WELCOME TO MINFORD
Dassie Midnight Blue Ceramics
Matt navy tableware, slightly wonky with a drippy glaze made by an eco conscious company – these beauties made me stop what I was scrolling through and hit that buy button right away. Get in my virtual basket now please.
I am keeping it short and sweet today as I simply want to flag up these Dassie Artisan ceramics that I am really excited about. The company are based in good old Tunbridge Wells and work directly with artisans in developing countries to produce their homeware. That’s a big gold star in my book.
I plan to throw a linen cloth over the table (maybe even go a bit ‘Minford’ and make it dusty pale pink one) and pile on as many navy ceramics as I can fit.
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.
What To Pack For A 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.
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.
I swear by my trusty Opinel folding knife. My absolute picnic essential.
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!
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.
Inspired By: Interior Designer Vincent Van Duysen
Vincent Van Duysen is nothing short of a star in the architecture and interior design world. He won designer of the year in 2016 at Belgium’s Biennale Interieur. He scooped the ARC15 Architecture Award for his design of three black barns. He’s designed lighting collections for Flos and is busy creating beautiful Italian furniture with Molteni&Co. He is also the reason I keep finding myself in the sanctuary like Aesop stores for far too long slathering on every type of hand cream.
From shop design and hotels to private interiors, Vincent is the go-to for serene, understated minimalism that never seems to date.
Vincent’s special brand of ‘calm’ came after years of work with maximalist pattern and colour. Graduating in 1980, he joined Aldo Cibic in Milan. Cibic at the time was partnered with Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis Group.
Returning home at the end of the ‘80s he realised he needed a break from the bright and the bold and began to fully appreciate his Flemish roots. “All the natural materials, raw materials, colours derived from the nature around us, very simple tones, the fact that historically we are great weavers and producers of carpets and amazing fabrics were part of a 360-degree turn in my thinking,” he told the Financial Time this April. “I knew I needed to create domestic environments that were actually calming.”
On this Tuesday morning, I am embracing his relaxing spaces (albeit from afar as I am currently on set in a castle in the middle of nowhere where chinoiserie and taxidermy reign). Soak up the inspiration from his inspiring private interior spaces to his home in Antwerp and his projects throughout Belgium.
Vincent Van Duysen’s home in Antwerp, Belgium
His living room and dining table from his home in 1993
A home in Zwevegem, Belgium
A private home in Knokke, Belgium
A home in Wilrijk, Belgium
A home in Kortrijk, Belgium