Some lovely new ideas and shops for you this month with a variety of subjects so hopeful, as always, that there is something for everyone. First up Fridge Wrapping. For those of you who aren’t on Instagram I recently decided to disguise my huge (and I thought) ugly stainless steel fridge by having it wrapping in a cream vinyl. You can see the result below.
I took the idea from Anna Jacobs (whose lampshades and artworks have featured on these pages before). Anna lives in a rented flat and while her landlord appears to be very accommodating of her colourful changes she will have to return everything to the original plain white walls when she moves. It was her idea to wrap her fridge using vinyl but when it proved harder than she thought she called in a local firm of car wrappers to do the job for her. And you can see below her bold emerald green choice.
She has since gone on to cover her tiles and her worktop all in different designs. My own fridge was wrapped by Grapefruit Graphics, from Southampton, who put signs on boats but you can, I’m told, google, local wrappers and sign experts if you want to do the same in your own home. I paid £153 as a guide and used between 8-10m – I ordered 10 and there’s lots left over but I haven’t measured what’s left. The vinyl was about £5 a metre from Vinyl Warehouse. The colours are quite bold, which is why I went for the antique white as that fits best with my house but you could also try a pattern. Have a look at Faye Jennifer Vinyl Design. I would have loved one of these but The Mad Husband, who was initially very sceptical but is now fully on board, put the Mad Foot down. I quit while I was ahead.
Now while this was an aesthetic decision it works well for renters or first time buyers who might be on a tight budget and is a way of jazzing up the cheapest fridge in the shop. It also works if, like me, you have a perfectly functioning fridge with no reason to change it but you just don’t like the look. I would have liked an integrated fridge, but the large ones are insanely expensive and there was no justification. Now I love it and, having had it for 10 years, am hopeful it will do another 10. Although it may end up with a more flamboyant design…
Staying in the kitchen and we come to these rather wonderful plates and bowls by the chef Ottolenghi. I’ve eaten in his restaurants (once) and own (and cook regularly from) his cookbooks so when the blizzard of publicity started around his tableware I was on board. Now as far as I can make out, much of it got stuck in the Suez Canal so it’s massively delayed, but you can pre-order from WA Green (the exclusive online UK stockist) and it will turn up like a joyous present in June or July.
And as a side note, Zoe, the founder of WA Green had to close her bricks and mortar shop when the first lockdown started and has since pivoted the business to online so any support you can give a small independent is always good. She has a great eye and there are lots of treasures to be found there.
I have the deep bowls in white and red on pre-order but I’m quite taken with the yellow bowls as well. Even though, as regular readers will know, I usually have no truck with yellow. This is a good version of it and I think it’s a kind of lockdown hangover when I wanted to paint my kitchen yellow as a reaction to not going out for so many months.
More ceramics and I have long been a fan of Copenhagen-based Rawii and their distinctive and much, much, copied bowls on a stand. I bought a jug from H&M a couple of years ago which I didn’t realise at the time was rather heavily “inspired by” Rawii. Having now seen the two side by side you can tell the difference in the glazing and subtlety of colour. In addition to the classics they also have glassware and mirrors and, they tell me, are working on an exciting collaboration to launch September. I know no more than that…
Now, you remember a couple of weeks ago I shared the brilliant Lola’s Leads with her retro plug sockets and colour flex? Well there is a company doing a more modern take on electrics which is marketed as mobile phone accessories but actually having bought the plug, which turned out to be an exact match for my study walls, and the soft green cable, which then inspired the paint choices for the newly refurbished shower room, I thought I would share here. Nolii makes phone cases and chargers but, as I say, their super long cables and coloured plugs might work generally around the house.
Lastly a couple of products that might not be new but might be new to you – so that counts right? Firstly, in keeping with the notion of revamping your kitchen with a wrapped fridge, another trick is to change the handles. Enter Elvis & Kresse, who rescue the London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned hoses and save them from landfill by turning them into products. Since 2005 none of the old hose has gone to landfill and over 200 tonnes of material has been reclaimed. The company now also partner with Burberry to use their leather offcuts to make gorgeous bags and purses.
There are many many things I want from this site but I particularly love the burgundy hose cupboard handles. And this is where I would advise you not to opt for handleless kitchen doors (or integrated handles like I have) because you can never change them whereas having a plain wooden door with a handle means you can change both colour and handles as you wish and update your kitchen as often as you and your budget permits without having to rip it out and start again on a fashion whim.
Finally, I have featured the cushions by In Casa by Paboy before. He is in Naples awaiting papers to regularise his status and a year ago started making cushions. Such was the response that he now has a studio and employs two people, Blessed and Ephraim, who, he hopes, will also be able to get formal status as they are now employed. I’m so pleased for Paboy and wish him all the luck. He fled the Gambia (leaving school and his family) to escape the regime and when, two years later, he arrived in Italy he was put in a migrant camp that was so badly run the owners were shut down for corruption. Arriving in a new camp in Naples, Paboy worked in a factory making tiles and vases for four years until he lost his job while waiting for his papers to be renewed. Offered a roof over his head by a freelance British journalist as Covid struck he found some fabric under her bed and started making cushions. The rest, as they say, is history and you can read his inspiring story here.
And that’s what’s on my radar this month. A bit of housetweaking and a bit of hope with some lovely things in the middle.