Hurray for Heal’s – Living Room Design Challenge

Vintage Heal's Easy Chairs poster

Those of your who have scurried down London’s Tottenham Court Road of late may have noticed something rather special going on at Heal’s. After over 200 years in the furniture biz (most of which has been spent at this site), the grand old dame has recently undergone something of a spring clean, including restoring her swooping Cecil Brewer staircase, complete with iconic 1920’s cat mascot (once almost sold in error by an eager shop assistant and later paid tribute to by knitwear queen Donna Wilson). Her floors have had something of a shake-up, too, with a far more curated collection of accessories on the ground floor and a larger smattering of new designers’ pieces throughout, under the Heal’s Discovers umbrella. But you needn’t miss out if you’re not in the Big Smoke, as fortunately their website has also undergone a similar spruce-up, and a much firmer focus placed on seating in particular, with a dedicated sofa site to boot.

Frame sofa by Ian Archer, £3,595, Heal's

With this in mind, Heal’s asked a team of interiors writers and bloggers (including yours truly) to come up with a living room design based around one of their key sofas from the site, with the winning design to feature as a real-life set-up in store. You don’t need to ask me twice to spend hours dribbling over their website, so I duly rose to the challenge, starting with selecting my favourite sofa: the Frame, by Ian Archer (shown above in large and upholstered in coral camira hemp). With its sexy, mid-century-yet-nod-to-the-contemporary walnut frame, boxy sides and striking colourway options, this is one seriously swoonworthy bit of kit, and the perfect basis for a little fantasy-makeover dreaming. The warmth of both the walnut and fabric work brilliantly with this season’s hot trend, copper (it’s the new black, don’tcha know) and also, to my delight, worked rather nicely with a few little Moroccan-infused flourishes. Behold:


Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Main Elements

As the main ‘ingredients’ for the room, these pieces mix together the Moroccan and mid-century touches wonderfully, with slivers of warm colour coming through in the upright dividers of the Kay + Stemmer flow bookcase (4) and bold top of the Punt Stockholm sideboard by Mario Riuz (6). Copper elements are introduced in both the Cantori City side table (2) and Blu Dot Scamp coffee table (6), which also help ground the scheme with their crisp outlines. The stunning Plantation Rugs Bones rug (5) sets the scene for adding Moroccan detailing throughout the space, with Rothschild & Bickers’ Retro pendant light (1) tying everything together in a rather special way.

Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Sitting Area

It wouldn’t be a scheme of mine without adding in some form of slightly macabre animal motif, and Kristjana Williams’ Twin Owls cushion does the job rather nicely here, bringing in a touch of whimsy to lift the look. And whilst being very different in style, the Boeme Aurora Noir cushion (8) and Eleanor Pritchard line cushion (9) all sit happily together, carrying through the tones of the rug without feeling matchy-matchy. The Leimu large table lamp by Magnus Pettersen (12), with its unusual concrete base, contrasts wonderfully with the more ornate ceiling pendant, and the coffee table quite frankly looks like it’s crying out for the Discipline Roule tray by Pauline Deltour (11) and the Cumbria Crystal Six 11 carafe and wine glass (10), filled with some cheeky Rioja.

Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Dressing Props

But what of the remaining empty shelf, surface space and walls, crying out for trinkets and baubles, I hear you wail? Ahem. Well, fear not – I’ve got that one in the bag, too. With several flashes of pattern already going on, the Deknudk Decora Little Lady mirror proves the perfect piece to grace the walls – simple, with just a slight touch of Victoriana, creating an interesting, eclectic mix. The Ontwerpduo (13), Iittala Nappula (14) and Hay Lup solid triangle candlesticks (15) respectively do a grand job of carrying through tones from the rug and sofa and pick up the copper element, and a sneaky little Iittala glass bird (17) helps my beloved owl cushion feel a little more at home, too. Covering off the trinkets department, the opulent yet simplistic Tom Dixon Spun Copper tall vase (18) contrasts wonderfully with the intricate detailing on the Finsdottir Honkadonka black vase (19 – and also winner of my Favourite Product Name Ever contest) and its squat companion, the Finsdottir Twinkle Little Bat grey litbox (20).

To link through to all these lovelies, do pop over to my Pinterest page, featuring all of these and numerous other items also in my design shortlist. What’s on your wishlist?

{Images: all product images and vintage advertising images taken from the Heal’s website. This post was produced in partnership with the Heal’s Challenge – all product choices are my own}


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About Joanna Thornhill

Freelance Interior Stylist, Author, Writer and Crafter working for a range of magazine titles and commercial clients. Author of Home for Now (CICO Books 2014)

One response to “Hurray for Heal’s – Living Room Design Challenge”

  1. interiorthinking says :

    What an amazing opportunity! And you scheme and picks look amazing, good luck! I can’t wait to see the winning design!

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