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Top Ten Rental Buys: My Curated Sale with Joss & Main


…Just popping in quickly (I’ve been busy with back-to-back festive shoots these past couple of months!) as I wanted to share this rather exciting collection with you. Joss and Main, the American flash-sales site, set up shop on our fair isle several months back now (with Germany and France to follow any day now), sharing their buys from throughout the globe and organising them as curated three-day themed sales (often with discounted prices). The team invited me to guest-curate my own sale and I’m happy to report it’s now live! The sale is themed around the idea of The Stylish Rental and includes clever ideas for both decorative and practical homewares, with the temporary home in mind (yes, I may have been a teensy bit inspired by my book, Home for Now). I pulled together a number of product and theme ideas and presented them to the team of in-house buyers, who then sourced a fantastically eclectic collection of over 90 products to fit the brief. I have mentally purchased most of them myself already, but in the interest of giving an edited selection, here are my favourite ten from the sale below:

Joss & Main Curated Sale by Joanna Thornhill picks 1-5

1. Chevron Tempaper removable wallpaper in teal : 2. 1000 Ships by Richard Peacock wall art : 3. Two-piece Octa glass planter set : 4. Riba storage box set : 5. Ridgeley Etagere

Joss & Main Curated Sale by Joanna Thornhill picks 6-10

6. Rainforest candle holder set : 7. Antiqua wall mirror : 8. Bobbin drawer knob : 9. Langton wire shelf : 10. Indigo pedestal table

To snap up any of these goodies for yourself, head over to the homepage and sign up using this link (disclaimer: if you use this actual link, I get a few credits in the bank, allowing me to buy some stuff of my own, so if you’re signing up anyway it’d be marvellous if you could use it!) The sale ends Thursday lunchtime (25th Sep) – now go forth and shop! And do let me know what you buy…

Oh and psst – there’s also an interview with me on their blog, Plume. Think of it as some bonus content.

{Images: All product images taken from Joss & Main. Image used in The Stylish Rental banner taken from my book, Home for Now (Cico Books 2014)


Working Girl: Setting up a (fantasy) Office Space

The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop

With my Art Trail, book-flogging debut out of the way, it’s been a busy time at Stylist HQ of late – and with Christmas(-in-July – when us media folk have to put our festive hats on in order to file Crimbo features in time for the big day) just around the corner, I’ve been chasing my tail somewhat in order to get ready for all the press shows that are fast filling my diary.

Back in March, I cleared out my study at home as Men were coming to replace my super-leaky, mega-rotten back window. I thought I’d use it as an opportune moment to completely empty out the room and actually finish decorating it, having only really been camping in there up to this point. I assured the boyf that I MUST be back in there within the week, two at most, so we’d have to work extra-hard to get the space sorted to minimise my camping-in-a-corner-of-the-dining-room-using-chairs-as-in-trays hell.

Yes, needless to say, four months on I’m still shoved in a corner downstairs at my makeshift workstation. Between having no free time and various technical malfunctions (my actual computer, plus issues with all the furniture I’m painstakingly customising prior to moving back in) it’s all I can do not to daydream of sacking it all off and moving into a Proper Office Space. But on my own terms, obvs. I’m thinking some sort of former industrial unit with crittall windows and exposed brickwork, like the space above (OK, technically that’s a coffee shop, but you get my drift.) I’m lucky to live in London anyway so a quick dash on the tube to one of my favourite spots (I’m thinking Clerkenwell, though this one just down the road in the City looks pretty tasty from the outside, too) would be do-able. There’s no shortage of hot desks and communal studios dotted about the capital but there’s also plenty of serviced offices too – definitely something to think about in the future, even if for the time being it’s still just a bit of a fantasy. Of course, the extra space would allow me to take on some staff (an assistant, 24/7 IT support and a Chief Coffee Maker/Biscuit Provider would do for starters) and I could actually catch up with clients in my meeting area (which currently consists of a half-metre corner of said home-study, where I’ve plonked a footstool). Here’s how it might look:

Dream Office Workspace by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

A self-contained, freestanding unit would offer loads of flexibility within a large space, so this clever Shesk freestanding shelf and desk, soon to launch at Habitat, would be a great place to start (1). I do love a pegboard and a few of these large ones in light blue, £60 from Block (2) would provide the perfect versatile display without requiring holes-in-walls – great for a rented space. I often feel I’d benefit from horse blinkers at work to stop me getting distracted – having them built into my chair (ID Trim Cap chair, price on application, Vitra) certainly seems an appealing prospect. For flexibility in an open-plan space, these chunky drawers are ideal thanks to their industrial wheels, and cound happily house all my samples and swatches. House Doctor wooden side table, £495, Bodie and Fou (4).


Dream Office Workspace - Communal Areas by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Looking at the wider space generally, a splash of colour to shelf brackets on an open-backed unit would work well to zone off an open-plan space, without feeling corporate. This example – believe it or not – is actually an Ikea hack (5). In-keeping with the industrial style yet with a touch of muted pastel to soften things up, this gorgeous Eikon basic ash lamp, £200 from Furnie (6), would look striking clustered together in a group or hung low over a meeting table, for which the Scrumpy, £645 from Loaf (9), would do a grand job of providing. A chill-out zone is a must, and I’m partial to a bit of button-back as so splendidly showcased on this Ritchie two-seat sofa, a mere £499 from (7). And if you’re going to have your own little hive of industry, why not realise that childhood dream and commission your very own name in lights from Goodwin & Goodwin (8)?!

Dream Office Workspace - Desktop Accessories by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Desktop organisation is key and pretty things certainly help achieve that visual zen. Get your secretary (ahem) to manage your diary in style with this Letterpress filecard planner, £19.50, Present & Correct (10). A splash of neon livens up any scheme – and as these sunglasses-inducing-in-a-good-way pencils also moonlight as rulers, why not get one of each? Flourescent ruler pencils, £1.25 each, Future & Found (11). Then, to show you’ve really hit the big time, nothing says success quite like some gold desktop goodies (um, OK, they’re not real gold) in the form of a handy Pencil holder, £44 from Anthropologie (12) and snazzy Paper tray, £61 from Another Country (13). And yes, they might not be as practical as an actual filing cabinet, but I doubt unpaid invoices will ever look as good elsewhere as they would in these stunning Plisse archive folders by Hay Studio, £27 each at Really Well Made (14). Finally, a little lamp to light the way will help when burning the midnight oil, especially if it has little golden feet like the Arles, £96 from In-Spaces (15).

Right, so who fancies a job? Yeah? See you there at 9am sharp on Monday. The address is In My Mind, with salary payable in whimsical notions and dreams, sigh… *goes back to finishing off DIY in real-life study in the hopes of actually sharing some After shots soon*

{Images: Opening shot of The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop, Sydney. All other images as per the companies’ credited. This post was supported by Flexi Offices but all products and images shown were entirely my own choice}

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}

The Perfect Bathroom: What Floats Your Boat?

Bathroom Bling at CP Hart by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

With temperatures verging on tropical here in Blighty right now, what better time to look at some pretty pictures of more nice bathrooms? Quite frankly I’m hugely tempted to abandon deskwork altogether to jump fully clothed under my shower head for an icy rinse, followed by lying pathetically on my cool ceramic floor until sundown. But sadly I have some gingerbread men to bake for a Christmas shoot tomorrow (yep, natch) so I shall stick to visual-only bathing with my eyes.

CP Hart Blogger's Event June 2013

As mentioned in my last post, CP Hart recently challenged a group of stylists and bloggers (including yours truly) to design a ‘dream’ bathroom scheme. As my long-slaved-over bathroom is still pretty dreamy to me, I came up with a parallel-universe dreamspace – see it here. What was interesting, however, when attending the event last week (including a tour round their inspirational Waterloo showroom featuring a modern bathroom set-up with a tub so big that six of us designers plus PR’s and showroom types could comfortably squeeze in with no one ‘stuck at the tap end’) was seeing everyone’s variations on the brief. Here are three of my favourite schemes from the day:

Graphic Contemporary Bathroom Board by Fabric of my Life, compiled by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Super-blogger Kate, of Fabric of my Life fame, came up with this cool graphic look that for those who know her, is totally her. I LOVE these yellow tiles and super modern feel of her selection broken up with these quirky Marvis toothpaste tubes, and a dollop of geometric goes a long way in my book.

Gatsby Glamour Bathroom Board by Dear Designers, compiled by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Heart Home editor Carol, of Dear Designer’s blog, cleverly fused a Great-Gatsby-by-way-of-Marrakech vibe to her dream bathing space. Featuring antiqued glass backdrops, subtle Riad floor tiles and touches of souk-chic bling within the accessories, this space is the perfect antidote to a slick silver space.

Easy Elegance Bathroom Board by A Diary of Lovely, compiled by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

And finally, Helena from A Diary of Lovely created an easy elegance-inspired bathing space, taking the lead from the bathroom of one of my favourite location houses belonging to uber-stylist Atlanta Bartlett of Pale & Interesting fame. This is a casual, elegantly mismatched look in a firmly neutral palette, with flashes of grey and black thrown in for interest. Vintage frames and mirrors adorn the walls and flooring is – naturally – a simple, whitewashed affair.

So there you have it – what’s your favourite look? If you’re still reading and haven’t run sweltering from the house to shoehorn yourself into the kid’s paddling pool with a Mr Whippy and a sunhat, that is….

{Images: Bathroom Bling pics copyright Joanna Thornhill. Group shot copyright A Diary of Lovely. All other images taken via the Pinterest boards of the mentioned bloggers – for credit details, see here for Fabric of my Life, here for Dear Designer’s and here for A Diary of Lovely}

Refined Natural Bathroom – CP Hart Design Challenge

Textural Bathroom by Joanna Thornhill for EKBB Magazine

Followers of this ‘ere blog will know that I’ve been redecorating my bathroom for about the past ten months (the initial four-day quote turned out to be somewhat optimistic), and as discussed in my last post, I’m overjoyed to say it’s now approximately 97% complete (the final 3% involves silicon, grout and electricity, so needless to say it’s unlikely to reach totality anytime soon). And I can gladly say I am utterly in love with my little bathroom, and not just because anything’s better than the ‘dark days’ of washing my hair with a jug of tepid water for weeks on end whilst trying to dodge chunks of plaster gently trickling into the bath. So when CP Hart asked a bunch of interior stylists, designers and bloggers to design their dream bathroom space as part of a campaign, with their favourite design to be recreated in their 2014 brochure, I initially drew a blank. However, after having a squiz through their website and various bathroom design ideas, I decided to simply put my stylist hat on and approach the challenge as if I were creating a set for a photoshoot.

As my own bathroom contains traditional Victorian design elements, with a touch of Moroccan styling in the tiles, I decided to select a very contemporary suite as the basis for my fictional design, to try out a totally different direction to my own home – window-shopping vicariously, if you will. I was reminded of a shoot I styled (above) for Essential Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom magazine a few years back (coincidentally, in CP Hart’s Waterloo showroom) where I had softened the space with lots of natural, earthy accessories and textures, and liked the juxtaposition this gave the space. As I began noticing a slight theme in the sanitaryware and taps I was drawn to – gently curved pebble shapes for the former, waterfall for the latter – I decided my theme should be Refined Natural: less of a stark contrast than my original shoot, but still mixing these very modern bathroom pieces with delicately, rustic-tinged-yet-still-really-rather-classy tiles and accessories.

The Fittings - CP Hart Styling Challenge for Stylist's Own blog by Joanna Thornhill

1. Regent bevelled mirror, 2. Hayon Organico wall-mounted bathroom light, 3. Libero basin mixer, 4. Laufen Alessi One drop-in washbasin, 5. Giro back to wall WC, 6. Libero bath spout, 7. Gessi Collections Minimali shower head, 8. Coniston freestanding bath, all available via CP Hart.

With the basic fixtures decided (and frankly, who wouldn’t enjoy lying in an egg-shaped bath with water from an oversized rainfall tap washing over them?) it was time to choose the backdrop for this elegantly contoured sanctuary:

The Background - CP Hart Styling Challenge for Stylist's Own blog by Joanna Thornhill

1.  Stratum tiles in white, grey and anthracite, £5.99 per tile, Topps Tiles. 2. Woods window film, from £75 made to order, Nic Miller for Surface View. 3. Pizarra Black floor tiles 30x60cm, £6.49 per tile, Topps Tiles.

To provide contrast with the sinewy curves of the bathroom fittings, I wanted a textured tile, and the Stratum from Topps Tiles was just the ticket – I’d go with the white for the bulk of the space, adding in feature panels with the grey and anthracite to highlight other elements of the room, such as the inside of the giant walk-in shower area this fictional dream-room undoubtedly contains. Dark slate-effect tiles for the floor compliment the look perfectly without stealing the walls’ thunder, and for a touch of fun – and an alternative to blinds – a woods print window frosting film adds both pattern and privacy. And finally, onto those all-important finishing touches:

The Props - CP Hart Styling Challenge for Stylist's Own blog by Joanna Thornhill

1. Jacquard forest towels, from £5.99 each, Zara Home. 2. Tree trunk side table (great to pop towels and clothes on when changing), £125, French Connection Home. 3. English Romantic hooks, £15 each, Chocolate Creative. 4. Light gesso towel ladder, £55, Cox & Cox. 5. Gulping Guppy ring dish, £16, Anthropologie. 6. Zinc lined willow baskets, from £68, Rowen & Wren. 7. Bucket sauna (fab for storage), £16, French Connection Home.  8. Set of two grey gesso candlesticks, £50, Cox & Cox

With just a couple of heavy nods to greenery and nature, the bulk of this look is kept light with grey and pale finishes and simple craftsmanship. Plus an obligatory novelty fish jewellery holder for those who enjoy sniggering in the back. I for one am rather taken with it all (just don’t tell my current bathroom – he wouldn’t understand…)

I’ll be reporting back after the fancy unveiling party later this week, where I’ll get to see my fellow internet-buddies’ designs, but to see all these lovelies plus a few bonus extras all in one place, check out my Pinterest board on the subject.

{Image credits: top lifestyle shot photograph by Mike Daines, styling Joanna Thornhill. All product shots as per the companies’ credited}

Desktop Divas: Ten Stylish Pics for National Stationery Week

Stationery Compilation by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Sometimes I think (OK, I know) PR’s just make up a National insert-brand-or-product-here Week as a gimmick to get us journos talking about their wares. One even invented National Stilton Week. As if I need my arm twisting to get involved in a bit of cheese and cracker action. But apparently it’s National Stationery Week, as about 48 press releases have told me in as many hours, so like the cheese, off I duly went round the interweb to drool at and (visually) chomp my way through the wares of some of my favourite stationers. I don’t think that first-day-of-term excitement, when you’ve been allowed an entire new pencil case and kit and you vow to keep it clean and organised for the whole year until it descends into I Heart Dave/missing pen lids squalour, will ever wear off. Here’s a few pretties I’d like to liven up my desk with. Hmmm, cheese…

1. Alphabet index tags, £8.95, Papermash. 2. White bunny, scissors & clips, £14.99, Rockett St George. 3 & 4. Knot & Bow neon parcel tags, £3.50 per pack of ten; Magnifying glass by Maison Martin Margiela, £49, both Quill London. 5. Desktop Series by Another Country, £88, FAO Shop. 6. Giant Button Card, £2.75, Present & Correct. 7. Lace envelopes, £6 for five, Papermash. 8. Gradient file, £27.50, Present & Correct. 9. Vintage Holt Harris cat string holder, £23, Etsy. 10. Camera pencil sharpener, £18.95, Katy & June.

Clever Ceramics by Katharine Morling

Katharine Morling Product Round-up1 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

I’ve always held a somewhat conceited belief that I’d probably be really good at pottery if I gave it a go. That thought lies in the same bit of my brain that became obsessed with the more obscure sports at the Olympics last Summer (how would anyone KNOW that they were secretly a whizz at dressage/clay pigeon shooting/putting on a happy face during synchronised swimming throughout the course of everyday life? Have I secretly missed my calling as a Master Archer?!) But, y’know, I do crafts, I like to think I’ve got a bit of an eye for design, and I’m fairly practical, too (I restored and installed a door handle last week ‘n’ everything). And I’m actually working on a little – very basic – clay project at the moment for one of my editorial clients. But every time I try to make anything proper (i.e with sides) it just all seems to go horribly wrong. I’ll be sharing the story of my Wonky Pot, made at last Saturday’s Patternity workshop, next week once I’ve picked it up from firing – but there’s a little Instagram of it here if you can’t wait until then.

Goldsmiths Hall Styling Shoot by Joanna Thornhill, photography Mike Daines

So it was with a degree of envy that I cast my eye over extremely talented ceramicist Katharine Morling’s newsletter this week. Having been a regular visitor to the Cockpit Arts Open Studios for many years now, where she shares her wares, I’ve always admired her striking pieces, and was fortunate enough to feature one in an editorial photoshoot a few years back for Essential Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom magazine (see above). Set in the insanely opulent surroundings of Goldsmiths Hall, I was keen to add an element of unexpected  juxtaposition to this shot, and Katharine’s ceramic pouffe was just the ticket.

Katharine Morling Product Round-up2 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Describing her work as “three-dimensional drawings in the medium of ceramics”, Katharine has just launched an online shop for a selection of her smaller pieces (the footstool was part of her one-off, POA kind of items for those with a bit more cash to splash) and I’ve already (mentally) been gifted any/all of the above by thoughtful loved ones (ahem). Each is part of a series and is handmade, painted and signed. Perhaps it’s time to step away from the potter’s wheel and put my efforts into saving up for one of these puppies instead…

{Images: All product images via Katharine’s online shop. Lifestyle shot with fireplace, photographed by Mike Daines and styled by me for Essential Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom magazine.}