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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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  interiors and design we highlight here sit.”
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.
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).
“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?”
Why not indeed? Who’s feeling bolder now? Here’s a link to the book if you fancy it.