Lonika and I met early on in our careers; it was perhaps my first day at Luke Irwin when Lonika came in. She had come by to submit her resume for the job I had just been given; my knees were knocking together. Luke was impressed with her tenacity, so Lonika and I worked alongside each other for a time before she started on her track to become an interior designer. Said track has now led her to be named one of the '20 Young Designers To Watch' by House & Garden, and they're not wrong. How could I not ask her to give us the inside scoop on some of her favourite companies & products?
This Devon-based company make beautiful brass hardware and furniture fittings. They have a huge archive and use lost cast waxing methods to make accurate copies of originals. A fresh lick of paint and some of their knobs and handles would seriously perk up a kitchen in need of a revamp.
Think Bedknobs & Broomsticks. I first came across Somerset-based Wessex Beds, with its panoply of restored and unrestored beds, searching for a cot for my son Sasha. Feeling uninspired by what was available on the high street, I was determined to make something old work and found mahogany and cane bérgère cot there. They restored it and I had a mattress made bespoke via Natural Mat (which you would’ve thought would have cost the earth, but it really didn’t).
Seneh Carpets is one of those unassuming shops I’d passed many times. Inside, it’s an Aladdin’s cave. Located on Highgate road, they sell and restore vintage Kilims, runners and old Persian rugs. If you’re looking for a beautiful old piece, it’s well worth a visit.
If like me you have a penchant for mini things, then you will love Hedgehog. It’s a complete treasure trove of traditional toys and vintage children’s furniture (think child-sized Lloyd Loom chairs and 1960s doll’s houses). I always end up with something in my basket that I don’t need – it’s all far too tempting.
It would be rude not to sneak in some ode to Valentine’s Day with this week’s round-up, and what better than something from Petra Palumbo’s exquisite collection of sustainable homeware. To be honest, I love everything that she does. This paperweight is based on a traditional jelly mould and is handblown in the UK.
My love for cane furniture knows no bounds, and so I’ve snuck in this beauty, designed by the lovely Kate Kindersley at Hadeda. The Cotswold-based company designs and sells a collection of furniture and wares made by artisans from across Africa. It’s actually quite hard to find a good coffee table that meets the criteria of being big enough, tall enough, pretty, AND doesn’t cost the earth. This table ticks all those boxes and has a shelf underneath - a lovely detail.
The charming Norfolk-based Antique Kitchen, specialises in all sorts of kitchenalia, from plate racks to butter dishes. There are some real gems, but you have to act fast as things go very quickly.
I am longing to book in my brood to stay at The Mint in the picturesque town of Rye on the East Sussex coast (if they’ll have us!). Part-15th century holiday rental, part vintage interior shop, and all beautifully styled, it is a match made in heaven for interiors lovers. I love this soft green 1920s Durham quilt that they have online currently, remarkably not yet spoken for.
I love these zelliges tiles by Belgium-based tile company Emery & Cie, that has then been hand-painted in a loose Delft-style. They’d look truly great around a fireplace or as a splashback behind a dinky basin. Their cement tiles, which come in countless designs and colours, are also worth exploring and make for a beautiful and very unique floor.
In London, Emery & Cie occupies a little corner in architectural reclamation warehouse Retrouvius in Kensal Green, another favourite haunt of mine.
Francesca specialises in handmade rugs and vintage textiles. She stocks a wonderful collection of cushions, made from old suzanis and Jajims. This striped cushion with gold brocade made from vintage Anatolian clothing is heaven.
One of my late night instagram forays led me to Lara Atkinson’s vintage shop, Attic London, and it really caught my eye because, let’s face it, who doesn’t need an art glass mushroom paperweight in their life right now?! Small small things bringing joy at the moment, and all that.
This special Ledbury-based shop sells all manner of wares, from studio pottery to candy-striped ticking, and incredibly useful products like this lovely little oak picture ledge, excellent for propping pictures or children’s books. Also, this nifty ceramic shelf would make the perfect home for straggly toothbrushes above the basin, or for shampoos in the shower.
Nestled in London’s Alfie’s antique market (a much-loved stomping ground of mine in normal times), they specialise in vintage African textiles. I am like a kid in a candy shop - from Fante Asafo flags to kente cloth, they are experts in the field, and their rare and beautiful stock is a feast for the eyes.
Wall art business headed up by the inimitable Rosie Saunt, specialising in antique engravings primarily inspired by science, food, and nature. Rosie also offers a brilliant commissioning service, where she will source and frame whatever you have in mind. Her pieces make unique presents.