Design Lovers Guide to London

As Diana Vreeland famously said “the eye has to travel,” and in this case, my trip to London was a real visual feast. From pattern, color, layers of history with fresh modern style, it was a whirlwind 3 days of museums, design shops & walking past too many architectural gems to count….Let me dive in to give you the deets!

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Ok, first to start off, because we were REALLY jet-lagged (not sure why exactly), we went for tea & scones at The Wolseley (160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB). This beautiful restaurant, designed in 1921 as a luxury car showroom, has great menu but in my opinion, even better people-watching…

Haley having her first proper cup of English tea:)

Haley having her first proper cup of English tea:)

Then the real fun began….I headed straight to Pimlico Road (you can get great overview of all their shops on the Pimlico Road design site.) First stop: Fermoie.

Fermoie offers fabrics by the yard, pillows (or as they say “cushions”), & lampshades.

Fermoie offers fabrics by the yard, pillows (or as they say “cushions”), & lampshades.

I’m OBSESSED with this new brand, Fermoie! I am told that it is the brainchild of the founders of Farrow & Ball, but I can’t find any back-story to give you more scoop on that…what I CAN tell you is that they make their all-natural, original fabrics in-house and have gorgeous palette.

This is a fabric-covered wall with trim in their shop.

This is a fabric-covered wall with trim in their shop.

Fermoie has recently launched collection of larger scale patterns based on their very popular smaller ones. They work nicely together, don’t you think??

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I might have invited myself into their back work room & seen this library of swatches (I have no shame when I spy something so worth seeing!).

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And more here - you can order lampshades in stock on their website or they do custom orders….

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OK, I finally pulled myself out of there & headed couple doors down to Colefax & Fowler.

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Colefax & Fowler is brimming with so many special pieces, handsomely displayed, that this little post can’t do it justice. Below is a painted “tramp art” cabinet, with marble paper lining inside…..

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Upstairs is an incredible roomscape - with stately leather walls, abstract art, Klismos chairs covered in tangerine velvet….I wasn’t kidding when I said this trip was a “visual feast”!!

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Detail of the curtains in the room - I love how the English never back their curtains in anything boring! You can see the little green print back of these curtains from the street….very inviting.

Back downstairs - I adore this table & chair set (did I mention they ship to the U.S.??:)

Keep walking down the street & you’ll find another brand I’m in love with: Soane Britain. I don’t know how they do it, but Soane mixes patterns & colors that “shouldn’t” go together, but somehow in their hands, DO. Everything here just sings…such an elegant and energizing space!

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By now I’d worked up quite an appetite — so I popped across the street to Daylesford Organic. My friend Jen just got back from Daylesford’s real working farm in the Cotswolds & said it was beyond divine!! This little outpost is not too shabby either….perfect for an easy “take-away” lunch.

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There’s lots more to see in the Pimlico district but for sake of your time, let’s pivot to some other sights. Spencer House, The Tate Modern & memorable meals await!

Spencer House  as seen from the park walkway….

Spencer House as seen from the park walkway….

Spencer House (27 St. James Places). Kudo’s to my husband for finding this one — Spencer House is a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, which is fitting since it belongs currently to Princess Diana’s brother Charles.

The library at Spencer House  ( image via Spencer House website as no photos are allowed anywhere inside the mansion ).

The library at Spencer House (image via Spencer House website as no photos are allowed anywhere inside the mansion).

Spencer House was commissioned for Diana’s ancestors in 1756 & is one of the very last “town palaces,” as aristocrats found post-WWII they could not afford to maintain both their ancestral country estate and their city estate (talk about 1st World Problems!:).

The Dining Room at Spencer House

The Dining Room at Spencer House

Today, the Spencers rent out their town palace for all kinds of events - even Rupert Murdoch’s wedding to Jerry Hall! But if you don’t have that kind of coin, treat yourself to a 1-hr tour (tickets avail online) with their incredibly knowledgeable guides.

The Music Room (photo via Spencer House website)

The Music Room (photo via Spencer House website)

Next up: Soho. I had delicious dinner at Dean Street Townhouse (69 - 71 Dean Street, W1D 3SE) which is part of Soho House next door but you do NOT have to be a member to eat or stay there!

Image via Dean Street Townhouse website .

Image via Dean Street Townhouse website.

The menu is wide-ranging — Still jetlagged, I went with comfort food of roast chicken with sauteed veggies & savory potatoes. Awesome decor & people watching!

(Image via Dean Street Townhouse website)

(Image via Dean Street Townhouse website)

We didn’t stay at the hotel but the rooms are pretty reasonable, location in Central London is ideal & the style level and amenities are top notch.

(Image via Dean Street Townhouse hotel website)

(Image via Dean Street Townhouse hotel website)

I peeked next door at Soho House, which is a dreamy event space…my photo doesn’t capture its cozy, moody luxe style!

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Last but not least, a visit to The Tate Modern (Bankside, London SE1 9TG) for “Pierre Bonnard: The Color of Memory” exhibit. Do not be dissuaded by what I consider to be really depressing exterior of the Tate Modern building….once inside, it is a feast of gorgeous art!

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Bonnard is known as one of the world’s greatest colorists & a visit to this exhibit (or purchase of their catalog, online) proves this to be the case. It is a HUGE exhibit and infused (happily) with too many interesting works to really absorb at once!

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Finally, treat yourself to a walk along the Thames, behind the Tate Modern, and take it all in. Your head is probably full of too much good design now, I know, but I hope you - like me - enjoyed the journey!

See you on the blog next week - I’m finally on track again for weekly posts, so let me know if there’s anything you’re dying to read/see this Spring & I’ll try to cover it for you!

Cheers & thanks,

Lee


InteriorsLeland Prince