Out Of Towners

Out Of Towners

Ever so occasionally I’m accused of being city centre centric. Hey, the clue's in the name. Boutiques in Birmingham regularly get shout outs ‘cuz I’m basically a self-appointed B'ham indie cheerleader. But I’ve got nothing against the ‘burbs and there are gems to be found outside of B1 to B5, either a short drive away or a bit further afield. But all less than an hour from Grand Central. Pom-poms optional.

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Grand Designs IRL

Grand Designs IRL

I’ve just moved house and I can hardly bear living with a light fitting I didn’t choose. The thought of completely gutting a place before making it habitable again makes my head hurt. These local ladies have taken on projects that would make Kevin McCloud wince — and they've come out the other side. If you're crazy enough to want to follow in their tracks, we've picked their brains for valuable how-tos and the mistakes to avoid.

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Colour of the Year

Pantone has declared Greenery the colour of the year. If you want to get technical, it's all about 15-0343. Yep, we're not too keen on the tangy shade either, but here are some less Kermity takes on the tone, to help turn your house into an urban jungle.

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By all definitions, this new wallpaper collection, which forms part of Cole & Son's Ardmore range is maximalist. For extreme impact, use a combination of patterns, like Narnia (pictured first) and Khulu Vases (pictured second). Both draw inspiration from the fantastical flora and fauna of Africa. Or pair with charcoal grey to retain a semblance of subtlety.

Velvet is having a bit of a moment. This olive chaise longue from Love Your Home offers a luxey take on two big interiors trends. Clean lines and simple piping, the Tallulah in fir varese velvet has a mid-century feel and it sings next to Little Greene's muted Salix silver-grey paint.

So dark it appears almost grey, Studio Green from Farrow & Ball has an enduring, old-world quality, which immediately makes us want to drink tea from china cups. Bring out the verdant tones of the paint with handblown, Scandinavian Muuto glassware inspired by nature.

Thoughtful Gifting

The Interiors Obsessive

Whether you're lacking in ideas for the giving or receiving side of December 25, we're covering off all the major gift-based food groups. Highlighting your new favourite thing and forwarding this email to the primary gift buyer in your life is totally acceptable. We won't tell.

1 The dark woody notes of Honest's Smokey Oak are the closest thing you'll get to a log burner without making structural alterations to your home.
2 Avoid eating off these dalmatian print plates from Copper & Solder. Use them instead as a super chic coaster, or just gaze at them lovingly. 
3 There's no such thing as too many blankets. And this navy chevron throwfrom Oliver Bonas is a sumptuous addition to the most advanced collections.
4 A handwoven seagrass belly basket from The People Shop is the ideal storage solution for an excess of blankets. Which you now have. 

The Frequent Traveller

1 Bum bags are only ever acceptable at festivals. For the rest of your journeying, get this insanely cute currency wallet by the authority in leather — Aspinal.
2 Cashmere is warm and comforting. Planes are not. Be more cashmere with this cosy scarf from The White Company, complete with actual pockets.
3 Birmingham's Dalton Bros make backpacks for taking on the globe. Carry all the things in this grey, lambswool and bridle leather beauty.
4 Corners of the world still mystify cartographers and explorers. Beautiful imagery and detailed maps are the rule in this book of incredible places.

The Fitness Devotee

1 Win at winter in the Adidas Climastorm waterproof jacket. Warning: you'll be left with zero excuse when it comes to that early risers' jog.
2 Keeping hydrated just got sophisticated and sustainable. Onegreenbottle is made from stainless steel, is endlessly reusable, and it's pretty.
3 APL's got actual patented technology proven to make you jump higher. It's enough for us that their Techloom Pro trainers come in a black metallic knit. 
4 Like a cult — except with benefits to your wellbeing — once you've practiced on a grippy, cushioned Liforme yoga mat, you'll be a forever convert.

The Culture Committed

1 The Tivoli cube wireless speaker sounds (and looks) exactly as it should whether playing Brahms in the bathroom or Coltrane in the kitchen.
2 Capture big ideas for a future oeuvre in this sketch book from local, scandi-inspired operation Houston's House. It's A4ish and super sleek.
3 Follow the rise of jobbing photographer Slim Aarons in Women, a beautiful, coffee table-worthy record of the portraitist of the rich and beautiful.
4 Boxed, crafted pencils from Faber-Castell instantly elevate etchings.

existenzminima

An abundance of enduring design classics are for the coveting at the shiny new existenzminima store on George Street in the Jewellery Quarter.

Tulip chair, £1,636; lamp, £307; side table, £844; glasses, £27 (2 pcs); 
tulip table, £3,682; egg chair, £4,724