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

‘For instant glamour and grandeur, paint reproductions of early 18th century gilded mirrors or wall brackets with greyish white flat oil paint!’

Wendy Nicholls, Managing Director of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler
39 Brook St, London W1, 020-7493 2231

This month don't miss

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

Folk Art Exhibition (8-16 May), Robert Young Antiques, 68 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11. Robert and Josyane Young’s 10th selling exhibition of folk art . Preview at 6.30 pm on 7 May. For more info see www.robertyoungantiques.com

Artists’ Open Houses (four weekends in May) is the biggest free arts event in Britain. Over 1000 artists of Brighton and Hove will throw open their galleries, studios and homes. Plus a new mini-festival of eight curated projects, drawing on artists' interpretations of the theme ‘Art and Domestic Space’ Visit www.aoh.org.uk

Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair (8 -10 May), Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallett, Somerset. Head off to the West Country for this fair (with some 600 stalls) which is popular with dealers. 2 for 1 ticket offer for the first 25 people to apply.  Just phone 01636 702326 and quote The House Directory to receive your ticket for Sat 9 or Sun 10 May. www.dmgantiquefairs.com

London Photograph Fair (10 May), Park Inn (Bonnington Hotel), Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, WC1 . Historic images, contemporary photographs and books on photography. www.photofair.co.uk

Interiors Sale (12 May) and Vintage Posters: A Golden Age of Travel (19 May), Christies’ South Kensington , London SW7.For details go to www.christies.com

Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects (15-17 May) is presented by the Crafts Council and in 2009 re-launches in its new venue - the Saatchi Gallery, London. Bringing together selected galleries from around the globe, Collect showcases the best in decorative and applied arts. www.craftscouncil.org.uk/collect/

Museums at Night 2009 (weekend of 15,16,17 May), Tours by candlelight, sleepovers, after-dark fire-spinning and lots more. It’s part of the European-wide Nuits des Musees celebrations. London events include a 'Battleship Boogie' 1940's style aboard the HMS Belfast and the chance to spend the night in the Cabinet War Rooms. For more info, go to www.mgm.org.uk

The Shambles, Church Street, Newent, Gloucestershire (18-22 May), Sale of fixtures and fittings from a delightful museum of Victorian life which uniquely recreates the feel of the 1890s. Eerything from the original shop facades and their interiors to corn merchants and the police station manned by its Bobby will be offered in the 4,000-lot sale. Estimates from £10 to £1,000. For details call 01452 344499, www.simonchorley.com

Garden Ornament & Fossils Auction (19 May), Summers Place Auctions, The Walled Garden, Stane Street, Billingshurst, West Sussex. Tel: 01403 331331. Held in association with Sotheby's in the walled gardens and arboretum of Summers Place with 5 acres of landscaped grounds, the auction offers items ranging from a few hundred pounds to over £250,000. www.summersplaceauctions.com

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2008 (19-23 May), Royal Hospital, Chelsea. The world’s most famous flower show, with show gardens, floral exhibitors and hundreds of garden product suppliers. For more info, see www.rhs.org.uk/Chelsea. Ticket hotline 0844-2091810. Several of our members are exhibiting: don’t miss Emily Readett-Bayley’s salvaged teak tables (www.emilyreadettbayley.com); David Harber’s sundials and water features (www.davidharber.co.uk); Wilverley’s swinging garden sofas (www.wilverley.com); Encompass’ modern furniture and accessories (www.encompassco.com) and Architectural Heritage’s garden statuary and furniture (www.architectural-heritage.co.uk)

Date in your diary

Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair (5-14 June)
, Olympia, Hammermith Rd, London W14. With over 250 exhibitors, this is a great opportunity to see and buy from the world’s leading international dealers together in one place. Collectors’ preview on 4 June. 2 tickets for the price of one with a print-out of this newsletter. Tickets: 0871-2305592 www.olympiaartsinternational.com

Ask the Experts

Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. I am looking for some pretty Indian cotton bedspreads to take out to a holiday home in Greece.

Maharani Trading have a selection of antique and new bedspreads and throws, including Bengali running-stitch quilts in a variety of stunning colours and patterns, Jaipur block-printed bedspreads and white patchwork or silk bedspreads from Rajasthan. Visit their shop at 26 Parsons Green Lane, London, SW6 (020-7384 4538) or log on to www.maharanitrading.com. Malabar Trading also have a wide range of pretty hand-crafted and ethically-produced block-printed, cutwork and quilted bedspreads. See www.malabartrading.com (01308-425734).

Q. Where can I find Portuguese woven cotton bath mats in white or beige?

Have a look at the ‘Braga’ bathmats in white or clay with a geometric floral motif from Balineum (www.balineum.co.uk 0120-7487 5826) or the ‘Oporto’ mats with a diamond or spot border and the larger ‘Salamanca’ mat from Cologne & Cotton, who have several shops in London. For addresses visit www.cologneandcotton.com or call 01926 332573.

Sources of the month

One of the most exciting new products we spotted at London Design Week in March was salmon skin leather! From the new ‘Arctic’ collection of Icelandic products at Chase Erwin, the skins, usually discarded after a fishing haul, are tanned using hydroelectric power and thermal water and then carefully hand-strung in a small cottage factory near the Arctic Circle. The result is a soft leather, durable enough for upholstery. It’s eco-friendly and comes in seven pearly colours. Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, SW0,  020-8875 1222, www.arctic-designs.com

The Royal School of Needlework
have been commissioned by English Heritage to create wall hangings and textiles for Dover Castle for a recreation of the appearance of the castle’s Great Tower on the occasion of a royal visit around 1184. Using the same techniques and spirit of past embroiderers to produce specialist decorative work worthy of Henry II, the RSN will create four pieces of embroidery to decorate the King’s Hall and the Guest Hall. Dover Castle attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. Please call 01304 205 108 to check opening hours. The made-over Great Tower will open on 1 August 2009. www.royal-needlework.org.uk and www.english-heritage.org.uk


Paris Ceramics has been bought by luxury wall and floor specialist De Ferranti. ‘Of course, I’ll be refining the collection,’ says Alvaro de Ferranti, ‘but without taking away those very classic qualities of product that designers loved from the heyday of Paris Ceramics’. De Ferranti have already moved into the Paris Ceramics showroom at 583 King’s Road, London SW6, 020 7371 7778. www.parisceramics.com and www.deferranti.com

Plain English have opened a new Marylebone showroom for their stylish, understated kitchens: it’s at 28 Blandford Street, London W1. Tel 020-7486 2674 www.plainenglishdesign.co.uk

Charles Edwards' doorstopper of a new catalogue is now available, with 100 new products, including lanterns, chandeliers, wall lights, mirrors and furniture. There are 200 pages of colour photographs of products available in 36 different metal finishes. Order it from www.charlesedwards.com, or by calling the shop on 020 7736 8490.

Mediterraneo, creator of spectacular Murano glass lighting, mirrors and furniture, is launching its first USA based showroom on Charlton St, New York (and will be holding an Open House at the New York showroom during ICFF, May 16-19 2009). For more on their individual pieces handmade entirely to the customer’s specification, visit www.mediterraneodesign.com