WELCOME TO MINFORD
It’s Easter weekend (well we’re veeeery nearly there) and I am not going to talk about chicks, baby lambs, chocolate eggs, and you’ll be pleased to hear, resurrection today ;). Instead, this post is dedicated to blooms and specifically the work of the incredibly talented florist Flora Starkey.
When I am styling a shoot, I am often called upon to add flowers and foliage to a room or set. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. And I find immense inspiration in the work of Starkey whose arrangements muddle the delicacy of flowers and decay – there’s a rich darkness to her work inspired by the Dutch masters paintings.
“I’ve always referenced those pictures, long before I did floristry as a career. I think they’re just so captivating and beautiful; I love the darkness that underpins them.” Flora told House of Hackney.
“I guess because flowers are so transient and a lot of the beauty comes from the fact that it’s quite fleeting, that it doesn’t last forever, and there’s a lot of beauty in the decay as much as the life. I love the imperfections of things, I love flowers as they die, and I think they’re so symbolic of the whole life cycle.”
Flora made a career switch from fashion designer to floristry when she became a mother of three and was looking for work that fitted her family life. Her own mother was a florist and the transition was natural. She’d since bagged the likes of, Alexander McQueen, Another magazine and British Vogue as clients.
I particularly love that Flora picks rare and unusual flowers for her arrangements, often growing what she can’t find in flower markets in her garden in London.
There are many more where these pics came from but I’ve picked out the spring arrangements that I LOVE.
This weekend get your daffs next to some pink cherry blossom or a fuschia pink tulip.
Happy Easter people.
Studio Oliver Gustav
Oliver Gustav is one of those curious people who defies a title. Part designer, part consultant and part collector, equals one brilliant creative that I can’t get enough of.
The interiors the Dane designs play on light and shadow, drama and serenity. Even when his rooms are full of furniture, they’re always calm.
It’s an intoxicating concoction that has made me a long term fan. Imagine my total exasperation (swearing) when I turned up at the shop on a trip to Copenhagen on the day it was closed. Grrr.
In his studio are antiques, work by contemporary designers and pieces he created himself. He groups items and furniture together, creating an interesting tension. And it’s the perfect space to understand and appreciate his aesthetic.
“I would never buy a crazy picture of, I don’t know, Mario Testino with a lot of flowers. That is the opposite of the feeling I like an object to evoke in me, it would rather be pieces that I can reflect on somehow.” Oliver told The Loft.
“It is very important for me that when I step into an environment that it is very calm. There can be plenty of pieces in the space without it disturbing the eye.”
As you’d expect, Oliver’s style isn’t cheap – he picks out $227,000 alabaster beds by fashion designer Rick Owens or a silver plated brass cabinet by Vincenzo de Cotiis for a cool $90,000.
It’s not everyday that one can shell out on those but if you like his vibe there is an online shop where you can buy smaller objects and his wonderful Mad et Len candles. Follow him on insta and prepare to be seriously inspired.
John Derian lives in a house in the East Village, New York that used to be an artists studio and a sewing factory. I’ve long viewed his home as the perfect source of inspiration. Not only for it’s old world charm that I just love but specifically for his beautiful distressed, unfinished walls.
“That’s nicotine”, he quipped to the New York Times who came to explore his home last summer. “The woman who lived here for decades was a chain smoker, so there’s this amazing patina, because it’s dust and dirt and nicotine everywhere. It’s all kind of a mistake.”
That’s perhaps why John’s style is so great. Nothing feels forced in his interior. There are so many elements but he’s skilled in making them work together. He’s helped too by the space – the high ceilings, large scale and light.
John is the maker of decoupage plates and homewares, that much like his house have an antiqued, old-y world-y feel. He began in 1989 collaging found images onto glass plates that resulted in a first order for £40k. With the help of friends he managed to complete it and since (having refined the process) has built a reputation as a master of his trade.
If you want to emulate a bit of John Derian styling in your own home go for neutral walls or if you’re in the fortunate position of stripping back old wallpaper, leave it as you find it for the perfect distressed look! Get foraging at your local antiques market for all sorts of vintage & antique collectables and don’t be afraid to have an unfinished upholstered chair in the mix. Finally, as I’ve banged on about before – see the power of a black lampshade.
He’s also lucky enough to have another home in Cape Cod and below are my favourite images from both.
P.S – I won’t sing Alicia Keys for you but I am typing this from New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, so for the next 10 days they’ll be a pause in the posts but a whole lot of instagram (The Minford & miniFORD ‘shops’ are open as usual). First stop John Derian’s store!
Rose Uniacke’s London home is the perfect showroom to demonstrate just why she’s one of the most sought after Interior Designers in the industry today. And why I am such a fan. Of course her sanctuary-like space, minimalistic but never cold, feels nothing like a ‘showroom’. But it’s here that she best displays her near perfect, never puts a foot wrong taste. Her spaces are pared-back, and calm, giving room for the choice pieces of old and new designers to be seen in their full glory.
Rose has spent her career training her eye to spot beautiful antiques and understand the buildings she places them in. And in 2013 she won the Andrew Martin Interior Designer of the Year Award.
Raised in Oxford, Rose took an apprenticeship and trained as a gilder and restorer, before joining her mother Hilary Batstone in the antiques trade. She earned herself a reputation as a brilliant dealer in her own right and in 2009 opened her own London antiques shop. Her shop now also houses her bespoke design work – furniture and lighting that she created when she couldn’t find what she was looking for elsewhere. But it’s her interiors that make her the go-to woman for the Beckhams, Jo Malone and countless others when decorating their homes.
Getting the Rose Uniacke look in your own home means a major decluttering and serious attention to detail. Every room has a statement light. She pairs soft woods with harder textures such as marble and metal. And there’s a hit of colour in a neutral setting, creating uber elegant rooms that frankly make me feel a little bit giddy.
Watch Rose discussing her London home here.
Gubi, Let Me Count The Ways
Even if the name isn’t instantly recognisable to you, you’re bound to have seen a Gubi design somewhere. Flick through many an interiors magazine or get stuck for hours scrolling through Pinterest looking at beautiful homes and you’ll spot their lamps and furniture.
To me, a Gubi design is pretty much perfect and when we built our kitchen their pendant lamp was the only choice to hang above the dining table (spot the picture of said kitchen at the bottom). Whether you’re a long-time Gubi fan or are just discovering them, it never hurts to stop and have a good long gander at the most inspiring images of their work. Having only previously seen small selections of their pieces at The Conran Shop, last year on a trip to Copenhagen I made a bee line to their store, needless to say I had to be dragged from the building by friends (I had already spent an hour combing through it all!).
The Gubi story goes that in 1967 Gubi and Lisbeth Olsen opened a store in Denmark to show Gubi’s furniture and lighting designs. Over time their sons joined and in 2001 Jacob Gubi began steering the Gubi name towards international interior greatness. The brand works with artists to design pieces like the Gubi chair that’s now part of the permanent exhibition in the MoMa. It also finds lost design treasures – mostly mid-century – and reissues them. Take the Bestlite lamp, first produced in 1930 by British designer Robert Dudley Best. Gubi spotted in the ‘80s and resurrected it.
But what I love most about Gubi is that you can style it with anything. It looks great in a modern setting but it’s also wonderful for adding a sharpness to a more antique interior. The picture of the lilac sofa in the Parisian apartment will forever be one of my favourites.
My kitchen in London
Three of my favourite Gubi pieces
P.S If you really love the look but your budget doesn’t stretch to designer interiors it is January after all have a little look at this Knox Grey Floor Lamp you can order now for delivery early February.