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

‘Quintessential, classic themes remain strong: muted neutrals and stripes are still popular. The flamboyant and acidic colours of the 90s and early part of this century have faded. Clients across all sectors of the interior design market are still looking for style combined with practicality. The use of fabric for wallcoverings is a notable trend, particularly in faux animal skins and other textures, as also is the continued growth of the use of striking fabrics in a variety of outdoor locations. Sheers remain popular as an alternative or complement to curtains.’

Mark Gee, KOTHEA www.kothea.com

This month don't miss

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

Frock Me at Home ! ( 8 March, 11-5.30), Chelsea Town Hall, London SW3. A new event from the vintage fashion show Frock Me. It will feature vintage fabrics, textiles, cushions, soft furnishings, classic retro furniture, radios, posters, lighting and all sorts of nostalgia. Don’t miss the 'pre-war' Tea Room which has become as popular as the fair itself. The waitresses are dressed in vintage outfits, and cakes, cream teas and sandwiches are served on antique china. There are even potted palms, and music tinkling on the gramophone in the corner. www.frockmeathome.com

Vintage Film Posters (11 March), Christie’s South Kensington, Old Brompton Rd, SW7. A biannual sale, with original posters from many different cinematic genres including film noir, horror and sci-fi. There’s always a good selection from the Golden Age of Hollywood and the ever popular James Bond films. www.christies.com

Country Living Magazine Spring Fair (11-15 March), Business Design Centre, Islington, London N1. Spring is in the air at this event, which is always strong on pretty home accessories. www.countrylivingfair.com

The Affordable Art Fair (12-15 March) Battersea Park, London SW11. 120 galleries, many new to the fair, will exhibit a fresh line-up of paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints - all priced between £50 and £3000. Special 2 for 1 ticket offer if you print and present our newsletter. For more info go to www.affordableartfair.com

Luxury Antiques Weekend (13 –15 March), Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel, Longhorsley, near Morpeth, Northumberland. Some 24 fine art and antique dealers, all members of BADA and LAPADA will be here. 01797 252030 www.lindenhallfair.com

London Design Week (15-20 March), Chelsea Harbour, London W10.
Spring’s biggest decorating event takes place in The Design Centre showrooms and at the premises of well-known names on the nearby King’s Road. See the latest collections and take part in forums, lectures and masterclasses. 15-17 March are trade days, and the general public is welcome from 18-20 March. For event details call 020-7225 9101 or look at www.designcentrechelseaharbour.co.uk

Theatre & Performance Galleries (opening 18 March), V&A . After the closure of the Theatre Musem in Covent Garden in 2007, these new galleries will display the UK's national collection of material about live performance in the UK since Shakespeare's day, covering drama, dance, musical theatre, circus, music hall, rock and pop, and other forms of live entertainment. www.vam.ac.uk or 020-79422000.

The EDF Energy Ideal Home Show (20 March-13 April), Earl’s Court, Warwick Road, London SW5. The grand-daddy of all ‘house’ shows. From loft conversions to the latest gadgets. This year’s themes are Save Money, Save Energy and Save Space. www.idealhomeshow.co.uk For tickets call 0844 415 4144.

The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19 to 22 March), NEC, Birmingham. Find the right products and services to convert, extend, renovate or build a house from scratch. Over 500 exhibitors and 120 free seminar and masterclass sessions over the four days. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk or call 0871 945 4547.

BADA Antiques & Fine Art Fair (25-31 March), Duke of York’s Square, off Sloane Square, London SW3. 100 of the country’s leading antique dealers will gather. All are members of the British Antique Dealers’ Association, and all items on sale are carefully vetted for quality and authenticity. Take advantage of the special offer of 'Two for One' for £10 (Normal admission is £10 single and £15 for two) when you quote 'The House Directory Offer' at the ticket desk at the BADA Fair. For more information visit www.bada-antiques-fair.co.uk

Chelsea Antiques Fair (25-29 March), Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Road, London SW3. A popular event, known for its wide range of affordable antiques. It’s timed to coincide with the BADA Antiques Fair, and there will be a chauffeur service between the two venues. www.penmanfairs.co.uk

La Dolce Vita (26-29 March), Olympia, Hammersmith, London W14. Italian food & drink , property, fashion and design. For more details see www.ladolcevitaevent.co.uk

Ask the Experts

Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. How can I disguise an ugly RSJ which runs across my kitchen ceiling?

Oakleaf produces some marvellous (and lightweight) reproduction wood products – panelling, beams, and even a special ‘Great Beam’, cast from a 300 year-old original, to clad RSJs and modern steel structures. Go to www.oakleaf.co.uk or call 01535-663 274

Do you know of any industrial kitchen companies who would be able to work
on a domestic job ? We are especially interested in stainless steel worktops.

We suggest you try one of the country’s specialists in stainless steel fabrication. GEC Anderson have been manufacturing stainless steel worktops with integrated sinks, plus units, for over 45 years. They work on both commercial and residential commissions, all over the country www.gecanderson.co.uk (01442-826999)

Sources of the month

Soane's new website enables clients not only to buy their glamorous furniture and lighting, but to customize products online. With 17 wood finishes and 20 different colour goatskins, the variations are immense. Trade users can also add products to different ‘projects’ allowing them to build up ideas for later use or purchase online. www.soane.co.uk

Woven Ground's user-friendly website is now even more fun. You can design your own rug, to your own dimensions, in a matter of minutes. The permutations are endless… Go to www.wovenground.com

is a useful site which brings together antique and modern design dealers all over the world. Sellers can either list their items individually or have direct links to their own websites, allowing us to inspect their stock 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Stop Press

We love this quirky tea-set with biscuit saucers and sugar clouds by food stylists Delphine Huguet & Anne Charlotte Blanchot for their company Ebullition’s stand at the latest Maison & Objet fair in Paris. They are not for sale, but to see more of their playful comestibles, check out www.huguetpourebullition.ultra-book.com