2012 promises to be a major year for Great Britain, together with the Summer Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee happening place. No doubt designers will indicate these events with British-inspired products. As a British expat currently living in California, I still like to keep an eye on UK trends and continue to be a fan of British gifts to design history. Here is how you can take a few of the classics and upgrade them with a modern twist to add a bit of Brit Chic into almost any home.
— Lucy from Four Walls and a Roof
Tower Bridge at Night Cushion – GBP 135
Rather than the ubiquitous Union Jack pillow, I’d choose one of these graphic layouts featuring the London skyline. My favourite is this one of Tower Bridge.
When I asked you to think of a renowned British designer, Vivienne Westwood is very likely to spring to mind. Her set of carpets for The Rug Company has the same edgy take on heritage as her catwalk looks. My favourite is that this tartan rug, which can be unexpectedly cut on the diagonal.
The Conran Shop
Matador Chair – $1,850
Perhaps the biggest name in British interior design is Terence Conran. Along with being the founder of design emporiums Habitat and Heal’s, he created numerous pieces which have become modern classics in their own right. I adore the mid-century lines and pillar box red of this aptly called Matador Chair.
Cow Parsley Wallpaper – $178
Wallpaper maker Cole & Son uses conventional hand-printing techniques and has a huge range of quintessentially British layouts. This Cow Parsley pattern reminds me of an English hedgerow, but the red and gold palette lifts it from the normal.
Dalston Rose Wallpaper – $125
I love this black and white floral pattern, Dalston Rose, which comes as background, furniture or fabric. I’d use this background in a contemporary black and white plot.
Traditional Cake Stand – GBP 120
The black and white floral theme goes to the china. I can only imagine this cake stand stacked high with red velvet cupcakes — very punk glam. Vivienne Westwood would be proud.
Old Hickory Tannery “Ellsworth” Tufted Sofa – $2,299
And here’s the perfect pairing for my black pillow: a white Chesterfield couch. Chesterfields are heavy, tufted sofas with arms and back of the same height. This is in fact an Old Hickory couch and not exactly a Chesterfield, but it’s a similar effect and could bring some country estate elegance to a contemporary room.
London Eye Cushion – GBP 135
Or you might reverse the colors and choose this white pillow together with the famous London Eye to proceed with a black couch.
Modern Sofas – GBP 995
This black velvet Chesterfield would be perfect. I like the sloping arms and ball feet which give it an updated, whimsical appearance.
Jonathan Adler Chippendale Arm Chair – $645
Another classic from British furniture design is the Chinese Chippendale seat. Named after the 18th Century British cabinet maker who pioneered the design, these chairs feature lacquer and latticework. A favorite of mine is Jonathan Adler’s variant, that comes in dozens of colors. I’d love to use this black lacquer and gray test variant in an darkened dining area or using a white desk in an elegant office.
The Conran Shop
Antelope Chair – $975
A more modern classic British seat is the Antelope Chair made by Ernest Race from the 1950s. The splayed steel design is supposed to be reflective of their discoveries in molecular physics in the moment. I really don’t know about that, but I do know I like its slender, unassuming kind and want one in my dining room!
Ashley Hicks Furniture
Ashley Hicks Sabre 76 Side Table
I adore this Sabre table by Ashley Hicks, the daughter of revered interior designer David Hicks. I couldn’t have this table kids in the home, but for an extremely grownup living space, this would be a real conversation piece.
Hera Liberty Print Miniature Suitcase – GBP 65
Who does not adore Liberty of London prints? This mini suitcase in Liberty’s Hera Tana Lawn printing would make a cute option storage solution. I would stack three of these to act as a casual accent table in a hallway.
Splash Coat Rack by Blu Dot, Gray – $299
Of course, we English adore our hats, so no hallway would be complete without a hat rack. I’m a fan of this modern, grey”dipped” variation by Blu Dot.
Doily Rug – $348
English Victorian homes used a great deal of lace accents, also this Doily Rug from Anthropologie is a tongue-in-cheek mention to that era. I’d upgrade the appearance by using it in an all-white bedroom with a gorgeous chandelier.
Arteriors Jada Wire Wrapped Chandelier – $1,668
This Oly Studio chandelier would be the perfect light fixture. It’s made of wire that has been wrapped to look like crystals, so it’s a more industrial take on conventional English stately home design.
Cath Kidston USA
Rose Cushion Cover – $26
I’m not a major fan of floral chintz, but I appreciate it in tiny doses. Nobody does English florals greater compared to Cath Kidston, and such cushions would look good on a bench or window seat in a kitchen.
The Conran Shop
Sophie Conran Large Pitcher, White – GBP 28
No English country kitchen is complete without a large jug filled with overblown roses. I would select this large Sophie Conran pitcher because of its simple shape and handmade appeal. I’d pair it together with a lot of foliage to get a more contemporary effect.
Mortar & Pestle – GBP 30
Cornishware, one of those icons of English pottery, really had nothing to do with Cornwall. It was created in Derbyshire in North England, and it had been called after the waves off the Cornish shore because of its original blue and white palette. The mill shut down in 2007 after nearly 90 years but was revived recently by enthusiasts. And just as well, since these bold stripes can grace any kitchen.
English Pear & Freesia Home Candle – $65
The finishing touch to an English-inspired home would need to be a set of these Jo Malone candles. I never tire of their packaging that is understated, and I like that they deliver a bit of London townhouse elegance to any space.
Next: I Spy Union Jacks