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Kathryn Sharman
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...but wouldn't it be nice to have one of these babies to curl up in over the festive period? Special, cosy, luxurious armchairs are made for Christmas whether you're snuggling up with a blanket to read your new book, cradling a bowl of figgy pudding and rum sauce in front of the telly or cuddling a loved one on your knee, while listening to carols on the radio. Here's my pick of the best armchairs that would do the job nicely. Clockwise from left: John Lewis Gibson armchair Naughtone Silhouette armchair from Nest Chester Italian made velvet armchair from Habitat... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2011 at Natural History's blog
In last week's post I was bemoaning my general lack of mantlepieces, so this week I thought I'd celebrate something I do have. So, here, today, I give thanks for my free-standing, roll-top bath. I grew up swimming about in a seemingly massive roll-top bath - an original that my parents had as long as I could remember and was large enough to fit all four of us children in. However, its beautiful claw feet and curved sides had been boxed in during the 70s and the only lasting clue of its grandeur were the original taps. I begged my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I have mantlepiece envy. Despite the fact our house is about a hundred years old, all the original fireplaces were ripped out long ago by the previous owners (I know, there should be a law against such things). So at the moment, I am faced with several blank, white chimney breasts and not much else. It's not just that I think a fireplace creates a great focal point as well as warmth for any room, it's the clutterbug in me that feels most deprived. After all, mantelpieces are wonderful places that you can arrange, personalise and clutter up with all... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2011 at Natural History's blog
If the view outside your window is cold and grey at the moment then come and warm yourself in the colourful world of Lucy Renshaw’s furniture. All Lucy Renshaw products are hand-made using reclaimed materials which ensure every design is completely one off and her work is as much about the aesthetic as the ‘eco’. Lucy’s passion for bright colour is influenced by time spent living in the Caribbean, which has had a big impact on her work. She loves collecting the unwanted and general junk, sourcing bits and bobs from all sorts of weird and wonderful places and has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I recently came across a company that feels as nice as its sofas look. Let me explain. When I think of sofas I automatically reference the times in my life when I've bought one. So we have The Futon shop (university), IKEA (young professional) and DFS (married couple). None of these shopping experiences have been golden moments and the products were always so-so rather than oo-ooh! But I'd quite like to buy a sofa from Sofas & Stuff Sofas & Stuff was started by two guys, Andrew and David who got together to make nice furniture. Andrew has been in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I have a bit of a thing for plates, especially granny plates with birds on them. I can't help it, I think they are just lovely and provide duel fuel for my love of crockery and all things avian. So you'll see why I was somewhat distracted by these plates created by 'outsider' artist Angela Rossi. Based in Los Angeles, she works with recycled materials giving new life to forgotten items. Using 'orphaned and unloved' antique plates, she transforms them into new modern portraits. Guess which ones are my favourite? For more information on Angela Rossi's work, visit her website... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2011 at Natural History's blog
Okay so we've had that interesting little Indian Summer thing, which was nice if a little odd, but inevitably October is now showing its true colours (or lack of). While Autumn is my favourite season and this September has been a good one, the shorter, darker days are now evident. Therefore this post hopes to give an unapologetic injection of colour. I love the way a piece of furniture or even something as simple as a new lampshade or bedspread can brighten up the most cheerless room. So when the SADS is really starting to kick in, in a few... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2011 at Natural History's blog
A love of typewriters and teapots, sewing machines and suitcases has finally led me to the exquisite work of Jennifer Collier. I apologise now if you're already familiar with this successful artist's work, but just in case there are still one or two of you who, like me, haven't clapped eyes on her wonderful paper objects then start clapping. Jennifer's creations are made from paper; by bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching she produces unusual paper ‘fabrics’, which are used to explore the ‘remaking’ of household objects. The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch;... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2011 at Natural History's blog
Sustainability and ‘up-cycling’ are words that still buzz more than a hive full of bees and they are particularly important values to one up-and-coming furniture company, based in Hackney, London. Relic Interiors design and make bespoke furniture from 100% recycled timber. Everything they create is handmade with great care and attention to detail. They are also very conscious that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of labour exploitation and the damage we are doing to the environment. So if you want to know where your furniture has been made, by whom and where the timber was sourced then Relic Design is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I'm always a bit confused about the rules of lighting. I think it's ambient lighting that creates an overall 'ambience' as Del Boy would say, but it's also important to have lamps to create mood lighting. That's fine but there are only so many surfaces you can fit a table lamp on, which is why I've been drawn to floor or standard lamps. We managed to bag a great bargain in the Habitat closing down sale (it's still sad to write that) of a wooden standard lamp that we've teamed with a big, pea green drum shade. There are also... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I've recently discovered the lovely work of talented US artist Juliette Crane. If you haven't heard of her yet, trust me, you will soon as she is about to launch into the UK. Juliette’s work is well known in the US for its depiction of owls and girls; two characters which are very close to her heart and give her paintings such depth and appeal. One day, aged 5 years old, she decided to take over her parents’ ping pong table and spread paper on it. She started playing with water colours, creating backgrounds and then used crayon and pen... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2011 at Natural History's blog
via I have to admit that the recent trend for all things map-related had sort of passed me by. Maybe I'd seen one too many cute picture frames containing heart-shaped cut outs of maps, showing locations that had no real relevancy or meaning to me. But I was recently riffling through a box of frames in a charity shop (as I am one to do) and I came across a lovely map of North Yorkshire, where I live. As I studied the map with its subtly coloured hues, depicting the rise and fall of the terrain I've always known as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2011 at Natural History's blog
Yes my initial thought was 'third nipple' too but rid your minds of James Bond baddies because this Scaramanga is a young company based in Fife, Scotland that sells classically styled, traditionally handmade, and authentic old and vintage furniture. Though Scaramanga has a fairly wide range, none of its products are mass-produced or manufactured to look ethnic (unlike some). Most of their items are exclusive and unique so you have to move fast to grab your favourite. All of Scaramanga's materials and products are fairly sourced, directly from unique and traditional craft based families and communities. And, just when you... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I think your walls can say as much about you and your personality as the furniture you have. Since we renovated our house I have been enjoying the relative tranquility of plain, white walls. But six months in, the walls are starting to show the obvious signs of family life. More importantly I want them to truly reflect the family that lives here. I want colour, pattern, pictures and photos. I want each wall and room to tell its story, not just for others but for myself, to watch and listen to again and again over the forthcoming years. I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2011 at Natural History's blog
When it comes to a favourite dress or pair of shoes, a treasured heirloom or memento or just a cheering postcard or polaroid I think it's best just to let it all hang out. I've never been one for hiding away my things. Beautiful, precious stuff or items that make you smile and reminisce should be part of every day to be enjoyed. And some things are just so nice, they are objet d'art in their own right. NB if you like minimalism, look away now. If you embrace clutter then read on Macduff! via Now I like a beautiful... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I'm beginning to realise the importance of chests. A good chest of drawers is one of those pieces of furniture that can be slotted into literally any room or space of the house and serve a purpose. Although in good old fashioned William Morris style, it should always be beautiful as well as useful of course. It's a bit of a shame that I don't possess a single one at the moment, though my life and my house is clearly crying out for several. via You see I've been hanging on in the vain hope of finding a lovely old... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2011 at Natural History's blog
via I've always had a bit of a thing for Lloyd Loom furniture. I can clearly remember my grandma's linen basket and a bedside cabinet in the spare room where I used to stay. I used to trace my finger along the distinctive gold-painted braiding when I was trying to fall asleep. This is probably why I now have a couple of thrifted pieces of Lloyd Loom in my home; namely a gold linen box we keep in the bathroom and a cute little pink cupboard, which is pride of place in my daughter's bedroom as you can see. There... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2011 at Natural History's blog
I have a couple of great armchairs sitting in my back room. They have come from my parents’ house, who in turn inherited them from my granddad. They are big, solid, wooden chairs with upholstered arms and comfy cushions on which I have curled as a child and slumped as an adolescent. To me they symbolise age and beauty, longevity and familiarity. They are also dusty and a tad smelly. But I couldn’t bear to see them chucked out. These chairs are part of my family history and besides, they just don’t make them like this anymore (well they do... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2011 at Natural History's blog
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Jul 19, 2011