December is one of my favourite times of year because I love the festive buzz that’s in the air; London is alive with twinkling lights and beautiful store windows. Even when I was a child I remember the excitement I felt in the lead up to decorating our tree. We would head down to the local tree farm and then spend the afternoon decorating the tree together – I loved it. So I was delighted when Sofa.com invited me to their Chelsea showroom in London to bring some Bright.Bazaar festivities to their HQ – all to be filmed in a super fun stop motion video.
I decided to decorate the tree with a traditional red and white theme but with a bow tie brights twist as a nod to my love of the bow tie. My talented friend Perri made the super-sized bow tie topper (if you love craft you should check out Perri’s book), which was the perfect finishing touch that completed the bow tie theme. Amongst the smattering of candy cane bow ties I worked in several handmade paper star garlands which were ethically produced using block print techniques by communities of women in the Kathmandu Valleys of Nepal; I love their understated yet ever so festive style. The hand painted detailing on these papier mache baubles gave the tree a unique and cosy charm. With the core decorations on the tree I was able to stand back and then fill any gaps with hanging bells for a final festive touch. And don’t get me started on the candy cane and bow tie stripe gift boxes – it was love at first sight! What do you think of my bow tie brights theme, folks? I’d love to hear what festive decorating themes you have chosen this year?
// Photography by Will Taylor | Video by NutFilms
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I’m often asked how you can change up a room to give it a new twist without having to switch out fundamental elements of the space. Although lighting is a key part of a scheme it’s often easier to switch out your current lighting options for a new design than it is to bring a new piece of furniture, for example, into the room. Often it’s how a scheme has been lit that helps to create the atmosphere of the space; it tells the story of the room by giving a visual clue as to how the room should make you feel.
In our master bedroom we have quite small bedside tables so we were considering wall mounted lighting as a solution to free up some space but without loosing the practicality of having a decent lighting option bedside the bed. My favourite is this Anglepoise Type 1228 design because the blue would fit perfectly with the colour scheme. When you consider the lighting choices in a given space it’s amazing how a seemingly small element of the space plays such a strong role in defining the scheme. For example, a kitchen-diner with the blue Kartell pendant denotes a youthful, playful vibe and works well as a standalone colour pop in an otherwise all-white space. Then the Davey pendant tells an industrial story with a hint of luxe thanks to the metallic interior, while the Luminosity Aperture pendant oozes a cosy charm and warm glow. In fact, I hung this pendant in my room when I was at university because despite the damp and mice (yikes!) it made the room feel that much more homely in, well, an instant! How do you use lighting to tell stories or create an atmosphere in your home?
// Photography by John Lewis
Yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed down to Tottenham Court Road to explore the new West Elm store in London ahead of the grand opening on Thursday this week. There was a tangible buzz about the shop as everyone muddled in together to help get everything ready on time, and it was fascinating to see the visual team hard at work creating such inspiring and creative displays.
I walked the store with West Elm’s Creative Director, Vanessa Holden, who talked me through the various sections of the store. The store is split over two levels and includes an extensive bedding and furniture area on the lower floor, including a sizeable Design Lab area which will include a free home stylist service; I believe decorators and shoppers alike will love this spacious, hands-on area of the store. I’ve always felt that West Elm get their visual merchandising spot on but this in store experience really does feel like something new and exciting for the London interiors market. From industrial to mid century or decorator to rustic the store successfully manages to display an array of different interior styles with aplomb; everything hangs together with visual ease thanks to the signature West Elm touches throughout.
As you enter the store upstairs you will find an enchanting Christmas story with lashings of mercury glass and shimmering metallics. Plus, there’s a collaborations area that includes a knockout sofa by James Harrison. This flows through into the ‘loft’ space in the middle of the store which will continually evolve with new product lines and inspiring apartment-like displays. At the back of the store there’s a standalone West Elm Market which includes a coffee shop, community work tables and super friendly baristas. I even tried my hand at coffee making (probably best if we gloss over that last part because I had varying degrees of success…!).
I have really enjoyed collaborating with West Elm over the past few years (here and here) so it was great meet so many of their talented team members yesterday and see their creative work coming alive in real time. It will be great to see shoppers reactions to our gallery wall collaboration with Etsy artists once it’s finished in time for the opening. I’d love to know what you love about West Elm and what you’re excited to see/shop from the new London store? Also, if you have any questions I’ll be holding a Twitter chat with Vanessa Holden at 1pm tomorrow. In the meantime: a big, bright and brilliant Bright.Bazaar welcome to London, West Elm!
// Photography by Will Taylor