At Liberty to salvage hunt for inspiration

dp2I am on the look out for some inspiration for a kitchen overhaul in a Victorian terrace in Northwest London.  I want to honour the building’s past, while reflecting the present way we live, and our character.  Last week, I was way out west in North Wales.   Having spent the morning admiring the Champion trees (those trees that are exceptional examples of their species) and snow drops at Bodnant Gardens, we made a beeline for Drew Pritchard’s Architectural Antiques.

Drew, well-known as the present of Quest TV’s Salvage Hunters, deals in garden, architectural and decorative antiques and lighting from his HQ just south of Llandudno in North Wales.  The warehouse, come restoration workshop, come showroom is clad in reclaimed boards, the perfect backdrop to the eclectic mix of finds.  The magical Art Nouveau mantelpiece I had been coveting over Christmas had sold, but  I swiftly fell for the huge drapers counter, pictured above, made from mahogany with pine drawers and shelves. The draper’s measure is still embedded in the countertop.  The perfect centrepiece for my new kitchen, if only it were not 3 metres wide!

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At the door, we are politely reminded antiques are green.  Buying antiques is much more than simply recycling.  Buying a piece of furniture with history, and character is continuing a story, and adding your own twist.  The materials and craftsmanship in many pieces of vintage and antique furniture are now in scarce supply.  The pieces have been made to last, and the wear and tear they have acquired on the way are testament to their function and often enhance their form.

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To my great delight, Drew Pritchard has just taken over the East gallery on the fourth floor of Liberty’s.  The gallery has a number of windowed alcoves that lend themselves as room sets.

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There is an Orkney chair calling you to rest a moment and take in the selection of for sale from the sublime set of Aesthetic Carved Oak Doors to the almost comic stone corgi.  I urge you to sneak a peek if you are in the West End. You never know what you might find.

More woollen blankets woven in Wales

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Prompted by a comment on an earlier post, I thought I would share a couple of shots of some woollen products from Melin Tregwynt, a third-generation family mill business in West Wales.  Melin Tregwynt is reviving and reinterpreting authentic Welsh tradition with modern and innovative design.  The double-cloth structure produces practical and hard-wearing bedcovers, as well as the bold reversible patterns that work so well with contemporary interiors.  The product range has been expanded to include accessories and upholstery products.  The blankets retail from around £140, and cushions from around £40, including the pad.  A wide range of colours is available, from these muted neutral tones, to ember, a mix of hot pinks, browns and oranges.  You can purchase directly from Melin Tregwynt by phone or email, or from stockists including John Lewis. 

Welsh blankets

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We recently made a trip to the Brynkir Woollen Mill in Golan, Gwynedd, North Wales.  The weather was drizzly and we could hear the sound of the mill stream before the mill appeared out of the mist.

The mill is one of a handful of woollen mills still in operation in Wales, and produces traditional double cloth bedcovers known as tapestries, as well as other woollen products.  The tapestries are made of 100% new Welsh wool, so hard wearing and breathable.  They are also fully reversible, with a different colour dominating on the reverse, and finished with short fringes on two sides and the mill’s own label.  We bought two tapestry bedcovers, one in a sea salt blue and coral for my daughter’s bed, and another in more muted, natural tones for the guest room.  These blankets are adding some warm, soft colours into our bedrooms, and celebrating Welsh heritage.

Similar Welsh blankets from the Great English Outdoors featured in the August issue of Living Etc magazine.  For a truly comprehensive catalogue of Welsh blankets, nursing shawls and carthenni (woollen bedcovers) visit Jane Beck’s virtual ( and real) Welsh blanket emporium.

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