Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bonny Boutique

Regular readers of this blog will know I get quite a buzz from discovering new craft businesses and to meet with the proprietors in person gives me such inspiration.  Last week I spent a delightful hour chatting with Sarah Chorlton, twenty-four year-old founder of bespoke soft furnishings and accessories company Bonny Boutique, at her pop-up shop a stone's throw from London's bustling Victoria station.

Sarah in her Victoria pop-up
Established in 2011, Bonny Boutique offers hand made products with a distinct Britishness, lovingly created by Sarah herself from her idyllic sounding log cabin studio in Horsham.
Taught to sew as a young girl by her mother  Sarah has followed a creative path ever since, one that led her on a journey from needlework to photography and eventually to an honours degree in fine art at Winchester School of Art, from which she graduated in 2010.  After deciding to return to her childhood passion for textiles Bonny Boutique was born. 
Her first sale came at a craft market at Loseley Park in Surrey and since then Sarah hasn't looked back, working full time on the business since late 2011.  She now sells at markets around the south-east, through her website, Bonny-Boutique.co.uk and also via a number of local stockists.
In December 2012 Bonny Boutique opened a pop-up in Richmond as part of the Pop-Up Britain initiative  to give independent British brands a chance to get their products on to the High Street.  It proved so successful that it is now occupying space in the Victoria shop.  
tock from the Richmond 
Christmas store

Sarah's beautifully crafted cushions and bunting are made from her growing collection of fabric remnants, sourced anywhere from car boot sales to charity shops, meaning no two items are exactly the same.  Her inspiration comes mainly from the fabric itself but is driven by an underlying theme of good old fashioned British pastimes and interests such as caravanning, taking tea and man's best friend.
Below she answers a few questions to help us get to know her a little better...

Describe yourself in five words:
Talkative, happy, confident, caring, quirky.

Which country would you most like to visit?

What was your last meal?
Cocktail sausages and Percy Pigs!

How do you relax?
Reading or chilling with my boyfriend.

If you were an animal, what would you be?
A cat.

Tea or coffee?

Mac or PC?

What advice would you give to others wanting to start their own business?
Never cut corners.

Finally, when I asked what ambitions she has for the future, Sarah replied (without any hesitation), "to be a brilliant businesswoman and mother".  I think she is halfway there already. 

Bonny Boutique is at the Pop-Up Britain Victoria store until 31st March. 
Commissions welcome.  
Facebook.com/bonnyboutiquecouk  Twitter: @Bonny_Boutique

If you are a crafter or designer/maker and would like to be featured on this blog, email me: kerry@verykerryh.co.uk

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The New Romantic

Earlier this week there was a whiff of romance in the air.  Sadly, it wasn't because Mr VKH brought me breakfast in bed, massaged my neck while reciting a Shakespearian sonnet or any other such sickly nonsense.
No, I was on a location shoot for the Autumn/Winter Next Directory and the theme? Modern Romance.

For those who know me it may be hard to believe but it is a style I like, albeit not in my own home - a basement flat in the city doesn't really lend itself to vintage lace, roses and homemade lemonade.  However, just three quarters of a mile away from said basement, a rambling Victorian house, which epitomises the term 'shabby chic', was  the perfect setting for such quixotic sentiment.

A palette of mauves and dusky pinks on a background of chalky neutrals would be my starting point for anyone wanting to create this scheme at home. Throw in some lace, cut glass and bundles of roses and, boom! A  boudoir that any dandy would be proud of.  But this is 2013! The key word is modern. Yes, the colours are still relevant, but swap the cut glass for mercuried silver. Use hydrangeas instead of roses and tactile fabrics such as fur (faux, of course!) or cashmere instead of lace and now we're getting somewhere. 
Here's my mood board, hope you like it:

Clockwise from top left:  Mercury glass tea light holders (set of 3), £18 Notonthhighstreet   Lille console, £325 Next   Fur cushion in Poudre, Sonia Rykiel Maison, £166 Amara   Squat Shabby Chic Lamp, £75 The French Bedroom Company   
Paint colours L-R: White Mulberry, Orchard Pink & Chalk Violet, from £18.50 for 750ml Fired Earth

Spread the love!


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Deeply Dippy

Last week I assisted the ever lovely Alison of KBB magazine on a shoot for the shopping pages of the May issue, showcasing products designed around the increasingly popular trend for ombre and dip dye.
If this conjures up images of Spanish men with dodgy, two-tone hair then let me enlighten you.
Ombre is not a crude English corruption of the Spanish 'hombre' but a French word meaning 'shadow' or 'shade'. In an artistic sense it can be used to describe a kind of gradient effect, where one colour is used tonally, from light to dark. 
It was a dominant theme among fashion's Spring/Summer 2013 catwalks and has quickly transcended in to the interiors market, where Designers Guild are leading the charge with their 'Saraille' range of wallpapers and fabric.

'Saraille' wallpaper in Cobalt, Designers Guild
But it's not just reserved for walls and soft furnishing: Ercol have even ombre-d up their originals Love Seat (available from Nest).

Dip dye is exactly what is says on the tin.  You may have seen Kirstie Allsopp dip dying wicker baskets in her series Kirstie's Vintage Home, an easy and cheap way to bring the trend in to your home. Or, if you're wondering what to do with those left over tester pots, try dipping empty milk bottles or jam jars in to the paint to create a pretty bud vase.
Although I was never really a fan of this technique my eyes were opened to some beautiful products on the shoot, and one in particular that stood out was the stool pictured below.

So, back to the shoot. 
Stool 102B, Alp
As we're still not quite in to Spring proper and the light continues to fade around 5pm it was another early start on a reasonably chilly morning.  Upon the arrival of the van loaded with products, the unpacking frenzy began and the immaculate white living room of the house in Tulse Hill soon resembled a moving day nightmare.  
The rest of the place, however, provided a perfectly muted backdrop for some cracking products.  Decorated to perfection along a theme of what I would call modern rustic (a slight oxymoron, I know, but design is kooky like that),  I'm not exaggerating when I say the kitchen-diner is possibly the most beautiful I've ever had the pleasure of walking in to. With white marble worktops, lime washed herringbone wood flooring and white aga, I felt like I'd died and gone to interiors heaven!  

The heavenly dining area
With such a specific theme, the colour palette of the products selected to shoot was limited to the hue of the moment - inky blues - and the results are somewhat striking in their contrast.

For the finished article, shot by Sarah Hogan, see the May issue of Kitchens, Bedrooms & Bathrooms magazine which will be hitting the shelves of all good newsagents next month.

Take a look, it'll be to dye for!

Behind the scenes...

The beautiful living room before....

....and after!

Some of the gorgeous china and glass vessels

Product of the day... 

I always like to choose a favourite item from each shoot and these win hands down. Looking like Cousin It's much prettier sisters, the luxurious Chiaro Scuro ottomans with dip dye fringing are from Spina and come as a set of three in cappuccino, marshmallow and soft aqua tones.

See you next time!