Top Drawer

As each season of new products approaches, I look forward to visiting the Top Drawer Show in London. This is in the knowledge of course, that after so many years of trend spotting, I am extremely difficult to please, and find it hard to be ‘wowed’ by the products launched by the multitudinous companies that show their wares to the trade buyers at these shows.  However, I am the eternal optimist and turn up every time looking for that wonderful object, design or personal ‘click’ that makes me feel warm inside!

I am of course always drawn to the textile products, as that is my background, and this week chanced upon the stand of Peaceable Kingdom. The Peaceable Kingdom cushion collections came about through the artist designer Hugh Dunford Wood creating an image of a cat for his daughter and subsequently grew into a range of lino block printed cushions.

Peaceable Kingdom cushions

The random qualities of hand block printing lend an individual element that I love to these simple and striking designs, and I feel that they embody the pared-down and simplistic feel of the current trend for naturally produced, bespoke furnishings.


Mon Amie are a couple of florists from Leicestershire who have designed a simple work apron that is deliciously stylish, just the kind of thing I can imagine Vita Sackville-West donning to collect fully blown roses in her Sissinghurst garden! I was initially attracted by the sumptuous colour of their stand, a combination of soft slate, earth and warm mustard aprons simply hanging and folded in unassuming piles.

Mon Amie Aprons

Again I was drawn to the organic simplicity of the presentation and products from this duo, and love that they have been brave enough to make a limited colour statement for the launch of these linen aprons. Mon Amie living has a gentle and restrained sense of style that so many of us aspire to, but are not often brave enough to make that statement.

Moving from garden to kitchen in a smooth transition, the understated luxury of The Silver Duck cutlery collection is an example of form and function pared down to a beautiful simplicity. Charlotte Anne Duckworth ihas refined the craft of silversmithing to forge light and elegant pieces of silver cutlery, combining this luxurious metal with the pale wood of holly  for the handles. I personally can’t resist a lovely wooden box, and Charlotte has presented her pieces in simple presentation boxes, with the pieces of cutlery nestled amongst wood shavings. These little cabinets of curiosity are beautiful in themselves, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the utensils can’t be used, they are perfectly functional and Charlotte provides a litttle bottle of oil and a soft cloth for us to maintain the holly wood after it has been washed!


These were my pick of the Top Draw show this season, minimal, organic and functional all, but above all exemplary pieces of timeless design.

Impressions of Manhattan

It is all too easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of central Manhattan. Skyscraping buildings, blinding electronic billboards and towering piles of food are what we assosciate with New York City. So on my recent visit I decided to concentrate on the details, and this brought a whole new dimension to a city that I have known and loved for many years.

It is funny how, once you decide to focus on one thing, examples pop up everywhere, and so it was that I started noticing the textures in stonework, and architectural details reflected in the products on offer in shops and art exhibitions too. I think it must have looked very strange to the locals seeing this strange person taking close-up pictures in Grand central station or at the Metropolitan Museum, rather than photographing the vast architectural expanses of New york!

The simplicity of embossing, and imprinted texture needs little embellishment through colour, and perfectly fits the New York fashion week’s neutral colour trend of muted candy pink and pale smokey blue which is already in evidence in the cities home decoration collections.


Of course I was spoilt for choice, but have grouped together some of my favourite images here; mixing up the art, architecture and design of Manhattan to show the emerging trend for embossed details and pattern in my world of decoration and design.