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

‘One of the cheapest and most rewarding interior design options is paper and paper products. Wherever you go seek out quirky handwritten items and printed matter with unusual fonts and typesetting. When you return home the possibilities will start to present themselves as you begin framing, tacking and hanging them to the walls.’
stylist Sibella Court

Sibella’s inspiring new book Etcetera is packed with tips for what she calls ‘slapdash styling and deconstructed decorating solutions’. Published by Murdoch Books, it’s £20. www.murdochbooks.co.uk. Her own shop, The Society Inc., is in Sydney, and sells textiles, hardware, paint and homewares. www.thesocietyinc.com.au

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

Grand Designs Live London (until 9 May) ExCeL, London’s Victoria Docks. Still time to get to this vast show packed with products, information, services and advice from over 500 exhibitors. www.granddesignslive.com Ticket hotline: 0844-5810771

Three Classicists (6 - 29 May), RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1
The three young classicists whose skill as architectural designers is matched by their exceptional drawing talent are Ben Pentreath , George Saumarez Smith and Francis Terry. For the private view and the first two days of the exhibition, the gallery will be furnished and decorated by Max Rollitt as a grand English country house room. www.architecture.com

Folk Art Exhibition (7-15 May), Robert Young Antiques, 68 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11. Robert and Josyane Young’s 11th selling exhibition of folk art . Preview at 6.30 pm on 6 May. For more info see www.robertyoungantiques.com

Artists’ Open Houses (four weekends in May) is the biggest free arts event in Britain. A record 243 venues in Brighton and Hove will open their doors to exhibit the work of over 1,000 artists and makers. Visit www.aoh.org.uk

Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair (7-9 May) Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallett, Somerset. Head off to the West Country for this fair (with some 600 stalls) which is very popular with dealers. www.iacf.co.uk

Spirit of Summer Fair (13-16 May), Olympia, London.
This ‘boutique shopping event’ is the perfect venue to find inspiration and purchase accessories for your home this summer. www.spiritofsummerfair.co.uk

Affordable Art Fair (14-16 May), The Passenger Shed, Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol.
55 galleries will exhibit contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints, all priced under £3,000. www.affordableartfair.co.uk

Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects (14-17 May), The Saatchi Gallery, London. A Crafts Council event which showcases the best in international decorative and applied arts. www.craftscouncil.org.uk/collect/

Museums at Night 2010 (14-16 May) Night owls can look forward to a weekend of after-hours celebrations at museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites all over the UK www.culture24.org.uk

Grays Summer Celebration (15 May, 11am-5pm) Take a genteel shopping trip through this treasure trove of antiques, vintage and collectables. There’s complimentary cake and iced tea, plus a gift voucher for the first 50 customers. www.graysantiques.com

London Photograph Fair (16 May), Holiday Inn, Coram Street, Bloomsbury WC1. Historic images, contemporary photographs and books on photography. www.photofair.co.uk

Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library - 400th Anniversary Exhibition 1610 - 2010', (17 May-23 July). A fascinating collection of manuscripts, archives and printed books, built up over the past four centuries. www.lambethpalacelibrary.org

Made in Clerkenwell: Summer Open Studios (20-23 May), 21 Clerkenwell Green & 33-35 St John’s Sq, London EC1. Avoid the high street crowds and meet over 80 cutting-edge designers in Craft Central’s studios. www.craftcentral.org.uk

Nostalgia Saturday (22 May) Alfies Antique Market will continue its series of nostalgia events, celebrating all things vintage, with the classic and stylish era of the 1940s to 1950s. www.alfiesantiques.com

Petworth House Textiles Fair (22-23 May), Petworth, West Sussex. Antique, contemporary, ethnic and vintage fabrics plus books on textiles. Lectures on textiles and demonstrations on costume construction will be held and you can visit an original period costume exhibition in the main house. Our member The Linen Shop will be exhibiting. Open 11-4. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth or ring 01798 343929.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show (25-29 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 go to
www.rhs.org.uk/Chelsea.Ticket hotline 0844-3387524

Handmade (until 20 June), Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London W1. Celebrating contemporary British craft, this event features more than 500 pieces from over 50 designer-makers. Glass, textiles, ceramics, silverwork – and all the pieces will be for sale. www.fortnumandmason.com

Date in your diary

London International Fine Art Fair (4-13 June)
Olympia, Hammersmith Rd, London W14. Over 150 prestigious British and international galleries will exhibit at the revamped Summer Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair showing a selection of unique pieces, ranging from ancient Chinese ceramics to Art Deco jewellery, 20th century Design Classics, Old Master paintings and furniture from English formal, oak and country to painted and Continental. www.lifaf.com

Members' News

Chaplins have launched a new online store which brings together a hand-picked selection from the many thousands of products they supply in an easy-to-use slide-show format which will be regularly updated. www.chaplinsstore.co.uk

Anthony de Grey are offering 20% off their Trellis Perspectives. Their clever trompe l'œil effect gives a feeling of depth to smaller gardens, especially when combined with a mirror. www.anthonydegrey.com

Surface Spring Sale (from 7 May), Showrooms in Islington, Battersea and West Molesey. 20% off their new tile collections and 30% off their very affordable Value range, with sale prices from £27.55 per sq m. www.surfacetiles.com

Drummonds are now offering a bespoke colour service for their classic enamelled baths. Yours can be supplied hand-painted from the factory in literally any colour and finish from matt to gloss - just supply the name of the paint manufacturer and the colour reference. Or it can come in a primer coat, ready to paint at home. Price from £3275 + vat. www.drummonds-uk.com

Nutshell Natural Paints have just launched a revolutionary new product. Called 'Nano Emulsion', it’s an emulsion paint that reflects heat, is moisture resistant, and insulates - as well as being kind to the environment. www.nutshellpaints.co.uk

Sources of the month

Brightly-painted baby elephants are popping up all over the place on the streets of London as part of a huge charity event to help raise money and awareness for endangered Asian elephants. We’ve got this one, designed by John Stefanidis, round the corner from our office, but there are over 250 to spot ! To help, go to www.elephantfamily.org

We love Postcarden’s pop-up greeting cards that transform into mini living gardens. There are three designs: Allotment, City and Botanical Garden, and the card arrives flat-packed and complete with cress seeds that just need to be watered for a few days before they start to grow! £7.50 from www.postcarden.com

New Books

Simply Scandinavian by Sara Norrman is in tune with today's wish for calm, uncluttered spaces that are great to live in. It features 20 relaxed and welcoming homes in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, ranging from tiny cabins to smart apartments. £19.99 www.rylandpeters.com

Cabbages & Roses’ new book At Home With Country shows us that Christina Strutt’s evocative vintage style and trademark, faded, floral and ticking fabrics are equally at home in city, country and seaside homes. £19.99 from www.cicobooks.com

If Chelsea has inspired you to get out and about, get hold of the reliable The Good Gardens’ Guide, now in its 20th year. It lists and describes 1260 gardens, parks and green spaces of merit in Britain, with information on opening times, facilities, wheelchair suitability, dog access, plants for sale and more. (Readers’ Digest, £14.99)