Monday, 28 March 2016

Salt House Mercantile, Bainbridge Island

This Easter weekend I've been spending time with my family at home in Leicestershire which has been so peaceful and I feel so well rested. As the Easter weekend comes to an end, I'm also super excited because I just booked a ticket for later this Spring to my other home from home - Seattle. I can't wait to go back and see our family and friends who live in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island - it's such a special place. Personally I love the US - it's such a positive place and I love the 'I can, I will' attitude.

When we were talking last night about the stores we love on Bainbridge, I remembered I still had a memory card full of photos of my last trip. In March. Last year.

I must admit, since working at Humphrey Munson I have been so hit and miss with this blog. I love this west egg blog, and I love writing, but it's hard to fit it all in and I never want to feel like I have to write it because I think that takes all the fun out of it. So today, I find myself with a spare hour before we brave the storm to walk the dogs and I've got some tea, and I'm going to take you on a mini tour of one of my favourite stores on Bainbridge Island - the Salt House Mercantile.

Located at 119 Winslow Way East on Bainbridge Island, when you walk in the door at the Salt House Mercantile it has the perfect summer vibe - clad in extra wide painted shiplap panels that suit the space perfectly, the interior design is simple, rustic and welcoming.

The window has an ever changing display of beautiful furniture and home accessories - this is the place to come to source gifts for any occasion.

I love this vintage sign which the owner sourced on a road trip - sadly it's not for sale.

I bought 6 of these soaps home to England on my last visit and when I opened up the bag the aroma was just incredible.

Fabric from Komedal Cloth (previously Bainbridge Blues) a natural fibre textile line designed on Bainbridge Island and woven in Italy.

As well as homewares and accessories, the Salt House Mercantile also stocks an amazing range of weird and wonderful ingredients and condiments - I so wish I could have brought more home with me. 

Curating homewares and accessories for a store is actually a lot harder than I think people realise, it takes such a lot of vision and perseverance to get out there and source really beautiful and fantastic products and then combine them in a way that reflects the store's brand.

Stores like the Salt House Mercantile have such a distinctive knack of combining really lovely products - I am such a sucker for packaging, I love typography and design and I would definitely buy a hand soap just because I love the label. I'm okay if that means I'm shallow.

As I'm sure everyone does, I love to have beautiful things in my home and I can't wait to go back to Bainbridge Island and stock up. I just spotted on instagram they are now stocking my favourite Bellocq tea so I will definitely be bringing some of that home.

Visit the Salt House Mercantile at 119 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, Washington, follow then on instagram here or visit their facebook page for opening times, additional info. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Hotel Paradis, Paris

It's been over 6 weeks since I went to Paris for Maison et Objet and I honestly cannot believe where the time has gone, it really doesn't feel 5 minutes ago but there you go. I wrote about the amazing lighting companies I saw at Maison on the Humphrey Munson blog, take a look here if you want to see my favourites. There were so many inspiring interiors companies there, I can't wait to share them all here although admittedly at this rate it's going to take me all year to get round to it.

So anyway, first what I want to tell you about is a little gem I found tucked away in a typical Parisian street located half way between the Gare du Nord railway station and the prestigious Opéra Garnier in Paris. 

I discovered Hôtel Paradis thanks to instagram, I can't remember how I came across it - I guess down the usual rabbit hole of looking at hashtags and locations but as soon as I saw their photos and the location I knew it would be perfect. Maison et Objet is held at the Parc des Expositions which is north of Paris and the Eurostar goes into Gare du Nord so the location was spot on.

I got the first Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris on the Sunday morning and arrived a few hours later. Hôtel Paradis kindly arranged an early check in so I could drop my bags off before heading out to lunch.

The interior design of the hotel is so cool, I loved all the different wallpapers they used and the mix of mid-century modern furniture with contemporary pieces.

This is the lovely reading area on the ground floor just beside the reception. I didn't really have much time to linger but there were some great design books and magazines, and you can order afternoon tea to while away an hour or so.

I think all the rooms have these distinctive headboards - once I'd got past the fact they reminded me of savoiardi sponge fingers - I thought they were actually quite cool. Each room is individually designed, and while compact, for me it was perfect as I wasn't spending much time in the hotel and I was on my own.

Do you see what I mean though about the sponge fingers?! ;)

LOVED the toiletries from Malin + Goetz - a New York based apothecary and lab. I loved the Peppermint shampoo but I'm planning to order the Neroli shampoo - I'm a bit late to the Nerouli party obviously - but the smell is out of this world.

The other thing I loved about Hôtel Paradis was the fabulous breakfast - the perfect way to start the day and the coffee is great.

All in all it's a pretty perfect spot for a day or two in Paris, and I will definitely be back. Oh, and one last tip - if you do stay at Hôtel Paradis, you must must must go for dinner at Le Richer - it's just around the corner and it is just amazing.

Hôtel Paradis, 41, rue des Petites-Écuries - 75010 Paris - France, Tel: +33 1 45 23 08 22

Images used with kind permission of Hôtel Paradis.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

A day out in London

Happy New Year all! Hope you've had a lovely holiday season. We've been so lucky to have an amazing ten day break spent catching up with family and friends. One of my favourite days was spent in London with our wonderful friends from Scotland and we were so lucky to get incredible blue skies. I booked tickets for the London Eye to celebrate my godson William's 3rd birthday and both he and his brother were so excited.

We met up at St. George's Wharf to catch the Thames Clipper down to Bankside which went down a treat with the boys who were so excited to see London from the river.  There is so much to see as you walk along Bankside and we arrived in perfect time for a super lunch at the riverside Strada. I haven't been to a Strada for years and was so impressed - friendly, super speedy staff and delicious food. 

Seeing London from the Eye is such an amazing experience and we went up in our pod just in time to watch the sun set over the Thames and beyond.

It reminded me of an amazing video I saw a few years ago of London in 1927 - literally one of the best things I've ever seen in my life. I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but seriously - it is Ah.mazing! 

In 1927, Claude Friese-Greene shot one of the first-ever colour films all around London using a technique called Biocolour that was created by his father. 

What is absolutely extraordinary about this film is how wonderfully familiar London feels. When I worked near St. Pauls in my 20's I used to walk home along the Thames and I have such fond memories of those walks. Also, if you loved the song played in the first half of the film like I did, it's called Parasol by Jonquil. I have it as my alarm and it's a lovely way to wake up each morning.

Wishing you all a very happy new year filled with peace, love and laughter. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Medlar Restaurant, Kings Road, London

It's not often that you visit a restaurant and are so swept up in how amazing it was that you cannot stop thinking about how perfect it all was. The formula for my idea of a perfect restaurant is quite simple - well-designed, welcoming interior with a buzzy atmosphere, fresh and flavourful food served by friendly, efficient staff who are there but not there - if you see what I mean. When all those components come together, the result is quite spectacular but not in a booming fireworks way, more like an understated perfection kind of way.

So when you find a restaurant that ticks all your boxes, you want to tell the world - hence this blog post. I went to Medlar with a group of interior design bloggers during London Design Festival to celebrate the launch of Fromental's new showroom in Chelsea Design Harbour (separate post coming soon). For me, it was perfection.

As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a member of the waiting staff who ushered us quietly up to the private dining room to join the rest of the party. The restaurant is beautifully designed with an excellent layout including my personal favourite restaurant feature of all time: booths.

At Medlar, the booths seat up to six which I've always thought is a pretty perfect number of people to go out to dinner with. I've always loved the cosiness that you get in a booth - it also helps block out everyone else's conversation. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sit in a restaurant with zero atmosphere, but I'm pushing 35, and a large part of my teenage years were spent pacing around listening to ridiculously loud grunge music so my ears really aren't quite what they should be.

I am also a big fan of the designer's use of that stunning green which is accented throughout the restaurant and anchors the entire scheme so effectively - the result is really quite marvellous. It's a perfect shade of green - classic and contemporary at the same time. I love it.

I really love the antique effect distressed mirror, it reflects the light really gently and makes the restaurant feel spacious and roomy. Lighting is such a tricky thing to get right in restaurants, but Medlar absolutely nail it with beautiful lamps giving a soft warm glow with spotlights above for a bit more precision.

Medlar is owned by Joe Mercer Nairne and David O'Connor. It is their first restaurant venture and their aim was quite simply to provide fantastic food and service in a relaxed environment. Tick, tick and tick.

After attending Eton and Oxford University, where he read Archaeology and Anthropology, Joe embarked upon his culinary career. He first attended Leith's School of Food and Wine in 2001, only deciding afterwards to make cooking his profession. I love that he changed professions to do something he was really passionate about - it really does change your life when you get up in the morning and look forward to going to work.

Joe's experience prior to Medlar included roles at Carluccio’s, The Savoy Grill and Chez Bruce, along with a spell in Sydney working at Neil Perry’s Rockpool. Meanwhile, David started his career working as a waiter at his parents' restaurant on The Wirral before moving to Alexander House in West Sussex.

He moved to London in 1998 to work at The Orrery restaurant and worked under Patrick Fischnaller and Chris Galvin before moving to Nigel Platts-Martin’s The Square in 1999, he stayed with the group for 12 years managing front of house at 3 of the restaurants; Chez Bruce, The Square and The Ledbury.

Doesn't the food look delicious? Zomg, it was so so so good. Everything was so carefully prepared and bursting with flavour. I am allergic to milk which always makes going out for dinner a tiny bit hazardous so I did call ahead and let them know I was one of those annoying types. The waiting staff could not have been more gracious, not to mention creative. It was a wonderful night - thank you so much to the London Fromental team and Modenus for hosting the evening.

Medlar Restaurant, 438 Kings Road, Chelsea SW10 0LJ
Tel: 020 7349 1900

All images: Medlar Restaurant

Sunday, 6 September 2015

5 Amazing Room Designs by Carrier & Company

I have been a huge fan of the interior design practice Carrier & Company for many years. Based in NYC and founded by husband and wife team Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller; for me, their work is perfection.

The way they seamlessly blend antique and vintage pieces with contemporary design is nothing short of spectacular. I love that they work with the client's existing collections, artwork, hand-me-downs, heirlooms and incorporate it all into the interior design which creates truly personal, timeless and comfortable homes.

Their first book Positively Chic Interiors is out for pre-order now so I thought now was as good a time as any to share my favourite room designs.

What's not to love?! I love the sisal rug, the rustic metal frame table, the simple linen upholstery, the furniture, the panelling, but most of all I love the bright and bold artwork above the mantle which just elevates this room into something a lot more interesting. I've seen a lot of sitting rooms over the last few years but I adore this one.

We have a barn behind our house which at some point will be developed and added onto the house. This would be the perfect barn conversion bedroom. I love horses so the artwork here really appeals and the fabric on the bedspread and pillows mixed with the rug and curtains reminds me of a Kit Kemp-esque look. To me this room looks so comfortable and inviting. It goes without saying that the wood panelling is spot on.

I love the kitchen designs by Carrier & Company. This one in the Dove Meadow project is simple, but beautifully designed. I can literally imagine walking into this kitchen barefoot in the morning and putting the kettle on to make coffee. I'm not sure what wood the back door is made of but I think it works perfectly, and together with the classic american hardwood floor, brings a softness and warmth to the space.

The only Carrier & Company project I've ever stepped foot in - the Printing House in the West Village in NYC. I could have stayed there all day spending ages in each room studying all the finer details that make the project so individual, timeless and interesting. I think interiors should be at least a little bit interesting. I love to collect bits and pieces on travels to different places. Last weekend I was in Scotland and stopped by a little antiques shop in Aboyne where I bought a really stunning 19th century Chinese bowl. I'm not sure where to put it yet, but I absolutely love it and although it's not got anything to do with Scotland I will always think of a lovely weekend in Aberdeenshire when I see it.

I always think bathrooms are difficult to design but Jesse and Mara make it look completely effortless. I've always had a thing for freestanding bath tubs by companies like Victoria + Albert  so these two bathrooms in this stunning home in Southampton, New York are really my cup of tea. 

I hope you liked this round of up of my favourite rooms, suffice to say there are dozens more that are absolutely stunning - take a look here

Image credits: Carrier & Company 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

A Change of Plan

I'm really excited to finally let you all know some news that I have been keeping quiet now for some time. As many of you know, I started West Egg in 2010 because I wanted to do something that I was more interested in, which was the world of interiors.

It has been an amazing ride and I'm so grateful to everyone who supported West Egg in so many different ways. My passion for interior design, furniture design, antiques, restoration, business, social media, and of course blogging, is stronger than ever and I am very thankful for the amazing opportunities I have had over the last 4 years.

At the end of 2014 I started consulting for Humphrey Munson - a British company that designs and manufactures really beautiful handmade kitchens.

The company is expanding and recently opened a second showroom in St. Albans as well as the main workshop and showroom in Felsted. This is a really exciting time for Humphrey Munson and I have loved working with them on different marketing and business development projects which has been a really rewarding experience for me. 

Earlier this year, they offered me a full time role which I simply could not refuse. So, for the last 6 months I have been working full time for Humphrey Munson as the head of marketing and business development and I could not be more excited! I feel very proud to be working for a company with which I share so many values, not to mention an amazing team of super talented cabinetmakers who take such enormous pride in their work. I am really over the moon to be moving on with this new role and I can't wait to see what the rest of 2015 holds and beyond.  

What this means...

Taking on this new role meant that West Egg was put on the back burner somewhat. I have ummed and ahhed for months now about it, come very close to selling it and then last week backed out of a potential sale completely because I am not ready to let the west egg blog go to someone else. When I started the blog back in 2010, I didn't know anything about blogging or social media, or how to grow a business. But it is the west egg blog that has brought me all the amazing experiences and opportunities that I have had in the last 5 years. 

The West Egg Blog 

So, I will continue writing the west egg blog - for me, it's a place where I can record my finds, ideas and design tips. I love blogging and I love the community that comes with it. It's had a little revamp overnight thanks to 17th Avenue - I hope you like it! 

The West Egg Store 

This is the sad bit. Because I can't sell the business without the blog, the west egg online store will soon close its online doors. The upside is that there is going to be a very good sale coming soon! 


I will be teaching the last weekend workshop "Paint Like A Pro" this coming October 10-11th, 2015. There is one place left, if you'd like to come please book here

Many many thanks to you all for your amazing support over the last few years.