Africa is a huge place – containing over 50 countries if you include the island nations. A myriad of landscapes is contained within their borders – savannah, desert, rainforests, mountains & sea coasts – from remote wilderness to urban hubs.
How can you sum it up in 8 items? Well, you can’t of course, but after browsing offerings on the web, here’s our choice of items with a distinct African flavour.
- Moroccan vintage candle tea light holder: £12.95, Bouf
- TWA Africa vintage airline travel advert print: £51.90, Zazzle
- Shabba bowl: £160, Clippings
- Maroc white tagine: £20, Habitat
- Ankara print cushion: £30.02, Etsy
- Africa wooden figures: £29, Scandinavian Design Centre
- Fabric by the metre – Herds by Skinny laMinx: £43.37, Etsy
- Cowhide – zebra beige rug: £389, Modern Rugs
We have a spare bedroom in our house that has been earmarked as a work room. It’s currently acting as a spill-over stock room, but the dream is for it to be a craft room. Well, part organised craft room and part creative home office.
One of the main considerations for a craft room is storage. I like and need order in a work room – everything in its place and conveniently to hand. Although they’re lightweight and often transparent, I really don’t like ugly plastic boxes. Give me wood, wicker, cardboard, textile and other natural materials any day.
Another important thing to take into account is your comfort. You’ll probably be sitting down for long periods of time – at a sewing machine, at a desk – you don’t need a chair that makes your back ache. It needs to be the right height for the table or desk that you sit at so an adjustable workshop stool is ideal.
Adequate lighting is another necessity – especially if you’re doing jobs like embroidery or fitting a zip or attaching buttons. A good desk light with angled arms and a pivoting head is ideal for this kind of work. No straining your eyes with a dim overhead light casting a shadow over what you’re doing.
Once all these physical practicalities are taken care of, the emotional requirements need addressing. Colour is the best way to set a mood in an interior environment. Bright bursts of colour around the room lift the spirits. We both spend much of our working day listening to the radio – it’s usually tuned to BBC 6 Music but Radio 4 is the soundtrack to our lazy Sunday afternoons.
- Perivale Sewing Silks box: £200, H is for Home
- JL110 sewing machine, yellow: £99, John Lewis
- Female tailor’s dummy/mannequin: £28.95, eBay
- Wooden sewing box with legs: £50, Hobbycraft
- Large green cutting mat: £14.99, Dunelm
- PALLRA box with lid, set of 4, dark yellow: 12, IKEA
- PURE Evoke Mio radio stem print by Orla Kiely: £149.99, Selfridges
- Hemingway ladies print sewing & knitting range: £3-£6, John Lewis
- Colour pop wall shelves by I Love Retro: £129, Notonthehighstreet
- White pegboard with wooden pegs, large: £47.30, Amazon
- Jielde Signal desk light: £220, Clippings
- Konstantin Grcic Tom & Jerry stool: £336, Conran Shop
- Fonteyn console desk, oak: £369, MADE
Concrete – you either love it or loathe it. Brutalist, cold, ugly, boring? We don’t think so! Like Jonathan Meades, who lives in an apartment in the Le Corbusier-designed Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles, we think it can be beautiful, warm and exciting.
We might not be able to afford a flat in London’s Trellick Tower or (Adelle’s favourite building) Brighton’s Embassy Court, but concrete furniture and homewares are much more attainable and within our price range. There are lots of ingenious (not to mention cheap to make) DIY home & garden ware concrete projects freely available on the internet. From lamps moulded in plastic drink bottles, to letters moulded in ice cube trays to a jewellery display moulded in a Marigold glove!
If you’re interested in watching Meades’ recent 2-part BBC documentary, “Bunkers, Brutalism, Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry”, we’ve embedded them below.
- Concrete wallpaper CON-06 by Piet Boon: £198.99, Bodie and Fou
- Swing rocking chair: £3,325, Milkster
- Empty spice set tubes with concrete base: £36.41, Etsy
- Gray Concrete font: €70, HandmadeFont
- Concrete at Home: Innovative Forms and Finishes by Fu-Tung Cheng: from £11.38, Amazon
- Tema Home Petra side table: £154.47, Wayfair
- Urban floor lamp, black: £99, made.com
- Stool with fly motif: £86, Notonthehighstreet
- Magis Chair One: £415, Nest.co.uk
They say that a tidy desk equals a tidy mind. A well-designed, practical home office would be Nirvana to me. I like everything just so and in its rightful place. Chance would be a fine thing! To wrongly quote a well-known song, “Wherever I lay my laptop…”. I like to sit in the warmest, sunniest, quietest room in the house – and that room can vary from day to day, sometimes hour to hour.
If we did ever get a proper home office, these are some of the things we’d like in it. Bright colours, a peg board (you wouldn’t believe how hard to get hold of they are!) for keeping everything up & off the desk and STORAGE, STORAGE, STORAGE!
- SNILLE visitor’s chair, green: £12, IKEA
- Pegboard – essential storage organiser: £30.84, Etsy
- Morton trestle table, oak: £299, MADE
- Anglepoise 1228 floor lamp, daffodil: £230, John Lewis
- A4 aluminium clipboard: £8.95, Muji
- Me coffee cup, small: £22, Lovethesign
- Woodland ditsy magazine file: £7, Paperchase
- Bisley desktop cabinet 5 drawer steel orange: £51.99, Ryman
- Tutti Frutti waste paper bin: £110, Andrea Stemmer
- Brennenstuhl 4-way extension socket with 2m cable – green: £11.41, Amazon