Bitossi bull

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Look at this fine fellow!

Vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

The vintage Bitossi bull was a favourite buy from last week. It was designed by Aldo Londi, the company’s artistic director for over half a century. This piece dates from the 1950s/60s era.

Underside of a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

Bold colour, stylised shape and impressed, textural decoration are all classic hallmarks of Aldo Londi’s Rimini Blu.

Maker's mark on a vintage Bitossi bull | H is for Home

As you can see, it’s factory marked to the underside – and condition is very good with no chips or cracks – just a bit of age-related crazing to the glaze. It’s a good size too, measuring just over 30cm in length, so a real eye-catching piece. A classic bit of mid century modern home décor! Available to buy in our web shop this week priced at £150.

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

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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Ken Law Brooklyn Bridge print

Ken Law Brooklyn Bridge print with vintage West German vases | H is for Home

In our last Ken Law inspired post, we mentioned that we were on the lookout for a copy of his ‘New York’ print. Well, our wait is over!

Vintage Ken Law Brooklyn Bridge print showing signature | H is for Home

We bought this cute little example last week – for the bargain price of £1. The stylised river, bridge and skyline scene is classic Ken Law. We love how he creates an image incorporating a series of coloured ‘blocks’. It’s so imaginative and distinctive.

Vintage Ken Law Brooklyn Bridge print | H is for Home

Despite only being small, it still grabs your attention as you turn a corner on our landing. We’ve hung it alongside a group of vintage West German vases. We thought the styles and colours worked very well together. One of our last foreign trips (pre Fudge) was a fabulous ten-day holiday in New York – so, in addition to being an eye-catching decorative piece, it’s a lovely reminder of some great days sightseeing, shopping and drinking cocktails in El Quijote!

Pushing my buttons

Green vintage 1980s Viscount telephone and Swiss cheese plant | H is for Home

The rise of the mobile phone over the last couple of decades has obviously decreased the need for home versions, but many people still retain their land-line for various reasons – better reception, lower call costs, business use etc.

Green vintage 1980s Viscount telephone | H is for Home

And, if you’re going to have one, it might as well be aesthetically pleasing. We picked up this early 1980s Viscount push button telephone at the flea market this week… well, who could miss this fabulous eye-popping green!

Close up view of a green vintage 1980s Viscount telephone showing the old British Telecom logo | H is for Home

Produced by The Standard Telephone Company for British Telecom, it would sit perfectly in any self-respecting mid century modern interior – atop the teak telephone stool, sideboard or Ladderax shelving unit, perhaps.

Close up view of the base of a green vintage 1980s Viscount telephone showing the manufacturer's and model details | H is for Home

We think it’s a beautifully designed piece – form and function working in harmony. You’ll find it listed on our web shop later on this week – price £30.