With the sun shining and the excitement of Royal Ascot and the Henley Regatta around the corner here in the UK, what better time to think about outdoor entertaining? Sharing a bottle or two of ice cold champagne in the garden with friends is one of my favourite pastimes but you can of course go further afield. Why not pack up the car and head out for a luxurious picnic? Our UK showroom has everything you need to entertain in style this summer.
The champagne cooler pictured below is made from solid pewter and is an exquisite investment piece. The delicate etching and classic shape give it a feminine feel and the unique design means you can keep your champagne flutes as cold as ice! The linen table cloth is one of our exclusive designs – the colourful English garden flowers look stunning against our brightly coloured linen napkins.
The champagne cooler pictured below has a sleek, modern shape with a leather handle which adds a slightly more masculine edge. Large enough to accommodate several bottles it looks fantastic in the centre of a round table or a kitchen island, piled high with ice and bubbles. As dusk begins to fall, pillar candles in glass hurricanes (pictured right) are perfect for creating a soft glow.
Brightly coloured paper napkins with bold patterns are a fun way to add a splash of colour to your picnic or party. Our selection of summer match boxes at our UK showroom add just the right touch of whimsy!
We’ve been busy creating fun and inspirational ideas for our work in the Caribbean! With the sunshine making a much anticipated appearance again here in the UK it feels like the perfect time to share two exciting new schemes finalised this week in Barbados as part of our Just Rooms service!
The above fabric is ‘Monkey Puzzle’ by Bennison Fabrics and is the focus of this beautiful, relaxed sitting room for casual, comfortable living by the sea. The scheme features a fun colour palette with nautical elements and quirky touches which add interest to this otherwise classic, contemporary Caribbean living room. The coffee table, media unit and side table are part of the Jenny Blanc furniture collection made locally by a team of very talented and skilled Barbadian artisans whom we are proud to have built a longstanding relationship with.
The second scheme (pictured above) is for a very large dining and relaxing terrace overlooking the sea on the West Coast of Barbados! This scheme features sophisticated outdoor furniture including sofas, armchairs and sun loungers, all upholstered in nautical white fabric. We have created a selection of bespoke scatter cushions using 10 different fabrics in shades of aqua, white and citron – the bold mixture of patterns and textures creates a much more relaxed and less formal feel. Aqua and citron is of course a firm favourite for tropical schemes, blending perfectly with the surrounding sea, sky and sun!
When we choose fabrics for the tropics it’s essential that they are practical as well as beautiful. Good quality, outdoor fabrics which are UV resistant, washable and hardwearing are the perfect choice for terraces and poolside areas and are often used indoors too because of their durability.
Last week London was abuzz with the excitement of the Chelsea Flower Show (widely considered to be the ‘greatest flower show on earth’). I thoroughly enjoyed it this year as always however, today I’m going to be handing the reins over to Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson who has a very personal connection with one garden in particular. So without further ado – over to Sue!
‘As a Barbadian born and bred, I was of course delighted that the Barbados Horticultural Society have been awarded a gold medal (their eighteenth in 28 consecutive years) at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. My mother is a long serving member of the BHS and brought the first Barbados exhibit to Chelsea Flower show in 1985. She was heavily involved every year after until her retirement in 2010 at the grand age of 88 so it has a very personal connection for me. Barbados is a very small island but thanks to the dedication of members of the BHS and it’s team of volunteers (both on the island and here in the UK) we can not only have a presence at a world class exhibition such as the Chelsea Flower Show but take home a gold medal – an absolutely incredible achievement!
The theme for the 2016 exhibit, ‘This Place Barbados’ (in a year when we celebrate 50 years as an Independent Nation) vividly depicts the shape and topography of the island, complete with the country’s 11 Parishes, each one represented by different flowers and foliage, surrounded by several quintessential natural features and attractions. From the vibrant colours of Bridgetown Market and the Oistins fishing village in the south, to the swaying sugar cane and golden rum of St. Lucy in the north, visitors to the exhibit enjoyed a visual trip around Barbados that also magically reveals the magnificent underground splendour of Harrisons Cave and the lush botanical gardens found within the fertile tropical interior, including Orchid World, Andromeda, Flower Forest and Hunte’s Garden.
Perhaps even more impressive than the garden itself though is the work that goes on behind the scenes by the Barbados Horticultural Society and its team of dedicated volunteers to bring this little corner of Barbados to Chelsea. Every bloom and piece of foliage used in the garden was grown on the island before being carefully packed into 72 cases and flown to London, free of charge, by Virgin Atlantic. It is worthy of mention that the judges at Chelsea pay special attention to the condition and quality of the individual blooms and foliage so the Barbados Horticultural Society team deserves further high commendation for successfully growing and acquiring such magnificent floral material at a time when Barbados was suffering drought conditions.
One of the significant secondary roles of the BHS exhibit at Chelsea is to promote the importance of tourism to the economy and lifestyle of Barbados, as well as to portray how the amazing beauty of our natural environment is an integral factor in making our island such an attractive place to live or visit. On Monday’s special Celebrity and Media Day, Ainsley Harriott, long term friend of the country, charmed and entertained a steady stream of representatives of the press and media for over two hours. The tremendous BHS success story at the Chelsea Flower Show is a classic example of how Barbadians can achieve truly world-class standards when they work together as a team.’
The stunning photographs of the Barbados Horticultural Society’s ‘This Place Barbados’ garden seen here were taken by award winning flower and garden photographer Derek St Romaine. You can see more of his wonderful work on his website Garden Photo Library
I hope you have enjoyed todays peek at the ‘This Place Barbados’ garden! This year’s show is a particularly special one with Cleve West (who created the garden at our London showroom when we first opened 20 years ago) winning a gold medal for his ‘M&G Garden’. Raymond Blanc providing hospitality and my Son Olivier Blanc assisting with the Tom Smith Plant’s garden (pictured below). The Tom Smith Plant’s garden is a container grown fruit and vegetable garden designed to show what can be grown in a small space and was awarded a silver gilt medal at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. At last year’s Hampton Court Flower Show Oli won a bronze medal for his garden based on the world of Henri Le Worm, a colourful character created by Oli and his business partner, Charlotte Salt, which aims to inspire and educate children about growing, cooking and eating good food. The garden featured wonderful examples of home grown fruit and veg kindly provided by Tom Hare Plants so Oli was very pleased to be able to reciprocate and lend a hand at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. You can read about Oli’s success at last year’s Hampton Court Flower Show here and learn more about Henri Le Worm and his friends by visiting the website at www.henrileworm.com
Did you attend the Chelsea Flower Show this year? Do let me know your highlights!
A home filled with fresh flowers is one of life’s essentials – they’re the finishing touch that really bring a room to life and are so uplifting. One of the mistakes people often make though is thinking that they must always have an enormous bunch of blooms (more often than not accompanied by rather a lot of dark foliage) in the middle of the dining table and pay no attention to the rest of the house. Today I want to give you some ideas for some more creative and unusual ways to display flowers throughout your home that won’t cost the earth – in fact I absolutely forbid you to go out and buy a new vessel especially for the purpose but instead, look around your home with a fresh eye! Teacups, jugs, tureens and even shells make beautiful containers for flowers and require only a handful of blooms that more often than not, can be plucked straight from the garden. Happy picking!
Tiny buds and teacups…
Teacups look very much at home on bedside tables – hinting at the promise of Sunday papers and a slow start to the day. Filled with flowers they create a fun and thoughtful finishing touch, especially for guest rooms. Delicate cups in unusual shapes work best – look for ones in pretty spring colours that you can match to the flowers. Above I have used a combination of Purple Lisianthus and sage for the green and purple tea cup and saucer. The sage leaves add an unexpected twist and the beautiful bloom of the leaves works perfectly in this bedroom with accents of duck egg blue. Earlier, I used Pink Elegance Lisianthus and Thlaspi in a pretty cup with a touch of pink for a really feminine bedside table. With both arrangements the key is to keep things loose – don’t try to pack too many flowers in, and offset the tight buds with some light and feathery foliage. The whispy Thlaspi and velvety sage leaves do the job perfectly here. Whilst these two arrangements might appear effortlessly put together, the secret (as is so often the case) is to start with good foundations. A small piece of oasis foam at the bottom of each cup will hold the flowers in place, allowing you to create space between each stem.
A single bloom in a shell…
In Barbados, one of my favourite finishing touches for dinner parties is to dress each place setting with a beautiful polished shell filled with a fresh frangipani flower. Just imagine 24 of them all the way down the length of an outdoor dining table, lit with candles under the setting Caribbean sun! Over in the UK, an antique silver shell like the one pictured above works just as well – here I’ve filled it with a single camellia, freshly picked from my garden. The eglomise place mat that the shell rests on is one of my exclusive designs (inspired by this very camellia bush in fact!). There are six designs available from our UK showroom featuring a range of English garden flowers whilst over in Barbados the tropical versions are very popular!
An antique tureen makes the perfect planter…
When looking for unusual vessels for your flowers the kitchen may seem like the logical place to start with glasses being an obvious choice, however, if you look at your tableware with a fresh eye you might find a serving dish, like this antique blue and white china tureen which could work perfectly! Larger and more robust than a teacup, a tureen is the perfect place to use a plant, rather than cut flowers to make a beautiful addition to a sideboard or as a centrepiece for outside dining. Here I’ve used a lavender plant but take a look at what’s in season – small spring bulbs like Grape Hyacinths and Narcissus work beautifully as well as pansies and some of the smaller varieties of nasturtiums and geraniums. The key here is to ask your florist for some fresh, green moss to cover all the soil around the base of the plant and add an inch or two of gravel to the bottom of the dish to help with drainage for a long lasting arrangement. If you don’t already have a china tureen, your local antique shop is the place to start looking as you won’t find a new one with half as much charm. Whichever one you choose make sure it comes complete with its matching saucer – its little touches like this that make all the difference.
A fresh idea from the tables of Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons…
When Raymond and I opened Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons over 30 years ago, I spent several weekends hunting in my favourite antiques shops and bought 35 silver jugs (one for every table). Each one was different and each one beautiful in its own way. Every day we picked fresh spray roses from the gorgeous kitchen garden to create a centrepiece for each table. Back in the 80’s this was a very unorthodox idea – especially for a Michelin stared restaurant! They caught everyone’s eye and always sparked a conversation – I loved them because they were a fun nod towards the culinary setting whilst making the most of the beautiful surroundings. Here I’ve used the same idea but added rosemary for its beautiful fragrance and deep green colour. Once again a small piece of oasis foam is your friend here and will mean that you don’t have to pack the flowers in tightly in order for them to stand up. Many of us have a silver jug like this lurking at the back of the sideboard cupboard waiting for the day the queen pops in for tea – this is the perfect excuse to give it a polish and enjoy it every day of the week!
Coloured glassware and a single bloom…
Coloured glassware can add a fun, unexpected twist to an otherwise simple arrangement – here I have used a majestic ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peony alongside one of my antique cranberry jugs to create an elegant arrangement perfect for a small side table, dressing table, writing desk or even a kitchen window ledge! When it comes to the more expensive flowers such as peonies or roses, choosing just one, single bloom is a great way to keep the cost down – which of course means that you can treat yourself to a fresh one every week!
I hope you have enjoyed my ideas for creating floral arrangements in some smaller and more unusual containers – next time we’ll be pulling out all the stops with some ideas for floral arrangements at the other end of the scale! If you feel inspired to try any of my ideas at home do share a picture on Facebook or Twitter – use the hashtag #JennyBlancStyle so I can see what you’ve created!
Did you know that in France coffee, tea and hot chocolate are drunk not from mugs or cups but bowls? It’s a custom which often takes visitors by surprise but really makes perfect sense – after all what could be nicer than warming your hands around a bowl of hot chocolate on a cold afternoon or dunking a freshly baked croissant into your coffee on Sunday morning?
Elsewhere around the world, French coffee bowls have become something of a collector’s item for those in the know. The beautiful bowl and plate set pictured above are made in France by luxury fine porcelain manufacturers Gien. The design is called ‘Cacao’ and features the ripe fruit of the cacao tree along with tropical wildlife including parrots and flamingos. Also available in the range is a mug and rectangular plate – perfect for petit four or biscuits! They’re the perfect way to add a dash of tropical fun to your breakfast or tea table whilst still keeping things sophisticated with their delicate, painterly design.
This stunning range of china is available to order online via our Trouva boutique (with free worldwide shipping when you spend over £50!) and in store at our London showroom. Both our London and Barbados showrooms have a wonderful selection of placemats, napkins, glasses and other tableware to help you create the perfect al-fresco breakfast now that the days are getting warmer – pop in to see us and let us inspire you!
This Wednesday marks 20 years to the day that Chrissie Marshall and I opened the doors to our beautiful showroom here in West London. Help us celebrate and join us for a glass of bubbly at our London or Barbados showrooms for the rest of this month! Enjoy some party nibbles and take 20% off the price of everything in store – our treat to say thank you for all your support over the last 20 years.
When I look at how far we have come I can’t quite believe it! Our vision back then was to be a source of beautiful, original furnishings, accessories and interiors expertise where people could shop in an environment that felt like a home from home.
After we opened our Teddington showroom we very quickly found ourselves designing homes for a very loyal, local client base. When those clients outgrew their West London town houses and moved out to the country, they brought us with them to create the perfect family home for this new phase of their lives.
Having Barbadian Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson on board from the outset proved invaluable as our reputation gradually grew by word of mouth and we started designing tropical holiday homes for our clients in Barbados and other islands. With our Caribbean client base growing and Sue’s unparalleled understanding of the island, it was an easy decision to open our showroom in Barbados – a dream which came true in 2011! My inspiration was always to create the best Interior Design showroom on the island and this is certainly something we have achieved – my daughter Emma Blanc is now firmly rooted on the island and as Caribbean Director, is perfectly placed to run the showroom as well as providing a very personal link for our design clients on the island.
Today, with five International Property Awards under our belt (including the much coveted ‘World’s Best Interior Design, Private Residence’ in 2012), two stunning lifestyle showrooms, an exclusive range of Barbados made furniture as well as our own range of home accessories, I couldn’t be happier – or busier!
The sterling silver monkey bowl pictured above is our own unique design and is one of the pieces I’m the most proud of. Using natural coconut shells, each bowl is hand made by a skilled artisan – stylish, unusual and also versatile, it represents everything we stand for.
Before we dive headfirst into the next 20 years, here’s a little look at some of my favourite moments from the journey so far!
Finding the perfect gift for Mother’s Day couldn’t be simpler – either call our Barbados showroom on +1 (246) 432 0989, email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in to see us and let us help you choose the perfect floral arrangement.
Real orchids are timelessly elegant, unquestionably beautiful and unfortunately, very tricky to look after! Much better to choose a deceptively lifelike, faux version instead. Our hand assembled orchids and other flowers are the absolute pick of the bunch – we know because we have sourced them from around the world, especially for our Barbados showroom in St. James.
As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations we’re currently offering 20% off the marked price of everything in our London and Barbados showrooms – including the fabulous floral arrangements pictured above! We also have a fantastic selection of Mother’s Day cards and other gifts, all at 20% off for a limited time only. It’s our gift to you and the perfect excuse to spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day.
For those with homes on the island, a beautiful floral arrangement can really breathe life into a room. Our larger plants look perfect on console tables, coffee tables and even outside on terraces (where they can stand up to the strongest island breezes!). Smaller plants are perfect for adding a dash of colour to a quiet corner or smaller room. Our Phalaenopsis orchid centrepiece is very popular at our Barbados showroom – just add twinkling candles to set the mood for a fabulous dinner party! Best of all, the orchids can be easily removed from their containers making them incredibly versatile.
The print featured above is ‘Maringa Tropical’ by Kai. All prices are in Barbados dollars.
Compiling a wedding list is without a doubt one of the most exciting times in any couples life. Making plans for the future and visualising your life together in the run up to the big day should fill you both with a wonderful sense of anticipation for all that is to come. At Jenny Blanc we pride ourselves on our tailor-made Wedding List Service, designed to help you enjoy making your selection, simplify the present buying process for your guests and use our interior design expertise to select beautiful gifts for your home.
Both the UK and Barbados showrooms are the perfect environment to relax with a glass of bubbles while we get to know you and your lifestyle before the process of selecting presents begins! We offer a wonderful selection of unique pieces at every price level, hand-picked from around the world. In addition, we can of course supply essentials like china, glass and cutlery of your choice.
We also supply gift vouchers, split purchasing between two or three guests and finally, all presents will arrive beautifully wrapped and labelled at a time to suit you.
For more information or to book an appointment, please call Chrissie Marshall at our UK showroom on +44 (0)20 8943 4440/4144 or Emma Blanc at the Barbados showroom on + 1 (246) 432 0989 alternatively email us at email@example.com.
With the days getting longer and brighter thoughts naturally turn towards summer and the chance to entertain by the poolside once more. Just like any room in the house, a pool comes with its own set of considerations. A well designed pool goes far beyond sunbathing and swimming – each poolside that I design always includes a BBQ area when possible and a bar for serving drinks day or night as well as comfortable seating areas for relaxed lounging. If outdoors, gazeebos for show stopping pool side dinner parties are absolutely essential! Whether the property is in the UK or the tropics, furniture must be practical as well as beautiful. For houses in the Caribbean, all materials must be suitable for a tropic marine environment as the salty air will rust anything less, not to mention the scorching heat, humidity, heavy rainfall and strong winds! Our Jenny Blanc hurricane lanterns were designed with these conditions in mind and are made from marine grade stainless steel making them well suited to the tropics! Those in the UK often want indoor pools that can be used all year round yet still retain the feeling of poolside living that is enjoyed in warmer climates. Our challenge here is to create a space that is a warm and luxurious cocoon, away from the wind and rain that may be raging outside! Today I’m very excited to share my designs for three very different poolside areas which I hope will provide some ideas and inspiration!
A traditional plantation style house for a busy, happy Family in Barbados
This grand plantation style house is owned by a large, bustling family and required plenty of areas for outdoor entertaining in this more traditional poolside environment. In addition to several outdoor dining areas we used chose sun loungers by Kettal to create areas for comfortable relaxation. The powdered wrought iron frames echo the use of this traditional material throughout the rest of the property and along with natural stone and brick floor coverings, suit the style of this traditional house perfectly. Ambient lighting throughout the pool area creates the perfect romantic poolside environment at night for relaxing, dining and entertaining!
A luxurious indoor pool at a private residence in Surrey
Here we created the perfect indoor pool as part of a complete renovation project. Our client wanted it to feel like a luxurious spa but also retain the sense of water and light that outdoor pools in warmer climates benefit from. An indoor pool environment is very different to the outdoor way of life in the Caribbean – here we used coloured ambient lighting to create atmosphere at night alongside large French windows which can be opened to allow plenty of fresh air and natural light in during the day. We designed bespoke decorative glass panels set into niches along the far wall which were illuminated for maximum effect. Porta Romana shell wall lamps add a classic touch to an otherwise contemporary pool area. Furniture by Cane-Line complements the contemporary feel – the clean lines have a feeling of elegance and the padded cushions ensure comfort. The palette of neutral creams and soft aqua looks bright and fresh in natural light and under the atmospheric glow of the coloured pool lighting, helping to retain that waterside feeling.
A fabulous holiday home decorated in traditional Caribbean style
The image above from one of our more traditional properties shows the Jenny Blanc clam shell in action once more! As we design so many pools in the Caribbean it seemed a natural step to develop our own range of towels. Available in turquoise, orange and lime green from both our Barbados and UK showrooms, the Jenny Blanc beach or pool towels are wonderfully and the bright, fresh colours can really help transform the look of an outdoor space. My clients often choose a signature colour – like the pink towels pictured above which look stunning against the lush green foliage of the garden.
I hope you have enjoyed today’s delicious dose of poolside inspiration. If you’re thinking of refreshing your pool area but are not ready to embark on a full renovation project our Just Rooms service will be able to help you choose the perfect furniture and accessories. For more information please call Caribbean Director Emma Blanc at our Barbados showroom on (246) 432 0989 or UK showroom on 020 8943 4440.
Up and down the country spring lambs are taking their tentative first steps and our London showroom is no exception! I always appreciate a touch of fun and humour in the home and this fabulous sheep doorstop, paperweight and draft excluder (pictured above) add just the right amount of whimsy. It’s my favourite time of year here at our showroom in West London as beautiful new things arrive almost daily. Today I want to share a few of my favourite pieces which I hope will give you an idea or two. For those in the area, a visit to us in person is a must as we have so many new cushions, textiles and home accessories to inspire. Many of our smaller items start from as little as £15 – the perfect excuse to give your home a little lift or pick up gifts for the wedding season ahead!
I hope you have enjoyed a peek at some of our new arrivals. As always if you live further afield but would like to purchase anything you have seen on the blog today please don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8943 4144. Alternatively a small selection of our products are available to order online via our Trouva boutique. Keep your eyes peeled for more items popping up over the coming weeks!
With a long Bank Holiday weekend stretching out ahead of us here in the UK and in Barbados I thought it would be fun to share some of my essential ingredients for an Easter morning breakfast which I hope will inspire!
Our beautiful cherub urn (pictured above) is a real showstopper and a very versatile accessory. Here it has been planted with daffodils for a fun ‘Easter egg hunt’ that would make the perfect centrepiece on the dining table this weekend.
Last week we went behind the scenes in the design room as we prepared different options for the main rooms in a current Barbados design project. This week let’s take a closer look at the scheme I am creating for the master bedroom. It’s still a work in progress but I am very excited by the beautiful fabrics we are using with such bold patterns and colours.
The fabric pictured above is a striking tropical leaf print which features foliage in a vibrant shade of teal green. It was this fabulous shade of teal which first caught my eye – I love the contrast between the teal and the coral and have carried this through to the other textiles in the room. This bold print will make a wonderful statement on large bed cushions and sets the tone nicely for tropical drama in the bedroom! I am introducing some neutral tones to keep things cool but maintaining the dominant colours on soft furnishings and upholstery.
The scheme above should help set your imagination into motion as to how a tropical print fabric can harmonise with strong stripes, solids and other subtly textured fabrics and surfaces to unite an exciting colour palette.
I thought it might be fun for me to take you along for the ride as we work towards creating the finished bedroom as part of this design project – I’ll pop back soon to share the final scheme and perhaps one or two more ‘behind the scenes’ photographs as we work towards the installation. I’m looking forward to revealing the finished room in all its glory – in the meantime don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for a daily dose of interiors inspiration!
Today I am taking you behind the scenes in the design room as we prepare concept boards for a fabulous design project in Barbados! Our clients are a lovely couple looking to create a stylish home from home in the Caribbean. The property is going to be a new build which is fantastic as it gives us the opportunity to work alongside the architect, advising on the best use of the space and other more structural elements.
During our meetings with the clients the most important thing is to hone in on their likes and dislikes as quickly as possible. Sometimes the question ‘what do you like?’ can be overwhelming – if you’re not a designer you might find it hard to put your exact taste into words as most people react to design instinctively, without necessarily having an awareness of the different components that contribute to their preferred style. Ask someone ‘what don’t you like’ however and they’re sure to know straight away! Whether its dark colours, busy patterns, floral motifs or a specific colour, by starting with a client’s dislikes I can quickly work out the things that may appeal to them and begin the process of choosing fabrics and furnishings accordingly!
At our next meeting we’ll be presenting our clients with different options for each of the rooms in their home – combining two peoples taste can often be tricky so it’s always useful to have additional furniture options and fabric schemes tucked up our sleeve!
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse at what goes on in our design room – next week I’ll be taking a closer look at our scheme for a tropical master bedroom!
Thank goodness for spring! It’s felt like a particularly cold winter here in London and I am eagerly anticipating the warmer days ahead. Perhaps that’s why I chose this beautiful, tropical inspired fabric by Nobilis for our spring window this year! Today I’m delighted to share a peek at the new spring window at our UK showroom – with its contemporary colour pallet of citron, green, black and white it has a fresh, outdoor feel and offers plenty of inspiration for those looking to bring touch of outdoor living to their homes or conservatories.
The fabric pictured above is 100% linen and the intricate design featuring tropical fruit and foliage is entirely embroidered. Aside from the striking black striped leaves it was the fantastic texture of the pineapples that first caught my eye – they add so much depth to the fabric and the beautiful soft teal colour adds an unexpected twist. The trailing pattern makes a dramatic curtain but would work equally well as fabric for soft furnishings, creating accent pieces like scatter cushions.
Sitting pride of place in the window is this fabulous white wicker peacock chair which I found whilst out antiques hunting. It’s a wonderful statement piece for a large conservatory and the perfect place to display cushions like these contemporary hummingbird and tattoo inspired designs. In the background you can just glimpse our hurricane vases which are exclusive to Jenny Blanc and made from marine grade stainless steel – they’re very popular in the tropics but equally useful here in the UK to protect outdoor candles from rough winds or unruly pets!
Adding some new cushions is one of the quickest and easiest ways to refresh a space. The ones I have chosen for our spring window feature a wonderful range of textures and patterns, all united by a harmonious colour pallet of green and citron.
I hope you find our spring window inspiring – we have had so many lovely comments already, it looks like prints and patterns with a tropical twist are going to be popular for the foreseeable future! If you would like more information on any of the products featured today please don’t hesitate to call the showroom on 020 8943 4144.
I was catching up on the Sunday papers a few weeks ago when a headline by journalist India Knight suddenly jumped out at me. ‘We’re ahead of you, Ikea: we already know Britain has hit peak tat’ the article read.
India goes on to write about how we have reached a point in Britain where we are sick of enormous department stores and supermarkets selling everything from clothes to tellies and that ‘regardless of what I need to buy, I want little friendly shops that know me and my tastes’. I couldn’t agree more and have long felt that the appeal of the cheap and disposable which has gripped Britain in recent years is starting to wane and people are becoming more mindful of the objects they choose to surround themselves with and the way they want to shop.
In her article, India writes that ‘our homes are extensions of ourselves and as such are constantly evolving’ and this is exactly the way I feel! Many of our interior design clients have been with us since we first opened 20 years ago – we’ve seen them get married, start families and of course move house! As such I keep in mind the way their life and home is likely to evolve so that the finished design anticipates their future needs. I always ask if there are any pieces of furniture that they already own which they are particularly fond of as so often a tired old armchair or sofa can be completely transformed with fresh fabric. Time and time again the client is thrilled that they don’t have to start from scratch but can make these elements a part of their new scheme.
The perfect interior for me is always a balance of the old and the new – it’s these layers which take a space from simply being a beautiful room to a home. India’s article ends with the idea that we might now try ‘peak living well’ which really resonated with me – our homes and our possessions are there not to make us happy (which, sadly, they do not have the power to do on their own) but to support our lifestyles and free us up for the important thing in life – the living!
It may be a particularly crisp and frosty morning as I sit and type but there is no denying it – the lighter evenings, sudden appearance of daffodils and buds on the magnolia tree are all telling me that Spring is about to burst onto the scene once more. Is there anything more welcome than fresh, new fabrics, wallpapers and colours at this time of year?
Today I’m very pleased to share a scheme that is really inspiring me at the moment. Shades of fuchsia, blush, citron and green look fantastically fresh at the moment. I’m looking forward to that first morning when I catch the scent of bluebells in my garden and know that Spring has finally arrived. In the meantime these beautiful colours, patterns and prints will just have to keep me going!
I hope these fabulous fabrics and wallpapers have given you some food for thought. All of the items pictured above are available to order through our UK and Barbados showrooms. If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us on 020 8943 4440 (UK and rest of the world) or 246 432 0989 (Barbados.)
UK Showroom Manager Sian Davies can usually be found offering advice and expertise to customers in our UK Showroom where she helps them choose furniture and accessories for their homes. As well as assisting Showroom Director Chrissie Marshall in the day to day running of the showroom, Sian also supports Chrissie with our ‘Just Rooms’ service, helping our clients transform their homes one room at a time.
Sian has just returned from a fantastic trip to Barbados where she enjoyed exploring the island, visiting the beach, sampling local food and spending time at our showroom in Holetown, St. James to see how we do things there. Now I’m going to hand you over to Sian so she can tell you a little bit about it in her own words!
What were your first impressions of the Jenny Blanc Barbados showroom?
The first thing that struck me was the colour – because of the beautiful sunshine in Barbados colours have to be so much brighter to make an impact and this is reflected in the stunning shades of bright blue, green and coral that are so popular in the Barbados showroom. White also plays a key role as its cool, fresh and very easy on the eye. Prints and patterns often have a tropical theme with monkeys, fish, shells, turtles and of course coral being very popular motifs on everything from fabric to coasters. In Barbados the local wildlife is really celebrated and this is reflected in interior design and home accessorising.
What are some of the differences between the UK and Barbados showrooms?
The lifestyle in Barbados is very different and this is reflected in the types of products we carry. People in Barbados love to throw parties and entertain so it’s very important for us to offer a range beautiful hostesses gifts as well as everything you need to entertain in style from coloured glassware to placemats. As you can imagine with the beautiful, warm climate most of this entertaining takes place outside so we also carry hurricane lanterns and other unusual lamps to create soft, ambient light. One thing the Barbados showroom has in common with the UK is that our regular customers call in to visit time and time again so it’s very important that we always have fresh things to offer them!
When it comes to the Barbados Just Rooms service, what are some of the more challenging aspects of interior design in a tropical, marine climate?
Barbados is all about outdoor living so high grade outdoor furniture is absolutely essential. This has to be specially designed and very well made in order to stand up to the heat, wind, humidity and salty air which will rust anything other than marine-grade metal. The Barbados showroom has been open for 6 years now and in that time, we have sought out the very best products to meet our clients requirements – for example, our tried and tested parasols that are fitted with flexible poles suitable for withstanding strong breezes. Caribbean Director Emma Blanc and her team have built up a library of the best fabrics suitable for both indoor and outdoor use in a tropical marine climate and have a real understanding how materials like coral stone and pickled pine behave over time. There’s so much more to interior design than meets the eye and this is especially true in a tropical climate but the knowledge and expertise of Emma and the team is really unparalleled so it was fantastic to have the opportunity to learn from them.
Last but not least, what were your three favourite things in the Barbados showroom?
I absolutely fell in love with this stunning coral lamp (pictured below) with a bespoke lampshade featuring tropical fish – the fabric is so vibrant and you can really appreciate this intricate print when it’s illuminated like this. I also love our set of coloured glasses and pitcher (also pictured below) which are exclusive to Jenny Blanc and hand made by a French artisan. The set we commission for our English customers features much softer colours so it’s lovely to see the Barbados version looking fresh and bright. Last but not least I would have to choose one of our fabulous cushions. A cushion is the perfect way to add a little dash of your favourite print to your home and can really change the look and feel of a seating area or bed without having to embark on a full re-design!
Love is in the air once again as February 14th fast approaches. If the thought of choosing a Valentine’s Day present fills you with dread, relax! Today I’m pleased to share 17 unique ideas that are far more exciting than a bunch of red roses (and much longer lasting besides!).
I always think that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show anyone in your life how much you care and of course, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself too! I hope you enjoy these gift ideas which can all be ordered online via our Trouva boutique. As always there is so much more to discover inside both our London and Barbados showrooms – do drop by and see what catches your eye!
This elegant cake server is perfect for weddings and anniversaries – present it as a gift this Valentine’s Day and enjoy it for years to come.
These Love Bird coasters are made from tumbled Italian marble and feature two birds nestling on the branch – a romantic accompaniment to drinks by the fireside!
This scented candle contains sweet top notes of velvety peach and fresh mimosa petals giving way to middle notes of Turkish rose invigorated by a kick of rich, peppery saffron. Honey and warm patchouli aromas take the base notes into a world of intense sensuality that is sure to spice up an evening at home. The glass canister with handmade lid featuring love hearts makes the perfect trinket box once the candle is finished!
This heart shaped leather coin purse makes a fun but practical present for Valentine’s Day and beyond! The claret coloured leather will only get softer and more beautiful with age.
A miniature picture frame with a photo of a cherished memory is a thoughtful and touching gift. This frame which is handmade from nickel-plate is a timeless, feminine design which is sure to be cherished.
Getting up to monkey business – the boy monkey wears a cosy jumper with a banana…
Whilst the girl sports a pretty, Liberty print dress perfect for Spring. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to spoil your inner child with these gorgeous cuddly toys.
A beautiful notebook is always well received and this one in pale pink with its two nesting birds is perfect for Valentine’s Day!
A pair of martini glasses is a wonderful Valentines gift for ladies or gentleman and leaves only one question: shaken or stirred?
This twin photo frame featuring blue enamel is the perfect place to display precious photographs.
A beautiful bottle opener makes a great gift for men – this one is hand crafted from nickel-plate and stainless steel and features a unique rope twist handle.
Belle Fleur candles are ‘haute couture for the senses’. Present the lady in your life with a trio of the most exquisite scented candles available and you can’t go wrong.
The Lovers ring catch is a modern take on a classic design which is the perfect place to store trinkets and treasures on top of a dressing table.
Bright, fresh and fun, this cushion is exquisitely embroidered with a noble big cat making it perfect for the tiger in your life.
These elegant black glass candle holders look simply stunning on a mantelpiece or to set the scene for a romantic dinner. The clever, versatile design works with tea light, tapered or pillar candles depending on your style.
Naughty or Nice? That is the question with this duo of scented candles. Choose from either notes including cinnamon, orange and clove or blood orange, grapefruit and nectarine depending on your mood.
For the young-at-heart this fluffy heart shaped pom pom makes a thoughtful gift. Clip it onto keys to make finding them at the bottom of a handbag a breeze!
Living Barbados is a fabulous magazine which strikes the perfect balance between lifestyle, interiors and fashion combined with essential information for both residents and visitors to the island! I always look forward to picking up a copy when I’m visiting and am so pleased to be featured in the November 2015 edition!
To read the full article you can either pick up a complimentary copy for yourself at any of Barbados’ leading hotels or view the entire magazine online here. For those curious about how we go about creating a luxurious home from home on the island the article gives a great insight into the process of working with us and the benefits that an experienced interior designer can bring. Here’s a little taster which I hope will inspire.
‘The company strives to make the whole design process enjoyable for its clients with an exciting momentum building up to the final happy conclusion.’
‘Once the design fees and the scope of the commission have been agreed, work starts immediately on preparing scaled furniture layouts for a presentation meeting with the clients showing possible options for each room. At this meeting the designers, who have extensive experience of what is required to live in the tropics, recommend the best use of each area and will show some exciting initial ideas for fabrics and furnishings, listening to the clients’ feedback and response to these suggestions. This is usually a long meeting and can last up to 4 hours while the team get deeper into the clients’ wishes and aesthetics and ensure the project is going in the right direction. As soon as the layouts are agreed, the priority is always to prepare electrical detailing for the builders so that everything is in place in good time.’
‘Concept boards are then prepared for each room and the furnishings summarised in every detail with costs and quantities. This is the point where the clients start to enjoy working on the project. The selection of beautiful fabrics and elegant furnishings for their home sparks real excitement and diffuses what to them can seem a daunting task. At a further two meetings these concepts will be fine-tuned and, where necessary, the costings adjusted. The company ensures that at all times the clients are in control of expenditure and throughout the project they are kept up to date with a detailed summary of costs.’
I hope this has given you a taster of what’s to come – do have a read of the article in full and let me know what you think!
Top Drawer is one of the UKs leading international design exhibitions held twice a year at Kensington Olympia. It brings together brands from all over the world and covers everything from gifts and stationary to home accessories and soft furnishings! It’s an event I always look forward to as it’s a fantastic opportunity to source new products for our UK and Barbados showrooms but it also gives me the chance to get a feel for the latest trends that are going to appeal to our customers during the months to come. Today I would like to share with you a few things which caught my eye during my time at the show!
With thoughts now turning towards the warmer months to come, there is a fresh interest in all things floral! Artificial flowers in particular have become very sophisticated in recent years and some of those on display at Top Drawer looked deceptively like the real thing! One of my favourite companies combined individual stems to create dramatic, downwards sweeping arrangements tumbling out of urns and vases which have been cited as the next big thing by industry trend spotters! Artificial flowers can be very useful particularly at this time of year in the UK when spring is still a long way off. We currently have some fantastic artificial arrangements in both our UK and Barbados showrooms which not only provide an eye catching centrepiece but will save a fortune on buying fresh cut flowers every week! The trick is to combine them with a mixture of real flowers and foliage to create beautiful, long lasting arrangements.
Another trend which caught my eye were the fabulous tropical prints which popped up on everything from stationary to purses, trays and even lampshades! Tropical prints are a really fun way to introduce a dash of vibrant colour into your home this Spring but tropical doesn’t have to mean bright – as the gold embossed pineapple note cards pictured below demonstrate!
If you would like to dip your toe into the water with this trend then a palm leaf print is the perfect place to start – these vibrant green leaves are instantly recognisable and feel natural and fresh whilst giving a nod to the tropical theme. Whether in the UK or abroad, the palm print invitations, cocktail napkins and dinner plates would set the scene for a summer garden party perfectly.
One very broad trend which I noticed throughout the show was a renewed appreciation for natural forms. Whether it’s a beautiful piece of coral or a gilded clam shell like the one pictured below, everywhere I turned I saw raw materials which were designed to be displayed and admired for their natural beauty alone. Coral objets and shells have always been popular in our Barbados showroom but this trend isn’t limited to the tropics. Wood, horn and minerals such as agate slices adorned everything from place mats to jewellery boxes at the show and make wonderful objet in their own right.
I hope all this talk of spring flowers and tropical colour hasn’t made you too desperate for summer as (in the UK at least) we’ve still got plenty of cold weather to come but I hope I have provided some inspiration for what the rest of the year might hold. We’re currently planning our Spring window and I look forward to sharing that with you later in the year!