Mad About . . .

Book Review: Bold British Design

13th October 2020
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Suddenly it seems that there is a raft of new interiors books so I thought I would share a few of them over the next couple of weeks as they might give your inspiration for your own spaces as well as brighten up your coffee tables or even, whisper it, work as presents as that time of year is looming. I don’t remember there being so many interiors books all at once before and wonder if perhaps some publication dates were postponed because of you know what. I might also drop in here the next volume in my own Mad About The House series will be out next March. Just dropping that in there.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Interiors, regency interiors

Now then back to today. This book is called Bold British Design and it’s a Big Book (enough with the B’s now, Ed). Stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid and photographer Sarah Hogan have collaborated to interview a collection of the UK’s top creatives and find out what their own homes and studios are like.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Interiors, regency interiors

And you know me by now, this means that it’s also a book to read not just to look at. Interviews include Nicolas Roope, inventor of the Plumen light, Charlie Bowles, design director of Original BTC (more on them tomorrow) Ruth Mottershead of Little Greene, Yinka Ilori, the architect and designer known for his bold use of colour, Sebastian Cox (those devol kitchens) Minnie Kemp, columnist at Living Etc and daughter of Kit, owner of The Firmdale hotels as well as the designer Bethan Grey and my old mates Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire, of Mini Moderns, designers of mid-century modern inspired homeware, and you can see from their home they live it too.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Nick, Plumen, Emilio Pimentel-Reid

So already there’s a great collection of people (as well as many to discover) and so you know you want to see inside their houses and, as Emilio says in the introduction, he is a British citizens by choice (not now at the back) so he wanted to celebrate new British designers and their debt to past designers such as Wedgwood and William Morris.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Mini Moderns, Emilio Pimentel-Reid, london interiors

“Today creators the world over continue to admire British designers who combine heritage with wit, modernity and fun as they reinvent the elements of our interiors,” he says, adding that Liberty pioneered the British craze for Japanese and Indian craft whereas Heals led in innovation, combining good design with industrial production to supply well-made furniture to a broader audience. Both  continue to encourage and discover new talent and introduce the public to the latest in design. They were joined in the 1960s by Sir Terence Conran’s democratic Habitat and the more upmarket The Conran Shop in the 1970s.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Little Green Paint, Emilio Pimentel-Reid

“In today’s interiors scene a respect for history coexists with extreme modernity. Craftsmanship and tradition are revered but not left to grow stale. International artistic influences blend with the home-grown, both as a result of media exposure and the arrival of immigrants who keep their traditions alive while becoming a part of our nation. It is in this context that the [21]  interiors and design we highlight here sit.”

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Lucy Hamnd Giles, Emilio Pimentel-Reid

But perhaps the point of this book, and one that I love, is that it is not a “How To” book. It is, the author claims, more of a “Why Not?” He hopes this book will embolden you to unleash your own creativity in the home and, frankly, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Interiors, regency interiors

You could even take a leaf out of Emilio’s own decorating ideas and have your paint mixed to match your skin tone. This was done by Ruth Mottershead (whose own home, of course features).

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Little Green Paint, Emilio Pimentel-Reid

My favourite room is the living room [of his flat in a Bath crescent], which I’ve painted in a pink hue mixed to complement my skin tone by the talented artisans at Little Greene. Specialists advise that you paint your space in a colour that suits the room (which is true) – and I hope I have done – but actually why not also deploy a colour that flatters the homeowner?”

Sarah Hogan Photography, Bold British Design, Emilio Pimentel-Reid, Interiors, regency interiors

Why not indeed? Who’s feeling bolder now? Here’s a link to the book if you fancy it.

Bold British Design by Emilio Pimentel Reid and Sarah Hogan

Bold British Design by Emilio Pimentel Reid and Sarah Hogan



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  • Saffy 16th October 2020 at 10:00 am

    I think maybe Kate could gather photos from readers of the blog. That would be very interesting. And we could all draw inspiration. At the moment I am quite proud of my living room/ home office. But the narrow dull hallway is still a headscracher. I’m thinking of a gallery wall of mirrors hung high up as it’s just wide enough for me to shuffle past the pushchair and open the front door! Being a decorating coward I am still waiting around to see something similar in a small house like mine. Otherwise I fear it will be overdone. It doesnt help that theres 2 door frames on one side and non on the other

  • Marianne 14th October 2020 at 4:32 am

    Thank you for your daily inspiration!! Love from Zurich.

  • Bonnie Foster Abel 13th October 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Having access to well researched and informed blogs, videos, images and books opens portals to materials and design we may not have known about before. I live in Canada and for the first time I am using Farrow & Ball paints. There are other paint manufacturers here, and I have tried a few of them. None so far equal the quality of F&B paints. The cost, for me, is justified in the morning light reflected from my Wimborne White walls, the long lasting finish, and the absolute simplicity of clean up. I also have furniture pieces painted in Annie Sloane’s chalk paint. These are from several years ago, and still look fresh. If there were a Little Greene, or Edward Bulmer, or Paint and Wallpaper Library stockists here, I would definitely explore these too.

  • Gill 13th October 2020 at 10:21 am

    Oh I do Kate! Love the blog and your books

  • Gill 13th October 2020 at 9:19 am

    Oh I wonder if one of these new books will be about living and decorating in British homes built in the 60’s or 70’s, or ex council houses or new builds as thousands of us do. This book is lovely but i’d love a dose of real life every now and again. I’d also like budget to be taken into account because I don’t have a Farrow and Ball budget, I’m a bit more Dulux and Dunelm. Lots of other people might be too in the current crisis.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 13th October 2020 at 9:40 am

      I think perhaps that’s where this blog comes in. You take the inspiration from the books and the blog and hopefully there are ideas here for all budgets to help you along.

    • Longdenlife 13th October 2020 at 11:57 am

      I agree Gill – I find that instagram is a also a great source inspiration for those of us that live in smaller houses with less period features

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