Pierre Frey is a luxury design house that designs and manufactures fabrics and wallpapers. Working from a huge archive they completely capture and reinterpret that French feeling mixing the traditional with the contemporary. Our new account with them has just been opened and lots of gorgeous fabric books have arrived. They have launched a really great kids collection with some beautiful fabrics and papers -idyllic, well-mannered French child to play perfectly in newly decorated bedroom not included!
Boo (in her pink peasant dress) and I are now wafting around pretending to be French and living in a très chic loft apartment decorated with this ultracool Arty fabric from the Aloha collection….
and hoping that we can find a spot to decorate with one of these wallpapers.
Spurred on by a client (you know who you are H) who stopped in to collect her cushions, after a minor shopping splurge in Guildford, and commented on our lack of recent blogs, here is what we have been up to.
January saw us in Paris at Maison et Objet, the show of shows, a vast trade fair, checking out all the new collections from existing suppliers and traipsing miles up and down the halls looking for great new things for the shop. The show has over 3,000 exhibitors — from the major players, like Bentley (as in the car) with security guards on the entrance into their super-blingy stand which was in fact a lavish house, to smaller niche suppliers, more in our comfort zone. We are always hunting for items that have an integrity about them, be it in the shape, the colour, the construction, something interesting and beautiful, maybe a bit quirky, that hopefully you can’t find anywhere else.
One of the most inspiring areas is lighting and we were bowled over by some of the pieces, more like art installations in their scale and materials, we just need a huge hall to put one of them in.
On a slightly smaller scale, but completely fabulous, these beautiful jellyfish chandeliers caught our eye. We also loved these more industrial lights by Marine Breynaert that combine precious metals and riveting to create these extraordinary architectural pendants. Finally on the lighting front, if you are looking for the perfect light for a child’s bedroom these whimsical silk cloud lights fit the bill.
After a full nine hours of walking and hunting we headed into Paris to our little hotel, very old school and charming. Having not managed a proper lunch and just grazed on nuts and chocolates from various stands we were on our knees and desperate for a glass of wine and a lovely french meal. The hotel directed us to a truly French restaurant, all tobacco stained walls, red banquettes and brass rails and the first glass of wine barely touched the sides, well mine didn’t, Boo is a little more restrained, her glass is always half full, I’m a bit more half empty! Snails to start, steak for main… for me anyway, Boo went off piste and ended up with veal intestines which was hilarious.
Day two dawned with a slightly delayed start as we got on the wrong train. After five hours more hunting, walking and a heated discussion with a problematic French supplier we were racing through the last few halls and quickly whizzing back round to double-check on the bigger items we wanted to order. Our final show highlight has to be the Astier de Villatte stand, the china is heavenly, rows and rows of exquisite little jugs, Boo had to drag me out.
Laudree macaroons bought for the trusty partners holding the fort at home and we were back to the airport, home to Gatwick and Boo’s shiny new white car.
Lots of the gorgeous new things we bought are arriving at the shop, so pop in and see us.
Posted by Leanne Williams, Sunday February 9, 2014
The new year is well underway and all our good intentions and resolutions of blogging regularly have gone completely out of the window! January seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye and although we have got our Facebook page up and running and been featured in the fantastic Style Lane blog. We have crossed off ‘a big A board’ from our to do list. Our utterly brilliant signwriter, Gerald Whittaker delivered our board just before Christmas, we are thrilled. Twitter is eluding us and still on our to do list…
January has seen us out treasure hunting for lovely new furniture as we sold some of our bigger items just before Christmas. Boo has been driving a van up and down the country in filthy weather while I attempt to map read — not my strong point. Amongst the mud and pouring rain we have loaded up (often with the help of some kind burly gents) some really stunning and decidedly heavy pieces which are now happily at home in the shop.
Our upholsterer has also done an amazing job on the antique French chairs and sofa we brought back. The proportions on the little sofa, with its hand carved castors, are really elegant and it is now sitting looking rather wonderful in the design studio.
It is always tricky deciding what to upholster our furniture in as there is such a choice of lovely fabrics. Inevitably we can’t resist and always end up doing something we love and that would fit into our own houses rather than playing it safe. Surely everyone has space for a little shot of something fabulous…
Posted by Boo Craig Wood, Sunday November 17, 2013
Yesterday morning was the first time this season that I have had to scrape ice off the car windscreen. It seems winter has taken its time to get going, but here it is at last.
As well as my nose feeling decidedly chilly whilst walking the dogs across the fields, I can feel a tingle in my toes with the excitement of long winter nights, casseroles simmering in the slow cooker, the obligatory bottle of red wine and a roaring log fire. The other very exciting event of course, is Christmas. Leanne is beside herself with excitement at the thought of decorating the Christmas tree in the shop and adorning everything in tinsel. I on the other hand, am fretting about how we are going to fit the massive blue spruce that she has set her heart upon into the shop.
We have been hunting and gathering like squirrels collecting nuts for the winter season and the shop is full to bursting! With Christmas in mind we have sourced some unusual stocking fillers as well as more gorgeous and tasteful things for the home. We have extended Thursday’s opening hours to accommodate those hard working commuters and our bright green door will be open from 6pm until 9pm on the following dates:
Thursday, 21st November and 28th November, 5th December and 12th December 2013
Please do drop by and have a glass of wine whilst ticking off presents on your Christmas list. We will also be running a present wish list, so if there is anything your heart desires, we will take a note and help your loved ones select the perfect gift for you. We will also help with the wrapping – again something Leanne takes great pride in. This always brings a smile to my face as I am reminded of that scene in Love Actually when Rowan Atkinson performs his gift wrapping magic. (Please note that Leanne has a BA hons degree in wrapping and is super-fast, unlike the afore mentioned actor!)
We very much look forward to welcoming you into our Cabinet of Curiosities over the next few weeks and we hope to make your Christmas shopping this year as pleasurable and delightful as possible.
Posted by Boo Craig Wood, Tuesday October 22, 2013
We are very excited! We’ve been off hunting and gathering and look what we have found.
Little linen cupboard that would sit perfectly well below stairs in Downton. Alternatively this cabinet would be jolly useful in a modern kitchen to store and display all those tiny spice jars and other objects you can never find at the back of a cupboard.
Twice the trouble… Two schoolboy cupboards, circa 1880. Perfect for hiding in or if you can’t fit, would make lovely wardrobes in a child’s bedroom or a great cabinet for a TV, DVDs, files etc.
Really old Swedish Trugs. Simple and massive.
These are old factory tubes for storing roles of fabric. We love them for storing hockey sticks, fishing rods, umbrellas and any other tall objects lying around the house.
Beautiful, elegant carved wooden mirror.
We are over the moon and delighted to announce the arrival of Bella Maria. Both of us gasped with delight when we saw her standing in a field. Exquisitely hand painted, Italian gorgeousness — a real treasure.
Posted by Boo Craig Wood, Monday September 30, 2013
Two weeks in to our new business and we are thrilled with the response we have had, so many lovely people have come through the door having watched with interest the transformation of the building from its previous life as a less than salubrious pub.
Some of our favourite one-off pieces have been sold to new clients which is great, we are going to have to learn to be less attached to treasures we have hunted!
We have also been out and about, racking up the miles, sourcing new treasures and finding specific pieces customers have requested. It is always exciting when you come across a really stunning item and this beauty has just come into the shop, an 1850’s Louis Philippe mirror with original gilding and glass and in beautiful condition. Standing tall at 5ft Philippe would look perfect propped up in a bedroom, a real indulgence but it is a proper treasure.
Posted by Leanne Williams, Monday September 23, 2013
Well the weather has changed and autumn is definitely in the air with all the promise of a new season — shiny conkers, wood smoke and crisp country walks. The children are back at school, new shoes, new stationery (always a bonus) and new books.
This time of year also signals Decorex, the interior design show, now in its new location in Kensington, so up to London we sauntered to buy our own new fabric books.
It is always interesting seeing the new collections and you cannot help but feel hugely inspired and excited, it’s a bit like Christmas come early. We were particularly taken with some of the stunning lighting, especially these contemporary lanterns.
The theme of this year’s show was The Silk Route and Kit Kemp decorated the entrance in her inimitable colourful, eclectic style which is right up our street. Playing with scale is a great way to add interest to a space and this oversized headboard with its beautiful embroidered fabric and pattern, pattern everywhere was a visual treat. Completely amazing boat chandelier lights as well…
Posted by Boo Craig Wood, Monday September 9, 2013
This is our first entry for ‘Thoughts from The Cabinet’. There is so much to say, it seems difficult to know where to start…
It’s Sunday night and what a week it has been. Everything seems to have happened at once and so many decisions have been made. We are VERY excited though. We are not complaining, Leanne and I are bursting with excitement as we draw ever closer to the launch night — four days and counting. The signs are now hanging on the front of TGC HQ, in full view of Alton, the print on the letterhead is drying, the website went live on Friday and everyone seems to be talking about us. It is nothing short of a miracle that our vision of few months ago is finally being brought to life. We are very happy indeed, if a little tired.
We’ve spent this weekend unwrapping all the treasures we have hunted and gathered over the last few months — it feels like Christmas but so much more enjoyable as we LOVE everything that emerges from the boxes. The challenge is trying to fit it all in. We are getting there slowly and we will be ready on Thursday afternoon to welcome you all through our bright green door. Just need to remember to order the wine in.