Key Trend: Diffused Pastels – Bathroom BlogFest 2012

“We’re pleased to have been invited to participate in the Bathroom Blogfest again this year; particularly because Miss P & I were just last week discussing how we should translate our 2013/14 forecasts for Interiors into styles specifically appropriate for bathrooms.”

“We’ve been building our 2014/15 colour forecasts and so have been looking back at our previous season’s forecast – because trends for Interiors tend to directly evolve from one season to the next.  One of our previous palettes we’ve been discussing and developing for 2014/15 is Diffused Pastels.  Here’s what they’ll look like next year as part of our Vision trend.”

“Of all the 2013/14 colour palettes this is the one that lends itself most beautifully to bathroom schemes.  And, as you can see below, the Angely Hotel in Paris have pushed Diffused Pastels in their guest bathrooms to the max!”

“And at the Imperial Art Hotel in Italy they’ve perfectly captured our Vision trend in their open plan Penthouse Suite.”

“Below we’ve given you some examples of surface effects, textures and tiles to inspire your own translation of this delicate trend into bathroom products and interior design schemes.”

“After analysing all of the research alongside our previous colour forecasts, we have identified the direction in which Diffused Pastels will move next.”

“So thinking ahead to the mood for pastels during 2014/15 – we’re taking inspiration from Creative’s such as US photographer, Alicia Bock.”

“Do check out the other bloggers also posting as part of the Bathroom Blogfest 2012, the complete list is at the bottom of this post; you can also follow the Blogfest on Twitter.  And for our next post on the Trends Blog Miss V will be revealing how the Interiors trend of using natural materials in their raw state is changing.  The post will include a look at Bathrooms so be sure to check in with us again soon.”

To discover more about how you can successfully apply the full 2013/14 colour forecast to your own product ranges simply:

  • Call us now on +44 (0)1482 870360
  • Whizz off a short email to
  • Fill in a few quick details in the form below

We look forward to hearing from you today!

Name Twitter Username Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott susanabbott theIdeaStudio
Laurence Borel blogtillyoudrop blog till you drop
Bill Buyok AventeTile Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington jmbyington The Importance of Earnest Service
Nora DePalma steamtherapy The Mr. Steam SteamTherapy Blog
Mr. Steam noradepalma OR-DP POV
Stacy Garcia kbtribechat kbtribe
Diane Kazan dkazan Public Bathroom Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Arpi_Nalb Avente Tile Talk
Victoria & Shelley Redshaw & Pond scarletopus Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw sandyrenshaw Purple Wren
Bruce D. Sanders rimtailing RIMtailing
Paige Smith none Tile tips from installation professionals
Todd Vendituoli TALV58 Thebuildingblox
Shannon Vogel cyswebsites From the Floors Up
CB Whittemore cbwhittemore Content Talks Business Blog
Irene Williams crossvilleinc Elevate Your Space
Linda Wright skiptotheloo Skip to the Loo!
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Miss V to Miss P: August



Sent: 20.08.12 at 09:05

Subject: There’s No Place Like Home

Morgun Miss P!  As you know I moved house at the end of March and I had the mother of all clear-outs!  Apart from the practical necessity to own less stuff (because we were moving from a spacious house to a small 18th Century town centre apartment) I had also started to feel quite tied down by the things I’d accumulated (I don’t need 4 sieves so why did I own 4 sieves?!).  I followed 1 simple rule during the sorting process – If I didn’t really like it or use it regularly then I got rid of it!  And I was completely ruthless!!!  Let’s just say I own A LOT less stuff now. 

Now I’m only surrounded by things that I enjoy or use.  Anyway it got me thinking about what the things I’d chosen to keep say about me and my style, and whether there are conscious links to current trends or quite the opposite!  So I thought it would be interesting to share our favourite possessions and personal decorating styles on the blog today and mull over what it all means!

I’ve discovered during the process of writing today’s feature that my home is a reflection of my wardrobe i.e. I own a lot of black and brown stuff!  I’m always saying that interior design trends run alongside fashion trends … that when a woman has a colour, pattern, fabric or style in her wardrobe then she’s ready to welcome that same colour, pattern, fabric or style into her home!  And no … there is no escaping my strange obsession with empty bird cages.  Freud would have had a field day!

There were boxes upon boxes of pictures that made their way to the new apartment regardless of my strict editing and the fact I suspected there simply wasn’t going to be enough space to hang them all.  But I’ve tackled this conundrum by applying my take on the Salon Hang … basically tightly cramming pictures next to each other, and also in my version overlapping them too.  I was inspired to do this after seeing the Salon Hang at  the Summer Exhibition last year at the Royal Academy of Arts.

You’ll have noticed from the furniture in the photo above that I really can’t be doing with ‘matching sets’ of anything!  It’s just so … what’s the word … oh yeah – BORING!!!  And it just so happens that ‘eclectic’ and ‘mismatched’ are strong trends right now so that’s a big tick for me :)

Something I’ve noticed since the recession hit in the UK in 2008 is I’ve received more handmade gifts from friends rather than mass-produced items.  And my family has taken to gifting me ‘heirlooms’, which has made birthday and Christmas presents much more meaningful (and random!) over the past few years.  So I’ve now got a rather eclectic collection of tableware including 1970s Babycham glasses, Russian aperitif glasses and an antique Muffin Warmer!  Don’t ask!

A desire to archive, preserve, display, treasure and share heirlooms, souvenirs and mementoes of happy times is increasing as modern life becomes more digital and virtual.  It’s a trend I’ve been writing about recently for 1 of our Autumn/Winter 2013/14 interior trend forecasts … ‘The Curator’.

I love textiles.  Furniture makes me swoon but it’s textiles that I love.  At University I was always in awe of the students working with the devoré (or burnout) technique so I really appreciate the work Brooklyn-based Designer Aviva Stanoff puts into her cushions (pictured above) and I was delighted to receive a couple after I interviewed her for the blog in 2009.  A Sea Fan has been pressed by hand into the surface of the fabric of the cushion pictured above, which leaves a deeply engraved impression.  Each 1 is made to order so no 2 are alike and I really cherish this uniqueness.  Items that are somehow rare, unique or limited are very desirable currently and that’s a trend which is set to increase.

 I literally have no clue how or why this has started but I’ve got a bit of a thing for kitsch royal memorablia…or more specifically (yeah I’m specific about it!) items depicting the young Queen Elizabeth II.  My most recent acquisition is the miniature portrait fob pictured above.  I really need to curb this new obsession.  I mean I can get away with it this year because of the Jubilee and next year because of the anniversary of her Coronation, but after that … well there’s no excuse is there.

I have to admit I was slow to get onboard with the whole Urban Homesteader movement.  Even though I wrote a feature for Furniture News about it a couple of years ago, it wasn’t until we moved to a place with a sun terrace this Spring that I finally embraced the idea of ‘grow your own’.  It just seems so much more manageable now that space is limited and so we’re growing peppers and tomatoes … the whole bit.  I have a Watering Can – d’ya know what I mean!  If you’re wondering about the weird mask pictured above, well it was brought back from a remote village near Kanjanjunga by my Grandfather in the 1950’s.  It’s been handed down to me and is meant to ward off evil (i.e. burglars!) – it’s always both scared and intrigued me – look at its maniacal eyes!  I have days like that … and I know you do!

I’ve already mentioned the wall space issue re hanging pictures.  Well I had a stack of paintings my Mum did and nowhere to put them up inside … so we put them up outside.  They are painted with acrylic (which basically hardens to a plastic-like finish) on pre-stretched & primed canvas and I’ve sprayed the charcoal bits with regular hairspray and they’ve survived 5 months of every kind of weather you can imagine perfectly intact.  The owner of the restaurant next door saw the paintings and asked whether he could buy a few and do the same thing.  Now I’m surrounded by her colourful seascapes.

It’s over to you Miss P.  I’m anticipating more colour and more sparkle in your home style.  Reveal all!



Sent: 26.08.12 at 16:20

Subject: RE: There’s No Place Like Home

I agree, having a clear out is always great, and you did have rather a lot of stuff packed into that farmhouse Miss V!  I can’t really say I’m a hoarder of things, my clear-outs are always clothes related – they love me at the Safa Park flea market!  Feeling tied down (even by my husband!!) makes me anxious, and I can’t bear little bits and pieces all over the place crowding me in, so I don’t actually have a lot of stuff, plus I hate packing and moving and since I’ve done a lot of both in the last few years I think not having too much makes it all much simpler!  My own discovery after this exercise is that my few possessions are a real reflection of who I am and the things I enjoy to do.

I haven’t really decorated this apartment, as it’s just a short-term rental, so there’s not an awful lot of colour and sparkle unfortunately (other than a bit of a shimmering midnight blue sofa – does that count?!) but nevertheless, here are some of my favourite bits…

The family photo wall is something I create wherever I’m living.  Since moving to Dubai this wall has really meant a lot to me; I’m always changing it to reflect what everyone in the family is doing (it’s probably about time for an update actually) and I love that when friends are here they all stop by the wall for a good look through!

Because I don’t feel like this apartment is really my home, I’ve bought most of my furniture to fit the space rather than taking my time to find pieces that I truly love.  The one exception and the only piece of furniture I’ve invested in, is my huge, studded, black leather bed.  This I truly love!

Other than that I have just a mirror and two of these black leather trunk-style sets of drawers.  I like a bedroom to be dark and sparsely furnished, displaying favourite pieces of jewellery, clothing, and shoes for just a touch of glamour.

I’m planning a wall of Meystyle’s LED and Swarovski wallpaper for my next bedroom!

You know I don’t like trinkets and little things but I know you can’t avoid accruing a few pieces in life!  I’ve got one memory plate in the house where I keep little bits with meaning.

I’m very attached to my books; they are the one thing I can never get rid of, reading my favourites over and over.  Every time I go back to the Mother Ship, I load my suitcase with a few more … my poor Mum has been storing boxes of books for both my sister and I for years now – thank you Mum!

I fell completely head over heels in love with Bodo Sperlein’s exquisite tableware collection for NIKKO the moment I set eyes on it at TENT during LDF last year, starting my collection shortly after when I was generously gifted a piece by Bodo!  I don’t have many pieces yet but collecting is half the fun.

I’m also a collector of glass bottles!  I was inspired by Nigella (my favourite chef); I’ve always loved her presentation style, she doesn’t do anything elaborate but always manages to create a wonderful impact.  Years ago I saw her putting flowers all over her house in jam jars – simple yet super effective.  Jam jars don’t really do it for me so I started collecting bottles; when we have friends over I fill them with flowers and candles, et voila!

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Miss V to Miss P: June/July



Sent: 29.06.12 at 10:17

Subject: Here comes Summer!

Miss P!!!  Did you know it’s been several months since we last posted one of our email exchanges?  I guess we’ve both been so busy with client events and projects that neither of us has managed to add this posting into our schedule.  So I thought I’d better block out some time for an update:

You’ll be glad to know (and see below) that I’ve finally taken some quick photos of the new studio space we’re currently in.  It’s been wonderful to be able to spread out and both the studio and meeting/presentation spaces are working out well.  When our free rental period comes to an end in August I’m hoping we’ll be able to stay on.  Here is how it’s looking in the main studio space…I LOVE the beamed ceiling and the DreamWeaver was so right to insist that we found space for a chill-out sofa:

We’ve got lots of space to display trend boards and client products we’ve designed or advised on (and been gifted, like the nice new tissue cubes from Kleenex – Thank You Johnny!).  There is also space for Cheryl to work when she comes in to update us on sales.

Have you noticed the nice new addition on the meeting room wall below?…a printed canvas of a photo of our Trends Hub at SURFACES, Las Vegas.  Jessica from Hello Canvas contacted me early in June to ask us to test out their canvas print quality…so we did!  Delivery was really quick, the canvas was really carefully packaged, and the quality of the print was so good…surprisingly so because you know the photos we took of the Trends Hub were a bit fuzzy…well the canvas print looks as sharp as a pin!  I really like the Effects options that they offer…like the ‘black & white with a color highlight’.  We’ll be using them again in the future for sure…I think it would be nice to have a canvas of every Trends Hub we design!

Below is the view through the studio doorway into the meeting room where we’ve now displayed lots of trend boards and client products on narrow picture ledges (RIBBA from IKEA, just £8.29 each, total bargain), as well as cataloguing all of the magazines we’ve written features for on open shelf units…oh, below you can also see a snap of the DreamWeaver making a cup of tea in the kitchen:

Our trip to Portland to present Spring/Summer 2013 trends seems like an age ago now but it was a good trip and your work and support was invaluable as always.  It was great that we flew in early in order to prepare and that gave us time to see a few sights down in the Wharf area and around the shops on Exchange St etc. Breakfast at Becky’s Diner was a slice of Americana and the repurposed church on Chestnut St made Grace restaurant a brilliant setting for dinner…I still can’t quite believe they put the open kitchen on the altar!  Getting to have lunch in York Harbor again was a real treat considering neither of us imagined there would ever be reason to return there…and of course getting to see the always stupendous Jason serving lunch in the Stage Neck Inn dining room was a treat.  But my most treasured (and surreal) memory will be of You in Mae West’s coat waltzing to a pianola with a sexagenarian under a huge glitter ball.  No, that wasn’t a dream!…So, don’t ever say our work trips are dull!  What did you enjoy most?

Hey thanks for keeping up with all the extra Twitter followers we got after the Clerkenwell Design Week events.  The Interface panel discussion on Tuesday 22nd May was a real pleasure for me to be part of.  I was joined on the panel by the lovely Hannah Harper (Concept Designer at Interface), Sally Storey (Design Director of both John Cullen Lighting and Lighting Design International – who have an interesting lighting blog), and the discussion was hosted by Vanessa Brady (President of the SBID).  Then I popped back down to London on Thursday 24th May to present a Trend Seminar for our friends at Steelcase.  As 1 of their 100 Minds it was so nice to help them celebrate their 100 Year Anniversary:

Above: The Discussion Panel at Interface’s CDW event – from left to right:

Hannah Harper, Miss V, Vanessa Brady & Sally Storey

I promised to show you some more photos of the new Kings Cross concourse, which I arrived at and departed from for the CDW events (I also enjoyed a quick glass of bubbly upstairs in a bar overlooking the concourse.  They have a Yalla Yalla up their too!).  The design is a total triumph by the lead architects and masterplanners, John McAslan + Partners and engineers ARUP.  They have totally transformed the station so it now stands proudly next to St Pancras (rather than embarrassing it as it once did) and the completion is perfectly timed to delight visitors to the London Olympics.  You’ll be able to see it in all its glory for yourself when you come to the UK for London Design Festival in Sept (what a shame the dates are so close to the Index show in Dubai so we can’t take part in that this year) but in the meantime:

I’m now busy writing the next Opus trend report.  Clients old and new are booking-in for seminars and workshops with us via across the Summer and we’ve also started presenting the Autumn/Winter 2013/14 forecast (Le Creuset being first off the blocks as always).

Oh, before I forget…CONGRATULATIONS on winning our inhouse competition by getting your ‘I Know I Can‘ Barnsley school team through to the finals of the business competition.  You must have really inspired your team members because I hear they thanked you publicly for your e-mentoring when they presented their project to the judging panel!  You Rock!  Even the cool kids think so!

So Miss P…has anything interesting been happening with you???  Anything unusual?  Anything at all to report that’s a bit out of the ordinary for you?  Anything to declare?




Sent: 08.07.12 at 13:05

Subject: RE: Here comes Summer!

Miss V!  Indeed it has been so long since we sat and exchanged emails I don’t know where to begin!!  Since I stepped on the plane to the UK, waaaay back at the beginning of April, it’s been an absolute whirlwind of non-stop travel and events, with things only just starting to slow down.

I absolutely LOVED the feel of the new studio and the canvas looks fab – we must get one of the 2013 SURFACES Hub, I’m so excited about next year’s concept, you know I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and the fact that the team at Hanley Wood are so onboard with the idea makes SURFACES the perfect show for the space … I think it’s going to be our best yet!

Next up was Portland – reading your email reminded me of how much we packed in to that trip aside from our work with the team at SAPPI!  Although I really liked the idea of the Grace restuarant, I have to agree with you, the best part, without a doubt, was coming across Mr Williams’ fabulously crazy restoration/museum project on Route 1.  The old buildings he’s collected … madness but completely fantastic.  I’m going to insist we stop by on our next trip to Maine just to see if he’s completed that AMAZING gas station with the ice cream parlour!  It was such a wonderful and unexpected experience, I’ll never forget it – it’s exactly the kind of thing I imagine finding on a US road trip!

What was next on the travel agenda … oh yes, I remember … PHUKET, THAILAND!!  I was of course bitterly disappointed that I ended up doing that trip alone but a girl’s got to go where she’s most needed and the Le Meridien Beach Resort in Phuket was where that was!  (Check out the view from my balcony below!)  It was lovely to see Bart, Nicholas, and Katie again so soon after Portland, but I also really enjoyed the opportunity to meet their Asian sales team.  Presenting our Trend Forecasting Process was a challenge – it’s a difficult subject at the best of times but when you have an audience of 50 who speak very little English…! – but Bert and KK did a brilliant job translating and everyone was super enthusiastic and keen to learn which was great to see.

In between getting back to Dubai and flying off to Lebanon there were of course visits from both Cheryl and yourself – always a pleasure.  Feeling super enthused about our decision to accept advertising on the blog, it’s definitely the next step for us; I’ve been working on a Media Info Kit so watch this space…

Following the Dreamweaver’s link, I’ve also just added the World Food Programme banners to the blog, showing our support specifically of the organisation’s work focusing on empowering women to fight hunger.

“People often ask: What can be done to defeat hunger?  My answer is simple: empower women, because women are the secret weapon to fight hunger.”

WFP Executive Director, Josette Sheeran

The WFP have done their research and know that 60% of the world’s starving people are female, due largely to unequal access to resources, education, and income.  However, in many countries women make up the bulk of agricultural labourers and play a key role in guaranteeing food security for the household.  Experience has shown that in the hands of women, food is far more likely to reach the mouths of needy children.  Here’s to empowering women all over the world.

For all our readers who are interested in supporting this cause, you can either donate by clicking on the banner in the sidebar or scroll to the bottom of the blog and click on the banner that will take you to the Hunger IQ test, it only takes about 60 seconds and for every person who completes the quiz a child receives a hot meal from an anonymous donor.

The highlight of the year for me is always LDF and after seeing your pics of Kings Cross I just can not wait for my September trip this year – and we must definitely check out the tabbouleh and kibbeh at Yalla Yalla ;)

Looking forward to also having Mr Hughes onboard with us this year as we trawl the shows.  It’s been great to work more closely with him this season, he’s so committed to the work he does, I LOVE that!

Also LOVING the Wimbledon Men’s final today – a fantastic year for sport in the UK, it reminds me of 2004 when Athens hosted the Olympics and Greece won the Euro Cup.  I know he didn’t win but MASSIVE congrats go out to Andy Murray, his interview at the end of the match was so emotional we all had tears in our eyes here!

I think that about sums up the last few months for me … well, unless you count that little trip to Lebanon … when I got MARRIED!!!  Can you believe I have a husband?  My very own husband?!  It was such a beautiful day, I was thrilled with the dress (I’ll be forever grateful to Andrea Bambridge for creating something so exquisite), and I’ll never forget the feeling of having all our friends and family there together, celebrating with us – completely overwhelming: a serious amount of love goes out to you all for making the day so truly memorable.

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Miss V to Miss P | February



Sent: 22.02.12 at 16:27

Subject: Happy Anniversary!

Do you remember the day 3 years ago when you sat down to write your first ever blog posting?  What was going through your mind?

I was thinking the other day how far we’ve come since the Trends Blog first began – we’ve incorporated a member’s area, editorial schedules, guest bloggers, integrated social media tools … the blog has really been a platform that has allowed us to connect, and interact, with our followers around the globe in a way I don’t think would have otherwise been possible.  Although it’s been a lot of trial and error, it’s a journey that’s been worth it.

So in celebration of 3 years of blogging I thought I’d share my 3 favourite Products, Designers, and Interior Design projects:


Faceture by Phil Cuttance

I LOVE this project right now and have actually just written about the vases in The National’s Trendspotting column which you’ll be able to read on March 3rd.  Faceted surfaces, and the play of light and shadow, have always appealed to me but there’s something about this particular project I find really beautiful.  To me these pieces are somehow solidly reassuring, yet also have a quietness to their aesthetic that I like, and the colour palette is just perfect.

Check out this lovely video showing the making of a vase.


The Poet Sofa by Finn Juhl from One Collection & The Scarab Cabinet by Patrick Naggar for Ralph Pucci

I know that technically these are two entirely separate pieces, but when I first saw the completed Spring/Summer 2013 trend board, Fraction, they immediately jumped out at me and now, like always, I feel I simply MUST HAVE them … both … together!  It’s the simplicity in the lines that appeals, the functionality in the design and the retro styling – a new direction for me!  And again, the colour; I find this beautiful shade of green incredibly calming and mature, yet there’s a sense of something else … if these pieces were a person they’d be Julia Roberts, poised and elegant with a sparkle in the eye!

Plumen Light Bulbs

Photographed by Ian Nolan ©

The saying goes you always want what you can’t have, as you know our apartment here is plagued with an invasion of spotlights, they’re EVERYWHERE!!  The number of times I’ve been on the Plumen website and typed in my order is now ridiculous!  I have dreams of a long line of bulbs hanging low over my dining table, through my hallway, right down the entire length of my balcony … yes, it has become an obsession.


Let it not be said that I am not loyal!  I think I’ve driven you, and I’m sure at times our readers(?!), crazy with my obsession with both my top 2 design studios.  Since I was first introduced to their work I’ve become a lifelong fan, raving about them whenever I get the chance.  They are of course, the supremely talented and creative design duos behind Meystyle and Jimmie Martin


Clockwise from left: Night Stripe and Night Curtain from the Fragmented collection; Sepia Pendulum, Chime, Maya Storm all from the Nina collection; closeup detail of crystals and LED’s (inset)

For me, Maria and Ekaterina are the unrivaled Queens of wallcoverings.  Every single design is simply exquisite, enhanced by perfectly placed Swarovski crystals and integrated LED lights.  In the words of Mr BC … Come ON!  It just doesn’t get better than this.

Jimmie Martin

Left to right: Love Potion carver chair, Cowboys & Angels sofa, Imperfection 2 cocktail cabinet; WHITE Turns me on… wallpaper (background)

I think I may have said this before, but I love the rebellious streak that runs through the Jimmie Martin collection.  Originally from Sweden, Jimmie Karlsson and Martin Nihlmar opened their studio in London in 2004 and haven’t looked back.  Combining the decadent with the quirky, the nostalgic with the urban, I certainly wasn’t surprised to see Madonna show up at the Superbowl atop one of their designs!

Although I feel my tastes are slowly changing I think I’ll always have a relationship with industrial/urban styling and somewhere in my home you’ll always be able to find a little bit of graffiti something!  Jimmie Martin’s ‘Imperfection’ pieces therefore will forever have a place in my heart.

Lee Broom

Clockwise from top left: Salon armchair in beige wool with gold and beige studs; Carpetry pendant light in white; Parquetry coffee table; Salon dining chair in grey wool with gunmetal and grey studs

Lee started in theatre school – a beginning credited with influencing the sense of drama and narrative created in his collections.  He later won a fashion design competition in association with The Clothes Show which led to a meeting with the fabulous Vivienne Westwood who he went on to work with; he followed this up by enrolling to study fashion at Central St Martins.  He founded his company in 2007 and to date has won over 17 awards including a double win at the Elle Decoration British Design Awards in 2010 for Best British Design – Carpetry Sideboard and Best Interior Design – Coquine Bar.  Lee’s currently preparing for his first solo exhibition in April during the Milan furniture fair – I’m sure he’ll be receiving rave reviews.

I N T E R I O R  D E S I G N  P R O J E C T S 

Borgo Santo Pietro | Tuscany, Italy | by Jeanette Thottrup

Back in January 2010 do you remember I posted an interview with Jeanette and she kindly shared some wonderful photos of her Tuscan masterpiece?  It’s still one of my favourite projects of all time with its beautiful, rustic Baroque styling, and remains on my ‘Places to visit’ list.

St. Hilaire Church | Melle, France | by Mathieu Lehanneur

Although I was struck by the very pure beauty of this project the first time I saw it on Dezeen, it was listening to you speak about the space during our trend seminars as you present the Ancient Times trend that really made me fall in love with it.  The way you describe the rippling marble and alabaster appearing to surge up from beneath the church, and talk about the dialogue that has been created between the classic Roman architecture and the biomorphic form of the altar is so passionate, you’re able to give your audience a real sense of the serenity and understated grandeur that this space projects.  Another one for my list.

Iris Cocktail Bar & Restaurant | Downtown Beirut, Lebanon | by addmind

In my desperate search for a location for ‘The Wedding’ later this year, I recently came across the Lebanese design company, addmind – Hospitality Concept Creators.  They have a very cool signature style; my favourite space has got to be this rooftop bar in Downtown Beirut: Iris.  I’m loving the streamlined design, and the custom lighting by .PSLAB looks perfect against the city backdrop.  We are definitely going for a cocktail or two in June Miss V!

We’ve worked hard to ensure the content on the blog is inspiring and relevant to our readers – an achievement I think we deserve to be proud of.  As people look to process information in faster and shorter ways, I find many blogs are now simply streams of captioned images, which is sometimes great and all you need/want, but other times a well-written posting offering an informative and interesting review, interview, or new business idea is the order of the day.  Here are my current favourites:

Create Communities | Katrina Padron is a social media strategist and “ex-Award Winning Director of Marketing”, I’ve been following her blog for only a few months and really like her friendly and informal style.  She posts a few times a week and is forever sharing free advice and video tutorials on how to get the best from various social media platforms.  You can sign up to receive a free marketing to-do list via email each week and she’s currently posting “Ideas Worth Stealing” which brings together top tips from 10 social media experts.



Dezeen | an online magazine posting several times a day, you can always rely on Dezeen for information that gets straight to the point on just about every key happening in the industry!  Probably the blog I most regularly keep up to date with.



Studio Em | Emma Stinson is an Interior Architect and Designer based here in Dubai and although I’ve never met her in person I enjoy following her on Twitter and admire how active she is on the social media scene here in the region.  She blogs daily, reviewing great design projects, always with a specific focus, highlighting why she believes something either does or doesn’t work.


Which blogs are you loving right now Miss V?







Sent: 24.02.12 at 11:26

Subject: RE: Happy Anniversary!

3 years of blogging…can you believe it?!

We’ve been hacked, had postings copied, raced to re-photograph entire shows due to digital camera malfunctions…it’s been emotional…but it’s all been so worth it!!!

Yes I remember really clearly the day I sat down and wrote the first post 3 years ago.  After a firm push from Jackie Harris to share our trend forecasting expertise via blogging, we set up the wordpress template and I began to write postings initially explaining the Trend Forecasting Process.  At first I was a bit formal in my writing style, unsure of exactly what to write about, questioned if there was really much point to the effort I was making and clueless as to how we could build a readership following.  But from that standing start we now have over 50,000 regular readers a month and I continue to feel truly passionate about sharing trend information.  As time has passed and the blogging team has grown, we’ve learnt so much.  You know we really must present a seminar on the subject at a show some time soon so other people can benefit from all of the good and the bad stuff we’ve gleaned along the way.

Thanks for sharing all your favourite products and projects etc…  Great stuff!  You have such good taste ;)  In response here are my 3 favourite bloggers, surface pattern designers, magazines…and colour combinations at the moment:

Blue & Red are often teamed in room schemes but normally with white or linen to give a snazzy nautical, resort, French style that frankly bores me because I’ve seen it Sooo much!  However, dark inky indigo can be used with a rich berry red accent to create a more exotic and lavish look that I’m currently loving for bedrooms, dressing rooms and dining spaces:
Above: Hand-painted wallpaper from
I love grey…I LOVE IT!  I’m generally a dark grey & old gold kind-of-a-girl.  Now that the hi-shine gold of the blinged-out years have thankfully passed (good riddance) shoppers can now embrace a more sophisticated set of metallics over the coming seasons; tarnished, brushed, pale or blackened…for me its all about Grey & antique Gold:
Above: Textiles & accessories from
You’ve really turned me onto peacock blues & greens Miss P…I guess it started when you created the Dreamscape Glamour trend board for our Autumn/Winter 2011/12 forecast, which included some plumage in peacock tones.  But recently Petrol Blue has started to appeal to me more!  You know I’m not one for girlie pink but, as you can see below, a vintage pink shade can lift petrol blue and give it a more feminine edge:
Above: David Collins House & Garden shoot by photographer Simon Watson
Writing features and providing expert comment on the coming & current trends for magazines is an important part of both of our jobs these days.  But to be honest I really don’t enjoy looking through celebrity gossip mags in my own time and there aren’t many consumer mags that really hold my interest these days.  However…there are 3 titles that I still love to look through:
I’ll always swoon at the shoots in Vogue (UK), I continue to enjoy a sneak peek at Selvedge and I’ll always make time for a flick through Elle Decoration
Onto my current favourite surface pattern designers.  As you know this is where it all started for me back in the 90’s(!) when I specialised in Surface Pattern Design (for Fashion rather than Interiors weirdly) at The University of Huddersfield.  I’m just passionate about pattern!  From an early age, way before Uni, I knew I wanted to make the world a more colourful & patterned place to live.  Now as a Trend Forecaster I like nothing more than seeing the work of exciting designers and helping to spread the word…and these fantastic creatives are my current faves:
Above: DesignBark is the product of Sarah Newman’s brilliant talent.  Whilst at Chelsea College of Art & Design she developed her skills for screen printing onto real wood veneer.  I have a big creative crush on her Bridget Lampshades.  I LOVE the dynamism of her patterns, the vibrant colours and sense of energy…it’s as though something is breaking-up into hundreds of parts and reforming into a new and more wonderful form.  Her studio is in South London and she offers other products for the home as well as her super-cool lampshades…plus she has an Online Shop.  The hand screen printed wingback chair is a result of a collaboration with BYPLY.
Above: In truth the furniture pieces I love most by Fukutoshi Ueno are actually embellished with kimono-inspired patterns by fashion designer Akira Isogawa.  Both originally from Japan, but long-time residents of Australia, their collaboration on Dress Code brings together bold elements of traditional pattern on a contemporary form.  You might remember the Dress Code pieces at designjunction last year Miss P?  They have a visual playfulness I enjoy and right now I’m craving a blue one.
Above: I always enjoy seeing the work of Manhattan-based illustrator and surface pattern designer Samantha Hahn.  Her designs seem to be drawn with a great sense of joy and I highly recommend having a flick through her extensive portfolio.  Current favourite patterns include the Pin-Up girls and her Dancing Girl ink illustration.
And finally…I like your 3 favourite blog choices Miss P.  As for my 3 favourite blogs …
Above: 1. I get my weekly pattern fix from Print & Pattern.  I’ve been addicted to the streams of colourful patterns & products showcased on this terrific blog for years now and there are no signs of me tiring of it.  There’s also a book of the blog (2nd edition now available) so everyone can enjoy Bowie’s finds offline.
2. Grace Bonney does an amazing job over at Design*Sponge.  I’m just 1 of 75,000 unique daily visitors who make Design*Sponge the most popular design site on the web.  Grace is a blogger I admire greatly and I’m thrilled her long-awaited book of the blog has been hugely popular.
3. As you know I love interior design projects with an Industrial look.  More than this I LOVE to look in detail at photographs of industrial decay (don’t ask me why…I just do…I know it’s weird…but I still like it).  So I get a regular injection of industrial decay from the aptly named Industrial Decay blog.  They also release a book of the blog annually which includes the work of international photographers whose images document abandoned industrial facilities from around the globe.
So here’s to many more years of blogging!  Thank you for sharing the reins with me Miss P as we venture into the next stage of our blogging journey…YeeHaaaaaaa!
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Miss V to Miss P – November



Sent: 22.11.11 at 10:39

Subject: November musings

Queenie in 7 days I’ll be 31 … I’m just going to let that sit out there for a few minutes.

How has this happened?  How has an entire year passed by since I was freaking out at turning 30?!!  Do you remember Grace Bonney’s posting over at Design*Sponge on turning 30?  Remember how it seemed she had perfectly described my ‘style limbo’ as you call it!  Well, a year on and I think I’m more confused than ever: I know exactly what I like (I think), and I know exactly who I am (I think), now how to package it all together??!!  Grace really struck a chord when she said she could no longer see herself in her “things” and her home and I wonder if being in this job has totally ruined me!!  We have access to so many fabulous Designers creating wonderful work and every time I see something new I want it regardless of it having a completely different style from what I wanted last week let alone last month!


Clockwise from top left: Eskayel’s Cosmonaut Crystal Amethyst wallpaper; Wooster lights by Jake Phipps, produced and distributed by InnermostMeystyle’s False Vision LED wallpaper; Rothschild & Bickers’ Vintage light; Fin chair by Noda Designs; Peacock chair by Dror Benshetrit for Cappellini; Silver Crush table by Fredrikson StallardDesign By Leftovers’ Rockstar chest; Nendo’s Cabbage chair

Once your eyes have been opened to so much it’s even harder to know what exactly is for you and stick with that and just admire the rest from afar.  Last month when we were speaking at INDEX you mentioned to the audience we always wear black because with our work we’re living in the future and when we go shopping everything seems so old!  And you’re so right but I’m wondering … do I need to also start living in a blank canvas?!!!!!

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the idea of community and re-connecting, taking proper time to really understand how we live, how we live with our neighbours, what we really need, and what’s really important day to day (do you remember I touched on some of these ideas for the Remembering 9/11 posting?).  It’s hard; I think we’ve spent so long living in quite isolated, independent bubbles that we really have gotten used to living quite self-centred lives and it’s hard to be that honest with yourself and take action.  It’s perhaps easy to recognise where change needs to be made but it’s definitely not so easy to take those first steps and really step out of the bubble and connect.

That is one of the reasons I was so interested in the Flattr movement to support bloggers and other creators through “social micropayments”.  Basically once you have an account you can add funds and Flattr online content you admire, and you can add the Flattr icon to your own blog/platform and be Flattr-ed by your viewers.  Let’s say we put £10 in to our account, at the end of each month all the blogs we’ve Flattr-ed will be sent a proportion of our £10; so if we Flattr-ed 10 blogs each of the bloggers will get £1!  Genius!  I’m so excited to start financially supporting our fellow bloggers and I’ve added the Flattr icon to our own postings so hopefully our readers will show us some click love!

But I digress, to go back to my original line of thought, I’m hoping that through trying to change the way I view my life in connection with my friends and community I’ll be led to my style, the one that really fits me.  What do you think?

Although it seems an age since you were here for INDEX and FoID I’ve put together some of the best shots of the week.

Annemette Beck was definitely a highlight of the show with her wonderful textiles, and was certainly a favourite on the VIP Trend Tour which was yet again really well received.  You can see from the pictures how into it everyone was!  I was really impressed with the winning design for the Contemporary Majlis Competition this year too, Sinmar Al-Said from Internal Line Interior Design created a super cool space using traditional Islamic patterns.  AND check out how it looked lit up, I found this online:

I loved having the chance to see Beau McClellan’s awe-inspiring Nomad chandelier again at the Downtown Pavilion and now that it’s hanging in the B5 showroom I can go to see it whenever I like!  Did you like the vibe at the Pavilion?  I really like the urban edge, it was definitely the right location for Amartey Golding’s Live Art showcase, I’ve never seen that style of rubbing away the paper to reveal the art beneath before, thanks God you were there to explain it to me.

I wonder if you’ll agree with me when I say that the absolute highlight of the week was the surprise graffiti penguin in the ladies bathroom at the Pavilion?!!!!!!

So since you left I’ve been hard at work on our new blog design, it’s certainly been a challenge but one I’ve enjoyed and I just can’t wait to reveal our new look to all our readers soon … watch this space.  And then of course we’ll be launching our brand new member’s area in the New Year, I’m putting together all the details now and will be letting everybody know next month what they can expect from their subscription.  There’s certainly lots to pack in before the end of the year, can you believe we’re so close to Christmas already?  I really must get organised with my shopping … perhaps I’ll wait to read your column for The National on how to Personalise Christmas this year!

Speak soon fabulous colleague!




Sent: 25.11.11 at 11:17

Subject: RE: November musings

Greetings Miss P!  I can’t believe you’ll be 31 so soon!  Really though…where has the last year gone?!  I remember the trauma of your 30th birthday like it was only a few months ago….whilst my 31st birthday is now a distant, distant memory.

Miss P…you are going through a change.  Sorry but you are.  No one tells you.  The transition from your 20’s into your 30’s is often a tricky one for women in terms of personal style and home style preferences.  There’s just a load of stuff that’s not really appropriate anymore (even if you do still like it and feel you can pull it off!).  And at the same time you haven’t really got enough experience at 31 of actually being in your 30’s…so how are you meant to know what your new 30something style should be!  You have to settle into it.  Some style sins may be committed but you’ll come out the other side I promise.

That skirt is too short for me isn’t it?!

I hope you’ll experience the same grounded confidence and contentment that started to come to me once I passed the 35 mark and headed on that road to 40.  Plus I had a real turnaround on my previous cravings to own more stuff!  Quite suddenly I felt that the physical things I owned were tying me down…stopping me from being spontaneous and even messing with my values.

As I get older I need things to be simpler.  I’ve said it before Miss P but I’m gonna say it again – Less is Better!  And I was the worst for craving things…I found it frustrating not to be able to have the stuff I saw and coveted.  No more Miss P!  Now I honestly feel that through my work as a Trend Forecaster I’m fed a full helping of eye candy everyday.  For me it’s enough that loads of amazing products appear on our blog, trend boards and in our trend reports.  I don’t feel like I need to own them anymore.  I’m freeeeeeee!

Having said all of that…I just completely fell in love with these gorgeous martini glasses from Katharine Pooley.  Well a girl’s gotta drink!


Actually the topic of collecting stuff came up earlier this month when I was chatting over a glass of wine with a journalist who writes for the FT’s How To Spend It Art & Collecting section.  She was telling me she interviewed a chap who had hundreds of lawnmowers!  Passions can get out of hand.  But I digress.  The event the journalist and I were attending was a private dinner at The Russian Club in London to mark the unveiling of Alex Randall’s new lighting pieces for The Memory Collection.  

Above: Invitation, Menu & Mural

When the Dreamweaver heard they’d be serving a special foraged menu he was keen to come along too.  And the lovely Lyndsay at Helen Edwards PR fixed it for him ;)  So we enjoyed a fascinating menu by chef, forager & wild food expert Mark Lloyd consisting of found herbs, leaves & flowers with pigeon spring rolls, venison and finally a dessert of potted quince, candied butternut, vanilla jelly & cinnamon posset.  Oh Yes we did!  On top of the dessert he served green leaves that tasted like Ribena!  And there was a herb on another course that tasted like cut grass smells.  It was a mind bender!

The table was beautifully set and amongst the central candles a scattering of antique Optometrists lenses got everyone talking (we were pleased to be seated with Alex’s completely charming Mother).  On the wall behind where I was sitting was a huge mural of the piggy photo ‘The Last Supper’ by Claire Rosen (featured in my montage above) and hanging above the long table were pairs of horse lights, created by wrapping rawhide around carousel horses.  Intrigued?  You should be.

Above: Dinner table setting & ‘In memory of the horses’ lights

You’ll remember that last month I posted an interview & showcase of Alex’s taxidermy work on the blog.  Well Alex’s latest work is a collection of lighting art-works using a new technique to create lightweight and ethereal casts of statues using rawhide (waste from the venison industry in Scotland).  Rawhide has been used for a long time for drum heads and Alex explained to me that she had seen the skin removed from a drum and noticed it kept it’s shape…and that got her thinking.  Apparently rawhide was also used as a torture device in ancient times – as it dries it shrinks.  Yikes!  The reason Alex chose to start working with rawhide was because she “loved the connotations of using something that resembles a cast away skin casing like that of a snake or chrysalis.”

Alex has made something truly precious, magical and evocative from a waste material.  As far as I’m concerned Alex Randall is an alchemist!  Miss P the effect was just stunning – the darkened layers, the curled edges and the amazing details she had managed to capture.  She commented that “The way the light shines though these pieces is very special.  You see every line and crease”…and it’s so true, check out the bottom right photo in the montage below.  It’s a close-up shot I took of the angels wings…see the perfect detail of the feathers from the original statue (representing triumph) now captured forever in the rawhide cast…like a memory:

Above: ‘In memory of triumph’ & Alex Randall

The centrepiece was a huge piece called ‘In memory of Freddie’….that’d be Freddie Mercury!

Above: ‘In memory of Freddie’  – from The Memory Collection by Alex Randall

We were chatting to Ol Beach (lead singer of Yellow Wire & son of Queen manager, Jim Beach) who was telling us how after Alex ran into a load of red-tape associated with getting permission to cast British statues, his father had offered the use of the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux.  And if you go to the Portfolio section of Alex’s website and click on ‘Casting Freddie Mercury in Montreux’ you can see photos of the casting process as Alex works away in the crisp air by Lake Geneva.  The profits made from the sale of this piece will be donated to the charity set up in Freddie’s name; The Mercury Phoenix Trust.

Actually it had been a really good day even before we got to Alex Randall’s event because we went to check out and spend some time at FARM:Shop

Above: Getting some work done at FARM:Shop.  Wondering about my temp’ tattoo?…it’s from Tattly.  I’ve got loads of different ones and I’ve taken to wearing them when I give seminars.  I might wear this one when I lead the Speed Trend Tour at the SURFACES show in Vegas!

FARM:Shop was the brainchild of the chaps at Something & Son.  Originally started as a Social Enterprise using Council funding and a team of volunteers, it is now self-funding.  So what’s it all about?…Well it’s ALL going on at FARM:Shop!  They have transformed a derelict shop into an urban food Hub, cafe and arts venue.  It has a mini aquaponic fish farm, which works by recirculating the dirty water (poopy but filled with nutrients) from 2 big fish tanks (filled with edible Nile Tilapia) around the beds of salads & herbs that are literally everywhere throughout the cafe space.  The plants then filter the water, making it clean so the fish continue to have a happy tank life.  And the cafe sells lovely sandwiches & soup made from the produce grown in the FARM:Shop.  They also have a Fruiting Room upstairs which is kept nice and toasty enabling tomatoes and chilli plants to thrive.  And there are chickens up on the roof providing eggs!

Note:Egg is not in proportion to chicken!…just to be clear.

Outside they have polytunnels with soil beds to grow produce all year round (sweetcorn, gherkins, peppers, squashes & more salads) and it doubles as a brilliantly unusual venue for music events too…it even has a glitterball!  Then in the Meeting Room that’s for hire they have a basil hydroponics system on the wall growing lots of different varieties of basil and making the room smell amazing!  And you can rent work space in FARM:Shop by the day, week, month or longer.  I’m raving I know but I think it’s excellent.

Whilst I was getting a bit of work done in FARM:Shop (they have super fast wifi) and enjoying a bowl of homemade soup, a group of ladies arrived and like a flock of birds descended on the counter of cakes.  The general concensus was that the poppy seed & lemon cake was to die for!  It was a bit of a shame actually because if they’d arrived just 5 mins earlier they could have met the delightful Deniz who actually makes all the fantastic cakes…she had popped-in with her latest delivery of spongey loveliness!

Above: Tasty treats from the fair hands of from Sophie’s Organic Brownies

The next day (after a good nights sleep at the Avo Hotel) I headed to the Steelcase showroom on Farringdon Road, London to present 2 Trend Seminars to a group of their clients made up of mostly Architects, Product Designers & Interior Designers.  So you see I’ve been keeping myself rather busy since I returned from the crazy couple of weeks in Dubai with you for the design festival events!  I’ve also squeezed in a Press event for Harvey Jones Kitchens which was very enjoyable and well received.  The journalists were LOVING Yarn Bombing!  But in answer to your very important question I can confirm that Yes, Betty-the-Bikini-Penguin was the highlight of the Dubai festival for me too ♥  Let’s hope we can get involved with the FoID again next year.

The Flattr movement you’ve got us all turned onto is really worthwhile so I’ll be interested to see how many other bloggers and readers sign-up and show their appreciation across the blogosphere.  I’ve seen some great articles over the past few weeks so I’m keen to get clicking!

Oh…before I sign off, did you get chance to check out the products Lakeland applied our Amelie design to?

Above left to right: Amelie mug & coaster in presentation tin, cosmetics bags (small & large) and shopper.  Nice one Rebecca!

Cheerio for now Miss P.

I hope your Christmas shopping is coming along nicely!  I’m at the wrapping stage Ho Ho Ho!

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