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

A passion for prints…

“I'm always saddened when people say that they never use prints, or that they have one in the room so they couldn't possibly use another.  My view of them is that they can so easily be used in the same way that someone would use plains.  I entreat visitors to my showroom never to be scared of using them.  Provided they follow a similar theme, in terms of style - be they florals, geometrics, toiles de Jouy, or any other theme, and that the colours are complementary - you can use lots of them together.  A beautiful example of this is Carolina Irving's drawing room in her NY apartment. Have a go - you may fall in love with gorgeous prints.” Helen Cormack

Helen Cormack’s company Tissus d'Hélène specialises in artisanal fabrics and wallpapers from England, France, Belgium, Italy and America. Her showroom houses a beautiful and huge selection of prints, most of which are hand-blocked or hand-screen printed. There are also silks, linens, hand embroideries and velvets, many of which can be custom-made for specific design projects.

Helen recently launched her own ‘Fleurons d’Helene’ collection of small cotton prints. There are seven designs in several colourways. They retail at £138m. www.tissusdhelene.co.uk

Members' News

Fritz Fryer have just launched a new website with useful extra features - a wishlist which enables you to create and email a list of products, and downloadable/printable PDFs of every product (really useful for design schemes). Plus they are offering our readers 20% off all antiques until 29 February. Quote code HD20. www.fritzfryer.co.uk

And there’s a new and user-friendly website from Drummonds too. It showcases all their classic bathroom products, with the addition of practical information (complete technical details and available finishes for each item and downloadable CAD drawings). www.drummonds-uk.com

Evitavonni has given an old Woolworth store in Farnham a multi-million pound makeover and has opened a vast luxury lifestyle store on three floors. It sells bespoke kitchens and bathrooms, home accessories, exclusive fabrics and even has an in-house florist. It’s at 2/3 The Borough Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7NA. www.evitavonni.co.uk

The Limestone Gallery has a smart new showroom for its huge selection of onyx, marble, granite and limestone surfaces and floors, as well as its carved stone baths and basins. 37 Moreton Street, London SW1. www.limestonegallery.com

Contemporary lighting specialists 299 Lighting have a new range by the German company Tobias Grau which focuses on beautifully-engineered high-end office and domestic lights with low power consumption. www.299lighting.co.uk

Beth Worth of Love House Design is working on a community centre/cafe refurbishment in a council estate in Tunbridge Wells. She’s giving what was a grim institutional-looking space with tatty chairs a warmer and more natural look with a cork wall to display art and a blackboard wall for free expression. Despite the need to 'make do and mend', she’s introducing and a few choice additions like the Eames ‘Hang it All’ coat hooks. www.lovehousedesign.com

New Books

Natural plaster specialists Clayworks have been busy plastering many of Nando’s restaurants, up and down the UK, from Hull to London’s High St Ken. They have also updated and reprinted their Using Natural Finishes book. It’s packed with information on natural finishes, instructions on applying lime and clay based plasters, renders and paints, as well as suppliers and courses. To order the book (£25 plus p&p) or their simple to use pre-mixed plasters (in 27 warm earth colours) go to www.clay-works.com

Isabelle Palmer’s new book The Balcony Gardener: Creative Ideas for Small Spaces (Cico Books) is filled with clever ideas to make your small outdoor spaces really work for you: planting projects, decorative outdoor styling, seasonal displays for Easter and Christmas, grow your own and even recipes. The book is on special offer at £11.24 on her website: www.thebalconygardener.com

Don't Miss This Month

Watercolours + Works on Paper Fair (until 5 Feb), Level 2 Galleries, The Science Museum, London SW7. Still time to get to this lively fair with all types of art on paper from every era, including drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs and posters, with prices from £500 to £100,000. Print out and take in this newsletter for two tickets for the price of one! www.worksonpaperfair.com

Carrying the flame: silver candlesticks of the past three centuries (until 19 May), London Silver Vaults, WC2. The 30 + specialist silver dealers have put together this selling exhibition of antique and modern silver. www.thesilvervaults.com

Adams Antiques Fair (5 Feb), Horticultural Hall, Elverton St, London SW1. The biggest monthly antiques fair in central London. www.adamsantiquesfairs.com

Spring International Fair (5-9 Feb), NEC Birmingham. The UK’s largest home and gift fair for the trade. www.springfair.com

The Chester Antiques & Fine Art Show (9-12 Feb), The County Grandstand, Chester Racecourse, Chester. More than fifty dealers from across the country will offer for sale a wide range of antiques, works of art and objets d'art with prices from under £50 to over £20,000. All exhibits are vetted for quality and authenticity. www.penman-fairs.co.uk

London Plant & Design Show (14-15 Feb), RHS Horticultural Halls, Vincent Square, London SW1. Ideas and inspiration for balconies, urban gardens, and for the first time at this show, roof-top gardens. Some of the UK’s best nurseries will be bringing spring flowering plants, plus books, tools and accessories. www.rhs.org.uk

20/21 International Art Fair (16-19 Feb), Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7. International modern and contemporary art – oils, original prints, watercolours, drawings, photography and ceramics from 1900 to the present, with a very accessible price range. For details see www.20-21intartfair.com

Furniture Painting Workshop (18 Feb, 10-4), Decor Cafe, Putney SW15. Homeware store West Egg is running a series of furniture painting workshops (there’s another course on 16 March). Learn how to create an authentic French country look using chalk paints, with tips on preparation and choosing furniture, matching colours, distressing and waxing. It costs £125 with all materials, refreshments and a buffet lunch. www.westegg.co.uk

The Listed Property Show (18-19 Feb), Olympia 2, London. This event provides owners of listed buildings with access to the products and services of around 200 specialist suppliers. Plus information on VAT, grants, insurance etc. For details visit www.listedpropertyshow.co.uk

Luxury Antiques Weekend (24-26 Feb), Tortworth Court, Wotton-under-Edge, Glouc. This ‘boutique-style’ fair will feature specialist dealers in fine furniture, silver, jewellery, sculpture, paintings, oriental carpets, ceramics, book illustrations, prints, clocks, portrait miniatures, arms and armour, glass and other objets d'art.  For two tickets for the price of one email info@adfl.co.uk or print up a copy of this newsletter and take it with you to the fair. www.adfl.co.uk

Ceramic Art London (24-26 Feb), Royal College of Art, London SW7.
Discover and buy work from over 75 established and emerging ceramic artists. Plus talks and demonstrations. www.ceramics.org.uk

Alistair Erskine: A Royal Tour of Portugal, Spain & Morocco (29 Feb-9 March), James Harvey British Art, 15 Langton St, SW10. Decorative artist Alistair Erskine accompanied the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall last spring as official tour artist. A chance to see the charming paintings from the oil sketches he executed on their travels. www.jamesharveybritishart.com

Dates in Your Diary

International Antique & Collectors’ Fair (6-7 March), South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex . One of the antiques world’s best-known fixtures, this fair boasts up to 1,700 stalls and is only one hour from London. Tuesday is trade day, Wednesday public entry.www.dmgantiquefairs.com

Embroidery Workshop (12 March, 5-7pm), Maharani, 173 Fulham Road, SW3. Indian-inspired  textiles: Thomas Wardle and the Leek Embroidery Society. Mrs Elizabeth Wardle and the Leek Embroidery Society created beautiful embroidered textiles for church and domestic use from c1880. This two-hour workshop (with tutors from the Royal School of Needlework) consists of a short introduction followed by stitch tuition on hand-block  printed Indian cotton using stitching techniques, including long and short, back, stem, buttonhole, French knot and couching. For tickets (£25) email sarah.mahaffy@zen.co.uk www.maharanitrading.com

PS. Don’t forget to visit our new design BLOG and please give our Facebook page a thumbs-up! www.facebook.com/TheHouseDirectory and follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/HouseDirectory