Hello and welcome to my show notes for the latest episode of the Great Indoors podcast, as always you can listen to it in full here, and don’t forget about our ever-resourceful and inspiring Facebook group. We are halfway through season 12 already and for this one, we are back to our duvet dens, and although life has been a bit unpredictable recently we still have some great topics and uplifting content to share. Firstly though a huge thank you to our sponsor Geberit for supporting the series.
Today we are reviewing some fab interior books, looking at rattan which has had somewhat of a revival and we discuss whether it can be luxurious and stylish.
I think this is the perfect time of year to indulge in some gorgeous books whilst relaxing in your sunlounger with your favourite drink – I think we could all do a bit of a respite after such unprecedented times.
Design Secrets by Kit Kemp
Not only is Kit Kemp a much loved and established interior designer but she is also Creative Director and co-owner of the Firmdale group of hotels each of which features her fabulous signature style. It’s fair to say that’s she up there as one of my favourite designers with her love for colour, pattern and celebration of craftsmanship.
This is her fourth book and I have all of the previous ones, which I would say are flickers with beautiful full-bleed images whereas this one is a smaller format and is very much in a magazine style with lots of tips and how-to projects – perfect for popping in your beach bag for a bit of holiday indulgence.
Kate’s favourite was the last third of the book which offers some do’s and don’ts by subject – hanging art, dressing shelves, paint and much more. There’s also a ‘Found Fabric’ section in which Kit shares some ideas of what to do with remnants of fabric you may have lying around. Although being an interior designer who loves pattern and colour, I loved the first two sections too, I learnt a lot from this book and found it really insightful to learn how she breaks down her design process. If you like her style you’ll find this book really valuable.
Design a Healthy Home by Oliver Heath
A good friend of the show, Oliver Heath let us loose in his wonderful Brighton home on a previous episode (you can see my show notes here). His latest book is a reader and not a flicker, but first I think it’s worth highlighting his background – he first trained as an architect then had an interior design practice for many years, and more recently has devoted his life to the study of wellbeing and biophilia. He has done tons of scientific research and has worked with many people within the industry which has mainly been for commercial purposes. But now he has made it his goal to pass all of this on to the likes of us and how we can incorporate it into our own homes and schemes.
This is a juicy read as it comes with oodles of experience and research although there is still a lot about decoration, layout, colour and use of light but it all comes back round to enhancing your sense of wellbeing. He takes every element in your house and shows how you can improve it. Early on Oliver says you need to tune into your ‘fractal fluency’ which does sound a little terrifying but I shall explain: it’s basically about patterns in nature which we are hard-wired to look at. Our ancestors would have looked at patterns on the riverbed, leaves, beehives and so on, so it’s natural patterns and examining them. By looking at these patterns it can reduce your stress by 60% so the obvious next step is to bring them into your home and Oliver explains how to do it – albeit in subtle ways.
This really is an informative book and it is beautifully broken down, illustrated and bullet-pointed in bite-size nuggets of info. After reading just one page there were plenty of things that I think I could implement straight away and help feel better about my home.
By Design: The World’s Best Contemporary Interior Designers, Phaidon Editors
Our very own Kate was part of panel who supplied suggestions of the best interior designers in order for Phaidon to compile this very hefty book. If you appreciate good design, this will really take pride of place with fantastic photography and amazing room schemes. It covers all styles from around the globe, there’s minimalism, maximalism, modern, traditional – it’s just a real celebration of the world of interior design.
Yes, it has beautiful photography and showcases at least two rooms by each designer, what is really interesting is that there is background info on each of them and how they started their route into the industry. So in summary, it’s great to look at and a great read.
This is a trend that is not brand new but it is picking up the pace a bit. The high street is awash with it and seems to have taken inspiration from the 70s revival. One word of caution before we go any further, dont overdo it and don’t be a pastiche of the 70s – to make it look modern and up to date perhaps have a couple of vintage chairs or the odd lampshade but definitely not all matchy-matchy.
This is one trend that will appeal to all budgets, you can pick up the lovely curved Buskbo chair at Ikea for £99 or head to Soane Britain for the other end of the spectrum and pick one up for about £6,000! We may have Lulu Lytle, co-founder of Soane, to thank for the popularity as about 10 years ago she bought the last remaining UK rattan workshop and saved it from administration. There are cheaper options from Asia but I think it’s great that there is still quality craftsmanship available in the UK – we’re talking high end however!
Kate quizzed me on the question we get asked a lot – what is the difference between wicker, cane and rattan? So here goes:
Rattan is a group of about 600 plants – it’s a vine, malleable, fast-growing, and easy to work with.
Cane is the bark of the rattan and is not as porous as rattan so good for damper environments so you may see it wrapped around stronger furniture.
Wicker is anything made from woven plant materials – it’s the technique.
Kate spoke to Nat Tillison who sells vintage rattan furniture through her Instagram account, @folie_chambre and they sell so fast she hasn’t had time to sort out a website. She mainly sells Italian rattan and says it’s the best because it’s good quality, heavy, and often mixed with wood so will work any room other than conservatories. French tend to be more cane and has a more delicate vibe and is highly sort after. For our American listeners, Nat mentioned Circa Who for Hollywood, Palm Beech looks.
I think there are two key looks – for me, the vintage pieces evoke a sense of grandeur and luxury whether that’s the Riveria or classic English country house. Then there’s the 70s vibe, which features simple shapes and is generally less decorative.
So whilst this is a hot trend at the moment it is also a classic so is safe to invest in a quality piece.
Thank you so much to Geberit for sponsoring the series, you our lovely listeners and our fab producer Sarah Cuddon.
Image at top: The Charlotte Street Hotel, Kit Kemp.