and a quirky humour still relevant today. Luckily the Fornasetti traditions are preserved, protected and developed forward by the very capable hands of his son, Barnaba, continuing his work and interpreting his designs (over 13,000 original designs still to work with) on gorgeous items for the home.

A few months ago, luxury Italian brand, Fornasetti launched a few new candles to their already hugely popular collection.

Ortensia & Fior Di Bacio by Fornasetti

Ortensia & Fior Di Bacio by Fornasetti

This time Mr Piero Fornasetti’s muse, Lina Cavalieri, can be seen peeking through hydrangea in the new designs called ‘Ortensia’. There is also the more instantly recognisable new design, ‘Fior Di Bacio’, where Lina Cavalieri holds a  flower in her mouth. Both these new candles, adding to last years hugely popular ‘Flora’ scent and design, now making up three in this collection.

Ortensia & Fior Di Bacio by Fornasetti

Ortensia & Fior Di Bacio by Fornasetti, standard and large candles

Ortensia by Fornasetti

Ortensia by Fornasetti

 

The other new scent is ‘Giardino Segreto’, where the design is taken from the garden architecture from the original Fornasetti house. Here you have a wise owl peeking out through the leaves and from behind typical Italian pillars. This design and scent inspires feelings of a dreamlike secret Italian garden with many surprises around the corner.

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti

Giardino Segreto & Balustrata by Fornasetti, room spray, large candle & standard candle

The products and the event itself was out of this world and so inspiring. Just look at all the flowers in abundance. And who would not love to receive a gift in one of these iconic shopping bags adorned with the iconic ‘Bacio’ design.

The launch of the candles

The launch of the candles

Iconic Fornasetti design on goody-bags

Iconic Fornasetti design on goody-bags

So many quirky and fun designs to choose from and so little time. Everytime I see the collection I fall in love with a different design. Most of them are very evocative and some has quite a humorous edge to them. The only answer is to start collecting the Fornasetti ceramic candle jars, each with their own story to tell.

Fornasetti candle range with a selection of different designs

Fornasetti candle range with a selection of different designs

Fornasetti ceramic incense holders

Fornasetti ceramic incense holders

See more on Fornasetti and the story behind this much loved brand. You can shop for Fornasetti at Selfridges.

Photos and feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Salvia & Stock – Friday Flowers

Make the most of the last few sunny days. The vibrant purple stock and whispy salvia provided me with a fragrant bunch and they looked great inside an enamel coffee pot, ideal for an informal floral display. I put them outside for a welcome afternoon tea break with special “Zoo” biscuits, a South African treat we all grew up with.

Purple stock and salvia

Purple stock and salvia

Purple stock and salvia, close-up

Purple stock and salvia, close-up

 

Photos, Styling & Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Alternative Office Furniture

As we spent so much time working, it’s about time we surround ourself with beautiful things. The home office have become such an important part of our homes these days and it should be as stylish as the rest. Gone are the boring grey metal filing cabinets and plywood desks, make room for industrial-chic, some with a rustic touch to them.  Here are a few office furniture ideas, real alternatives to get you thinking.

Jorge Work Bench Desk, £999 Portobello 10 Drawer Cabinet, £575 Teo Office Chair, £499, all Barker Stonehouse

Jorge Work Bench Desk, £999, Portobello 10 Drawer Cabinet, £575, Teo Office Chair, £499, all Barker Stonehouse

INDUSTRIAL VIBE. With a workbench desk like this, quirky drawer unit, funky yet comfy chair, who would not be successful. Oh and the view will help too. Jorge Work Bench Desk, £999, Portobello 10 Drawer Cabinet, £575, Teo Office Chair, £499, all Barker Stonehouse

 

Ernest Book Shelf, £765, Oliver Bonas

Ernest Book Shelf, £765, Oliver Bonas

SHELF IT. Bookcase and shelving units doesn’t have to be boring, this little number has loads of character and interest and will make a statement to your working-corner or home office. Ernest Book Shelf, £765, Oliver Bonas

 

Aviator tan leather office chair, £945, Alexander & Pearl

Aviator tan leather office chair, £945, Alexander & Pearl

PLEASE BE SEATED. Watching over your empire and giving orders from this chair would be so easy, dream on. Aviator tan leather office chair, £945, Alexander & Pearl

 

Nordic desk, £495, Graham & Green

Nordic desk, £495, Graham & Green

WORK IT. Made from mango wood, this desk is pretty enough for anywhere in the home as well as adding style to your office. Nordic desk, £495, Graham & Green

 

Devon floor lamp, £69, Tesco Direct

Devon floor lamp, £69, Tesco Direct

BUSINESS & PLEASURE. Mix it up with a coloured floor lamp, this fab oversize angle poise will look great in an office and living room alike. Devon floor lamp, £69, Tesco Direct

 

Soho Alphabet chest, £295, Living It Up

Soho Alphabet chest, £295, Living It Up

SPELL IT OUT. A cute small drawer unit, perfect for the home office as it does not look like office furniture. Soho Alphabet chest, £295, Living It Up

 

All images supplied by companies mentioned.

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles