November 30, 2012 in interior styling
As we are edging closer to Christmas I thought I would share some of my favourite images and products from the Cox & Cox shoots that I worked on earlier this year. Commercial styling can feel a bit topsy-turvy as we shot these festive images in the middle of summer last July, and last week I was on location shooting a Spring collection for next year! I thought the wirework chandelier above would make a great advent calendar so I wrapped up and hung 24 little treats with tags with the dates stamped on and also hung homemade biscuits that were baked using C&C’s cookie cutters.
Gift wrapping is one of those things that you can put your own creative stamp on and I wanted to show this with Cox & Cox’s great range of paper tags, ribbons and twines, wrapping paper sand little extras like the bark stars.
Take a look over on the Cox & Cox website’s Festive section for many more shots I styled, products to get creative with and some wonderful gifts for friends and family this Christmas.
You can also request a copy of the printed Christmas catalogue here.
November 28, 2012 in news
I had the pleasure of having photographer Akemi Kurosaka and writer Miyuki Sakamoto from Madame Figaro magazine in Japan pop over one day a couple of months ago to interview me and photograph the house. Along with another team they were photographing homes in London and Paris for this special issue.
It was a pleasure having them here and as always, it is interesting to see what they pick up and photograph in the house. This time my collection of rulers were spotted along my studio window sill and different views of the rooms were shot. And although I can’t understand any of the writing (I will ask a Japanese-speaking friend to translate!) it is really interesting seeing another country’s visual view on fashion, food (sushi is one of my favourites) and the photographic style and illustrations.
Madame Figaro is a high-circulation Japanese glossy lifestyle magazine with sections on fashion, interiors and food. It’s an international edition of the French Madame Figaro magazine.
I love to look at foreign magazines and buy them whenever I’m abroad and I came back with a copy of this magazine several years ago when I visited Japan for work. So it was with joy that I opened the package that fell through the letter box with a copy enclosed featuring my home and I.
It just reminds me I would love to visit Japan again soon, I’ll have to start saving my pennies.
We usually try to get away for a city break during autumn half term to recharge and and gain inspiration from a change of scene. One of the reasons (or excuses!) for our recent trip to Edinburgh was to visit my lovely friend, photographer Uli Schade and her husband Andrew Dick, who have just re-located there from London. It is Andrew’s home town and since the summer they have been busy bees, designing and opening a new destination menswear, accessories and home wares shop at number 3, North West Circus Place in Stockbridge, a beautiful Georgian terrace on a cobbled street in one of Edinburgh’s smartest areas. It is now open and they celebrated with a launch party this week. Please say hello to Dick’s.
All the clothes are sourced with care from all over the world and chosen for a reason, all the companies have a story and a background. Not the usual well-known brands but more interesting small companies, featuring high quality, handmade classic styles for men. Just some of the collection includes hand frame-knitted Shetland Isle jumpers by Laurence J Smith, flannel and chambray shirts from the New England Shirt Company, Dick’s own specification varsity jackets by Golden Bear and Tellason selvedge denim jeans from San Francisco, raincoats by Stutterheim in Sweden, classic Breton tops from France, brogues and boots by Tricker’s and Eastland and superb polos and t-shirts by Sunspel, both from England. It was perfect for my husband who loved it and bought lots. There is much more in the store and they are considering introducing some womenswear in the future too. I look forward to that!
And it’s not just for boys. The accessories and home wares include notebooks made in Paris by La Compagnie du Kraft – “The most unproductive makers of notebooks in the Western world”, incense by Paine’s of Maine, ceramics by Makkum Tichelaar – designed by Atelier NL and made from local Dutch clays (Uli made a fun animated video of them on their Facebook page here). They have leather wallets, pencil cases and footballs made by Sonnenleder in southern Germany, classic canvas bags by Brady, kitchen knives by French company Opinel and Windmuehlenmesser from Germany. There are handmade wooden crows by Mikael Nilsson in Sweden and woodblock letter prints by Chris Sleath, a local printmaker based in Edinburgh, hand-printed especially for Dick’s.
We also had a sneak peak of some fab wooden sledges that will be available for Christmas – the perfect toy for big and little kids!
I have worked with Uli on many occasions over the years, most recently on my Elle Decoration story. She took the images at the top of the post and is continuing to work as a photographer, travelling to London for shoots, but will also now be able to work for companies in Scotland. I also took a few snaps of my own when we visited the shop.
Andrew and Uli have renovated the Georgian shop and basement into a simple and stylish interior – grey plaster walls, washed wooden floor and utilitarian steel and wooden fittings – that allows the beautiful clothes to breath, and the carefully selected home ware items are a perfect complement to the space. The store is only a 10 minute walk from Prince’s Street in the centre through the New Town, at 3 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh EH3 6ST (Tel 0131 226 6220). See map here.
So if you ever visit Edinburgh do pop by and say hello to Andrew and Uli and have a browse in Dick’s. There are perfect things for the men in your life and you can pick up a little something for yourself too!
If you know anyone in or near Edinburgh there please share this page with them. A new Dick’s website and online shop is underway but in the meanwhile you can follow what’s happening and see more of what is on offer if you ‘like’ their Dick’s Facebook page.
I wish Uli and Andrew the very best of success with their new venture and look forward to a return visit soon! x
I had the pleasure of popping over to Scottish jewellery designer maker Grainne Morton’s house whilst in Edinburgh and thought you would love to see it too. Grainne and I were at art college together and although we studied different subjects, we have kept in contact over the years. I bought my first piece of commissioned artwork from her to commemorate graduating from my BA as Grainne completed her MA. It now hangs in my daughter’s bedroom and I still love it. Every now and again at certain times in my life I try and save up and treat myself to commemorate an important event or achievement, and this was the first time. Grainne combines miniature found objects, often vintage and antique collected items, into exquisite unique arrangements set in precious metals – from small items like rings and cufflinks to necklaces, bracelets, brooches and jewellery artworks.
Grainne and her husband’s home has a lovely feel, full of character and warmth and that evening was filled with flickering candles, kitsch, dark and moody, fun and flippant but sophisticated too. So many unexpected items and objects to give little surprises and pleasures when you saw them. Gorgeous vignettes everywhere you looked, like a giant version of her jewellery. Luckily I had my camera and Grainne was happy to let me take some photos to share as her other guests arrived.
It was the Saturday evening when we popped over to her family home, filled with friends for a little bonfire and Halloween party, the children bobbed for apples hanging from strings, there were hollowed out pumpkins, marshmallows toasted over a fire, hot sausages in rolls and a homemade Halloween piñata followed by fireworks – a perfect evening, thank you Grainne!
I also took a few photos in her studio where her window and desk look onto the garden. I loved to see all her materials so beautifully organised, so much to play with and surrounded by inspiration.
The next treat I bought from her was when I had just finished my first book and I saw Grainne at a show in London and bought a flower brooch from her. I love it and it is a beautiful reminder of an achievement I was proud of (you can see the brooch here). For a special birthday my husband bought a gift voucher for me to choose something from Grainne’s collection and while she was exhibiting at the Made London design and craft show I chose a beautiful necklace and ring. I love them and have had lots of complementary comments while wearing them already.
You can find out more and see her work on Grainne’s website and her blog. Grainne’s work is also available to buy online at Seek & Adore. So if you fancy treating yourself to something special or putting it on your gift list this Christmas I highly recommend Grainne’s jewellery.
If you’re lucky enough to live near Edinburgh you can pop along to Grainne’s open studio and sample sale on 1st and 2nd December where there will be 15% off her current collection and well as sale items, and for those in London you can see her work at the Primrose Hill Designer Sale on the 8th December. Find out more here.
I hope you love her house and her work as much as I do.
November 14, 2012 in inspiring places
Over the half term school holiday recently we took a family trip to visit my old stomping ground of Edinburgh. I lived there for three years while studying printed textiles at the art college and we decided to take a city break up in Scotland and visit some friends. The train journey from London to Edinburgh Waverley whizzed by in a flash, as the countryside did through the mud-splattered glass of the windows. I took a little time taking experimental shots out of the window playing with blur and focus, and as the views changed so did my abstracted countryside. It began to rain towards the end of the journey and turned grey and dark, but the rain on the window added another layer to my images and made us really quite pleased to be in a cosy carriage.
Edinburgh is made up of the most beautiful architecture. The old town is Medieval and the new town is Georgian. Everywhere you look the architecture of the buildings is either fairytale or grand and sophisticated and even the new builds are contemporary and architecturally interesting and seem to fit in. For such a large, old city the countryside and sea are so close. Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano, juts upwards from almost the centre of the city, the Scottish Parliament at its feet and giving you the most amazing 360 degree views from its peak.
The first morning we walked up Calton Hill where, as a student, I used to visit the Beltane Fire Festival which marks the beginning of summer. At night fire would be carried in procession, drums banged to a rhythm, dancers writhing between columns wearing next to nothing. A pagan celebration that was really quite ‘other worldly’ and magical. In the daytime, it is still an impressive place to visit with large monuments, an observatory and a great view over Edinburgh. When we reached the top, my children pointed straight across to Arthur’s Seat and said “come on Mum, let’s go!”, so this was the morning of two hills. The view from the volcano’s peak was even more staggering, you had a wonderful view of the sea and other surrounding hills and countryside. Wandering around the rest of the city we saw the statue of Greyfriars Bobby and I told my children the sweet tale of this Terrier who sat and guarded his master’s grave for 14 years. The masonry in this graveyard was rather gruesome though, but perfect as it was Halloween.
Another day we wandered through the New Town to Stockbridge, popping in to to see my friend Michelle at the Open Eye Gallery where there was a show of prints by Victor Pasmore, an artist I love. We then walked along the beautiful river of Leith through ancient villages to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art where it was the first day of the new S J Peploe exhibition, one of the Scottish Colourists who are a favourite of mine! It was a perfectly crisp sunny, autumn day and a perfect expedition to end a wonderful trip to Edinburgh.
Above is the view across the old town, with the Castle in the distance at the end of The Royal Mile. The Georgian grandeur of the adjacent New Town streets is gorgeous and virtually all of them retain their original windows and doors. Many still have the family name on a plaque on the front door which really gives the houses personality.
Below are the views from Calton Hill, across to Arthur’s Seat that we climbed, the countryside and out over the Firth of Forth estuary to the North Sea.
We also visited a jewellery designer friend at her home and some more friends who had opened a new shop a few days before we arrived, both of which are wonderful. I have those posts to finish and am looking forward to sharing them with you.
If you’ve never been to Edinburgh it’s a great place to visit, full of history and creativity, and you can walk almost everywhere. Just remember to wrap up warm or before you know it you’ll be popping in to one of the many pubs for a wee dram of whisky to warm you up.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a contributing stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for 16 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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