MAY TREATS

ellie-tennant-interiorsClockwise from top left: My ‘new’ vintage stool, from Lovely & Co; Vintage Welsh Caernafon blanket – made in the Derw Mill and found on eBay. (Check out these beautiful cushions by Sparrow & Co. too, which are made from the same vintage blankets); Oak roller towel rail and striped towel for the recently-renovated kitchen from Towels-R-Us (!);  A pleasing old wooden chopping board from a charity shop, picked up as a prop but now very much at home.

Filed in: LA BROCANTE (AKA VINTAGE TAT), ONLINE FINDS
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WILD GARLIC PESTO #FORAGINGFAIL

Skipping through the verdant Surrey woodland recently, we gathered fresh wild garlic leaves. I picked happily, the husband, less so. He was: ‘very concerned about the possibility of dog wee’ and ‘suspicious’ that we were: ‘actually picking poisonous-and-very-similar-looking Lily of the Valley leaves.’  Anyway, risk assessment completed, we filled a massive basket and later that day I merrily made a vat of Wild Garlic pesto, using this excellent River Cottage recipe.

wild garlic pesto river cottage recipeSadly, I forgot to blanch the leaves first and, as the plants had flowered, the resulting pesto is more than a just little bit bitter. It has been branded, since, by various pesto-pasta-eating experts as: ‘grassy’, ‘unpleasant’ and ‘inedible’. So I’m delighted I made four massive Kilner jars of the stuff. Still, it looks nice enough in a photo.

Filed in: FORAGING, INNIT, THOUGH, OOT AND ABOOT

LADY IN RED

I went to the excellent Littleton Auction a few weeks ago, intending to bid on a pair of rather delicious vintage Danish teak and leather armchairs. Sadly, there was a savvy dealer there who had also spotted them and they went for way more than my (meagre) budget in the end, but I didn’t leave empty handed as I spotted this 1960s oil painting of a lady in red by an artist called Bill Sly…

bill sly artistThere’s something about her expression that intrigues me. She looks a bit narked – as if she’s had to sit and pose for hours on end and she’s getting fed up of it. She’s found a new home in our living room and, even though those bloody gorgeous Danish chairs still haunt me, she’s a pretty good consolation prize.

Filed in: LA BROCANTE (AKA VINTAGE TAT), OOT AND ABOOT
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STYLING WORKSHOPS AT BLOGTACULAR

Ellie Tennant STYLING KITI was delighted to be invited to run two practical styling workshops at the London Blogtacular conference last weekend, held at the Royal Institution. All the bloggers at the event were so enthusiastic and friendly – their energy was really infectious! After my talk, we did a fun, practical session styling mini vignettes with pretty props from the likes of Paperchase, Jane Means, West Elm and The Hambledon

ellie tennant styling workshop

14169294555_2f1c97c9f2_oSince the event, I’ve loved seeing all the tweets and Instagram pics from the sessions and reading all the positive feedback in blog posts has been heart-warming, too. Here are a few of my favourite reviews: Diary of an Interior NoviceThe Lovely DrawerHydrangea Girl.

styling workshop london

Filed in: OOT AND ABOOT
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A PARTY AT BRIXTON EAST

Last week was a particularly busy one, as we held the launch party for Design Bloggers at Home - a book I worked on with the very talented Rachel Whiting for Ryland Peters & Small

sign on wallThe bash was at Brixton East – a former furniture factory in Brixton, South London – lovingly renovated by Interior Designer, Andy Luckett. We sipped delicious prosecco and elderflower drinks (thanks to our fabulous refreshment sponsors, Sainsbury’s and Bottle Green), listened to some relaxing background guitar music (courtesy of a pair of very talented musicians), enjoyed the scent of fresh lilac (thanks to my parents-in-law kindly stripping the shrubs in their garden) and ate a vast quantity of cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy. The rusty letters on the wall are from one of my favourite shops, RE.

design bloggers at home launch party 1I was thrilled that so many people braved the London Underground strikes to come – many of my favourite magazines popped along, including Homes & Antiques, Ideal Home, House and Garden, Good Homes, The Simple Things and LivingEtc, not to mention a great many designers, bloggers, PRs, friends and family members…

design bloggers at home party 2The ‘before’ and ‘after’ cheese shots below say it all, really! Thanks so much to everybody who came for making it such a fun event.

design bloggers at home party 3

Filed in: ON THE BOOK SHELF, OOT AND ABOOT
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DESIGN BLOGGERS AT HOME – OUT TODAY

So, DESIGN BLOGGERS AT HOME - the book about bloggers’ homes that I wrote and styled for Ryland Peters & Small working with the very talented photographer Rachel Whiting is officially published today…

ellie tennant design bloggers at home bookIt’s a tour around 12 stunning homes belonging to top design bloggers and it was a real adventure to make. Fuelled by Diet Coke, Rachel and I travelled the globe, shooting homes as diverse as a Cornish cottage, a Scandinavian town house, a glamorous Hollywood apartment and a Californian ranch with a vintage French flavour. Here are some snaps I took as we worked:

Design Bloggers At Home Ellie TennantThe bloggers in the book were all so generous and welcoming, which made our job a lot more enjoyable!

design bloggers at homeRyland Peters & Small has kindly put together a Pinterest board with some teaser images from the book. You can read more about the bloggers’ own experiences and see some very lovely previews online via the featured blogs: Bodie and Fou, Vosges Paris, My Scandinavian Home, Futurustic, Dreamy Whites, IDA Interior Lifestyle, All The Luck In The World, My Friend’s House, Oh Joy, SF Girl By Bay, Happy Mundane, Justina Blakeney Est. 1979.

Inspired? There’s a ‘HOW TO’ chapter at the end, with advice from the experts on setting up your own blog.

The book has received a lot of attention in the press and has so far been featured in:

Elle Decoration * Marie Claire * Stella * Grazia * The Guardian * You * Country Homes and Interiors * Country Living USA * Homes & Antiques * The New York Times * Redbook * Good Homes * Mollie Makes

DESIGN BLOGGERS AT HOME is available now via Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, as well as via many other distributors worldwide.

ellie tennant design bloggers at home book

Filed in: ON THE BOOK SHELF, OOT AND ABOOT
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JELLY MOULDS – HOMES & ANTIQUES

Titillating towers, ceramic armadillos and quivering copper stars – check out the new April issue of Homes & Antiques magazine for eight pages of wibbly wobbly fun…

ellie tennant homes and antiques jelly mouldsI loved writing this feature and chatted to some very passionate and helpful jelly experts in the process such as food historian Ivan Day and food stylist Silvana de Soissons. The accompanying shots by Lisa Brown and Joanna Henderson are beautiful – Georgian-inspired, but with contemporary details from Thornback and Peel and top jelly-mongers Bompas and Parr.

Filed in: FEATURES, LA BROCANTE (AKA VINTAGE TAT), ON THE BOOK SHELF, TREND AHOY
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SUBLIME INTERIORS AT KETTLE’S YARD

Tucked away in a secret courtyard in the heart of bustling Cambridge, is a tranquil sanctuary: Kettle’s Yard. You can easily miss the entrance – it’s a simple door, with a bell pull that you have to pull, but no instruction telling you to do so. This feels like a sort of test – that only the most curious and adventurous souls will pass…

kettles yard ellie tennant highlights‘The Louvre of the Pebble’ is, in fact, a humble house, very long and thin – three ancient cottages cobbled together with an airy 1970s extension on one end. The floorboards are bare, the walls are white and the ambience throughout is heavenly.

kettles yard in cambridge louvre of the pebbleBetween 1958 and 1973, this was the home of Jim and Helen Ede. In the 1920s and 1930s, Jim was a curator at the Tate Gallery in London and accumulated an impressive collection of art including paintings by Alfred Wallis and Christopher Wood, and sculptures by the likes of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. In 1966, he generously gave the house and its entire contents to the University of Cambridge and, today, every afternoon (except for Mondays) visitors can still ring the bell and look around for free.

cambridge kettles yardThis calming, soothing space has been carefully-curated with artworks and beautiful ‘stray objects’ found in nature, such as stones, shells, feathers, pieces of coral and driftwood. The rooms today are exactly as he left them, with subtle patterns, rhythms and hidden meanings at every turn. Here, you glimpse the scalloped edge of a crystal vase which echoes a shape in a painting; opposite, a spiral of pebbles seems to mirror the unfathomably-perfect shells in a bowl, conjuring thoughts of golden spirals, Fibonacci, the ebb and flow of the entire mysterious universe and the harmony and unity that is there to be found, if we seek it.

Kettle’s Yard wasn’t intended to be an art gallery or a museum but rather, in Jim’s words, ‘…a continuing way of life from these last fifty years, in which stray objects, stones, glass, pictures, sculpture, in light and in space, have been used to make manifest the underlying stability.’

It’s hard to explain such a powerful interior in words, as so much of the experience relies upon your own interpretation of the space and there are so many variables – the angle of the sunlight streaming in through the windows, your mood, the time of day, the season – but it’s by far the most interesting and peaceful home I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring. One huge white wall is framed, like a stage in a theatre, with curtain-like creeping plants at one end and an enormous hand-woven rug at the other. With man-made artisanal beauty to your right and mother nature’s ever-evolving art to your left, you stand, centre stage, with a blank canvas before you – like life itself – stretching ahead, filled with infinite possibility. You are the artist. What you fill it with is up to you…

kettles yard

 

Filed in: OOT AND ABOOT
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MINERAL + VEGETABLE

Mineral and vegetableClockwise from top left: My ‘new’ vintage kettle, £10, from The Foodie Bugle Shop; Fresh rosemary from our allotment; Green granite chopping board, spotted at Maison & Objet, by Louise Roe Copenhagen; A pleasing pebble on my window sill.

 

Filed in: DESIGN
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MAISON ET OBJET TRENDS: JANUARY 2014

maison objet ellie tennant paris 2014.jpgYou can check out my trends reports for American design site Apartment Therapy, if you’re that way inclined. This month, I scoured the Paris show for KEY TRENDS, MICRO TRENDS and also reviewed the CURATED SPACES.

maison obet 2014 trends

Filed in: OOT AND ABOOT, TREND AHOY
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