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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
We are so pleased to be featured in this year’s edition of ‘Ins & Outs of Barbados’ magazine with an article all about my Barbados made furniture collection! Ins & Outs of Barbados is an annual publication filled with fascinating articles about the history, culture and art of the island along with essential information for visitors such as must-see places and not-to-be-missed events.
If you’re sadly unable to pick up a copy for yourself, here are a few excerpts to whet the appetite before the magazine is available online later in the year.
‘Jenny Blanc’s inspiring showroom in St.James features a host of enticing, original products for the home and offers an unbeatable range of services to help you create beautiful interiors. The full design service, run from their West London studio, is underpinned by their many years of experience of designing houses in the Caribbean and has access to the most exquisite collections of fabrics and furnishings available internationally.’
‘As part of their full interior design service Jenny Blanc has created a range of mahogany furniture inspired by the rich heritage of Barbados and made by joiners on the island. Barbados mahogany was abundant when the island was first settled by Europeans. Used by the settlers as the main material for construction, fuel for early sugar cane factories, boat building and furniture, only small groves now remain. Furniture made from this hardwood is prized for it’s durability, its resistance to termites, its superb quality and beautiful reddish brown colour.’
‘Jenny Blanc interiors has revisited historic Barbadian furniture styles with their designs for beautiful mahogany and cane armchairs, elegant mahogany and marble coffee tables and romantic four poster beds with matching dressing tables. Outstanding pieces – made from rarely available Barbados mahogany – such as a bar with painted panels featuring the local green monkeys, have been designed by Jenny Blanc and are made locally by talented artisans. This beautiful mahogany furniture, with it’s reflections of an earlier cultural heritage and style, adds depth and character to contemporary interiors and contributes influences of an original plantation house.’
The image above features a beautiful green monkey sculpture carved from coral stone by a local Barbadian artisan which I designed exclusively for this award winning project. This stunning family home competed against other exclusive properties on the island at last years International Property Awards in the category for Interior Design and was awarded ‘Best in Barbados’ by a panel of expert judges. You can find more information about the property awards on our blog here!
By now you’ve probably seen plenty of pictures of the gorgeous Christmas window at our London showroom and I hope I have given you some ideas for how to create a cosy cocoon to nurture yourself through the tough British winter! Today I would like to give you a little peek at how we prepare for Christmas on the other side of the world, at our Caribbean showroom in St. James, Barbados.
I make several trips to Barbados each year to meet with clients, visit design projects and spend time at our showroom. The run up to Christmas is my absolute favourite time to visit as the season is underway and the island is full of life!
The main elements for a Caribbean Christmas are the same as anywhere else in the world – family, friends and feasting are the order of the day. The difference is that most of the entertaining takes place outside under blue skies and pink sunsets. As darkness falls it’s important to bring outside areas to life with soft candle light to create a beautiful, festive ambience. The hurricanes in our Barbados showroom are all marine grade stainless steel – anything less would simply rust in the salty sea air! The dining table is the centre of attention at Christmas time and at our Barbados showroom you’ll find inspiration for creating some beautiful table settings.
I always think a good table setting begins with a place mat and in our Barbados showroom we have some stunning mats to choose from, each individually hand crafted from shimmering beads and shells. Keep the feeling light and fresh with soft silver and gold tones which allow the natural, sandy colour of the shells to really shine. Once you’ve chosen your placemats a charger followed by smaller plates will help create a layered look with plenty of depth – I find this really creates a sense of anticipation about the gorgeous meal to come. Shell shaped plates made from glass like the ones sold in our Barbados showroom will allow the beauty of the beaded placemats to show through and keep the feeling light and fresh. Just like in the UK, I always top each place setting with a beautiful bauble or scented candle which makes a lovely keepsake for your guests. Napkin rings are another opportunity to add a beautiful, tropical accents to your table scheme and one made from a highly polished shell like the one I’m holding above will shine under candle light!
Sticking to a palette of soft metallics means that your place settings will harmonise with any other accent colours that you wish to add – our damson champagne flutes, sundae dishes and cut glass votives add just the right amount of jewel like colour to help set the scene for Christmas.
I hope I have given you some ideas for your tropical Christmas décor! Our Barbados showroom will be open every day in the run up to Christmas – from 9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Saturday and from 11.00am – 4.00pm on Sunday the 20th December so there’s plenty of time to pick up those last minute gifts and finishing touches! Our friendly and knowledgeable showroom team will be happy to help you choose the perfect gift or select accessories to complement your scheme beautifully. You can contact the showroom directly by telephone on +1 (246) 432 0989 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m so thrilled to announce that Jenny Blanc interiors have been presented with a 5 – Star award for the interior design of a beautiful family residence in Apes Hill, Barbados at this year’s International Property Awards held at the Hilton Hotel Barbados on Friday 23rd October!
This was one of my favourite projects to date and it was an absolute pleasure to work with our clients to create this very special family home. From the very first meeting our client’s dreams were for a house full of light with a feeling of Caribbean elegance and tropical influences. To meet their aspirations, Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson and I designed living areas each with its own character but which flowed one into the other linked by a harmonious colour palette of cool subtle tones with punches of colour.
You can view more images of the award winning property on our website here!
As highest scoring 5 star winners, we have now been nominated for the title of ‘Best in the Americas and the Caribbean’ before the ultimate ‘World’s Best’ awards are presented at an awards ceremony at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London on 7th December 2015.
The response to our Barbados showroom summer sale has been so overwhelming that this year we have decided to remain open Monday to Friday throughout September. This will give more holidaymakers and residents the chance to shop our fantastic range of gifts, furniture and home accessories!
Many items have been reduced further including these fantastic melamine serving platters and plates (pictured below). Melamine is a tough and durable material, making this tableware the perfect choice for beach or poolside dining. The striking coral design mimics the look of real china so there’s no need to compromise on style! The entire range is now 50% off with prices starting as low as $27.50, making this a great opportunity to stock up on essentials ready for the coming season. My favourite piece is the large red platter (pictured below left) – it makes a striking centrepiece and is perfect for serving freshly grilled seafood or a display of fresh fruit. Now reduced from $225 to $112.50.
Our summer sale is the perfect time to give your home a makeover with stunning pieces of furniture reduced further including complete sets of matching bedroom furniture!
Our gorgeous French oak and slate dining table will now include free local delivery – at 50% off its wonderful value and perfect for those with homes on the island who love to entertain in style.
As well as some really stunning pieces of furniture we have also reduced some of our luxurious home accessories further including the gorgeous placemats pictured below. These placemats are available in gold, green and paprika and are perfect for adding some sophisticated colour to your table setting for dinner parties. I love to layer up the look with plates and glassware featuring harmonising shades – green and gold or paprika and silver are particular favourites of mine. The placemats are sold separately so you can mix and match the colours to suit your style. The seafood pics pictured below are now reduced from $175 to $115 and make the perfect accent to your table setting!
If you have any questions about the products featured here or need advice about which items would suit your home and lifestyle best do pop in and visit us in store where our friendly and knowledgeable showroom team look forward to welcoming you. Our showroom will be open from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday throughout September. You can also get in contact by calling +1 (246) 432 0989 or emailing email@example.com.
I first became acquainted with Barbados whilst designing the holiday home of one of my London clients some 13 years ago and was immediately struck by the Islands unique architecture. The combination of Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian influences brought over with the Islands first Western settlers back in the 1600’s, combined with the vernacular architecture of the Island, creates a style that is truly unique to Barbados. The Barbadian climate with its scorching sun, wind and salty air presents challenging conditions in which to live and build homes that last. The key, for me, was to look to the islands local heritage and utilise the materials and skills close to hand which have been passed down from generation to generation. As my client base on the island grew, it felt natural to develop my own range of Barbados made furniture using coralstone, wrought iron and wood such as pickled pine. Working with skilled local artisans enabled me to produce those bespoke items required by my design clients. Today, the benchmark pieces from my range are all available to order in our St James showroom. For those who are in the process of selecting furniture for holiday homes in the Caribbean I would like to make the process that little bit easier this week by looking at the benefits of some of these indigenous materials.
The bedrock of the Island itself is composed of limestone formed from coral – known as coralstone. The oldest and grandest plantation houses are made of coralstone bricks which were quarried by hand until the middle of the 1950’s and are strong yet soft enough to be manipulated easily and help keep the property cool and ventilated due to its porosity. More contemporary properties are now built from brick which is then plastered with coral stone in order to benefit from this wonderful natural resource.
Over the years I, along with Barbadian born Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson, have developed longstanding relationships with local artisans who are experts in working with this fascinating material. This enables us to offer our clients exquisite designs that are exclusive to Jenny Blanc – fusing high end, bespoke design with traditional materials to create a look that is uniquely Barbadian!
This coralstone console table (pictured above) is a Jenny Blanc exclusive design featuring a pineapple. This shows off the beauty of this natural material and the skills of the local craftsman to great effect – the perfect fusion of great design, quality materials and skilled craftsmanship.
This coralstone dining table with seahorse carvings (pictured above) is another bespoke design and demonstrates how coralstone can be used as part of a more contemporary scheme – bringing together two important elements of Barbadian culture in an eye catching design! The process for creating a piece like this begins in our London design room where Sue and I sketch out our ideas and work out the dimensions. The design plans are then sent to one of our artisans in Barbados before we select the materials and the process of bringing the initial concept to life can begin. We will visit at various times throughout the process of construction to ensure the proportions are correct, check the design and the finish, making any necessary adjustments required for a flawless finish. Meanwhile the design for the overall room scheme will continue as we look forward to that moment when everything comes together!
Wrought ironwork is another strong tradition on the Island and one which lends itself to outdoor living perfectly. This marble topped console table (pictured above) with a sunburst motif is perfect for use out in the open on a veranda while this window grille with a leaf motif (also pictured above) demonstrates how iron can be used to create a more delicate effect. The Caribbean way of life is all about a seamless transition from the outside in so it’s wonderful to be able to leave windows open like this to allow the air to flow freely and keep the space feeling light and open. A window grille like this provides security as well as being an attractive focal point. Both the console table and lattice designs are exclusive to Jenny Blanc and available to order through our London and Barbados showrooms. In addition to ornamented window grilles and console tables, our current range includes dining tables with wrought iron detailing (often supporting marble, stone or glass tops in a traditional or contemporary style), coffee tables and staircase bannisters which often feature a repeat pattern which is echoed throughout the rest of the furnishings.
‘Pickled’ pine was developed in the 1970’s for use in ceilings and architectural woodwork and was designed to make new wood appear old. Since then it has become a key part of Barbadian vernacular design sought after for that quintessential Barbadian look. Although many stains are sold today under the name ‘pickling stain’, technically pickling is a method not a finish. The effect is similar to sun bleached wood found on the beach and gives just a hint of the seaside whilst harmonising with other natural materials such as cane, bamboo and copper. Our current range includes four poster beds which can be draped with a selection of muslins or voiles, carved headboards in a variety of designs – often featuring shell motifs (like the one pictured above which was a bespoke creation for one of our design clients) and cane detailing.
The sofa pictured below is a Jenny Blanc exclusive design on display in our Barbados showroom and features an intricately carved pickled pine frame with double cane panels for a traditional Barbadian feel. Coupled with cushion pads upholstered in cream and coral pink scatter cushions, this piece is perfect for the more traditional Island home.
If you would like any information regarding our interior design service or bespoke furniture range please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson in our London design office who will be happy to advise on all the items in the Jenny Blanc range..
Our Barbados Showroom’s summer sale is always eagerly anticipated by those on the island who look forward to making significant savings on many of our beautiful items of furniture and accessories for their homes. The sale will run until the end of August so there’s plenty of time, although, as many of our items are one of a kind, we always recommend paying us a visit sooner rather than later!
For those with houses to furnish, our summer sale is the perfect opportunity to invest in a beautiful piece of furniture to last a lifetime like this stunning wooden dining table, inlayed with natural slate. We also have many matching sets available to take home today such as the classic Lloyd Loom style three seater sofa and foot rest (below). For those who do not have the facilities to collect, our showroom team are happy to arrange delivery locally. All the furniture in our Barbados showroom has been specially selected because of it’s suitability for life in a tropical climate – washable fabrics and metals that won’t rust in the sea air are just some of the considerations. Drop in for a chat with our friendly and knowledgeable showroom team and let them help you find the perfect centrepiece for your tropical home.
The unique ceramic lamps (below) are one of a kind and are currently reduced by 25%. They’re a fantastic way to add colour and interest to a console – the plain linen shades let the craftsmanship of the ceramicist really stand out; bright enough to be noticed but classic enough to harmonize with your existing scheme. Each lamp is full of character and ready to take home today.
The unique, handmade, bird of paradise lamps are absolutely exquisite and are currently reduced by 25%. The shape of these exotic flowers are captured perfectly and they give off a soft, flattering light – perfect to use as ambient lighting in a bedroom.
For visitors to the island our range of stunning accessories and decorative objet for the home could provide and inspired souvenir. Candles by Neom are marked down alongside aromatic diffusers, hand painted butler trays and tissue boxes featuring scenes of local wildlife – the perfect way to bring the spirit of the island home with you.
We simply love the vibrant colours and attention to detail in this wonderful ‘Jamaica’ print cotton by Parisian fabric house Manuel Canovas (above). Gorgeous cushion covers featuring this tropical print are exclusive to Jenny Blanc and are available in the sale now. They are just the right size to roll up and tuck in your suitcase as a reminder of sunshine filled days in the Caribbean.
The Barbados showroom is located in Sunset Crest, St James, Barbados and is open Monday to Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm. Sundays by appointment only (Tel: +1 (246) 432 0989). The summer sale will run until Monday 31st August 2015.
The April 2015 issue of Living Barbados, the renowned magazine on the island, featured our wonderful Jenny Blanc Design Director, Sue Thomas-Richardson, whose knowledge of the island where she grew up has been fundamental in shaping the company as it stands today…
In 2002 award winning interior design company Jenny Blanc, set up their first office in Barbados from which to administer the increasing number of projects they were being commissioned to work on in the Caribbean. In December 2011 the company opened their highly successful lifestyle showroom in St. James which has become a target destination for visitors looking for beautiful, original furnishings for their homes. Barbados is a central hub for the rest of the Caribbean and the showroom serves to represent Jenny Blanc’s design style to the many holiday home owners on the island. Key to the success of their expansion into this area, has been Barbadian – born, Sue Thomas-Richardson, Design Director for the company, whose indispensable wealth of local knowledge and expertise ensured that the beautiful interiors they designed were perfectly suited for the tropical climate.
Sue comes from a very old Barbadian family, her ancestors having arrived on the island in the 1600’s as settlers of the New World. Her family all have a strong artistic leaning. Her mother, Audrey Thomas, internationally renowned and respected as a horticulturalist, is the shining light of the gold medals awarded over many years for the famous Barbados exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show. Audrey was awarded the Barbados Centennial Honour for her services to horticulture on the island and this year, at the eminent age of 92, she opened her beautiful garden to the public to raise funds for the Barbados Horticultural society. Two of Sue’s brothers own and manage Growing Things, one of the leading landscape companies in Barbados.
Sue was educated at Queens College in Barbados and in her teens threw javelin for her school and later Barbados. She held the Caribbean record for several years. In the 1970’s she joined her parents on an extended trip to the UK and decided to take the opportunity to further her education, finally training as a nurse and qualifying as an SRN in 1978.
Returning home in the 1980’s, Sue worked for several years in the travel industry for a British company specialising in luxury villa holidays on the West Coast of Barbados. She was based in the offices of real estate company, Alleyne & Aguilar, now Altmans Real Estate. She started her career in interior design when she was offered a job by Heather Aguilar-Swan, one of the most prominent designers on the island. Here she learnt all the essential basics of interior design and assisted on large hotel projects, private residences and commercial properties on the island. During this period, she tuned into her natural artistic talent and gained valuable expertise on designing in the tropics. She developed a love of paint techniques and in 1987 returned to London to study at the Leonard Pardon School in Knightsbridge. In 1990, she moved full-time to the UK as a freelance designer/decorator for interior designers both in the UK and Barbados. Sue was also a key member of the team at Holbein Collection in the UK, a leading manufacturer of bespoke curtain accessories. A painting commission introduced Sue to Jenny Blanc and thus an enduring design partnership was created.
In addition to the awards of World’s Best Interior Design for a Private Residence for a UK property in 2012 and Best International Interior Design for a Port St. Charles, Barbados Apartment in 2007, Jenny Blanc has won four awards for the design team’s work in the Caribbean. As Design Director, Sue’s knowledge and creativity were invaluable in these winning projects in some of the most prestigious areas of the island including the West Coast, Port St. Charles, Royal Westmoreland Estate and Apes Hill.
Sue is still Bajan to the core and very proud of her Barbadian heritage. Through her work she is very keen to promote the talents and expertise of her fellow Bajans. Many of the design projects include pieces of furniture she has designed and had made locally by skilled artisans in Barbados. Jenny Blanc is currently developing an exclusive range of Barbadian made furniture which will be available throughout the Caribbean and beyond. In 2014 Sue and Jenny created the Jenny Blanc Design Scholarship to enable design students from the Barbados Community College to fine tune their skills at a London college and gain invaluable hands-on experience at both their London and Barbados showrooms. The first scholarship winner has spent 6 months working at the London showroom and passed her exams in computer aided design with flying colours. She is now using her new skills and experience in the Jenny Blanc Barbados showroom.
With a heatwave in London what better way to anticipate Summer than with some simply gorgeous tropical prints? Don Loper created the banana leaf print wallpaper in 1942 for The Beverly Hills Hotel (see above). The palm leaf is an especially timeless motif; from bold geometrics to more traditional prints, which were introduced in colonial times, images of tropical leaves and palm trees are a go-to for creating a sense of the exotic, luxury, travel, and therefore, adventure. The verdant green leaves create a sense of lush fertility. However, the current trend sees tropical plants represented in all different forms and colours by the major design houses. From tonal variations in green and blue by Nobilis, to oranges and golds. There is a real trend, wherever you may be, for bringing an exotic touch into the home.
Nobilis Nobilis have created a stunning and hugely varied collection of palm leaf prints in their Cosmopolitan collection…
Cole & Son
With Palm Jungle Cole & Son have created a traditional style of print using more subtle colour ways within the Contemporary Restyled Collection…
Of course there are not only tropical leaves, but also birds of paradise, which Sahco have used to create a magnificent aviary with this modern wall panel in their newest collection…
Christopher Farr’s fabric range, Brisa, featuring tropical palm prints in a vibrant and sophisticated selection of colourways is also available as a custom made wallpaper…
For me, a bedroom is one of the most important rooms in a house. It is a space to relax and rest as well as to sleep. And, there is nothing more cheering than the prospect of a cosy and beautifully decorated bed to come home to. From your mattress to the type of bed you like, as well as accessories such as bedside tables and throws, there are just so many different ways of creating a space that really reflects what most appeals to you in terms of comfort, as well as aesthetically. When it comes to pillows the sizes and shapes available are again so varied, but I like two rectangular pillows and a large square pillow to lean on when reading – and always feather. The bedroom we created in Barbados (above) reflects this concept beautifully; the elegant four poster with voiles and an inset padded headboard is the centrepiece of the room. From there stems matching mahogany furniture and accessories in aqua, cream, silver and white.
Whether you prefer your mattress hard or soft, quality is important. As the only carbon neutral bed maker, Hypnos uses the finest natural and sustainable materials. Unlike most mattresses, which are stuffed with synthetic fillings that can make you hot during the night, all of Hypnos’ mattresses are made using generous layers of natural, sustainable and breathable fibres such as wool, cashmere, teased hair, cotton and silk. My go to supplier for Vispring is And So To Bed. These mattresses are also made from natural materials, including wool from the Shetland isles, Bamboo from China which is incredibly soft and wicks away moisture to ensure that you awake feeling fully refreshed, Mohair, Silk, Cashmere, Horsetail, and Cotton. A typical Vispring mattress has four full fleeces within its upholstery. In both cases, this choice in fillings help to promote air flow and reduce moisture to help regulate body temperature, they also repel allergens and enhance the sleeping experience.
On the other hand, there is a huge trend in memory foam mattresses like Tempur, and these are always an option. However, as these mattresses are made from synthetic materials, they are known to raise body heat, so bear in this mind if you like to stay cool when sleeping.
And, of course, bed bases can be a wonderful way of creating storage in smaller spaces; whether you have drawers or the entire mattress is able to lift up and storage is created underneath.
Above are the three styles of headboard, which are most popular at the moment. You can cover these plain headboards in any fabric that you like, as well as varying the types of trim you use and buttoning or stud detail.
Below is a contemporary bedroom we designed using a buttoned headboard in dark, purple velvet. Like the traditional bedroom above, the bed dictates the surrounding colour scheme and accessories; modern statement lamps with contrasting lime lampshades, and cushions in chocolate and a Moroccan style print – which also ties in with the blinds. There is a huge range of bedside cabinets and tables available, and a bench or sofa (as above) situated at the end of the bed is a lovely addition to any bedroom.
For a more traditional look, a Bateau Lit or a French style bedstead (as below) is just heavenly. The Bateau Lit ties in with the oak beams of this 15th century country house, as well as the bedside cabinets. The look is lifted by the light blue floral patterns of the duvet cover and chair, as well as flashes of dark green.
This bedroom (above) is one of my favourites, with the bedstead matching the curtains in fabric by Jean Monro. The flashes of aqua in the fabric are reflected in the traditional bed valence and this, in turn, is echoed in the pale aqua chaise lounge, which is another option if you’re not featuring a stool, bench or sofa.
A trunk at the end of a bed (below) is hugely useful for extra storage. The red chinoiserie fabric of the headboard here is reflected in the fabulous bath that we installed in this bedroom. The red throw ties into the scheme as does the throw in the aqua scheme above.
The recipient of the inaugural 2014 Jenny Blanc Design Scholarship, Tyra Woodroffe, is back from London and seeking to inspire other students at the Barbados Community College.
Woodroffe, a 19 year-old graduate of the BCC’s Design Program, this week visited the institution after completing a six-month stint at the England headquarters of international designers, Jenny Blanc Interiors.
Along with giving an overview of her “eye-opening” experience in London to the BCC’s 2014-2015 Interior Design class, Woodroffe and Jenny Blanc’s Caribbean Director, Emma Blanc, presented the students with hundreds of samples of fabric of varying colours, textures and designs.
“Designing is an exciting career and my trip to London allowed me to be more involved in the hands-on aspect. It was different and enlightening and the exposure also allowed me to benefit from a wider scope of design techniques and experiences,”
Explaining why she opted to provide the current BCC students with such a varied range of fabric samples, the emerging designer said BCC students were always challenged to find wide varieties of fabrics and they would certainly be useful.
This was underscored by Design Tutor, Stephen Jackman, who accepted the samples on behalf of the class and thanked Woodroffe and Jenny Blanc for their kind gesture. “Fabric samples are essential for interior designers and will enhance their portfolios and knowledge,” he said.
While in England, Tyra also succeeded in gaining City and Guilds certification in computer-assisted designing (AutoCAD 2), which was presented to her Jenny Blanc Design Director Sue Thomas-Richardson. The qualification will fulfil the second half of her scholarship programme through a six-month attachment at the Holetown-based showroom of Jenny Blanc in Barbados
Through the partnership with the BCC, Tyra emerged as the first winner of the Jenny Blanc all-expenses-paid scholarship last June after students were assessed on their course-work and a special project that included the interior design of a four-bedroom luxury home – complete with furniture, fabrics, lighting and functional spaces.
The next scholarship will be offered in 2016 and Jenny Blanc Interiors also revealed to students that the top two BCC students from the 2014-2015 class and the top two from the 2015-2016 class will all be eligible to compete for the prized all-expenses paid scholarship.
And in Tyra’s Words…
Having settled happily back into the warm embrace of the Caribbean beauty that is my island home Barbados, it is no doubt that I’m also enjoying the second phase of the Jenny Blanc design scholarship. With the comfort of a familiar environment, I’m now experiencing the other side of the Jenny Blanc business with renewed zeal.
The Barbadian team has welcomed me with open arms and I feel as though I’ve adapted happily into the dynamic of their operation. That being said it’s very valuable to note the differences in the happenings of the two locations and what particular skills they develop. The main design office of the company resides in London where they have the resources to handle larger scale projects in a comprehensive way. This allows for first hand exposure to the vast range of fabric, furniture and accessory supply companies the world has to offer, whereas in the Barbados office, things are hands on in a different capacity. The focal point here is the retail aspect where other variables come into play. This means that design is developed from a merchandising standpoint where products are displayed for sale and to inspire those visiting the showroom. Successfully inspiring onlookers, who may be in need of a designer, encourages them to choose your establishment. Attention to detail, proper maintenance and excellent customer service – while having a knack for very subtle, gentle persuasion – can go a long way.
A substantial amount of business traffic occurs in Barbados where many clients can need anything from a single room revamp through our Just Rooms service, an entire refurbishment, or a new build project. The challenge of going into spaces, having conversations with clients and measuring for initial drawings is an exciting one. Eventually it is followed by the final installation process where you interact directly with the pieces of a scheme that begin to transform a residential or commercial interior. The practical and functional nature of design then becomes most apparent. I look forward to being involved in this process in the upcoming months with the team.
Time has been going very swiftly but the experience here is enjoyable while beneficial. I still reflect on the fond and amusing memories of my UK trip and feel so fortunate to have been blessed with this opportunity that has aided in my personal growth in so many ways.
Our Caribbean Director and resident of Barbados, Emma Blanc, talks about the world famous performing arts festival at Holders Season… The 22nd Holders Season hosted by the Kidd family in the beautiful grounds of the 17th century Holders Plantation House overlooking the beautiful West coast, has yet again been one of the high lights of this year’s season in Barbados. Wendy Kidd, producer of the festival, pictured below with model daughter Jodie ensures that each year is as memorable as the last and this year has been no exception. Many visitors plan their time in Barbados to coincide with this event and it is a must do in most of our diaries, especially mine as I spent many years in the Performing arts and events before moving into the Design world.
This year the first two evenings featured a Cabaret Dinner, where guests saw performances from acrobats and magicians in the Holders Gallery.
The following nights saw performances including The Music of Hollywood, and other themed nights such as Cajun, Cuban and American Soul and the City performed by artists from all over the world. The Theatre Night was opened by the OTT (Operation Triple Threat) – a developmental performing arts program for local students between the ages of 7 and 21, a division of “Live-Breathe Music!” a company dedicated to offering superior training to musicians and aspiring ones and also one of this year’s beneficiaries of the festival. OTT will also be performing their version of THE WIZ next month at the Frank Collymore Hall in our capital, Bridgetown.
The programme of events saw its finale on Saturday 21st March with a Gala night featuring the UK’s most wonderful Opera Band “ Blake” – back this year by popular demand along with the very talented Canadian singer songwriter Sarah Boulton all preceded by the Mosaic Steel Orchestra. A brilliant end to another fantastic Season.