Emma Block’s much loved illustration is known for its wonderful gentle yet vibrant colour palettes and celebration of print and pattern. It’s not surprising that Emma’s new London home also reflects her eye for print and pattern. Set against a calming soft grey are joyful bursts of coral, dusty pink and sea green. There are also many references to Emma’s travels through South America, found in vivid woven rugs and other textile accessories. Enjoy this tour with Emma through her lovely home and find inspiration in all corners!
Celine is both a seasoned interior designer and the founder of interior design practice Indie&Co. A triumph of authentic yet understated interiors, Celine uses her design expertise to create homes which address the desire to lead a more balanced existence and encourage mindfulness within our spaces. She chatted to us about life as a designer and threw us some great tips for approaching any home renovation project.
Why did you become an interior designer?
I originally wanted to be a product designer but realised that whenever I wanted to design an object, I ended up designing the space around it.
Can you describe a typical project to us?
I mostly work on residential renovations from kitchen extensions to loft extensions to full refurbishment.
How would you describe your own home?
I am currently in the process of doing it up! We completed the loft extension and the renovation of the first floor this month and we are about to start the kitchen extension and ground floor renovation. I am designing my home around our needs and not around what the resale value would be which is freeing and makes it a functional space.
Home is everything to me, and this house is never empty. I have two small children, a dog, I work from home with my assistant when I am not onsite, I hold meetings in my house and my husband also has a home office which he uses at least one day a week. Usually on projects, we ended up with a fairly muted palette but this isn’t the case in my house. We used a lot of green from light to very moody, as well as some muted pinks and mustard yellows. The furniture is a mismatch of build-in joinery, vintage pieces and contemporary designers.
Where do you draw design inspiration from?
I find inspiration in the past, the colours, the layouts, the furniture and uses of it in a modern context. I also find restaurants and hotels a good place to find inspiration.
What three words sum up life as an interior designer?
Unpredictable, flexible, exciting.
What is the first thing you tend to notice when walking into a new room?
The feel of the room is the first thing which hits me, so without realising I am thinking about: how the room smells, the temperature, is it nice to the touch, how the light makes me feel, what are the materials? I guess following this, the layout would probably be next.
Is there a design trend you would love to see make a comeback?
It is all about context, one item could fit perfectly in a space and feel totally relevant but look outdated in an other. I wouldn’t worry about trends, they always make a come back anyway.
And one which history should forget?
Again this all depends on the context. I wouldn’t want to rule anything out but I guess that carpets in bathrooms would be one, avocado bathroom suits, the extensive use of plastic in interiors, PVC windows and the extensive use of down lights.
Top tip for somebody starting a new home project?
Hire a professional, it may seem expensive at the start – especially if you’ve never used an interior designer – but the investment is worth it. They will know how to avoid big costly mistakes and will allow you to actually deliver the dream home you originally wanted. They will have plenty of contacts which they can recommend and take a lot of the pressure off. A home renovation is a draining and at times very challenging process, so having someone there can make the whole difference. Also move out if you can afford it, the building stage always takes longer then originally anticipated and lastly put some money aside for the unexpected.
What’s a mistake which people often make when decorating?
They look at each item individually rather than think about the whole picture.
Whose home would you love to sneak peak into?
I love all the homes on the site The Modern House.
Is there a dream piece you would like to find for your own home?
I am always on the look out for something a bit different. I have my eye on a few art pieces at the moment, and I also would love to find nice floor lights and table lights.
What do you think will be big in 2019?
Wood kitchens, green kitchen, micro cement and micro concrete, sustainable and ethical products.
Is there a film for which you would love to design the set?
I am a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet so any of his movies; I also love period dramas mostly for their sets and costumes.
And finally, what’s the best way to spend a weekend in London?
A long walk in the park followed by a pub lunch.
Celine’s top three vintage items? Find them below and click through to view on the website.
For me this hits all the marks in terms of colour, texture and practicality, it is such a hard piece to find. Most of my clients are after a day/guest bed which looks beautiful.
This is such a great painting, its both playful and timeless.
A key piece in a kitchen or living space, this bookcase is elegant and understated.
Read more about Indie&Co here.
Meet Sophie, one half of an East London couple passionate about collecting antique furniture. Founders of Stowaway London, we wanted to hear more about what they do, their own treasured pieces and what they’re loving in London.
How did you end up doing what you do?
Sam has been doing this since he left school at eighteen when he joined his Dad buying and selling antiques. Sam and I started Stowaway London about four years ago now, at the time I wanted to leave the fashion world and the antique lifestyle was very appealing.
I left fashion and started Stowaway London because I really wanted my own business and to be my own boss. Fashion had lost its fun and creativity for me and furniture – which I have always loved – was new and exciting. Fashion, furniture, design and art all encompass each other and when you have an eye, you have an eye for it all I think. It was great timing as I wanted a new career… Sam came along and said, ‘I sell antiques. Want to make a brand/business?’ and I just jumped.
Favourite piece you’ve ever sourced?
I loved finding a pair of Morris & Co Sussex chairs as they were hidden and tucked away. Also the timing was great as we had just been to his museum in Walthamstow the weekend before, so it all felt very meant to be. Sam’s piece is a 1960’s foosball table that came in just before the World Cup so the games at our house were made even more fun!
Describe your own home in three words.
Eclectic, characterful, cosy.
Do you have a piece which goes with you wherever you move?
Yeah Sam… and then a Victorian elm stool which belonged to his grandmother which he grew up sitting on.
What do you love about working with antique furniture?
Sam likes working with things that are old and have character. For me it is the same but with the addition that the quality of the furniture is so much better and it is environmentally friendly.
Any great tales behind the pieces you collect?
Last year we brought a beautiful desk and when cleaning it Sam found a folder that had slipped behind the drawers. It contained a note which said that the desk belonged to and had been designed by G. C Grindley, who was a well known psychologist. It was exciting to find that and then research the guy. The provenance made a great desk even more special.
If your home was ablaze, what would you run back to save?
Sam would most certainly have my arms full with the stool, plus many swords and knives (he collects antique weapons) and a few other antique trinket boxes he’s had for a long time. I would grab my jewellery box which has my treasured bits in including my great grandmother’s hat pin.
Dream dinner party guests?
Go to winter beverage?
Early mornings always require coffee.
Velvet sofa or leather sofa?
Which famous person’s home would you love to sneak peek into?
Aino and Alvar Aalto, they are a bit of a designer power couple.
Luciano Randolfo Ercolani, Ercol’s founder was born in 1888 in a little country town in Italy. He moved to the East End of London with his parents some years later with the assistance of the Salvation Army. Whilst he was not a natural when it came to learning English he left school early to become a messenger boy whilst continuing to play in the Salvation Army Brass Band.
He would later apply to the Shoreditch Technical Institute to join a Furniture Design Course. He took drawing and design classes and then entered the City and Guilds exams in theory and construction of furniture. Harry Parker from Frederick Parker furniture (later known as Parker-Knoll) offered Lucian the chance to work with them and this was the start of Lucien’s working life in High Wycombe. Lucien also became life long friends with Ted Gommes whose family were to become founders of G-plan in the 1950s. He worked with them until he set up his own company in 1920.
Lucien established his own furniture factory with the financial help of some local businessmen. It was first called Furniture Industries but is today known as Ercol. In 1932 a local chair making business known as Skulls fell in to financial difficulties and Lucien Ercolani took this over and it enabled him to expand his business. Even today, Ercol’s chairmaking section is known as Skulls.
During the war the Ercol factory worked for the government making 25,000 tent pegs per day as well as munition boxes and other supplies. Both of Lucien’s sons Lucien B and Barry were prominent members of the RAF and Lucien B was shot down when returning from a raid in the English Channel. He managed to survive and was decorated for his service to the war.
In 1944 Lucien Ercolini accepted an offer from the Board of Trade to produce 100,000 low cost chairs. It took him 12 months to design and build machines to produce chairs quickly at a very low cost – their cost was 10s 6d for each chair. Lucien Ercolano realised that he could be a major part of post-war manufacturing. A month after the war ended the Britain Can Make it Festival was announced to be held at the V & A in London. He saw this as a wonderful opportunity to launch Ercols brand new range ‘The Windsor Collection’ which is something that we all associate with Ercol furniture today. Other designs would evolve later and many of them we still know and love today – such as the Loveseat (designed in 1956) and the Studio Couch. The stacking chair is also easily recognisable – these were produced in the thousands in the 1950s and 60’s and are still part of the Ercol Originals collection.
After being one of the founding members of the Furniture Makers Guild in 1951, Lucian R Ercolani was made Master of the Guild in 1957 which became a city livery guild in 1963. He was followed in this position by his two sons and his grandson over the next 4 decades. His granddaughter, Vicky, is also a liveryman of the company.
In June 1964 Lucian R Ercolani was awarded an OBE for services to UK design and manufacturing. After 82 years in the old factory in High Wycombe, Ercol moved into a purpose built 16,000 square metre factory on the outskirts of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. Designed by Horden Cherry Lee the building has won a number of awards for its architectural design and its environmental features.
We have everything to create a cosy home and start hibernating. Here are our current November favourites.
This month we are launching our Vinterior monthly edit where you can find what items are the team’s current favourites.
why not give you a tour of real Londoners’ homes?
We are heading East to a bright refurbished flat on the second floor of a Victorian purpose built mansion block just off the high street in lively Bethnal Green.
This week, we are visiting Mai-Lan, Vincent and Ombeline in North London. Londoners since 2009, the young French couple moved from Marylebone to their new home in Hampstead to get closer to nature.