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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...

The Country House Ideal

The Country House Ideal, Recent Work by ADAM Architecture is a survey of country houses designed by the Winchester-based ADAM Architecture.  It places the country house in its rich historical context and explores the way in which ADAM Architecture – a practice of five directors, each with a distinct architectural personality – uses historical precedents, techniques and materials to design country houses for modern times.

Adam Architecture, East Hoe, exterior

A new Queen Anne-style wing of East Hoe Manor in Hampshire provides a sympathetic extension to the eighteenth century original.

Adam Architecture, East Hoe, interior

East Hoe: the new exposed timber-framed roof structure of the family kitchen and sitting room.

Adam Architecture, Peny Lane, exterior

Penny Lane Farm in Hampshire has a strong Arts & Crafts character, with tall chimneys, timber dormers and steeply-pitched clay-tiled roofs.

Adam Architecture, Peny Lane, interior

Penny Lane Farm: the long, stone-flagged hallway is divided by square oak columns and is used as both a picture gallery and a room for occasional shoot lunches.

Adam Architecture, Windston, exterior

Wudston House in Wiltshire feels like one of the most Italian of the Palladian-inspired houses designed by George Saumarez Smith.

Adam Architecture, Windston, interior

Wudston: the principal overmantel of the sala, which is used for dining and receptions. You can just see the panels of plasterwork by Geoffrey Preston, specially commissioned for this house.

The Country House Ideal

ADAM Architecture – a practice of five directors: Robert Adam, Nigel Anderson, Paul Hanvey, Hugh Petter and George Saumarez Smith – is known for its diverse portfolio and its emphasis on traditional building skills, and its country houses are among the practice’s most admired work.  The quantity of work illustrated in this book is impressive, as is the variety of styles, which are featured in the four main chapters: Anglo-Classical, Rural Romantics, Palladian and Neoclassical. As Jeremy Musson explains, the houses reveal the country house ideal in a modern world, where energy conservation, technology and sustainability are high on the list of prerequisites, along with flexible family rooms rather than ballrooms and service wings.

All images  are copyright Paul Barker, as well as being taken from ‘The Country House Ideal: Recent Work by ADAM Architecture‘ by Jeremy Musson  (Merrell Publishers £40

Craven Dunnill’s new Ludlow tile collection

Specialist tile company Craven Dunnill has launched the new Ludlow Collection of elongated brick-shaped wall tiles with a hand-made look and a pretty palette of colours.

Each tile is individually crafted with irregular edges and a gently undulating surface. The semi-transparent glaze follows the contours of the hand crafted tile and gives an individual charm and a heritage look.

Craven Dunnill, Ludlow tile

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Mix & match bathroom fittings from The Water Monopoly

The new Rockwell range of bathroom accessories from The Water Monopoly brings new freedom to bathroom design. You can mix and match gorgeously coloured tap heads, showers, flush handles and bath feet – they can complement each other or contrast as you like.

The range features a classic selection of Fifties-inspired colours, along with black, white and a variety of metal finishes. It means that children’s bathrooms can easily be changed as tastes develop and mature. And for hotels, the range finally provides the much longed-for versatility to respond to ever-changing demands of design and budget. For even greater flexibility, The Water Monopoly offers a bespoke colour creation service, so you could match your tiles or wallpaper…

Rockwell taps - The Water Monopoly

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Garden Magic by George Carter

Garden designer George Carter is noted for his witty and theatrical approach to garden design. A Chelsea Flower Show multiple gold medallist, he is currently working on the restoration of the gardens at the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, and has designed and made gardens for Burghley House and Penshurst Place, among other stately homes. He also designs exhibitions, including many at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
In his new book, Garden Magic, George Carter reveals his much-coveted garden secrets – based on his own passion for exquisite 17th century formal garden design – made simple and accessible for all. Photographed at his Norfolk home, he not only shows how he created his own exceptional garden, but also demonstrates quick and easy ways for readers to emulate his style.

George Carter's Garden Magic

George Carter made his gate using different garden tools nailed into a frame.

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Guess Who? kids’ fabrics & wallpapers

British brand SCION, known for its trend-savvy yet affordable designs, has branched out to produce its first range of fabrics and wallcoverings designed specifically for kids. The light-hearted and imaginative Guess Who? collection features whimsical animals, bold stripes, playful patterns and funky florals available in coordinating fabrics and wallpapers.

Children's wallpaper by Scion

Hello Dolly 111266 wallpaper features all the hairstyles à la mode. It’s £28 a roll.

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‘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.

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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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