Vanity Fair’s A-list says ‘ is the simple answer to my prayers... Since discovering it, I would never decorate without it.’’ Look up the full review on
In his new book, David Mlinaric, renowned interior designer, puts the case for keeping it simple…

‘To live in an architecturally distinctive house, flat, or even room, will have a strong influence on its owner but also living in a plain space can, too. Often the simplest things are easiest to like, in clothes, food, gardens and landscape, as well as in buildings. Peasant decoration can be as beautiful as Robert Adam’s, or Percier and Fontaine’s. Looking back to when I began as an interior decorator, there was a simplicity and spontaneity, almost an innocence, about the choices in the work we were asked to do, and often decoration was limited to one or two options. As the years went on, people’s requests or requirements became more complicated and the choices wider, the results not necessarily more beautiful. It could well be that an appreciation of simplicity will return, driven by greater awareness of the fragility of our world as much as by aesthetics.’

Mlinaric on Decorating (written with Mirabel Cecil) is published this month. In it he looks back at the buildings he has worked on and been inspired by during his long career, and takes an expert look at the creation and interpretation of historic interiors. (Frances Lincoln, £35. )

On Monday 22nd Sept. from 5.30pm Mlinaric will be signing copies of his book at Potterton London (93 Lower Sloane Street – a stone’s throw from Decorex). To attend the signing or reserve a copy, email or call 020 7730 4235.

This month don't miss

Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

20/21 British Art Fair (10-14 Sept), Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, SW7. Now in its 21st year, this fair brings together 58 exhibitors selling paintings, original prints, drawings and sculpture.

The London Design Festival (13-23 Sept). Over 350 design events, exhibitions, shows, activities and installations. Key destinations include Covent Garden, Brompton Design Quarter, East London and Mayfair. For more information, visit or call 020-7734 6444.

Top Drawer Autumn (14-16 Sept), Olympia, London
A trade show with 800 suppliers of gifts, home accessories, jewellery cards & stationery, outdoor products and more.

100% Design (18-21 Sept), Earl's Court, London, SW5 is the UK’s best-known contemporary interiors event. Presenting big brands, emerging talent and new products, 100% Design attracts leading manufacturers, star designers and major specifiers from the UK and overseas. For more information about 100% Design or to register log on to Visitor hotline: 01923-690624

Home Building & Renovating Show (19-21 Sept), Excel, London. Meet hundreds of exhibitors specialising in self-build and renovation, gain free one-to-one advice from experts, attend free self-build seminars and masterclasses. For more info, visit

Open House London: ‘Architecture up close’ (20-21 Sept), The capital’s largest architectural showcase gives us the opportunity to explore more than 650 of London’s architectural gems and contemporary design and to meet the architects, design teams and building users on site. Admission free, but some tours must be pre-booked.

Tent London (18-21 Sept), Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.
Taking place in a vast reclaimed industrial site in Brick Lane, Tent London is an eclectic design event showing art and architecture, vintage and contemporary design by emerging and established designers from around the world.

Decorex International (21-24 Sept), Royal Hospital Grounds, London SW3. The essential pilgrimage for interior designers, buyers and architects from all over the world. Over 300 top interior companies take part, including The House Directory – don’t forget to come and see us on stand K320 ! Visit to register, or call 01923 690638 (trade ticket enquiries only). Members of the public are invited to a Private View on Tues. 23rd Sept. 3-7pm. Tickets cost £20 and include a glass of champagne.  Call 01923 690665 to book.

Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970 (25 Sept - 11 Jan 2009), V&A Museum. The first exhibition to explore how contemporary design, architecture, film and popular culture were shaped by the Cold War. The exhibition brings together over 300 iconic exhibits from a Sputnik and a space suit to films by Stanley Kubrick, fashion by Paco Rabane, designs by Dieter Rams and architecture by Le Corbusier.

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair (30 Sept-5 Oct), The Marquee, Battersea Park, London SW11. This fair is held three times a year, with more than 130 exhibitors taking part. Plus a special Foyer selling exhibition called MODEL LIVING: Architectural Models, Miniature Furniture, Apprentice Pieces, Patents, Ships and Toys.

Sources of the month

Presenting two new members of The House Directory…

Surface View
creates murals, prints on canvas and blinds from over 1000 unique and unexpected images, and can print them to your exact specifications. You can view their collections online (including some great images from The Natural History Museum, the V&A and The National Maritime Museum) and see how your chosen product would look in different roomsets. They also offer a specialist service, consultancy and installation. 0118-9221327

A company we discovered at The Chelsea Flower Show, Bronzino, has joined The House Directory. They design and sell hand-made planters crafted from solid sheet copper, welded and/or riveted using traditional techniques. There are four different patinas or a natural polished finish. The planters are strong but light so are easy to ship and are perfect for roof gardens and terraces. There’s also a bespoke design service for copper cisterns, boxes, pools, fountains and architectural pieces. 020-7370 4344

and two new designs by Barbara Hulanicki…

Biba founder and fashion legend Barbara Hulanicki has designed a new range of bespoke wallpaper for Graham & Brown. The three Art Deco and Art Nouveau-inspired designs come in shades of oyster, turquoise, black and gold. They are £30 per roll.

Hulanicki has also recently designed artwork for the cover of one of Virago’s Modern Classics, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the collection. Other twentieth century women fabric designers who have contributed are Lucienne Day, Cath Kidston, Orla Kierly and Celia Birtwell.

Ask the experts

Selected from our free Q&A service
This month it’s curtain poles…

Can you please advise me where to buy reasonably-priced acrylic curtain
poles and finials?

As the material is expensive, and the poles need to be of a certain size, acrylic or Perspex is not an inexpensive choice. I have spoken to Bryony Alexander and they say that high street shops (i.e. John Lewis) might offer less expensive poles, but if they are less than 35 ml they will probably bend in time. However, Bryony Alexander's set range (35 ml poles with a choice of about 5 finials) is one option. They recommend that for every 1.5m of curtain you will need a centre bracket, unless you opt for a 50 ml. pole.

I am looking for a supplier of raw/unlacquered brass curtain poles. Who would you suggest?
Most manufacturers with brass poles in their collections can supply them unlacquered, from the trade supplier Hunter & Hyland to the top range from McKinney & Co, which can be custom made in the finish of your choice.