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

The House Directory is ‘Site of The Month’ in November’s Self-Build & Design magazine www.thehousedirectory.com

And don’t forget you can follow us via facebook. Please visit our page and click to give us a thumbs-up! If you do, you could win a copy of Barty Phillips’ new book on ‘How to make the best use of salvage’ – see our New Books section below…

Tips & Trends

‘Metallic has been a key trend and an eye-catching look for some time now, featuring heavily on both the fashion catwalks and in home design. The trend has now filtered down into more practical areas of the home such as the bathroom.  The key is to balance metallic tones with neutral colours such as white with gold or grey with silver so that the scheme doesn't appear too heavy or flamboyant. I would recommend using patterned or textured metallic surfaces as the focal point of the room, combined with minimalist white sanitaryware to create a design that is sophisticated, yet understated.’ Designer Richard McGee, www.evitavonni.co.uk

evitavonni will be transforming its luxury interiors showroom in Chobham, Surrey into a Christmas Market from 19-28 November. Special events include a gift-wrapping course, flower arranging, a wreath-making workshop and a chocolate-making class. Plus, of course, all sorts of Christmas decorations and presents. For details visit www.christmasinsurrey.co.uk

This month don't miss

Spirit of Christmas (3-7 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

Royal School of Needlework Special Sale (5-6 Nov, 10-4), An annual sale to raise money towards the School’s Foundation Degree programme and its irreplaceable work to keep the art of embroidery alive. You'll be able to buy one-off collectors' items; antique scissors and thimbles; fabrics, threads, wools and canvases; lace and trimmings, vintage items and even furniture and storage pieces for your needlework accessories. www.royal-needlework.org.uk

The Homebuilding & Renovating Show (5-7 Nov), International Centre, Harrogate, and
(20-21 Nov) at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk

Connected (8-14 Nov), Gallery 8, 8 Duke St, St James’, London W1. A small exhibition of twentieth century sculpture organised by Architectural Heritage, featuring works by Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink and Jacob Epstein, along with connected artists. www.architectural-heritage.co.uk

Fine Cell Work’s  Christmas Emporium (10 Nov, 10-6), 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London  W11. The charity that teaches tapestry to prison inmates is holding its annual Christmas sale in Notting Hill. New embroidered bags, tea cosies and animals, along with their ever-growing range of cushions and quilts. www.finecellwork.co.uk

Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair (10-14 Nov), Business Design Centre, London N1. Stock up with Christmas gifts, home accessories and festive decorations, food and drink. Over 400 companies represented. www.countrylivingfair.com

The Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair (15-21 Nov), Olympia Exhibition Halls, Hammersmith Road, London W14.  One of the most prestigious events of the season. Over 100 of the UK’s most respected dealers exhibit here, with pieces ranging from 18th Century English furniture to Art Deco furniture, elegant decorative pieces to fine paintings www.olympia-antiques.co.uk
For a special offer of two tickets for the price of one, visit www.olympia-antiques.co.uk/visiting or call 0871 6207062 and quote ‘House Directory’

RCA Secret (viewing 14-19, sale on 20 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 (1000 of them contributed last year), plus up-and-coming graduates from the RCA. All the cards are for sale, at £45 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

National Antiques Week (15-21 Nov) “Now is the time to buy antiques!” is the theme of this year’s National Antiques Week, set up to promote the ‘green’ credentials of antiques and to encourage a younger audience to visit antique shops and fairs . Events include a prize draw and free entry to lots of antiques fairs in November. For participating fairs and to print up your vouchers, go to www.nationalantiquesweek.co.uk

Chelsea Textiles Sale (17-20 Nov)
, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3. 40%-80% off hand-embroidered fabrics and bedcovers, cushions, one-off samples, ready-made curtains and hand-painted furniture. Open 17th : 10-7; 18th-20th: 9-7  www.chelseatextiles.com, 020-75845544

Hand Sale (18-20 Nov), 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London W11. A twice-yearly sale with an inspiring mix of stands including Trouver Antiques (decorative French furniture) and Kirsten Hecktermann (embroidered cushions); plus unusual clothes, homeware and jewellery. For more info call 020 86771848 or 0788 768 0672

Made 10 (19-21 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.made10.co.uk

The Powderham Castle Antiques & Fine Art Fair (19-21 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. (19-26 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.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios (26-28 Nov), Cockpit Yard, Northington St, London, WC1. (& 3-5 Dec), 18-22 Creekside, SE8. Buy your Christmas gifts direct from 165 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 (27-28 Nov; 4-5 Dec) and East London Design Show (2-5 Dec), London E1. Check out East London’s designer-maker community and buy directly from them. For venues and more info: www.hiddenartlondon.co.uk

Members' News

Retrouvius have just completed the clearance of the entomology department of the Natural History Museum, and have a large quantity of different sized cabinets from there, including some two-door mahogany cabinets that could be used to make a stunning kitchen. www.retrouvius.com

The clients who found cabinet-maker Tim Wood through The House Directory commissioned him for work on the drawing room, his-and-hers studies, bedrooms and bathrooms of a luxury property in St James.  The owner requested a walk-in closet to house her two hundred pairs of shoes and seventy-five handbags ! All the rails were specially designed to echo the exact shape of the client's shoulder, so that each strap would stay moulded in the correct shape, like a shoe horn. To see more of Tim Wood’s work, go to www.timwood.com


Ada & Ina are offering us 10% off all their lovely natural and white linen fabrics. The offer also includes made-to-measure curtains and blinds in these fabrics. To claim your discount simply add code MVC001in the 'voucher redeem' box of the checkout before 30 Nov. www.linenfabrics.co.uk

House Couturier are selling two headboards made for a Living Etc photo shoot. The wooden one with panels in a Colefax and Fowler green linen (shown here) is now £395 (was £886). The other is an upholstered headboard in an off-white Romo fabric, and is now £695 (was £1495). There’s a further 10%off for our newsletter readers ! Contact them on   0207 371 9255, www.housecouturier.eu

Ask the Experts
Selected from our free Q&A service.

Q. Does anyone do fencing-themed accessories?
A. We haven’t had this question before! What about this delightful hand-blown crystal lampbase decorated with fencers from Clare Mosley Gilding ? She also specialises in verre églomisé (the technique of laying silver & gold leaf onto glass which gives the effect of mirror); her panels have been used by decorators in hallways, dining rooms, even cupboard doors. Everything is made in her London workshop using traditional methods and authentic materials. www.claremosley.com

Q. Where can I find stylish folding luggage stands that I could use in my guest rooms- something a little different from the standard ones found in hotels?
A. OKA has a pretty faux-bamboo ‘Panama’ luggage rack at £65 www.okadirect.com and Cubbins & Co will cover one in any fabric you choose. www.cubbins.co.uk

New Books

Barty Phillips’ new book ‘How to make the best use of salvage – A practical guide to reclamation’ is packed with information on what’s available, how to use it and how to restore it, with plenty of sources. £16.99 from www.pen-and-sword.co.uk, 01226-734555

If you'd rather fill your home with flowers and candlelight than cutting-edge technology, then you'll adore Romantic Style by stylist Selina Lake and interiors writer Sara Norrman www.rylandpeters.com

In his latest book, William Yeoward shows us how to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere by revealing how he lives and entertains in his weekend cottage and in his London flat, deploying to maximum effect his extensive ranges of tableware, crystal and other home accessories. William Yeoward At Home is £25 from www.cicobooks.com

Tangerine Dream Café: a year in Chelsea Physic Garden by Sarah Charles features beautiful garden and food photography through the seasons and 65 recipes from the renowned cafe at London's oldest botanic garden. It costs £12.95 ( P&P £4) from www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk or by calling 020 7349 6458 (code 1673). Or get it (for £11.50) at the Chelsea Physic Garden’s Christmas Fair on Sat 27 (11-4) and Sun 28 November (10-4) Admission is £5.