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!
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…
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.
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.
Fermoie has recently launched collection of larger scale patterns based on their very popular smaller ones. They work nicely together, don’t you think??
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!).
And more here - you can order lampshades in stock on their website or they do custom orders….
OK, I finally pulled myself out of there & headed couple doors down to Colefax & Fowler.
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…..
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”!!
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!
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.
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 (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.
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!:).
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.
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!
The menu is wide-ranging — Still jetlagged, I went with comfort food of roast chicken with sauteed veggies & savory potatoes. Awesome decor & people watching!
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.
I peeked next door at Soho House, which is a dreamy event space…my photo doesn’t capture its cozy, moody luxe style!
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!
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!
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,