You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.

Photo by Piotr Redlinski © 2008, Property of Sony Pictures Classics

Anyone who combines their love of film with an eagle eye for good design will revel in Please Give currently screening at the BFI Southbank. It’s the story of a New York couple who run a mid-century modern furniture store, scooping up their booty by doing the NY equivalent of house clearances. The furniture alone deserves an Oscar for best supporting role – when not indulging in a game of Spot the Design Classic, with everything from Poulsen lamps to a very handsome Knoll table upstaging the leads, you can take inspiration on how to work vintage into your world. It’s a witty, wise film about lust (whether for an Ercol sofa chair or an too-tanned twentysomething), guilt and what ultimately gives our lives meaning. Uplifting and funny – you’ll have to be quick to catch it as it’s only on till Wednesday. If you miss it at the BFI, reserve it on Lovefilm now.  Jo – sub-editor

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Sometimes, inspiration can lie in the most unlikely places. About 200yds from the Bankside office area we occupy I discovered a ‘secret’ garden that feels like it’s a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the the South Bank.  Tucked behind some railway arches and behind an overgrown car park, the pop-up Union Street Urban Orchard is a magical space full of fruit trees and flowers and even garden sheds full of seeds to plant and share.

There’s an upturned skip that become a table tennis table (Ping Pong is having something of a moment in London right now…)

…and  even somewhere to make tea or coffee with an honest box to pay up. Love that!

Sadly, this will all close on the 19th September (that’s the thing about pop-ups) so I’m on the hunt for another secret space for lunchtime musings and inspiration. I may just have found it…

…at the All Hallows church garden round the corner next to the deconsecrated church.

There’s even a campaign to keep the garden going, so I’ve already joined up. Long live urban gardens! Carmel – acting editor


For more great images of urban gardens, check out House To Home.co.uk

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Old Spitalfields Market is great for a mooch as there’s always something there to inspire. These Biba-esque fashion windows caught our eye on a recent style scout.

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Can you tell you how much we love colour? It’s kind of chlorofyll for the interiors world, nourishing and energising our style souls. So when we heard of a new shop devoted to all things kaleidoscopic, we just had to pop down and load up paintbox brights, berry shades, new neutrals and modern pastels.

Colour Makes People Happy has a very limited selection just 60 carefully selected, quirkily named shades to lessen the agony of this green? or that green? Brighten your kitchen with a coat of Broad Bean (fresh green),enliven the bedroom with Dog Biscuit (pale orange) or play it safe with Old Towel (off white).

Owner Simon March’s (above) top tip for paint, is somewhat off-spectrum for a man who lives in a rainbow. Grey apparently is the best colour to paint your walls. Don’t scoff. Grey is a colour, too. It has rights. It also absorbs and reflects light (as well as other colours). And it goes with everything. Which can’t be a bad thing. Vicky  – Style Assistant

Colour Makes People Happy, 53 Grove Vale, SE22 8EQ (020 7207 1120 or sieclecolours.com), £30 for 2.5 litres.


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Wonderful, powerful, grounded and mystical Bjork has co-written the title track for the big-screen Moomins adventure with Icelandic poet SjonThe Comet Song will be on iTunes from 6 September, with all profits going to Unicef’s Pakistan appeal fund. Mad as a box of frogs, in a good way. We love it almost as much as the incredible limited-edition packaging from Volta… colour, pop-up, yum.

Brilliant Russian industrial designer Maria Yasko loves The Moomins, too, so much so that she’s created her own Moomin Valley interior design project…   Morag – Deputy chief sub-editor

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There are some very exciting things tucked behind the facade of this smart townhouse on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London…

Revered architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a man who knew about displaying collections. He built his impressive townhouse as both a home and a museum so that, upon his death, his vast array of  antiquities and art could be accessed, gratis, by architecture students and Joe public alike. And it is spectacular – where else can you see an Egyptian sarcophagus and Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress under one roof?

Can you imagine being Mrs Soane? ‘Yes dear, that plaster cast of a Greek column is thrilling, almost as thrilling as the other 480…’ But, she had rooms to play in, too, such as the exquisite drawing room in Turner’s yellow,

Martin Charles

and the breakfast room, with fabulous dinky convex mirrors (it seems ‘bouncing light around’ is not a Livingetc invention after all).

Sir John Soane – passionate collector, stylish hoarder and certainly comparable to those 21st century eclectic movers and shakers.

ps. Livingetc loves this wordy explanation, carefully executed in stained glass…

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After a very leisurely flight through Orion’s Belt, various spiral arm galaxies and black holes last Sunday, I happened upon these fantastic mathematical structure things in London Science Museum. They are a very pleasing mix of op art and origami, and would look brilliant as big festive decorations.

Why not make your own, it looks easy, doesn’t it?  – Morag, Deputy Chief Sub

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A three-martini lunch and the biggest T-bone I’ve ever seen was the weekend treat for me and hubby. New Redhook restaurant in Farringdon is set in an old drill hall, with high ceilings and huge windows – I loved the mix of Victorian tiles, rough brick andNew York-style tin ceiling. So if you get a hankering for spending a Saturday afternoon Mad Men-style, this is a good place to come. Just wished we could be shooting each other lingering looks through swirling cigarette smoke after the second martini. And I don’t even smoke. – Sara, Managing Ed

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Henry Moore – now there was a man who knew about playing with scale . Inspired by a recent trip to the Tate Modern retrospective, I just had to see his muscular, sensual monoliths in the open air, as nature intended. Cue a trip to the great man’s Hertfordshire home and a day spent romping across fields where sheep stroll seemingly oblivious to the fact they’re pooing through the bronzes. Big is beautiful. Course you do need a fair sized garden to do them full justice…. – Neil, Dep ed

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Galvanized planters? So over. Get with the upcycling, reinventing, juxtaposing, let’s shake it all about trend and be inspired by these groovy oil-can planters, spotted outside a rented property in Stoke Newington. Just goes to show, true style don’t cost a thing… – Hannah, style coordinator

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As the team behind Livingetc, the UK’s leading magazine for modern interiors, we’re always out and about, scouting for inspiration. And when we see something that makes our design minds flutter with joy, we’ll share it with you here. To purchase the digital version of the magazine, click here.

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We’re always looking for inspiring houses, full of clever design tricks, to feature in Livingetc. If you think your home is what we’re after, email pictures to our houses editor, mary_weaver@ipcmedia.com.