Minford – An Interiors and Lifestyle Journal by Twig Hutchinson

Styling A Cake Stand In Your Sitting Room (Trust Me)

You may have noticed a rather chic looking cake stand in the Minford shop. If not, then let me introduce you to Habitat’s ‘Greta,’ a fabulous piece of black stoneware made in Portugal. She’s found a way into my home but I’m certainly not intending on shoving a Victoria Sponge on top of her, oh no. Greta is proudly in the sitting room. A cake stand in the sitting room I hear you cry! She is now a candle / bits and bobs / weird shit stylists always acquire, stand.

Try this at home: get a couple of your favourite candles, a pretty box of matches and one or two random objects (make sure one thing is a bit off) and have a go at playing stylist.

Habitat Greta Black Cake Stand

Beautiful Pale Pink Bedding. And It's Not Linen.

Some people think that being an interior stylist is a glamorous job full of trips abroad styling cheese boards and fluffing cushions. SOMETIMES it is. But more often than not you’ll find me in a giant shopping center. The Westfield staff practically know me by name.

A couple of weeks ago I was trawling the shops looking for cushions and bedding for a client. I ambled into M&S’s home department, by this point pretty weary from slogging about and if I had been sitting on a chair (or bed), I would have fallen off it.

Out of the corner of my eye I spied the most fabulous pale pink blink and you’d think it was the one Conran used to do duvet cover. Same double seam stitching, same muted palest pink colour, same washed crunchy feel, just a different price. At £6 a pillowcase the shelf was immediately cleared and I was off to the till with my arms bulging.

I thought it only right to give my new purchases a trial run before I started banging on about it to you guys. As you can see from the pictures it’s a definite thumbs up from me. I had a wonderful nights sleep and this morning when I woke up it was looking even better. No starched crispness here people.  We’re getting into relaxed holiday mode and so is my bedding.

Duvet Cover . Pillowcase . Fitted Sheet 

Le Picnic

School’s nearly out and it’s this time of year that I start to focus on more practical holiday plans rather than which Marant dress I’m intending to waft around France in. I’ve got a week of camping to think about and then a holiday where lunch is on the beach everyday.

I feel I can say with confidence that I’ve got my picnic gear down (for proof, see above image of my haul). It becomes my holiday ritual to pack and unpack it ready for each outing.

The Basket
First up I’m all about the good old fashioned wicker basket. I bought the one in the picture above years ago and painted it (surprise, surprise) grey. I can’t remember where I got it from but I spotted this gorgeous one from The White Company which is rather conveniently in the sale.

I love my Falcon enamel plates. They are pretty much indestructable. The dream is to mix both blue and red edges for a bit of a ‘poor man’s Astier de Villatte’ vibe.

The Knife
I swear by my trusty Opinel folding knife. My absolute picnic essential.

Vintage Chopping boards
These are just so great not only for cutting food on but for serving it and passing around to people.  They are hard to track down but I’ve found some good ones here and here.

The Tablecloth Towel
You may have seen my post earlier this month on summer towels, well here is where they really do come into their own.  I use this as a towel and then whip it out as a beach tablecloth at lunchtime. If you’d like to go for a picnic rug as you’re off out in the English countryside then my favourite pick is a vintage Welsh blanket. I’ve found this beauty and this one on Etsy.

Clearly holidays are about drinking rosé at lunchtime and I’m afraid doing it out of a melamine or a tin cup doesn’t quite cut it. Enter the cheap and sturdy utilitarian tumbler set  Wrap them in your towel/tablecloth so you won’t worry about breaking them and pair them with a glass bottle.

A Final Word
In my yearly search for updating my picnic stuff I have come across two treasures in John Lewis.  First up is this Leon Cool bag and finally these melamine cups if you don’t fancy Peppa Pig beakers for the children.

Lastly the greatest tip I ever did receive about how to camp well was to buy a cheap clothes rail and hang everything from there. No more damp clothes!

Set of 4 Flacon Plates . Opinel Knife . Leon Paper Lunch Cooler Bag .  The White Company Picnic basket .  Tumbler Set . Glass Bottle . Chopping Board . Linen Cloth

Slip Onto Something More Comfortable

When I stumbled upon this picture of Tine K  ‘s sofa this week I immediately thought don’t mind if I do thank you very much. Just so low key and chic, not to mention practical. It then dawned on me that the designers I have chosen to feature of late, from Rose Uniacke and Axel Vervoordt to Vincent Van Duysen, all share the love of a good old slip covered sofa. It’s easy to imagine why, it’s a seriously versatile piece.

There’s the 1970s Baleric Island interior where it’s plonked on a stone floor with indoor plants. There’s the English country pile version where it’s covered in a mass of linen ticking stripe cushions. Rose Uniacke uses it in spaces with an antique table or two. And then come the Belgians who keep it calm against pale grey peeling walls. And, if that hasn’t got you seriously interested then check out the home of designer and New York boutique owner Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

No Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic to see here my friends.  Just super cool minimal floppy linen loveliness.

Casa na Rua de São Mamede ao Caldas in Lisbon

Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Home

Axel Vervoordt’s interior design

An Axel Vervoordt interior

A calm grey Axel Vervoordt space

Rose Uniacke’s living room

Masseria Moroseta B&B in Puglia

Tine K linen cushion . Linen Throw  . Tine K lampshade . Ikea Sofa . Tine K Sofa Tine K Pouffe

Galvanise Your Garden

I can’t think of an interior stylist on the planet who won’t have a galvanised vintage dolly tub with an olive tree plonked somewhere in their outdoor space. These pots are a stylists best friend.

I am in the fan club myself for a few reasons: they’re an interesting alternative to terracotta that would be the usual go-to for garden pot plants and they weather beautifully.

The vintage dolly tubs are like gold dust. So if you’re at an antiques market and miraculously see one without a sold sticker on BUY IT. I’ve found 2 on Etsy if you’d rather not leave your sofa.

If, like me, you’re in the ‘grey is great gang’ and can never get enough of the shade then consider galvanising the rest of your garden with metal tabletops, chairs and outdoor lighting.

My stash of watering cans in the sun in the garden. If you’re in the market for a vintage galvanized watering can I found three in this etsy shop.

 Garden Trading Swan Neck Light . Vintage Galvanised Dolly Tub and also here.  These and these are probably the best I’ve found as far as a new get the vintage look version goes. Cox & Cox 3 Aged Zinc Planters . Metal Chair . Galvanised table (not strictly for outside but I like to put mine in the garden).