Blog, Press Show Picks

You won’t believe where I bought this !

This week I attended a fascinating panel discussion, on the latest trends and interior developments created by the Sainsburys and Argos design team for Autumn Winter 2019 The event was chaired by Kate Watson Smyth, from ‘Mad about the house’

The teams work together but Argos tends to sell more furniture, the smaller accessories are sold in Sainsbury’s.

There are five key trends this season. They reflect the different ways in which we live today: often renting, flexible living, traveling  so we only live in our homes for part of the week. Sometimes letting out our places as Air B&B and often living in quite small places . Some of us have remote working styles, which may mean we work from home.

Trend 1. Japanese inspired, called Kanso Living. This is for a home that is neat and uncluttered. It has a monochrome base.   

Colour Psychologist Karen Haller was on the panel.

‘Black, white and grey are psychologically known to offer protection, safety and a sense of space whilst at the same time being very calming. This minimal pallet lowers the emotional noise”  

Although there is no colour as such, there are many textures and patterns. Included is a ladder shelf unit that looks good, saves space and you can take it with you when you move.

From the head of design  “We did lots of mark making in the studio and then translated those marks  into different kinds of surface design using a range of scales from quite large on bedding to teeny tiny on ceramics.’

Trend 2 Highland Lodge. I would describe this look as modern country with touches of rustic wilderness, such as pale oak furniture and  country touches including images of flowers and animals such as hares on ceramics and textiles. A favourite in this range is light washed oak furniture, including a beautiful four poster bed that retails at just £400

This collection has muted colours that are excellent to use in the UK where they fit in with the prevailing  blue light rather than warm yellow as found in

Mediterranean countries. These blue based tones help us to reconnect with nature and bring the outside in, they fit in well with the grey story that has been popular over the last 5 years Interiors.

Trend 3 . Apartment Apparel This is a very vibrant and exciting collection, it is the Sainsburys Argos take on the centenary of the Bauhaus . There are some exciting juxtapositions of colours, including a much coveted harsh orange velvet sofa which, by the way, is child friendly.

Table-ware is playful and brave with a pallet of mustard and oak that work with a deep navy that runs throughout the collection. The mid century styling helps make small spaces feel bigger.

The pop of colour in this collection attracts the eye and makes the shopper curious about the pieces.  

  • Karen Heller ‘Strong colour creates emotional energy and the volume is  turned up, we see colour before we notice anything else. To work, these colours need a warm yellow base and also need yellow lighting. This is a party place for extroverts.’

Trend 4.  Palm Luxe

With it’s grey soft pale pallet , this look is quite glamorous. There are lots of metallic although mainly silver. Inspired by beautiful hotel lobbies. It is opulent and nods towards preciousness. It is quite a showy look influenced by  old Hollywood glamour. It is aspirational and has the feel of a cocktail party with soft music playing.

 Another expert on the panel pointed out that this is a look that will stand out in the rental market and also appeals to those who love Show Homes. It happens to be a very instagramable look, that is very easy to shoot.

Trend 5. Loft living   This look includes loads of natural wood.

Sainsbury/Argos sponsor new designers exhibition each year and choose a winner from those presenting their work. This collection was designed by a winner and has taken two years to come to fruition.

Designed very much with  the young of today in mind who live much more minimally than their parents did, with far less in the way of possessions. They may be working from home and so the solution is a desk storage bedding collection that is all encompassing and super flexible for easy living. It is a  continuation of the successful industrial modular look with contrasting textures carried over from last season.

Many of the pieces are multi functional such as the desk/ dressing table which is easily packed away if more space is needed.

As well as these key looks there is also a quite sophisticated non gender stereotype children’s range.

 All in all a very impressive range of products.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Want to create a timeless Mid Century look in your home?

 Then look no further than the new book ‘Mid-Century Modern Living’

The Mini Moderns Guide to Pattern and Style, by Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire.

In 2006 Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire launched Mini Moderns, the company that specializes in mid twentieth century inspired, applied pattern. They are known for their striking use of pattern and colour across a range of products including wallpaper, fabrics, ceramics and household accessories.

        The designs are inspired by childhood memories, popular culture and the designs of the mid century greats.

        The book kicks off with Keith and Mark’s mid century inspiration. They then break down the key components that make up a mid-century look- including colour, pattern, materials and accents. Chapters are divided into seven interior looks that explore different aspects of mid century design.

     For a quirky bit of fun, a mid century menu is provided to go with each look plus music of the period.

        As they point out, no one wants to live in a museum so they show ways of incorporating their designs with original fifties and sixties pieces – design classics with a few bits of kitsch thrown in. This should result in you being able to make a space that reflects you and the way you wish to live.

         The Mini Modern Mantra

Build your interior around your passions

start with your collections and cherished possessions.

Don’t Fake it

Splash out on one original mid-century piece, rather than a room of poor quality replicas.

Embrace Pattern and Colour

Don’t be scared, it won’t bite unless you want it to!

Mix old and New

High street basics make the perfect foil for junk shop treasures.

Reuse what you can

Adapt, repurpose and repaint to create personalized space that doesn’t cost the earth.

The reader is  shown where to find the inspiration, the elements that make up the following key looks:

Studio townhouse

Bistro fabulous

Let the sunshine in

Granny takes a trip

Ocean Blue

Beatnik Beach House

Scandi Rustic

There is an excellent resources guide at the end of the book. Images from  style icons such as Robin Day, Hans Wenger, Lucienne Day and Gio Ponti are included.

This is a fabulous book and design resource that you will want to dip into time and again with stylish photography by Jan Baldwin.

Mid-Century Modern Living by Mark Hampshire is published by Kyle Books, www.octopusbooks.co.uk, £20. Photography by Jan Baldwin.