Welcome to our monthly newsletter, providing you with the latest events and courses, trend forecasts, new sources, and answers to your interior design problems.
GOOD NEWS for us – and our members !

October was a red-letter month. We made it to the finals of The Good Web Guide’s Website of the Year 2009 (many thanks to all of you who emailed your support to the jury). And, most important of all, we notched up a record number of hits - 577,668 of them !

Tips & Trends

'It is very important to use colour in your home! We are all fed up with the neutral, minimalist look. Colour, pattern and texture are coming back - along with the old fashion chintz!'
Charlotte Crosland

Interior designer Charlotte Crosland is known for her timeless, elegant style which maximises the qualities of light and space without sacrificing cosiness. In addition to her full-scale design consultancy she has just launched an online interior design service which offers an affordable way of taking full advantage of her skills (from £750 per room). A detailed questionnaire will help her and her team understand the client’s needs and budget and enable her to come up with a custom scheme board (including recommendations for paint, wallpaper, fabric, flooring, furniture and lighting accessories). www.charlottecroslandonline.com

This month don't miss

Spirit of Christmas (4-8 Nov), Olympia, London W14. This annual Christmas shopping event brings together hundreds of exhibitors. Gifts, decorations, specialist foods and wines galore. Visit www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk

The Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair (16-22 Nov), Olympia Exhibition Halls, Hammersmith Road, London W14. This top quality fair always features eye-catching stands. Over 200 fine art and antique dealers exhibit here, with everything carefully vetted for quality and authenticity. www.olympia-antiques.com Ticket hotline:0871-2305570.

Handmade in Britain (11-14 Nov), Chelsea Old Town Hall, London SW3. Up and coming British designers with 'one-off' pieces. www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk

Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair (11-15 Nov), Business Design Centre, London N1. Stock up with Christmas gifts, home accessories and festive decorations, food and drink. Over 380 companies have a stand. www.countrylivingfair.com

RCA Secret (viewing 13-20, sale on 21 Nov), Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7. Pick up an art bargain at this unmissable annual event with original postcard-sized artworks, made and donated by professional artists (including, this year, Grayson Perry, Julian Opie, Yoko Ono, David Bailey, Ron Arad, Sir Paul Smith and Manolo Blahnik)), plus up-and-coming graduates from the RCA. All the cards are for sale, at £40 each. The ‘Secret’ is the identity of the artist, which you don’t discover until you’ve bought the card, as they are signed on the back. www.rca.ac.uk/secret

'Maverick’ – 25 years of Themes & Variations (18 Nov-12 Dec), 231 Westbourne Grove, W11. An exhibition of pioneering work by some of the artists this gallery has showcased since it opened in Nov 1984. Pieces by Ettore Sottsass and Bridget Riley, along with work by Tom Dixon and Andre Dubreuil and new furniture by emerging designers. www.themesandvariations.com

Hand Sale (19-21 Nov), 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London W11. A twice-yearly, three day sale with an inspiring mix of stands offering cushions, throws and blankets, utility clothing, vintage Hungarian linens, ceramics, glass, antiques, bone and wood utensils, clothes, jewellery and more…
Open 6-9 on the first day, then 10-8 and 10-6. For more info call 020-86771848/ 07887 680 672. info@handshop.co.uk

Made 09 (19-22 Nov), Brighton Corn Exchange, Church St, Brighton. The sister event to the Brighton Art Fair, this is the largest art exhibition on the South Coast and brings together over 100 painters, printmakers, photographers and sculptors along with artists groups and Sussex-based galleries.  www.brightoncraftfair.co.uk

The Powderham Castle Antiques & Fine Art Fair (20-22 Nov), Kenton, Exeter, Devon. Art and antiques with prices to suit every pocket. Exhibits start from less than £30 for a Victorian silver spoon to more than £10,000 for fine oil paintings and Georgian furniture. www.cooperevents.com

National Maintenance Week. (20-27 Nov), Set up by SPAB to encourage homeowners and others to be aware of the simple, economic and achievable steps they can take to protect their buildings. See www.maintainyourbuilding.org.uk for their top tips on home maintenance.

National Antiques Week (23 – 30 November 2009), ‘Antiques are Green’ is the theme of this first National Antiques Week, set up to encourage everyone to visit an antiques shop and purchase an item which will not only be unique and keep its value, but which also has ‘green’ credentials. The message is that antiques are ‘the oldest form of recycling’. See more at www.nationalantiquesweek.co.uk and www.antiquesaregreen.org

Late Night Christmas Shopping Party (26 Nov, 5-9pm), Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, NW8. Browse the varied collection of antiques and collectables over canapés and cocktails. Call 020-77236066 for a free invitation. www.alfiesantiques.com

Cockpit Arts Open Studios (27-29 Nov), Cockpit Yard, Northington St, London, WC1. (& 4-6 Dec), 18-22 Creekside, SE8. Buy your Christmas gifts direct from designer-makers. Fashion accessories, homeware and more from £5 – £5,000. Plus the chance to see behind the scenes in the studios. www.cockpitarts.com

Hidden Art Open Studios (28-29 Nov; 5-6 Dec) and Christmas Fair (27-29 Nov), The Old Truman Brewery, London E1. Check out East London’s designer-maker community. Get your free map from www.hiddenartlondon.co.uk

Members' News

Award-winning interior design team Taylor Howes have launched th:2 - their new ‘diffusion’ range. There are 'dress to rent', 'dress to sell' and 'dress to live' packages of reasonably-priced furnishings for studio, one bedroom or two bedroom flats. Ideal for busy landlords, items are always in stock and can be delivered within two weeks. www.th2designs.co.uk

Chelsea Lighting Design has become the first UK distributor of a range of Frank Lloyd Wright lighting originally designed for the architect’s own homes in Wisconsin and in Chicago. The lamps are being reproduced by the Japanese company Yamagiwa, in partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. www.chelsealightingdesign.co.uk

Sources of the month

Phase One of the V&A’s new Ceramics Galleries has been completed and the newly refurbished galleries (purpose-built in 1909) are open. They tell the story of world ceramics, with 3000 objects on display from the earliest Chinese pottery to contemporary ceramic art. There’s also a gallery devoted to ceramic materials and production, with a workshop area where techniques will be demonstrated and visitors will be able to make, decorate and fire their own ceramics. www.vam.ac.uk

US fashion and lifestyle shop Anthropologie has just opened its first European branch on Regent Street. Go and see the vast shop (with a 1,500 sq foot wall of living plants) with its inspiring large-scale displays and vintage-inspired homeware. A second store (in the old Antiquarius building on the King’s Road) is due to open in April, and their e-commerce site will be operational from March. 158 Regent St., W1 (020 7529 9800). www.anthropologie.com

Ask the experts

Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. Where can I find 200 or so French type linen/cotton/hemp table
napkins as seen in bistros around France? I would really like a red and
white check.

A. You could have a look at LinenMe www.linenme.co.uk - they have a pretty (and inexpensive) red/white stripe napkin. Nordic House sells the checked ones shown here www.nordichouse.co.uk

Q. Could you help me? I am looking for a supplier of dog and
horse-motif fabrics. Do you know of any manufacturers or wholesalers?

A. Take a look at Emily Bond's designs. Her takes on country sports are
printed on Irish linen and range from £32 to £45 m. There are all sorts of horse and hound prints. 01173 763067 www.emilybond.co.uk

New Book

Perfect English Cottage by Ros Byam Shaw (Ryland, Peters & Small) explores 18 inspirational homes that celebrate the best of English cottage style. The book looks at the decorating and design solutions that make the cottages as captivating inside as out – and comfortable and practical to live in. Order it direct for a 15% discount (£21.25 instead of £25) www.rylandpeters.com