From My Radar to Yours: What’s new in Interiors

So what’s new? Well, it turns out, quite a lot. With news on the sustainable front too. But before we get into that, thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments yesterday. A couple of early nights and things always seem much better. Although I fear the lockdown madness may have got to us as The Mad Husband and I are currently engaged in a debate about how Henry the Hoover’s smug face irritates us and would it be cruel to cover it up and return him/it to inanimate vacuum status rather than anthropomorphic household object. Thoughts?

Architecture, interiors, design, interior design
dyrham dairy national trust tiles in collaboration with ca pietra

And while you ponder that, where to start with today’s news round up? First up, the newest of the new, is the launch of Interior Design Declares, a group of nine interior designers have teamed up and joined forces with Construction Declares, issuing a call to the entire industry to recognise the twin emergencies of climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Buildings and construction account for nearly 40 per cent of energy related CO2 emissions and also has a significant impact on our natural habitats.

alfriston clergy new screen printed national trust tiles from ca pietra
alfriston clergy new screen printed national trust tiles from ca pietra, image by chris snook photogrraphy,

In a statement signed by Oliver Heath, Chloe Bullock of Materialise Interiors, Persona Abode (all of whom have featured on the podcast) as well as Elemental Studio and Studio Suss, among others, they pledge to raise awareness, advocate for change, minimise waste and worth with the construction industry to regenerate rather than demolish and rebuild.

You can read the full statement at the link above and if you are an interior designer you can sign up your own studio. If you aren’t a designer but want to support the movement you can hire one of them for your own project. At the time of writing 34 designers had also signed up.

art nouveau blanket from print sisters archive
art nouveau blanket from print sisters archive

Staying with sustainability and John Lewis & Partners is to fund a three year cashmere programme in Mongolia to safeguard the future of the sector. The scheme is run by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance to promote best practice in land management, animal welfare and supply chain transparency as climate change and the increased demand for this material are putting pressure on the fragile eco systems the industry relies on.

John Lewis will fund 420 herders in Inner Mongolia with training provided by a leading animal welfare NGO and local experts. A spokesman for the company said: “We are committed to ensuring all key raw materials in our own brand products will be from sustainable or recycled sources by 2025. This work will protect the welfare of the goats, the land and the livelihoods of thousands of families who are dependent upon the production of cashmere fibres.”

broste copenhagen pam table in recycled paper via Amara
broste copenhagen pam table in rust recycled paper via Amara

Now for some new stuff, but keeping it responsible. The Danish company Broste Copenhagen has launched PAM, a flat pack table made from recycled paper with an iron top. It is held together by a strong magnet and can be used as a side table, stool or bedside table.

broste copenhagen pam table in recycled paper via Amara
broste copenhagen pam table in grey recycled paper via Amara

There are two sizes: dark grey is 40cm high and 50cm wide, while the brown is 60cm high and 40cm wide. Both cost £299.

Some of you may remember I have featured Print Sisters Archive in my Directory of Small Businesses and in addition to their archive textile prints they have now expanded into cushions and throws. The Nouveau Blossom blanket is an example of Japonism  and embodies the influence that Japan had on the arts in France from the 1860s onwards. It’s made in the USA from 98 per cent recycled cotton and is at a special launch price of £199 (this will rise to £220).

art nouveau blanket from print sisters archive
art nouveau blanket from print sisters archive

So we’ve covered sustainability in theory and practice and now we have some heritage with news of a tile collection from Ca Pietra inspired by, and in collaboration with, The National Trust. A minimum of £10,000 from sales will be given to the Trust to help it continue its work in preserving and maintaining history.

There are lots of gorgeous patterns as well as classic metro style in soft pinks and blues as well as some rather gorgeous screen printed patterned tiles which I predict will be hugely popular. The collection launches next month but I have sprinkled a few images around here so you can see.

woodland glade tiles inspired by the national trust for ca pietra
woodland glade tiles inspired by the national trust for ca pietra

Lastly, two events that you might like to investigate. Firstly The Museum of the Home has linked up with Behind the Door to launch a fundraising campaign in collaboration with The London Homeless Collective to tackle female homelessness in the UK. The lots have been offered by a female artisans, writers and designers and include items such as pictures and candles and experiences  – an interiors consultation with Maria Speake, the co-founder of Retrouvius or travel to Venice to cook with Skye McAlpine in her home. The auction runs until this Friday 26 March and lots start at £40 for a picture – you can see them all and place your bid here. Currently you can design and blow your own glass candlesticks for £370 or have your hair done at George Northwood followed by dinner at Claridges for £,1025 but there are lots and lots of prizes of all types.

And as that auction ends so the Digital Craft Festival begins. The two day event – Friday to Sunday – brings together 150 makers for a weekend of talks, workshops, interviews and demonstrations. Highlights include Richard Miller, judge of the Great Pottery Throwdown, discussing his love of clay and how multi-culturism has shaped his practice as well as Jim Parkyn, model maker and animator (Sean the Sheep is among his oeuvres) who will be hosting a live makealong.

Details are at the link. Have fun.

shoreline shingle iles inspired by the national trust for ca pietra
shoreline shingle tiles inspired by the national trust for ca pietra



Tags : interior trendssustainabilitysustainablesustainable interiorswhat's new in interiors
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. The photographs in today’s blog have been a joy to look at. It did feel as though you had slept well Kate.
    The Ca Pietra Tiles are so desirable and they have a divine range of paints too.
    Finally the major house builders….well George Clarke has strong opinions, and the ex Director of Persimmon is yet to fulfill his promise to give a significant amount of money to Charity.

  2. I can’t say I’ve ever given it a thought about Henry the Hoover but now that you have mentioned it all I can think about is just how smug he looks. He reminds me of a child’s toy Hoover. It sounds like you and The MadHusband have some pretty strong feelings about Henry.

  3. I am have found your previous blog posts on things like the emissions from sofas etc fascinating and educational, increasing awareness of sustainability is so important. None of us are perfect of course, while we are a buy and keep household here in terms of furniture, there are always ways to improve. I do sigh every time new home builders talk about eco credentials then pour tonnes of concrete though, whether that’s coming from the architects, trends, cost perspective or otherwise, I always hope there must be another way. I do wonder about that paper table though, what happens when you spill your cup of tea/glass of wine? I like the idea, just slightly unsure of the practicality…

  4. I’m really glad to read about John Lewis and the Sustainable Fibre Alliance as I have questioned the animal welfare (lack of more likely) involved in producing the vast amounts of cashmere we consume these days.

    I went on the Print Sisters website and found they also sell that gorgeoso picture on the wall in your third photo! 😃

  5. Even though I’m a reader in America and can’t practically shop the stores and vendors you feature, your essays make me think about the issues and consider how I can address them locally.

  6. I hope you are aware, Kate, that you have done much more than write an interiors blog for your readers. Please do not underestimate this very special achievement. Your writing is grounded, kind, appreciative, no nonsense, full of common sense. You have shared your feelings – voicing our feelings – throughout the pandemic; you have been deliberately uplifting, but always ‘real’. I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to your emails for more than the design content.

    Thank you, also, for being so honest and aware of the problems in the world and our lives and for referencing them so articulately and for doing something about them.

    In a world where image seems to be all that matters, you unpick the images you present and give us the information and tools to analyse and achieve our aspirations, suitable for real, daily, messy life, not a pristine, posed photo promo.

    Thank you for all that you do.

    1. Me too! Aren’t they beautiful? Also love that the tiles are allowed to ‘spill’, so to speak 🙂

  7. Please don’t bash the builder re: construction waste. The builder builds what the home owner asks for. There are too many interior designers/ bloggers (ahem )/ magazines, etc pushing change after change, trend after trend. Cheap but stylish taps, cisterns break after a few years. Kitchens seem to be made of paper thin materials which need replacing after 5 years. I could go on but my blood pressure won’t let me.
    Love reading your daily piece of sanity BTW xx

  8. Loving you & Sophie’s blog chat..ever thought of doing a Vlog? I think Henry the Hoover is quite endearing..? And THE best no nonscence floor cleaners. Having also had a Dyson..& I know whatvId like to do with that! Any thoughts about putting some gravitas behind the dreadfull dilemma re unsafe Cladding on buildings? Builders & contractors responsibility however home owners having to pay for safety measures so they can sleep at night?

    1. I want that Woodland Glade bathroom. How soon would I wish I had chosen the Shoreline Shingles instead!

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