Welcome to our monthly newsletter, providing you with the latest events and courses, trend forecasts, new sources, and answers to your interior design problems.
Tips & Trends

"Although ‘comfort’ is a word that is now often employed and used lightly, for centuries there was no such word, and when it did first appear in the English language, it was used in the sense of ‘to strengthen’ or ‘to console’. Over time that meaning evolved to also include ‘to feel at ease’, and today when people say ‘I feel comfortable’ in many contexts that phrase is actually a synonym for feeling ‘at home’... Comfort and style are very easy partners, and can be quite easily achieved: for example, colour is comfortable, both on the walls and in furnishings: in particular, tablecloths, for instance, are comfortable in that they suggest delicious meals soon to be eaten."

from interiors doyenne Caroline Clifton-Mogg’s latest book, The Comforts of Home (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99)

This month don't miss
Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

Leighton House Museum (3 April), 12 Holland Park Road, London W14. The home of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton reopens after a £1.6 million refurbishment. The dome of his opulent Arab Hall (with its collection of 1,000 Syrian tiles) has been regilded. www.rbkc.gov.uk/Leightonhousemuseum/general

Newark Antique & Collectors Fair (8-9 April), Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Winthorpe, Notts. Europe's largest antiques event with up to 4000 stalls spread over 84 acres. www.iacf.co.uk

Positive View: Auction of Photographs (15 April), Christie’s, King St, London W1. A charity auction in aid of Crisis. More than 100 photographs across all genres, from still-life, fashion, landscape, portraiture and reportage. It follows a free exhibition at Somerset House which will run until 15 April. www.christies.com

Adams Antiques Fair (18 April), Horticultural Hall, Elverton St, London SW1. The biggest monthly antiques fair in central London. www.adamsantiquesfairs.com

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair (20-25 April), The Marquee, Battersea Park, London SW11. An inspiring source of antiques and 20th century design. Plus a Foyer display of wonderful garden sculpture, fountains, natural decorative objects put together by dealer Robert Barley, who has exhibited at this fair since its launch in 1985. www.decorativefair.com. For a free email ticket for two, contact pr@pipparoberts.com, quoting The House Directory.

The Art of the Frame: Renaissance to the 20th Century (22 April), Sotheby’s Institute Of Art, 30 Bedford Square, London WC1. This one-day course examines the evolution of the picture frame led by changes in decorative taste and fashion. It costs £95. To book, and to see future courses, go to www.sothebysinstitute.com

Chelsea Art Fair (23-25 April), Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3. Quality contemporary and 20th century work by renowned and up-and-coming artists, including 3-dimensional works of all kinds. Prices from £200 to £20,000. For a free e-ticket, go to www.chelseaartfair.org

Pick Me Up (23 April-3 May), Somerset House, Strand, London WC2.
The first contemporary graphic art fair in the UK. The event will bring together some of the most exciting graphic artists working today, with the opportunity to buy limited edition, affordable graphic art, illustration and design. www.somersethouse.org.uk/pickmeup

Antiques & Fine Art Fair (23-25 April) Botleigh Grange, Hedge End, Southampton, Hants. A new fair showcasing 25 members of BADA and LAPADA. www.adfl.co.uk

Sampson & Horne (28 April) Bonhams, New Bond St, London W1. The legendary English antique dealership are to sell their entire stock, comprising nearly 800 lots. Outstanding and eye-catching examples of 17th and 18th century British pottery. www.bonhams.com

London Original Print Fair (29 April-3 May), Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington Gardens. The longest-running specialist print fair in the world is celebrating its 25th year. It covers all periods of printmaking from the early woodcuts of Dürer and his contemporaries, to the graphic work of contemporary artists such as Hockney and Hirst. www.londonprintfair.com

Christen Købke: Danish Master of Light (until 13 June), National Gallery, London WC2. Don’t miss this Danish genre painter’s simple and serene portraits and landscapes. www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Horace Walpole & Strawberry Hill (until 4 July), V&A Museum, London SW7 This first major exhibition on the most important English collector of the 18th century brings together many of his most remarkable objects. www.vam.ac.uk

Dates in Your Diary (win free tickets !)

Grand Designs Live London (1-9 May)
ExCeL, London’s Victoria Docks. This vast show - with Kevin McCloud as event presenter - has over 500 exhibitors and is packed with products, information, services and advice – whether for self-build projects or refurbishment. We have ten pairs of tickets to give away to readers of our newsletter, so email us now on info@thehousedirectory.com stating ‘Free Grand Design tickets’. www.granddesignslive.com Ticket hotline: 0844-5810771


Our friends at The Good Web Guide are inviting our newsletter readers to enter a competition. You could win one of three limited edition and signed roller blinds by pop artist Deborah Azzopardi, worth £500 each. Enter by 12 April: www.thegoodwebguide.co.uk

Members' News

Altfield is now distributing leathers by the American company Moore & Giles (est in 1933). Their range includes hides in a great colour palette, patterned and embossed leathers (including suede overprinted with eel skin, cow hide or shagreen), and metallic-finish leathers like the Byzantine-looking ‘Finesse’, shown here. www.altfield.com

These lovely new linen binding tapes caught our eye at Tissus D’Helene at London Design Week. There are plain ones in two widths, thin and broad stripes, and mixed colour weaves in ten colours. (They can also be colour-matched). They retail at £9 - £24 a metre. Tel: 020-7352 9977 email: tissusdhelene@mac.com

Fired Earth's new Tile Basics diffusion line (100 wall and floor tiles starting at just 36p per tile) includes a new Metropolitan range inspired by the London Tube, in eight colours named after the stations in which their colour appears. In square or rectangular formats, suitable for kitchens and bathrooms, with prices starting at 85p per tile. www.firedearth.com

Little Greene’s new Colour Scales® card combines 12 of the best-loved colours from its ‘Colours of  England’ collection with lighter or darker tones of each. The overlapping paint chips make for an  incredibly easy-to-use system for combining colours in a room. (It also overcomes the problem of viewing a colour surrounded by bright white.) Available from early April through distributors and online at www.thelittlegreene.com

Sasha Waddell Furniture are offering a 15% discount on retail sales of items from their Cape Cod range, which includes a versatile swivel-top dining table. www.sashawaddell.com

Alternative Flooring’s new ‘Contour’ collection is big on texture and geometric designs. There are four new sisals and wool sisal floorings (19 colours). To see more go to www.alternativeflooring.com

Sources of the month

workshops for garden inspiration…

Sarah Raven will be running two workshops at the LSE, WC2. The Cutting Garden, on 22 April, will show you how to prepare, plant, maintain and harvest buckets of flowers from your own garden from March to November, and in Year-Round Veg she’ll focus on highly productive, long-season crops, which will give you delicious things to eat without taking over your life. Each course is £90 . To book, go to www.sarahraven.co.uk

And Clifton Nurseries are running one of their popular evening classes on April 14th (6.30-8.30). Spring Planting - Take Your Garden Home. You can choose flowers or herb/salad combinations and plant up a window box. £15 to include all materials, plants and light refreshments. www.clifton.co.uk

Round and About

At the Country Living Fair, we discovered Folk at Home, a new Sussex-based company that’s sourcing local hand-made products: benches made by a wood surgeon at Great Dixter, lino-cut cards, candles from Cumbria, and blankets from Romney Marsh wools… www.folkathome.com

New Books

Dream Rooms, Inspirational Interiors from 100 Homes by Andreas von Einsiedel and Johanna Thornycroft (Merrell). Just out, this is a great sourcebook of styles and ideas for every room of the house. Clearly organized by room, with more than 800 inspiring photographs. To buy it for the special price of £22.95 inc p&p (rrp £24.95) call Marston Book Services on 01235 465 500 and quote ref. MPMERHDD. www.merrellpublishers.com

Nina Campbell's Decorating Notebook by Nina Campbell (Cico Books, £16.99). The woman whose name is a byword for classic English comfort and style reveals her trademark touches and personal inspirations. She takes us through each stage of decorating, from bare walls to styling cushions, and explains how to think through your home as a designer would. www.cicobooks.co.uk