Thursday, 28 June 2012

Love This! Industrial Chic @ Hermitage Road

I recently visited Hermitage Road in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Wow. I was not expecting what I saw! As a newbie to this area I was excited to visit somewhere that was also relatively new and as we walked through the entrance I was stopped in my tracks by the staircase. The original distressed stairs were there for all to see and the tiled flooring worked with it so perfectly. Definitely my kind of look. 

As we walked through the doors into the main restaurant and bar area I was completely blown away by the stunning windows and cool industrial style furnishings. We sat near the open plan kitchen which was bustling away and were served a wonderful selection of freshly prepared seafood and meats from the grill, everything was cooked to perfection, absolutely delicious and the service was fantastic. We had such a fun evening and loved the open kitchen aspect of the dining room; the whole place had such a great ambience about it. 

As we left I noticed an info board on the landing that said it was originally built in the 1930s and was known as the Hermitage Ballroom. The building had a somewhat varied music history and eventually closed down in 2010 after being run as a nightclub for many years.

I was lucky enough to visit again on Sunday afternoon and meet with Ellene Immelman who led the interior design of this £600,000 project. When Ellene saw the photographs of the gutted building, she instantly had a vision of how the restaurant and bar could look and knew that the building's natural light and charm would be the key to successfully designing and finishing the space. 

Opting to keep as many original features as possible, most of the walls have been stripped back to their natural brick state with paintwork left in places. Carefully selecting low-key mood lighting to allow the natural light to literally pour into the building. it provides enough uplift in the darker corners. 

All the furnishings in the restaurant and bar were sourced by Ellene who visited salvage fairs and scoured the internet, markets and antiques and vintage shops for interesting and quirky accessories to fill the space. The sliding ladder and sky-high wine racks behind the bar area were inspired by something similar she had seen in her native South Africa. 

Talking to Ellene, what I loved most was her attention to detail, her care and precision in restoring and unveiling those original details in the building. When they realised they needed to remove the middle section of the giant folding doors, rather than discard them, she instructed the builders to re-use the doors as the framework for the bar. It works wonderfully. The flooring in the restaurant area is the original parquet flooring, carefully restored and even retaining its spring!

There was so much to talk about in terms of the design process and the sourcing of particular pieces that I think I'll write a second post including some of the before photographs that Ellene has kindly shared with me as well as further details. Sound okay?

If you're in the Hertforshire or Bedfordshire area, you simply have to visit Hermitage Road. 

Laid-back luxe is a difficult ambience to create but Ellene, Howard and the rest of the team at Hermitage Road have nailed it. Go! Visit! And do it soon! But make sure you book a table because they get fully booked :)

Monday, 25 June 2012

New Summer Arrivals at West Egg

We're getting a few sunny days here and there (finally) so I thought it would be fun to share some of our new summer arrivals. All available from our online store at - take a look and let us know what you think - we love to hear from you! 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Love This! Innovative Reclamation

The Salvo Fair 2012 in Maidenhead starts today and is open all weekend. I can't go sadly but I was just checking out their exhibitor list and noticed the wonderful Antiques By Design will be there. I've had the pleasure of knowing Guy Trench for a little while now as ABD is listed on West Egg's SourceBook. I'm always blown away by the imaginative creations they come up with so I thought I'd just share a few of the incredible pieces with you.

These beautiful mirrors have been recycled from a pair of shepherd hut wheels and an old clock face. 

A propellor, a pair of cavalry boots and a vintage camera all re-fashioned into super cool lighting.

And lastly, a recycled galvanised bench made from a loft water tank. So clever! 

All images: Antiques by Design

Thursday, 21 June 2012

New Arrivals: Memo Boards

Designed and handmade by the wonderful Lucinda Nicol, these memo boards are the perfect addition to any kitchen or desk area! Charming, simple and functional - they are ticking all the right boxes. Available in 4 fabrics, each one has been lovingly hand-crafted using the highest quality materials.

Original Linen

You can't beat a classic and this Original Linen Memo Board is simple and understated with its sleek West Egg ribbon giving a nice contrast to the textured linen.

Raspberry Toile

One of our firm favourites, this lovely Cabbages & Roses fabric works so well on the Raspberry Toile Memo Board. Fresh, bright and super chic. Definitely one to brighten these rainy days in England. 

A huge thank you to Lucinda for designing and creating these wonderful additions to the West Egg store, she always inspire me with her creativity, incredible attention to detail and ideas and I'm very lucky to work with such a talented lady!  

To take a look at the other memo boards in stock click here. We're already looking at new designs and sizes to create so let us know if there is something you would simply love to see and we'll see what we can do.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ralph Lauren = 100% Inspiration

Not so much a book as a volume, this incredible giant marks the 40th anniversary of Ralph Lauren's amazing commitment and dedication to the fashion world. I managed to get a copy of the original issue a few years ago on Ebay and it is easily one of the best book purchases I've ever made (not to mention the most expensive).

Flicking through over 480 pages containing over 700 photographs takes some time which is why every time I return to this book I find something new.

The opening chapter, which gives intimate glimpses of his family life, is truly inspiring and uplifting. 

Reading about Ralph's upbringing is really humbling and just shows that anything is possible with passion, dedication and hard work. I love to refer back to this opening chapter from time to time. 

One of the most inspiring things about this book is the vast range of subject areas including fashion, home style and interiors, family and lifestyle, homes around the world, classic cars. From Western ranches to NY city dinners, honestly, there is so much variety in this volume it would be impossible to get bored. 

Over time I'd like to build up a great collection of oversized books, I think they look great on coffee tables and slotted into recessed shelving. For now, Ralph Lauren remains my go-to fix for inspiration and brain rejuvenation.
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Monday, 18 June 2012

The House Directory: Behind the Design

A friend put me on to The House Directory a couple of years before I launched West Egg and I've been meaning to post about it for a really long time and never quite got there. If you're not familiar with The House Directory, it is essentially an online interiors directory covering every conceivable area of home interiors from wallpaper and tiles through to location and photographer details. Amazing. 

They also have a lovely blog (where they recently featured West Egg's Vintage Grey Side Table - thank you so much!) and I would really encourage you to take a look as they have some great design ideas and really fresh and interesting content. 

Image: Patrick van Robaeys / Côté Est

This feature on a dressing room fitted into an arched alcove using reclaimed wood is really my cup of tea. I love the simple colour design and the furniture that has been selected and styled so beautifully. This dressing room is in an 18th century Belgian farmhouse, I just would love to see more images from the rest of the house - a little mission for this week I think. 

I discovered this incredible book Nomad by interior stylist Sibella Court through the House Directory blog too. This is one of my favourite design ideas because holidays and trips overseas as such a great opportunity to pick up bits and pieces that can then be incorporated to create a really personal and unique look for your home.

I also spotted a link a while back to The Shepherds Return which has to be the ultimate escape-the-city weekend experience. A haven of peace and tranquillity and with a wood burning stove for chilly nights, this has gone to the top of my "places to stay" list. 

Isn't it lovely? I feel like I could just pootle off there now for a couple of days rest and relaxation. 

I hope you'll enjoy exploring The House Directory blog as much as I do :) Have a great week! 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sneak Peek: Doorstops

Just wanted to share a few photographs from the recent shoot we did for some of the new products. We were lucky enough to be able to find an incredible Orangery and walled garden in nearby Hertfordshire, and for the few hours that the sun was shining, we managed to get a few decent shots.

Above are some of the new doorstops we'll be selling at West Egg. All made by our fabulous artisan expert Lucinda Nicol, they look wonderful and will be a practical addition to any home. 

A great shot of our favourite pug Alfie as he made his way up the path. Of course he made his way straight to the strawberry patch but sadly for him it was all covered over. 

Have a great weekend all, I hope you have some fun plans. I can't wait to share the rest of the new stock items with you next week. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Weird & Wonderful at Olympia

I went to the Olympia International Fine Art & Antiques Fair last Friday which was so inspiring. I saw some incredible sights and discovered some lovely quirky bits and pieces I wanted to share with you. I wrote a guest post for Heart Home magazine which you can read here where I covered things like a pirate recording of the abdication speech of Edward VIII - strange but true. Here are a few of the other things I came across.

These historic Liverpool Docks instruction wooden boards are dated 1894 and 1895. Considering their age they are in the most incredible condition. When the docks closed down, the owner of a Liverpool nightclub bought them and left them in the club where they were untouched for about 40 years. The nightclub then closed down and they were sold on. Harbour boards such as these are rarely seen and it's very unusual to find a pair in such amazing condition. 

This wine cistern on display at the I Franks stand  (B53) is the largest piece of hallmarked silver this century. It weighs 1200 troy ounces and is valued at $125,000. Phew. 

On a slightly more accessible note I absolutely fell in love with specialist dealers in kitchen and dairy antiques, Smithson Antiques. They don't have a website but I think they do a few London shows a year - let me know if you would like their contact details. 

My absolute favourite piece they had for sale was an antique tea bin - I love the colour and the original Chinese label is just wonderful. Although I like a cup of tea as much as the next person, I think given its size, the tea bin would make a great laundry basket in a bathroom? What would you use it for? 

The fair still on at Olympia until Sunday so if you get a chance do go along, they also have a great selection of talks on - check the website for more details. 

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Friday, 8 June 2012

Heart Home Summer Issue OUT TODAY!

Hi everyone, happy Friday to you. We are getting absolutely battered by blustery winds and driving rain here which is most un-summery. However, yesterday while I was frantically catching up on work after the Jubilee weekend, an email popped into my inbox that I couldn't resist - the password for a sneak preview of  the summer issue of Heart Home magazine. 

If you've not heard of it, Heart Home is a free online magazine celebrating British design and style. It's been put together by 3 enormously talented interior design professionals, Arianna Trapani, Carole King and Daniel Nelson

I absolutely love the styling for this feature on rustic weddings. The simple and elegant accessories are understated and pretty - perfect for a wedding or a special celebration. 

I absolutely fell in love with the 17th century home of Canadian blogger and expat Elisa Rathje. I already knew of Elisa's through her wonderful and inspiring blog Apple Turnover where she focuses on homemade stories in a simple and charming way. The blog itself is light and airy and Elisa's writing has a lightness of touch that is really mesmerizing. She is a lady after my own heart with her love of antiques and vintage furniture which she has used to brilliant effect in her home. 

I love this daybed. It looks so comfortable and inviting, with a pot of tea and a good book I could easily spend an afternoon cosied up.

Beautiful antique kitchen accessories and that marble surface is perfect for baking, feeling a little envious? I am!

Watch this space as Elisa is also going to be producing "How To" kits for people who share her love of preserving traditional skills. To take a look at the full issue of Heart Home click here, you may spot a familiar friend on the contents page if you look closely. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone -even though it feels like a Tuesday!