So this week, we are joined by an actual journalist, Phoebe McDowell, to be precise. Phoebe writes for the Times, Buro247, and creates her own newsletter that goes out under the name The Pinterior. I am a big fan of her pros, and I thought it was a darned good idea to get her to do a round-up. I wasn't wrong (hardly ever am). A cheering round-up with so many great suggestions - I'll say no more about it, take it away, Phoebe!
Yeah yeah, everyone loves bobbin. I know, it’s the new scallop edge. But this meeting at the crossroads of bobbin and bamboo is – no exaggeration – mind-blowing. It stopped my thumb in its tracks on Instagram and I drooled over my phone. From the side table and the footstool to the bench, you might not need any other furniture… ever.
We’re all investing in ceramics, aren’t we? A bit like BitCoin but more fun and a better investment (don’t quote me on that). Sophie Wilson’s are pretty beautiful, especially her Kangxi Imari inspired stuff. On the other end of the spectrum, I can’t get enough of Alma Berrow, who captures the perfect grotesqueness of a post decadent dinner, where fags are stubbed out in oyster and fleshless lobster shells.
You could argue that tablescaping is a bit done. A bit contrived. Really, all you need is some nice cutlery (see below) a thick, absorbent napkin (I like greasy food) and a nice plate (up to you, really). Once normal life resumes, we’ll be too busy hugging, kissing and talking each other's ears off to have time to lay the table, which is exactly where Sarah Espeute’s embroidered pre-tablescaped tablecloths come in. After all, you don’t want to look like you’ve gone totally feral (you have).
Excellent cutlery is the kind of thing I never knew I needed. My IKEA set from university ten years ago was fine, nice even, but then I got some from Sabre, which turned out to be my gateway cutlery drug. I now look at knives and forks as if they’re diamonds and spoons as if they’re tickets to Ibiza. Good cutlery, I’ve come to realise, is not only meal- but life-enhancing.
Sarah Watson is behind 99% of the tile pictures that I bookmark on Instagram. Her original and offbeat colour combinations and compositions are inspired. She keeps traditional techniques alive and collaborates with artists – if you don't already, be prepared to want one collection or another for every place in your home that could conceivably be tiled. www.balineum.co.uk
Craftsmanship! Contemporary design! Made by men from Yorkshire! This mirror has it all. It’s a showstopper. A slightly kooky classic. You’ll still adore it in 20 years when it hangs in a different house above a different fireplace and reflects a wise person who spent £635 on something they’ve cherished every day. Cost per reflection?
I’m aware that there are cooler chairs around. Ones without legs that rely on some clever feat of engineering. Others that are so abstract they look like they belong behind glass. And those made of exquisitely rare materials… anything but wood, which is obviously, so hilariously yawnsville. But oh, these chairs. In 1960 my grandparents, who had an impeccable eye for design, drove from Yorkshire to Heal’s in London to buy six with rush seats. My grandad, 93, still has every one. They hold the happiest memories for me, sitting around their dining table, eating salmon and crinkle-cut chips. Beautiful, timeless simplicity.
I could spend hours if not days on here, leafing through the digital pages of centuries-old parquet flooring that’s more scuffed than an alley cat. The majority of the fireplace surrounds are more than my annual salary but it’s nice to dream. To imagine how I’d decorate them. And the vintage wine I’d drink while leaning on them, muttering something about how opening up the chimney breasts was the best decision we ever made.
Jaunty and full of personality, I like things that don’t take themselves too seriously. And when they hold my favourite things in the world, candles, well… I’m sold – and basic.
Any designer worth their salt has one of these on top of their ottoman, to house a pretend-casual scene of trinkets. A magnifying glass? Perhaps. A pack of cards that’s never been played? Maybe. A Robert Kime book? Definitely. The thing about the Lacquer Company is they’ve made a tray for everyone. There are big round ones with scallop edges and small rectangular ones that make TV remotes look like art. There are those made in collaboration with John Derian and those that stack inside each other like Russian Dolls. They’re all gorgeous. Any will do. Someone, please send this link to my boyfriend.
19th Century American Quilts
If you’re committing to a quilt then commit to it. Throw something on your bed that people will gawp at. Something that you’ll bemoan for being too heavy and claustrophobic but that looks sensational all the same. Cutter & Brooks have a devastatingly good selection of medallion patchwork, appliquéd and double-sided chintz ones.