• Design at your fingertips

    by  • July 19, 2016 • 0 Comments

    When I was little I used to sit in my grandma’s favourite wing-back armchair, brushing the velvet the wrong way, then smoothing it back out, because I was fascinated by the way the nap looked and felt different. That interest in materials did not fade: you only have to look at my Instagram account to know that I’m a bit obsessed with textures. In among the drawings, architecture and sunset pics, you’ll find a series of images that take in everything from distressed walls of peeling paint and wind-stripped wood grain to reflections in high-gloss surfaces and the tonal shifts between concrete and tarmac. When I see these things, I can’t help but snap them. They just draw me in.


    Yes, that might sound weird but, hey, tactility and design go hand in hand. Look at your home; some people love a sharp, minimal line, others deep, slouchy fabrics. Ultimately, if you don’t want to touch, use or interact with your home’s accessories or furniture, you have to ask: why do you have it?


    Anyhow, what you’re asking right now is if there is a point to this. I was just trying to explain why, when there was so much to look at in the Clippings.com Sale , I gravitated towards these five touchable items.


    Shift up a gear

    Blur Sofa - Clippings.com

    You might not think that Moroso’s Blur Sofa is technically about texture – more a tonal shift you could say – but with the fade-through comes a dappled, layered effect that makes me think of pulling screen prints. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the colours (sunset shades are a winner for me but, for more conservative homeowners, it also comes in black and grey). Perhaps it’s the neat angled shape? Whichever, I’m back in the velvet wing-back chair in my grandma’s flat simply by looking at this…  Basically, it makes me happy. And the fact that it’s reduced by nearly £500 also does!


    Top of the rock


    ‘Sensorial glorification’ – that’s what designer Enrico Zanolla’s work is about, according to the blurb on the site. Isn’t it just? The powder-coated metal top looks like a cross-section of a fossil and, while I may be no geologist, I find it kind of mesmerising. Blended with that pale smooth-grained wood leg, it’s perfection.

    Fractal Coffee Table, £242.46.


    Just fell out of bed


    It seems likely that the OCD among us will not appreciate this cushion, but the ex-art student in me LOVES it – it’s like that drawing/ love letter/ piece of creative writing that you scrunch up in rage, and then go back (remorsefully) to try to unfurl. The idea of rough paper printed on a smooth surface is a smart sensory trick that means you get the best of both worlds. Plus, that paper texture works beautifully with a series of colour ways (there are plenty to choose from), making this cushion a great way to add interest to a sofa, chair or bed, without going for traditional pattern. Oh, and it’s half price at the moment, too.

    Lilac Crinkled Paper Print Cushion by Suzanne Goodwin, £37.50.


    Beaming with joy



    Smooth. Shiny. Matt. Warm. Reflective. Do you want me to go on? This golden lamp is about more than materials – it’s also a sculptural dream, as it can be reconfigured in a series of abstract/ geometric formations, each of which accentuates the almost touchable metallic finish in a different way. (I say ‘almost’ because no-one wants to get burnt). Total highlight.

    Multi-Lite Pendant Light from Gubi, £453.05


    Time-honoured tradition


    This collection of unglazed purple clay tableware shows just how beautiful untreated materials can be. Rich, aubergine melds with a natural copper-colour, which sits on the surface adding more depth and beauty to this set that is based on traditional Japanese ceramics. In contrast, the plates and spoons are crafted from European maple, highlighting the quiet, inherent qualities of these designs. Who’s turn is it to make tea?

    Silt Collection by Viewport Studio, £276.50 for a 15-piece set


    Read more →

    My big green garden renovation

    by  • April 15, 2016 • 0 Comments

    In September last year my partner and I moved in to our first house and subsequently gained our first garden. The previous owners had lived there for five years but hadn’t touched the garden during that time, apart from to cut it back when it started looking more like a jungle than an actual garden.

    Jungle garden - the before

    When we moved in, it was overgrown to say the least – we had a grape vine (yes, grapes) growing all the way across the garden and into a tree, an apple tree (that while fruiting in abundance was very much diseased) and more weeds than we could shake a stick at.

    Garden full of weeds

    One afternoon we decided to tackle the garden (to the best of our abilities). With a little help from family we chopped, pruned, dug, strimmed and hacked our way through the afternoon and were left with a space that looked dramatically different and much, much bigger.

    Garden after strimming

    We left the garden for the winter in the hope that the frost would kill some of the weeds, with a view to tackling the garden properly come spring. Well spring has sprung, the weeds are growing with a vengeance and we’ve decided that rather than tackle the necessary rotivating, turfing and new fencing that is needed with our wholly insufficient skills, that it would probably be best to get someone in.


    The previous owners of our house were very much into their DIY, which wasn’t always a good thing. It’s a beautiful Victorian house but every room has at least one bodge job, from excessive plug sockets in really weird places to skirting boards too short for the room… So we have decided to do things properly (and by properly, I mean getting someone who actually knows what they are doing to do it for us).


    Wish us luck!

    Read more →

    Driven by details

    by  • March 24, 2016 • 0 Comments

    Easter Bank Holiday is almost upon us. Those DIY jobs – of every shape and size – are sitting waiting to be started. At some point in the weekend’s work someone will inevitably utter something along the lines of ‘you missed a bit’, or ‘you know that’s not straight’, or ‘I think you might have that the wrong way up’, and you’ll turn, look, possibly glower a little bit and then continue, probably muttering the home decorator’s favoured line: ‘I’d like to see you do better.’

    At moments like this, we come to appreciate the level of love, care and workmanship that goes into certain pieces of design; the beautiful arcs created in seemingly unbendable materials or the perfectly formed detailing that takes something from ordinary to extraordinary. We’ve selected some of our favourite examples of this, proudly displayed within the Livingetc Edit at Clippings.com. Take a look, and then look a little closer…

    A little piece of perfection

    Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 15.45.18

    Individually crafted from mahogany, oak and palette wood, hours of work go into each Unique Cabinet (£550) by FactoryTwentyOne. The precision is visible from a distance, and slightly mind-boggling when you see it close up.

    Dizzying simplicity


    Catherin Aitken’s Fade Stool (£295) plays with materials to such an extent, that you start to question how it’s been constructed. Layers of cotton cord are stitched together before being wrapped around a wooden base to form a stool seat. Looks simple, definitely isn’t.

    That lightbulb moment


    A truly whimsical design that makes us think of ships in impossibley small bottles: how do they do that? The King Edison pendant light (£480) from Mineheart encompasses utility and glamour in one fell swoop. And (when it’s not turned on, at least) we could stare at it for hours.

    The Magic Eye


    Is it a cowhide? Is a Persian rug? Actually, it’s both. Young & Battaglia’s delicately patterned floorcovering, £688, is a fusion of two of the world’s most popular designs. We think it’s a winning combination, and we are mesmerised.

    Beautiful, naturally.


    We adore the marriage of materials used by Pia Wustenberg in her Stacking Vessels, £185 each, for Utopia & Utility. The orb-like glass is perfectly offset by the smooth woodgrain that circles the neck and, if that’s not enough to sell you to its benefits, each piece disassembles to form a small bowl and a vase. Forward-thinking design.

    Good luck with your decorating endeavours this Easter. Once you’re done, maybe you can treat yourself to one of these detail-driven designs!

    Read more →

    All the fun of the fair

    by  • March 23, 2016 • 0 Comments

    There are many events that we have come to associate with Easter weekend: the rustle of foil and crack of a chocolate egg at some unmentionable time in the morning, tailbacks down the motorway leading to the nearest IKEA or DIY store, classic Hollywood epics on the TV (that you start watching in daylight, and which finish long after dark!)…

    But our inspiration this week comes from the delight that is the family Easter Fair, which pitches up in a field, park or on village greens up and down the country for the duration of the bank holiday to help sugar-loaded kids burn off some hyperactivity. This collection of pre-loved and retro treasures from FurnitureEtc is a homage to the joys of seasonal childhood outings; the sheer delight stirred up by the dazzling colours, bold patterns, stylised fonts and madcap atmosphere that we can all clearly associate with the fun of the fair.

    Light up the night

    Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.53.17

    Pointing the way toward retro style, the distressed red-and-black finish of this arrow light. The cabochon bulbs offer a unique glow that transports you back to the anitcipation felt when visiting the fairground at night. We can virtually smell the popcorn wafting on the spring air.

    Front row seats

    Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.52.09

    Don’t underestimate the benefits of this bench seat. We can see ourselves inside a circus tent, mesmerised by crazy clowns whizzing about in tiny cars and acrobats flipping, twirling and spinning around the arena. Or maybe the kids climbing all over it. Either way, a good sturdy buy with a bit of nostalgia attached.

    The Lion’s Share

    Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.53.45

    Vintage posters are just the best. The hand-lettered fonts, painted imagery and mineral colours… This one will liven up any wall in the house.

    Making shapes

    Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.52.37

    Retro European glassware, like this distinctive collection, has a liveliness that captures the motion of whizzing rollercoasters, dancing dodgems and neon lights and music spiralling throughout the day. Plus, it generally makes for an intriguing display in the home.

    Don’t be shy

    Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.51.34

    Something about this attention-grabbing cabinet says – or maybe shouts – ‘Hot dogs!’ ‘Candy floss!’ ‘Popcorn!’ ‘Beer!’ – basically, it’s a cocktail cabinet with a street-food-stall aesthetic. Very much of our time. Pour a drink, settle down, watch the fun unfold.




    Read more →

    Balancing Act

    by  • February 23, 2016 • 0 Comments

    It may be a good few weeks since Pantone released its pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity as the Colour(s) of 2016, but this week I’ve been honing in on those tones almost subconsciously. I have no issue with them picking more than one colour (really, why would I?) but now – looking at it properly – I think I ‘get’ it.

    The crisp, warm blue kissed with the optimistic glow of a powdery pink. Together, they’re like a soothing dusk sky. A place of balance between two states. Neither overly sweet/ romantic nor excessively cool and aloof. It’s neutral ground, but without being remotely bland!

    I love colour, am near-obsessed with texture (my Instagram feed bears witness to that) and do think that when it comes to décor a brilliant-white base is ideal. However, all-white rooms are not for me. A home always needs a burst of colour or a zhoozh of pattern to make it less clinical and more personal. With that in mind, I went on a little hunt for Pantone-acceptable homeware.

    Knowing that our friends at Livingetc are always on top of the trends, my first stop was their Edit at Clippings.com, where I happily discovered some beautiful pieces that loosely fit the brief for 2016 (and beyond).

    Painter Pink Navy

    These Painter Cushions by textile designer Kangan Arora have more than perfectly blended colours – their fluid, painterly pattern is infused with movement and energy. Perfect for perking up a living space.



    Admittedly not the most quartz-like of pinks or serene of blues, but the terracotta and grey tones do feature in the swatches of hues that complement the core Pantone colours.  I love the 3-D abstract feel of these Nick Fraser pendants .


    Cobra-Yellow & Light pink (3)

    Like a cross between a flamingo and a cheery duckling, this Cobra chair puts that perfect pink to great use. It’s making you smile, isn’t it?



    Statement flooring like this Jama Khan rug would act as a perfect foil to Serenity-coloured paintwork or soft furnishings. I feel optimistic just looking at it.

    Read more →