Designer Desire: René Gruau

Mosaic of René Gruau illustrations | H is for Home

Count Renato Zavagli-Riccardelli, better known as René Gruau (1909-2004), was born in Rimini, Italy. He was probably the most well known fashion illustrator of his time – at least, his works are. Prolific in his output during his lengthy career, his work graced the covers and pages of fashion magazines such as Marie-Claire, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. He produced illustrations for a string of haute couture fashion houses; most famously Dior, but also Givenchy, Lanvin, Balmain, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Elizabeth Arden. He also designed advertising posters and other material for brands such as Air France, Martini, Cinzano, Du Maurier, Rodier, Blizzand and Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita.

His work is widely available online, from original artwork and prints on Artnet and 1st Dibs to reproduction items on eBay and Etsy. A handful of books have been published about the man and his designs – available on Amazon.

Portrait of René Gruau

Additional image credits:

Christies | Gruau Collection

Price Points: Coffee subscriptions

Coffee subscriptions | H is for Home

Last week, we featured online tea offers; this week, it’s only fair to investigate a few coffee subscriptions available. We only drink one or two cups each per day, but we like them to be made using good quality beans. Favourite of ours are full-bodied espresso beans – and decaf espresso beans for evening consumption.

  1. Coffee-Direct: from £5.99 per 227 sample bag (save 15% when bought on subscription)
    Probably the one of the three that has the most choice – there are 16 different Espresso roast coffees alone! Coffee-Direct explain:

    At the checkout you have the option to choose to receive your order periodically, at any frequency that suits you. What’s more, once your subscription is set up, you’re able to amend, skip, pause or delete your subscription at any time.

  2. Coffee REAL: subscriptions – £36 – £328 (3, 6 or 12 month coffee subscriptions, 6 – 52 bags of beans)
    Coffee REAL is a company with a charitable heart. 10% of the purchase price of their espresso blend goes directly to the Born Free Foundation – and, even better, the blend is made from 2 top coffees that originate in areas where Born Free run wildlife projects.
  3. Skinny Coffee Club: from £24.95 (28 day, 8-week and 12-week day/night programmes)
    Well, I never knew that you could drink coffee in an effort to help you drop a dress size or two! According to their blurb:

    Skinny Coffee Club is ideal for those looking to lose weight, fast. It’s tasty, organic and designed specifically to raise your metabolism, burn fat, fill you with energy throughout the day and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

    There’s only 63mg of caffeine and 6 calories in each cup. Skinny Coffee is comprised of ground coffee, ground green coffee bean extract, green tea extract powder, Garcinia Cambogia, Siberian ginseng powder and spirulina powder. I’ve no idea how much like traditional coffee it tastes but there are thousands of reviews on their website posted by satisfied (slimmer) customers!

Strawberry ice cream

Home-made no churn strawberry ice cream in a glass coupe | H is for Home

I was planning to bake a loaf for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post but it’s been sooooooo hot that I couldn’t bear the thought of having a hot oven on for hours! I’ve returned to one of my hot summer favourites – no churn ice cream – this time one I’ve not made before, strawberry ice cream.

Puréed tinned strawberries | H is for Home

It may be mid-June and a fortnight before Wimbledon begins, but none of the strawberries in our garden have even begun to ripen yet. That meant that I had to use shop bought ones… but I may make another batch when ours are ready!

Whipped home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

I’ve used both fresh and tinned strawberries in my recipe – and the result knocks spots off many shop bought brands. I think the secret is in reducing by half the liquid the tinned strawberries are in and adding it to the mix. It really intensifies the strawberry flavour and the sweetness.

Two 1-litre tubs of home-made, no churn strawberry ice cream | H is for Home

Click here to pin my recipe for later!

Strawberry ice cream
Yields 2
Ingredients
  1. 1 tin strawberries in syrup
  2. 600ml/21fl oz double cream
  3. 1 (397g/14oz) tin condensed milk
  4. 300g/10½oz fresh strawberries, finely choppedStrawberry ice cream ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Strain the tinned strawberries putting the liquid into a small saucepan
  2. Simmer the syrup until it's reduced by half. Set aside and allow to cool
  3. Purée the tinned strawberries
  4. In an electric mixer using the whisk attachment whip the double cream, condensed milk and strawberry purée on high for 5-7 minutes until the mixture thickens
  5. Gently fold in all but a couple of tablespoons of the chopped strawberries until evenly mixed through
  6. Decant into a 2-litre lidded container (or two 1-litre containers) and sprinkle the reserved, chopped strawberries evenly over the top
  7. Freeze for at least 4 hours - better still, overnight
Notes
  1. Once fully frozen, remove from the freezer 20 minutes before scooping & serving
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Box fresh!

Vintage Anglepoise lamp and original box | H is for Home

We’ve had lots of these classic Herbert Terry Anglepoise lamps over the years, but we’ve never had a box fresh example before. In fact, we’ve never seen an original box until now.

Mint condition, vintage Anglepoise lamp | H is for Home

The earlier, stepped-base Anglepoise lamps have firm followers, but this early 1970s version also has devoted fans… and, along with the very similar 1960s Model 75, it’s probably our favourite shape. This site will show you the various Terry-designed Anglepoise lamps available to hunt out – or help you date your own vintage Anglepoise.

Box label of mint condition, vintage Anglepoise lamp | H is for Home

This Model 90 is available in a variety of colourways. As you can see from the packaging, it’s mushroom grey in this case.

Mint condition, vintage Anglepoise lamp | H is for Home

Some people like their vintage homewares with a bit of wear & tear – others prefer to search out pristine examples.

Name stamp on a vintage Anglepoise lamp | H is for Home

If you’re the latter, this could be the lamp for you… fully working, and hidden away for 40 years. We can’t guarantee it’s unused, but it certainly looks it!

A guide to mixing vintage with contemporary

Mixing vintage and contemporary style in our top-floor bedroom | H is for Home

The love for a vintage article – what’s the story behind the item? Where has it come from? Who loved it before you? What made them cherish it to the point that it’s survived the years of a throwaway society? There’s something comforting about vintage pieces whether it be a recognition of it from the films & TV we adore, or just a respect for its manufacture and survival.

Vintage industrial metal cabinet with antique rustic chair | H is for Home

With a little thoughtfulness and planning these relics from the past can be incorporated into our modern, busy lives and homes. The trick to getting vintage right is getting the balance between vintage and contemporary. There are no hard and fast rules, but it’s essential to get the balance right: too much vintage industrial and your living space can feel like a factory, too much rustic or shabby chic and the space can feel twee and staged. To develop cohesiveness, you need a combination of both vintage and modern, and a select few transitional pieces to bridge the gap between styles and eras.

Antique armchair with bright cushion and trio of vintage West German fat lava floor vases | H is for Home

Balance can be achieved by cleverly using colour, pattern and texture; proportion is key to all of these elements. You don’t want to overdo one aspect of your style preferences. Complementing accents of colour can be used in textiles and accessories to both unite and subtly support your vintage piece in its surroundings, turning it into an eye-catching focal point.

Vintage industrial trolley being used as a coffee table with contemporary metal drawers | H is for Home

Balance is critical when combining two very different styles; however, don’t be scared to contrast. Contrast adds interest to your design, and to have foolproof success, consider the largest piece of furniture and accessorize with contrasting items. Install a modern crystal chandelier over a vintage velvet chesterfield, or dress it with cushions of modern fabrics; place an antique lamp on an ultra-modern table. The options to contrast are limitless, and care needs to be taken not to create a haphazard, chaotic space. You want it to feel that the items in the room have been curated organically and not ordered straight from the page of a magazine. Choose one or two contrasting finishes to avoid visual chaos: sometimes less is more!

Pair of antique leather club chairs - one with a contemporary cushion from MADE.com - in front of a wood-burning stove | H is for Home

The age of everything being matched with theme-y precision is long gone. The most inspiring and attractive rooms are those that combine furniture, colours, textures and patterns that are both old and new, in a way that feels unique and effortless but breath-taking. Mixing vintage and contemporary styles allows you to be bold and reflect your personality and individuality.

Red contemporary floor lamp with antique stool and vintage West German fat lava vases | H is for Home

If you still feel something is interrupting the flow of your room, take some time out before looking at it again. If something still niggles, remove one of the objects and take another look. Sometimes a specific item can throw the room out and affect the overall look; you just need to resist the urge to add more to the room! Grouping together too many accessories of opposing design style can easily turn the look of your lounge into a garage sale.

Contemporary 'Rain rain go away' framed poster with collection of vintage gardening books | H is for Home

When you’ve finished decorating and styling the room, take a step back and survey it. Is it working? If it’s not quite right, it might feel like the obvious solution is to add more to the space; more colour, more furniture, more accessories. Instead, you should do the opposite. Remove items one by one to see if it’s a specific item (or items) affecting the overall look. In the words of Coco Chanel, “Less is always more”.

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Get their look: Chilled garden

Jo Whiley's chilled gardencredit

This chilled garden belongs to BBC radio and TV presenter, Jo Whiley. You’d expect something this relaxed and comfortable from the Glastonbury Festival veteran.

It’s a perfect candidate for Through the Keyhole – there are so many clues. Bales of hay for that Worthy Farm vibe? Check! Superstar DJ disco ball? Check! Fire bowl for sitting around playing or listening to music and toasting marshmallows? Check, check, check!

Strings of outdoor festoon lights and lanterns complete the easygoing ambience and, according to a recent article in House Beautiful, they’re very on-trend for this summer.

  1. 20 warm white LED connectible festoon lights
  2. 300mm silver disco mirror ball
  3. Hot lips cushion
  4. Black cage battery wax candle lantern, 20cm
  5. Outdoor battery flickering candle lantern
  6. Barley straw bale
  7. Metal double sun lounger
  8. Original recycled Kadai Fire Bowl®

Get their look Jo Whiley's chilled garden | H is for Home