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 and trends

‘…The austerely elegant rectangular basin, ultra-modern in style, mounted on to a fabulous junk-shop find: a prettily carved and painted antique console table that doubles as storage for all the toiletries that are best kept out of sight. This is a brilliant idea, and much more attractive than the purpose-made ‘vanity units’ you can buy from specialist manufacturers, although it does involve a bit of effort to get it right (ensure that the surface is at the correct height, and that the tap and the waste are in the right places).’

This is one of the many ideas in Katherine Sorrell’s new The Vintage Modern Home (www.merrellpublishers.com £24.95). The book features room-by-room case studies of schemes, from ‘bold modern’ to ‘kitsch retro’, ‘cheap and chic’ and ‘subtle classic’. It’s a great guide to turning an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories into a cohesive whole.

Members' News

Congratulations to The Royal School of Needlework for creating the stunning lace on Kate Middleton's wedding dress, veil and shoes. The two dozen highly-skilled seamstresses who achieved Sarah Burton's design washed their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours to keep them sharp and clean. For more details see www.royal-needlework.org.uk

Collaborating with 1st Dibs, Soane Britain has a ‘pop-up’ shop in New York for three weeks (2-20 May). The new 10th floor of the NY Design Center will display 100 Soane pieces – and for the first time they will all be available for immediate purchase. www.soane.co.uk

After nearly 30 years of designing and producing Portuguese tapestry rugs, Deborah Rolt Rugs has changed its name to Atlantico Rugs. In styles from floral to contemporary , all their rugs are exclusive to them and hand-stitched using pure New Zealand wool. www.atlanticorugs.com

Artificial Stone by Haddonstone’s director Simon Scott is the definitive history of the most important manufacturers of artificial stone from the eighteenth century to the present (it wasn’t all Coade Stone), mainly from the perspective of garden or landscape ornamentation. It’s £15 inc p&p from www.haddonstone.com

The Pleasure Home have launched the first in their range of ‘HiddenTech’ - a range of TVs that serve as mirrors when turned off.  They come in a variety of frames from 26 to 55 inches in size. www.thepleasurehome.com

New Books

The hunger for vintage seems unabated: now we are offered a charming tour of houses and farmsteads dotted through the American homelands and almost untouched by 21st century mod-cons. Romantic Prairie Style by Fifi O’Neill (Cico Books, £19.99) is full of simple, natural textures, hand-hewn beams, bleached wood, weathered planks, woven blankets, cowhide and Navajo rugs. www.cicobooks.com

We have a free copy to give away - all you have to do is 'Like' our facebook page to enter our prize draw. Closing date is Wed 11 May. www.facebook.com/TheHouseDirectory

Don't miss this month and free tickets !

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair (3-8 May), The Marquee, Battersea Park, London SW11.  This fair is fun, fashionable and well-known as an excellent source of painted furniture, classical Swedish design, lighting, accessories, excellent mirrors and 20th century design. www.decorativefair.com For a free e-ticket for two, contact pr@pipparoberts.com, quoting The House Directory.

Grand Designs Live London (until 8 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 for refurbishment. www.granddesignslive.com Ticket hotline: 0844-2097349

The Hand Sale (5-7 May), 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London W11. A twice-yearly sale with an inspiring mix of stands including Trouver Antiques (decorative French furniture), Kirsten Hecktermann (embroidered cushions) and Odd (fabrics and rugs); plus unusual clothes, homeware and jewellery. For more info call 020 86771848 or 07887 680672

Artists’ Open Houses (four weekends in May), is the biggest free arts event in Britain. A record 250 venues in Brighton and Hove will open their doors to exhibit the work of over 1,000 artists and craftsmen. Visit www.aoh.org.uk

Bruce Davidson Photography (4- 28 May), Chris Beetles Fine Photographs, 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1. This is Bruce Davidson's first major show in the UK with 45 photographs spanning his extensive 50-year career. Known for immersing himself in the lives of his subjects to capture the perfect image, he has gone so far as to join the circus, and live with gangs in Coney Island and tenement occupants in Harlem. The exhibition overlaps with a Bruce Davidson Restrospective at Somerset House until 22 May, leaving no excuse to miss this photojournalist’s striking images. www.chrisbeetlesfinephotographs.com www.somersethouse.org.uk

Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects (6-9 May), The Saatchi Gallery, London. Museum-quality contemporary craft from 37 of the finest UK and international galleries, plus exhibitions, talks, tours and film screenings. www.craftscouncil.org.uk

Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair (6-8 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.dmgantiquefairs.com

London and the Seaside (9-21 May), Ben Pentreath, 17 Rugby St, London WC1. A selling exhibition of the work of Bawden, Ravilious &  Friends, in association with Jennings Fine Art. www.benpentreath.com

Spirit of Summer Fair (11-14 May), Olympia, London. Run in association with House & Garden, this fair offers everything from fashion to food, home and garden decor to gift ideas. Plus inspiring workshops on flower arranging, summery cookery, al fresco entertaining and garden design. We have five pairs of tickets to give away to readers of our newsletter, so email us now (with your address) on info@thehousedirectory.com stating ‘Free Spirit of Summer tickets’. www.spiritofsummerfair.co.uk

Prints & watercolour drawings by Angie Lewin (13 May-4 June), Potterton Books London, Lower Sloane St, London SW1. One-off watercolour drawings and original prints in Angie Lewin’s instantly recognisable style. Her graceful depictions of the native flora of the Norfolk coast and Scottish Highlands have made their way on to textiles, stationery and greetings cards as well as book illustrations. Her first book was published by Merrell last year – www.pottertonbookslondon.co.uk

Antique Folk Art (13 – 21 May), Robert Young Antiques, 68 Battersea Bridge Road, London SW11. Their 12th annual exhibition, with vintage decoy birds, early primitive furniture and naïve paintings. www.robertyoungantiques.com

Affordable Art Fair (13-15 May), Brunel’s Old Station, Temple Meads, Bristol. 55 galleries will exhibit contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and original prints, priced between £40 and £4,000. www.affordableartfair.co.uk

Museums at Night 2011 (13-15 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

Midcentury Modern (15 May), Nursery Pavilion, The North Gate, Wellington Place, Lords Cricket Ground, London NW8. Purchase directly from dealers selling American, British and European design classics from the middle part of the last century including Wegner, Eames, Jacobsen, Nelson and Day. And why not take a break for a cricket tea in the Pavilion… www.modernshows.com

London Photograph Fair (15 May), Holiday Inn, Coram Street, Bloomsbury WC1. Historic images, contemporary photographs and books on photography from about 50 dealers at this quarterly fair. For a free ticket go to the promotions page on their website: www.photofair.co.uk

Made in Clerkenwell: Summer Open Studios (19-22 May), 21 Clerkenwell Green & 33-35 St John’s Sq, London EC1. Avoid the high street crowds and meet over 90 cutting-edge designers in Craft Central’s studios. Plus a spotlight on traditional and contemporary basketmaking.  www.craftcentral.org.uk

Arts & Crafts Exhibition, (19 May-19 June), Liberty, Regent St, W1. The shop’s annual selling exhibition of original 1850-1950 furniture, lighting, textiles and other objects. www.liberty.co.uk

Antiques & Fine Art Fair (20-22 May), Botleigh Grange, Hedge End, Southampton, Hants. A ‘boutique’ fair showcasing 25 specialist dealers – mainly members of BADA and LAPADA. www.adfl.co.uk

Collier Campbell (23 May-3 July), National Theatre, London. Textile designers (and sisters) Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced some of the most iconic prints of the second half of the 20th century. This year their company is 50 years old and will be relaunching its own brand of fashion and home products. See a selection of their work and the processes through which the designs were created. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24-28 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. Ticket hotline 0844 338 7528
Mindful of Silver (27 May- 16 July), Goldsmiths’ Hall Foster Lane, London EC2. See the innovative work of twelve contemporary silversmiths. Open 10am-5pm, admission free.  www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk

PS. And for The House Directory’s latest news, don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook page ! www.facebook.com/TheHouseDirectory and Twitter www.twitter.com/HouseDirectory