People are always asking me for our secret sources. Just where do you get that special something that will really make a difference to a room? We are blessed with so much to choose from that selecting something for your home, or even just knowing where to start, can become an impossible task.
Only yesterday at our inaugural Putney decorclub (and thanks for the feedback on that everybody – I am glad you found it so useful and so fun!) people were telling me how much they valued the tips on where to get the things they want.
So a HUGE thank you to LIIVI HESS, Chiswick based interior designer, for sharing her top ten secret sources with us. Liivi is the star blogger at www.theunexpectedchic.com and Principal of Magnolia Hill Interiors.
If you have a secret source that you would like to share or would like us to track down that special something please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liivi’s Top Ten – in no particular order:
No 1: Abode
Liivi says: Abode, with two locations in Brighton and Chiswick, has a great selection of contemporary homeware. It has a full range from gifts to furniture, however its slightly off-the-beaten-path quality means you can find something a little different from your typical décor shop.
Best find: Ernest Pouffe in Zigzag, £349
Secret source location: 11 Devonshire Road, London W4 2EU / 32 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL www.abodeliving.co.uk
No 2: Labour and Wait
Liivi says: Check out Labour and Wait for some seriously down to earth traditional kitchen ware. Beautifully simple wooden bathroom accessories, beeswax candles, enamel kitchen items and other old-fashioned homestead delights make utilitarian necessities a joy to purchase and use. Mail order is available through the website but visit the shop for the full experience and range.
Best find: Red enamel bread bin, £60
Secret source location: 85 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
No 3: Niki Jones
Liivi says: Creative Director and founder Niki Jones started her own company after working as a designer and director with such names as Habitat and Wedgwood, because she found she couldn’t buy what she wanted online: “well-designed and well-crafted pieces that are a bit special”. Thus her online-only collection was born, with unique story-telling pieces from artisans around the world. Delivery available throughout the UK.
Best find: Folk baubles, £25 for 4
Secret source location: www.nikki-jones.co.uk
No 4: Unto this Last
Liivi says: Unto this Last is based on an interesting concept of reviving the local workshop. Everything is cut on a digital router out of the same birch plywood composite in the back of their workshop, made to order. The whole process is very efficient and localized having a tiny carbon footprint compared to mass-production. The furniture is wonderfully modern and clean-lined, and with over 2000 products and variations to choose from, you’re sure to find something wonderful that suits you, and it’s made just around the corner! Sadly delivery is only within London (all part of the concept), but you’ll have to make the trip in if you live elsewhere!
Best find: Honeycomb shelving, £120 per unit
Secret source location: 230 Brick Lane, London E2 7EB www.untothislast.co.uk
No 5: SCP
Liivi says: Known as a pioneering British manufacturer and retailer of modern design since 1985, SCP has worked with such star designers as Konstantin Grcic, Tom Dixon and Timorous Beasties. Shop here for enduring design and excellent quality.
Best find: Lampadina table lamp, £80
Secret source location: 135 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX
No 6: Bouf
Liivi says: Bouf’s headquarters office is in East London but the shop is online-only. With the tagline ‘products with a twist’, Bouf harbours a community of sellers offering a myriad of vintage, hand-made and unique items. They sell clothing too, but my favourite is of course the Home and Garden section! You can find anything from a boutique dog bed to a one-off sculpture for your living room to an up-cycled antique sideboard.
Best find: Floral felt cushion, £120
Secret source location: www.bouf.com
No 7: Old Villa
Livii says: Created by owner Sarah Dragten after years of compliments on her home, the Old Villa brand is inspired by antiques. The look is one of comfortable, slightly worn grandeur, with soft fabrics and worn metals giving a luxurious yet relaxed vibe. Many pieces are hand-limed or distressed for an authentic patina. Look here for Regency and French country style pieces that feel like antiques but are in much better mint, and cheaper too.
Best find: Avignon Ottoman square, £595
Secret source location: 144 Bellenden Road, London SE15 4RF www.oldvilla.co.uk
Liivi says: Mint is an extraordinary shop, full of quirky sculptural pieces, off-beat furniture and exclusive designer limited editions. Set up like a surrealistic shop of oddities, it’s definitely worth exploring. Great for unique conversation pieces that will never get old.
Best find: Tour bicycle wheel table, POA
Secret source location: 2 North Terrace, Alexandra Square, London SW3 2BA
No 9: E. W. Moore & Son
Liivi says: For a truly unique look, deck your walls in vintage wallpaper from this business that continues to be family-run after 104 years. They stock a wide range of papers from the 1950s to the 1980s, from whimsical florals to cool geometrics. A selection is shown on the website but be sure to visit the shop to experience the full extent of this amazing collection.
Best find: James Dean wallpaper from the 1980’s, £25 per roll
Secret source location: 39-43 Plashnet Grove, London, E6 1A www.ewmoore.com
No 10: Hus and Hen
Liivi says: Owners Jill and Louise started Hus and Hem (meaning house and home in Swedish) after many years working in retail and becoming disillusioned with the high street. They visit Scandinavia three times a year to hand-pick beautiful textiles, accessories and furniture from high quality manufacturers and artisans. Their lovely shop is hidden away in a courtyard in the picturesque market town of Ledbury, but if you can’t be bothered with the drive, don’t worry, they’ll deliver!
Best find: Pappelina Circus woven runner, £79
Secret source location: 17c High Street, Ledbury, Herts, HR8 1DS www.husandhem.com
And one more for good measure!
Liivi says: Danish company Rice is so-named because the food is a basic survival product for people throughout the world. After you have a look at these super fun and colourful products, you won’t be able to survive without their designs, either. Perfect for quirky accessories and stuff for kids’ rooms. Check out the shopfinder on the website for numerous distributors in London and the UK, or visit their new shop in Covent Garden.
Best find: Green wall-hanging carousel hook, contact for price
Secret source location: 16a Neal’s Yard, London WC2H 9DP www.rice.dk
Livii is a great secret source for interior design.
Contact Liivi at: LH@magnoliahillinteriors.com 07783 413 665
Find her at: www.magnoliahillinteriors.com www.theunexpectedchic.com
All info and prices correct at the time of writing.
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