We are incredibly fortunate to have Fleur Ansell, founder of Ansell Studio, take part in this week's This & Tat. Fleur has superb taste, and I knew when I asked her that she would come up with the goods. I love being right, and I am not going to crow, but you can see for yourself.
Quindry has been a long-time favourite of mine - a treasure trove of twentieth-century furniture and lighting. Owner Gwen Pilard has such a great eye; her store offers an eclectic mix of continental and British furniture and decorative arts, selling truly versatile and timeless pieces that can work in various interiors.
Armchair Books is one of my favourite independent bookstores. I went to university in Edinburgh, so whenever I'm back I make sure to pop in here. They perfectly describe their store as 'very nearly alphabetised chaos.' The walls are lined with books piled precariously on top of one another, and it has that charming, distinctive scent of second-hand books. A must-see if ever you're in Edinburgh!
Casa Luis Barragan was the home and studio of Mexican architect Luis Barragan, and is now a museum, open to the public. Barragan's best known for his bold juxtapositioning of bright colours across his buildings, often informed by the vernacular architecture of his homeland. However, I find that I gravitate most towards his peaceful, quieter interiors. He's a true master of light and shadow. The way Casa Luis Barragan is constructed so that that natural light illuminates the room in an almost ethereal manner is truly mesmerising.
Zakia is a DJ and the radio host of The NTS Breakfast Show, combining her talent for documentary and interview with mixing. Her shows are always an uplifting way to start your day, with her carefully curated mix of jazz, folk and funk and soul. I also recently listened to her radio series for BBC 4 called My Albion. The series begins in Herefordshire, where I grew up, and goes from there across other parts of England and Wales, exploring the songs and stories of British identity. A fascinating listen!
Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, is a uniquely special place, famous for its remote and dramatic landscape with endless miles of open sea and sky. What I find most exciting about this collection of small islands is the ever-growing art and craft scene. I recently had the chance to chat with Kevin Gauld, one of a handful of people on the islands who carry on the tradition of the Orkney Chair, a simple but beautiful straw-back chair steeped in the traditions of island life. The Longship is a local independent which celebrates the abundance of talented craftspeople like Kevin. You'll find lovely Fair Isle knitwear and art from local artists like Charles Shearer. Orkney's Scandinavian heritage can also be seen in The Longship's careful curation of Scandi designers with their dedication to simple, functional design.
I discovered my love for Scandi design when I lived in Copenhagen. One of my favourite places to go when living there was The Thorvaldsens Museum, dedicated to the art of Danish neo-classical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. The museum is an architectural as well as a historic achievement. The richly coloured walls and mosaic floors play beautifully against Thorvaldsen's marble sculptures.
Cadaques is a small fishing village in the northeast of Spain that was also home, or the summer meeting place, for some of the past century's most influential artists, including Dalí, Duchamp, Matisse and Picasso. I travelled there last year and instantly fell in love with the craggy coastline, beautiful Mediterranean architecture, and its rich history of artists and designers.
Currently, at The Whitechapel Gallery, this show is a magical gateway into the minds of inspiring artists through the places where they worked and the masterpieces they created there. One of my favourite studio's is that of Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Unconventionally, he grouped together various of his sculptures until he felt the combinations were just right. He believed the relationships between his sculptures were as important as the objects themselves, a philosophy I try to keep in mind when designing interiors.
This is a local gem just around the corner from me. Situated on Bonnington Square in Vauxhall, it's a community-based shop and cafe with a menu that changes daily. As well as the delicious food, you can expect the owner Charlie Boxer to welcome you at the door with a fiddle tune and the legendary artist Rita Keegan to be sitting majestically in the corner of this tiny but beautiful place.
Hotel Peter & Paul is one of the reasons I'm so eager to visit New Orleans. It was originally a 19th-century Catholic church, convent, rectory and school house designed by celebrated New Orleans architect, Henry Howard. Its restoration, led by Ash NYC, has been done in a sensitive, charming way. Brimming with antiques and iconic religious tapestries from Africa and Europe, I love the way they merge different design styles and influences from around the world. It looks like a truly enchanting space, I can't wait to visit!