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The Blog - What's New

New products and services, interesting shops, ideas for your garden, our pick from the design fairs, and other things we like...

‘Blue’ collection from Little Greene

Innovative British paint company, Little Greene, is launching a fashion-inspired ‘Blue’ collection of 21 trend-setting paint shades. Dispelling the myth that blue is a cold colour, the palette encompasses a wide spectrum of tones, from confident indigo to calm linen hues. There is also the seductive Ultra Blue, a uniquely pigmented colour, which is mixed by hand in Little Greene’s paint factory and will only be available as a limited edition paint.

Alongside the paints, Little Greene has also produced a new compendium of ‘20th Century Papers’, which comprises the most popular designs from three previous collections: Retrospective Papers, Oriental Papers and 50s Line Papers. Existing designs have been re-mastered to harmonise with the ‘Blue’ paint range.

Little Greene 'Blue' Collection

The jewel in this paint collection, Little Greene makes this limited edition Ultra Blue in small batches using a single pigment: Ultramarine. Originally extracted from Lapis Lazuli by the Venetians in the 14th century, and having a value greater than gold, this pigment was, until c1520, exclusively reserved for the depiction of the robes of the Virgin Mary.

Little Greene 'Blue' Collection

Lavaliers – Low Wave wallpaper (£57 per roll) with Hicks’ Blue (David Hicks, one of the most important designers of the 60s and 70s, used this blue in the restaurant at the top of the London Telecom Tower in 1962). Skirting in French Grey.

Little Greene 'Blue' Collection

Moon Shadow with skirting and wall in Slaked Lime Deep. The name of this classic 20th century shade was not inspired by a colourful lunar cast, rather the hue of the earth as seen by man, from the moon’s surface in 1969.


A ‘brand new’ 1950s design, Zingara, has been added: a striking line drawing of boats resting at anchor, derived from a John Line collection in the Whitworth archive. Skirting painted in Jack Black.

Little Greene 'Blue' Collection

Working equally well in a classic or contemporary setting, and as flat colour or in pattern, the blue spectrum is vast. As a hue, blue is especially desirable in the northern hemisphere, where the light enhances the blue pigment. Blues are also known to aid concentration – so perfect for contemplating your next interior design scheme.

David Mottershead, MD of Little Greene, is delighted with the company’s new colours: “Blue is the richest of colours, and historically the most expensive to produce. In art, blue paint was reserved for depicting royalty, dignitaries and religious figures and still, to this day, holds the same luxurious appeal and hypnotic allure. Many people fear to use blue because of its reputation as being cold and masculine – we can show a new way with this carefully edited collection and make blue more useable than ever.”

All shades on the ‘Blue’ colour card are available in the full range of traditional and modern paint finishes, with the exception of the limited edition Ultra Blue (available in sample pots and 2.5L Absolute Matt Emulsion only).

‘Blue’ and ‘20th Century Papers’ will be launched at Decorex which opens today (20th September 2015) and will be available nationally and internationally through Little Greene’s network of distributors, as well as via mail and phone order and online at

Edward Bulmer & the restoration of Shobdon Church

St John the Evangelist Church in Shobdon, Herefordshire is an extremely important work of Georgian architecture with a beautifully intact interior and matching furniture – an outstanding example of the ‘Strawberry Hill Gothick’ style. Edward Bulmer, architectural historian, interior designer and natural paint expert (founder of Pots of Paint) has been involved in the restoration of its interior.

Shobdon church

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Ben Pentreath for Alternative Flooring

Continuing their collaborations with British designers from different fields (Ashley Hicks and Margo Selby last year), Alternative Flooring are launching some lively new carpets patterns by Ben Pentreath, one of the UK’s leading architectural and interior designers.

‘I was thrilled to be asked by Alternative Flooring to help design some new additions to their distinguished ‘Quirky B’ collection. Some time ago, we at Pentreath & Hall had designed a range of printed papers based on stone and marble flooring patterns by the prolific 18th century architect, Batty Langley. It was a delight to put these back where they belong, on the floor – but now re-worked in a range of vividly coloured patterns in the Alternative Flooring wools.’

‘The designs create complex three-dimensional patterns that trick the eye and play with space, in a way, which create rich textures for the contemporary English interior. Rooted in tradition, I am always surprised how fresh and modern these classical designs can be…’ Ben Pentreath

Ben Pentreath

Ben Pentreath

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Thirty years of The Decorative Antiques Fair

For three decades, The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair has set the standard for antiques in interior design. It was the first in the UK to showcase a ‘look’ for decorating. This autumn, the fair is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Changes to the Fair since its launch in 1985 have reflected wider trends in interior design: the traditional ‘country house’ revival of the 1980s; the growing interest in painted French and Scandinavian furniture (which was not available at other fairs), and, later in the 1990s, the Fair opened its doors to mid-twentieth century design classics at the demand of a new generation of younger buyers. The last ten years have seen a surge of interest in industrial and architectural salvage, rustic country antiques and mid-century modern.

The Fair’s embarrassment of riches spans decorative and painted furniture, Art Deco and post-war modern design, lighting (from 18th century rococo chandeliers to modernist 60s wall lights), mirrors, textiles, rugs and kilims, upholstered and leather furniture, garden and outdoor furniture and ornament, It also caters for collectors of 17th to 20th century antiques and objects. But many would argue that what makes The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair really special is the quirky and the unusual: its dealers have a great eye for spotting objects that work as decorative highlights in a home.

Among the most unusual items sold at the fair in recent years are:
• A curvaceous leather and chrome 1960s recliner used in a James Bond film, £15,000
• A group of 14 taxidermy ducks to a retail buyer from Milan, £1400
• A 1920s Pearly King’s coat with ribbons to map all the places the owner had collected for charities, earliest 1926, latest 1933. £1650.
• An important C15th stone bishop’s hat (probably from a large figure)
• A striking piece of metal wall art in the form of a pair of giant lips, c1970s, £1200

An early Decorative Fair

An early, pre-1990, Decorative Fair

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Down at the deVOL cabin

Paul O’Leary, owner of deVOL Kitchens, took an ugly old 40ft trailer carcass and transformed it into a beautiful cabin that sits right by the river Soar at deVOL’s Cotes Mill showrooms. Paul documented the whole journey in pictures and in writing, from the bare bones of the old curtain sider truck, right up to the beautifully finished little cabin complete with a mini deVOL Kitchen, a pristine little bathroom, large wooden deck and even an Esse wood burning stove. It really is an amazing transformation…

deVOL Cabin

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Toiles de Mayenne

Prêt à Vivre has teamed up with the French company Toiles de Mayenne and their beautiful fabrics are now available in the UK.  Toiles de Mayenne was founded in 1806, and (still independent) is one of the last remaining French weavers. The company offers a wide range of luxury fabrics in a varied palette of colours and textures, and is known particularly for its beautiful stripes.

Prêt à Vivre are offering a large part of Toiles de Mayenne’s current range of stripes and patterns plus their Trevira range. Any of the fabrics can be bought by the metre or made up into curtains and blinds.

Toiles de Mayenne striped fabrics

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Leather-clad balustrade by Topp & Co.

Bespoke architectural metalworkers Topp & Co. have recently completed this stunning 30 metre leather-clad balustrade for a house in Hampstead, North London.

Leather handrail by Topp & Co

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Kitchen chic with Waterworks

Waterworks – the luxury bathroom brand from the USA – is launching its kitchen brand with over 200 pieces that give customers unrivalled choice. Selected products are available from the King’s Road London showroom in advance of the retail space’s official opening in early autumn.

Waterworks kitchen

Henry high profile one-hole bar faucet with cross handle, £1,481
Kerr custom stainless steel farmhouse apron sink, £2,363
Keystone 3cm Danby honed raw slab, £912.88
District Modulus field tile, £485.

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Ochre’s new leather furniture

Ochre designs are born through intensive experimentation and research, but above all are guided by an instinctive love of material and a fascination with form. We prize a subtle glamour that emanates from innovative techniques, visceral patinas and handcrafted detail. It is with great pleasure that we introduce our 2015 collection.’

 Arctic Pear lamp by Ochre

Ochre‘s new Willow dining table is an oval interpretation of their Whippet table.  It has granite grey steel legs and a polished plaster top, and looks beautiful with their Sable dining chairs in hand-dyed leather and the Arctic Pear single wave chandelier.

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Skinflint’s vintage asylum lights

Among Skinflint Design‘s latest reclaimed and salvaged lighting are some intriguingly named ‘Asylum lights’. It turns out that they actually were used in a Victorian lunatic asylum in the Midlands, c1950…

If you had walked into a hospital ward sixty years ago you might well have seen lights like these  mounted above the beds. They are pictured here in the infamous derelict Cane Hill Lunatic Asylum poised over the beds or bent and broken hanging down the flaking paint of the water damaged walls.

Installed in the late 1950s their clean lines and elegant shape mean that they are now considered a classic of mid-century design, from a practical point of view the articulation of the arm and head enabled the bed and patient to be easily illuminated by the resident medical staff. Unfortunately many of these elegant lights were lost during 1980s refurbishment programs, simply discarded as being ‘old fashioned’ and ‘out of date’. They are now highly sought-after stylish collectors items, and make for beautiful wall mounted bedside lamps with a rather unusual history.

vintage asylum lights from Skinflint

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