Thursday, February 16, 2012

London Calling

My sister, who with her English husband, recently purchased a new apartment, summoned me to London last week to help her make some decisions about the renovations and decorating. I was happy to oblige.

For the last 4 years my sister has lived in London's Little Venice, an immensely charming neighborhood in the area known as Maida Vale, popular with English families with children, American ex-pats and more than a few celebrities.

Maida Vale's 'high street' is a foodie's paradise with several cafes and gourmet food purveyors, an excellent wine shop, an organic grocer and a proper English butcher.

Also a dreamy florist's shop.

The new apartment is on the top floor in one of a row of white stucco town houses - a familiar sight in London - only a minute's walk from the old place.

While every room is undergoing some degree of renovation, the kitchen has been gutted and was the focus of our first day. Right now it looks like this:

The new kitchen is being designed by Plain English. My sister had already decided on white cupboards with the 'Long House' door style and marble countertops. I would have chosen the exact same thing so there really wasn't anything to discuss.

Plain English is my favorite English custom kitchen outfitter. I love the simplicity of the designs and the features they offer are plain genius. We visited the showroom in Marylebone to have a look.

My sister's kitchen design includes a Welsh dresser like the one below with shelves above to display china and a cabinet below to serve as a buffet.

I love this larder cabinet with the basket drawers and marble counter.

I might actually use my silver if I had this felt lined drawer in my kitchen.

At this point I am beginning to feel a little dissatisfied with my current kitchen.

My dream pantry.

Now I'm having paroxysms so it's time to leave. We moved on to the issue of a new kitchen table - after a stop around the corner at La Fromagerie for some some sustenance. I highly recommend it for lunch. The Marylebone shop is in Moxon Street.

My sister had her eye on a table from Oka, possibly my favorite UK home furnishings shop.

The Stola table has four leaves and can accommodate 4 to 12 people. I agreed it was the perfect choice so I did some browsing while she placed the order.

Oka has a great selection of furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories. I wish they would open a store in the US.

Having wrapped up what we planned for the day fairly early, and with a some time before we had to pick up my niece and nephew at school, we stopped in at the Nordic Style showroom near London's Chelsea Harbour Design Center.

I still love this look. My sister picked out a sweet single bed and a desk for my niece which will be adorable with the pink Chelsea Textiles check we selected for her curtains and bedding. I will post photos when the work is complete.


  1. I don't live in Uk sadly so I don't get pretty red phone booths like you do. I wish we had something like that here.



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