Bookmarks: 100 Midcentury Chairs

100 Midcentury Chairs book on a vintage Ercol stacking chair by the fireside | H is for Home

We’ve had a few cold, wet and windy days here in Todmorden recently – perhaps even some snow tonight. So it’s wood-burner lit, 6 Music radio on – and time to catch up with some recently arrived magazines and books.

100 Midcentury Chairs book cover by Lucy Ryder Richardson

This edition of Bookmarks comes courtesy of a lady we first featured on our blog five years ago.

Grass-seated chair designed by George Nakashima

Lucy Ryder Richardson is the co-founder of Modern Shows and is the author of this newly published book, 100 Midcentury Chairs.

Paimio chair designed by Alvar Aalto

As the title says, the author has chosen 100 chairs (and stools) from the era to highlight; some that are very famous – like Arne Jacobsen’s Ant and Egg chairs – and others that are less well known.

Chieftain Chair designed by Finn Juhl and executed by Niels Vodder

She interviewed the children and relatives of the designers to create unique portraits of each chair…

Danish furniture designer, Finn Juhl

…the designers’ personal profiles and back stories, their influences, any specific sites that chairs were intended for or functions of the furniture, production techniques & processes and so on.

Charles and Ray Eames designed DCW chair

We love snippets of information such as Alvar Aalto designing the Paimio Armchair specifically for the tuberculosis hospital in Paiomo, south west Finland. It’s form is designed to position the tuberculosis patient at just the right angle to help them breath as they rested & recuperated. He was actually commissioned to design the whole hospital, so it’s full of his genius work.

Furniture and product designer, Charles Eames

And how about, Bruno Mattheson, designer of the Eva Chair, “perfecting the art of sitting by studying the shape his body made when he fell back into a snowdrift at different angles”.

J16 chair designed by Hans Wegner

The pages are dotted with quotes from the designers themselves, including Hans J. Wegner, Xavier Pauchard, Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames.

JH550 Peacock Chair designed by Hans Wegner

Pieces are featured in chronological order, spanning 40 years from the early 1930s to the early 1970s.

Hans Wegner's top 10 chairs

Interesting and informative, you’ll expand your knowledge of furniture design no end, and with almost 200 pages of full colour photographs, you’ll be able to swoon at chair heaven all along the journey.

Stack of Hillestak chairs designed by Robin Day for S Hille and Co

And it’s not just furniture we learned about – the book is full of little anecdotes such as the fact that Ettore Sottsass’ red Valentine typewriter was launched on Valentines Day, 1970. Who knew?!

Ant Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

The directory at the back of the book contains an extensive list of international midcentury modern furniture dealers, auctions, fairs and events.

International directory of Midcentury furniture dealers

It’s a new, must read resource for all modernist furniture fans and collectors.

Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen

It’s one of those great books to dip in and out of – a few pages at a time with a cup of tea!

Cherner Armchair designed by Norman Cherner for Plycraft

We do love a nice chair – in fact we’ve probably got about 10 more chairs than we actually need in our house. We’ve got another hundred now – but these can all fit neatly on a bookshelf!

UP5 Donna Chair designed by Gaetano Pesce for C&B Itaila

This wonderful book comes highly recommended indeed and will provide us with an invaluable reference in future.

Synthesis 45 Typist Chair, Z9/r designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti

Buy yourself a copy of 100 Midcentury Chairs by Saturday 19th November here, and get FREE entry to the following day’s Midcentury Modern Show at Dulwich College, London. You’ll even be able to get it signed by the author. Alternatively, you can find it available on AbeBooks, Amazon or Hive.

Lucy Ryder Richardson signing 100 Midcentury Chairs

[Many thanks to Pavilion Books for the review copy]

Bookmarks: Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey book with brass candle holder | H is for Home

Interiors journalist, blogger and now author, Kate Watson-Smyth, has produced our favourite interiors book for ages – Shades of Grey.

Shades of Grey frontispage

We do love a bit of grey! We currently use it as the backdrop for all our web shop photos, but also have plans that involve our house too… once we can arrange some decorating time.

Pile of textiles in various shades of grey

But why is grey now so popular? Many people cite the rise in popularity of Scandi dramas; it’s the colour of their landscapes and their homes. Shades of grey are easier on the eye – and therefore easier to live with – than stark black and white. Grey is very versatile; Watson-Smyth calls it the perfect neutral. It goes with just about everything – black, white, brights, pastels and metallics.

Four grey décor vignettes

Watson-Smyth advises that once you’re ready to take the grey plunge, there are a few things you should think about when choosing the shade. The orientation of the room; what direction it faces. The time of day the room is most used. Even in which hemisphere you live.

Advice on using grey in a north-facing room

Every page is adorned with inspirational images of grey interiors in every shade – from the palest ash to the darkest midnight. Helpfully, many of the photographs include details of the colour and manufacturer. If you already have a particular brand and shade of grey in mind, the index at the back lists the page of each photo that uses it.

Dark grey armchair in front of a wood-burning stove

The book is full of essential, easy-to-read advice; helping you avoid the (often expensive) pitfalls that can occur if updating your home’s colour scheme.

Wood panelled bedroom painted in Farrow & Ball's 'Railings'

It’s also peppered with quotes and advice from interiors experts such as interiors maven Abigail Ahern and Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux, along with lots of grey-related facts & trivia.

Silver and green-grey bathroom

After reading the book from cover to cover, I’m pretty sure of the path ahead. I want to go for a vertical graduating effect with the colour deepening as you move up through the floors of the house.

'Choosing the right shade of grey' chapter

We live in an often gloomy Pennine valley bottom so our east-facing front room which is used during the day will need a warm, light-enhancing shade such as Little Greene’s French Grey.

Grey painted vintage industrial kitchen

Our bedroom is on the middle floor; west-facing and often bathed in wonderful, golden evening light. Getting out of bed on a cold winter’s morning however, is a different story. Mole’s Breath is a beautiful, soft mid-grey which waking up enveloped by would be a joy.

Grey painted bedroom with shelf of light coloured ceramic vases

We spend much of the evening in our top-floor den, so the very deep dark grey of Farrow & Ball’s Railings on the walls, skirting and ceiling would transform the room into a dramatic – yet cosy, embracing cocoon.

Dark grey painted fireplace and alcove with floating shelves

Shades of Grey is available from Amazon and Hive.

[Many thanks to Ryland Peters & Small for this review copy]

Bookmarks: Style Me Vintage – Home

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'Style Me Vintage' book by Keeley Harris


We’ve been looking forward to reviewing Style Me Vintage – Home by Keeley Harris. It’s just our cup of tea!

'Style Me Vintage' title page | H is for Home

We first met Keeley a few years ago at the Vintage Home Show at Victoria Baths, a regular vintage event she curates (the next of which is happening this Sunday – 15th March).

'Style Me Vintage' 'Where to start' chapter page | H is for Home

As well as the VHS in Manchester, Keeley organises the Festival of Vintage in York, owns the Vintage Emporium – which has concessions across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. She co-runs the Vintage Academy and weekly Twitter chat #VintageBizHour with fellow vintage expert, Kate Beavis. In addition, she regularly writes for and contributes to various vintage magazines and appears on TV. Goodness knows where she found the time or the energy to write this book!

Collection of vintage art glass vases in various colours | H is for Home

Anyhow, on to the book! If you’re only just putting your toe into the water of vintage homewares and interior decoration, this book is a great starting point.

'Style Me Vintage' '1920s' chapter page | H is for Home

There’s an initial overview on how to get going, writing checklists and possible sources for items.

'Style Me Vintage' 1960s vignette | H is for Home

The book then breaks down the collecting & styling into eras – the decades from the 1920s through to the 1970s. Each decade is further sub-divided into useful sections.

'Style Me Vintage' 'Design Influences' section | H is for Home

‘Main Design Influences’ – the external factors that filtered through to home styles – think Art Deco and Hollywood glamour in the 1920s or Pop Art and the space age in the 1960s.

'Style Me Vintage' '1930s' chapter page | H is for Home

‘Get the Look’ – takes the home, room by room, and advises on key furniture pieces & accessories that will help you achieve the feel and appearance of an era.

'Style Me Vintage' '1940s' chapter page | H is for Home

‘Details’ – those essential touches such as wall coverings, lighting and artwork.

vintage enamelware | H is for Home

Peppered throughout are lots of tips on what to look for and home owners’ quotes such as this from Ste & Kat, “We’re big fans of simple design and smooth lines with masses of functionality and think most classics from the Midcentury have both in bucket loads. We like to mix Midcentury with modern and classic design”. Our thoughts exactly!

'Eclectic' chapter | H is for Home

If you happen to be ‘old hands’ like us, this book is equally satisfying. We love having a nose into other people’s homes. All the interiors featured within are ‘real world’ spaces; no unattainable staged sets here!

stove-top vignette | H is for Home

The are lots of familiar vintage items but it’s always a treat seeing how homeowners put them together and juxtapose with the new.

'Industrial' chapter | H is for Home

Towards the end of the book are chapters covering ‘Eclectic’, ‘Industrial’ and ‘Shabby Chic’ styles – popular looks that don’t sit easily into any particular decade.

vintage 1950s Alfred Meakin 'Circus' pottery tea set | H is for Home

There’s also a double page spread where Keeley recommends vintage shops, events and specialists that you can visit to help make your dream vintage home a reality… and we’re included – yay!! 🙂

vintage kitchen storage | H is for Home

We’d highly recommend this as a source of inspiration & information for both newbie and more experienced vintage homeware fans. Get your copy from the publishers or our Amazon Astore.

[Many thanks to Pavilion Books for the review copy]

Bookmarks: 70s Style & Design

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cover from the book, "70s Style & Design" styled with vintage 1970s ladies handbags, dress & jewellery

In terms of style & design, the 1970s is sometimes dismissed as being a bit naff or as the decade that taste forgot.

title page from the book, "70s Style & Design"

This is very wide of the mark – its influence being both wide ranging and long-lasting.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a page from a 1970s Habitat catalogue

This book, 70s Style & Design, by Dominic Lutyens & Kirsty Hislop clearly demonstrates this.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a siting room with a large yellow sofa

The decade was remarkable for its diversity – its range of cultures & counter cultures. It began with hippies & flower power and ended with punks & new wave!

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing groovy "paint just took a trip" illustration

There was a ‘loosened up spirit of fashion & design’ during this period. A strong sense of doing your own thing, experimentation, freedom and fun.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a neon ceiling

There were trends & fashions of course, but it never descended into a bland homogenisation.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a model wearing a black & white striped jumpsuit posing in front of a red brick wall with the Chrysler Building in the background

It was a very eclectic decade in terms of style & design. Psychedelia & flower power spilled over from the 1960s; then there was the strong influence of Art Deco and Art Nouveau, nostalgic Victoriana, the folksy/back to nature style – and later on a harder edged industrial look.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" entitled, "Pop to Postmodernism"

It has been referred to as a decade of ‘the self’. Whether that be individuals looking towards & analysing their inner self – or an outward expression through personal appearance or living & work spaces. This resulted in a real blossoming of creativity.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a model in glasses & headscarf

The book highlights the influence of various music scenes, movements such as gay rights & women’s lib, the importance of an increasing awareness of the environment, the political & economic factors prevalent at the time, the increasing & diverse student population, the new DIY ethos in fashion & interiors, a craft renaissance – and the impact of shops such as Habitat, Mr Freedom, Biba and Granny Takes a Trip.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a model in facepaint holding a "Black is Beautiful" poster

Divided into four chapters, From Pop to Postmodernism, Belle Epoque, Supernature and Avant Garde, the book tackles these subjects in great detail and does a remarkable job in drawing all these strands together.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a number of black performers including Boney M and Diana Ross

The text is informative, articulate & well researched – the accompanying photographs capturing all the spirit of this fabulous decade.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" at the "Global Pillage" chapter

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing a large foundry building in Arizona, USA

The 70s isn’t a particularly well documented era in terms of style & design – this book helps redress the balance.

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing people who choose to live in hippie communes or have a macrobiotic diet

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing David Bailey's Notting Hill flat

As well as having their own dedicated website, the authors write the Flashin’ on the 70s blog which features even more 70s (and 70s inspired) gorgeousness!

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing models wearing colourful clothes & platform sandals

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing models wearing folk inspired fashion

As usual, the book is available both direct from the publisher, Hive, and through our H is for Home UK & US Amazon aStores

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing several photos of punks

page from the book, "70s Style & Design" showing several androgynous style people including Mick Jagger, New York Dolls and Dr. Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Show

[Many thanks to Thames & Hudson for this review copy]

Bookmarks – The Way We Live with the things we love

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'The Way we Live with the Things we Love' book cover


Those of you who have seen photos of our home know that we’re avid collectors of all manner of things.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love" page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

Which brings us neatly to the second title in our Bookmarks review series, The Way We Live With the Things We Love by Stafford Cliff & Gilles de Chabaneix and published by Thames & Hudson.

pages from "The Way We Live - with the things we love" with mug of tea and spectacles

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

The book celebrates the things with which we fill our houses – and how people express their personality through their homes and the objects they collect.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from 'The Way We Live - with the things we love'

We’re always looking for imaginative ways to display…

page from 'The Way We Live - with the things we love'

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

…and this book is full of great ideas.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

All the wonderful images, from houses all around the world, were taken by a single photographer, Gilles de Chabaneix, who spent over 40 years photographing domestic interiors.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

The book doesn’t try to advise on what objects to collect, but offers inspiration for people who love to rummage at markets, bid at auction or have treasured heirlooms they want to put on show.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

Objects ranging from fine art to humble beach-combed finds rub shoulders throughout the book.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

From familiar groupings of mirrors and paintings, to much more idiosyncratic collections, such as a wall-full of vintage postcards of rock formations!

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

It’s a great lazy afternoon or bedtime read, with over 200 pages of inspiring, fascinating and intriguing rooms.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

page from 'The Way We Live - with the things we love'

We’ve revisited the book a few times this week which is a good sign… and you do notice new things each time.

page from "The Way We Live - with the things we love"

The book is one in the Way We Live: series and can also be bought from our Amazon bookshops: UK | US

[Many thanks to Thames & Hudson for supplying this review copy]