'Design for living' is about great fashion, great interiors & great living.

My blog celebrates vintage trends and fashion à la mode. Whether in the
wardrobe or your home, these are the objects & pieces that are likely to encourage both to expand!

It is a window into my life & a record of all the diverse people, restaurants, shops and events that make London such a vibrant city & the place I am proud to call home.

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personal design for living.

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Month: April 2012Back

Supersize Me - April 30, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

The ‘Big Boy’ lamp from thesleeproom.com



Why opt for regular sized furnishings when you can supersize your fittings for under £400?  Go large with this oversized, affordable and commanding ‘Grand Garcon’ from thesleeproom.com



oversized lamp

french bedroom

carved wood




Thank you to www.thesleeproom.com for the images used


‘Olu’Olu Palule - April 28, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Hawaiian shirts


You may have noticed in our recent post on Topman’s Marrakesh mood board (click (here) to read more), the high street giant capitalizing one of this year’s menswear trends; the Hawaiian shirt.  I love Hawaiian shirts for their bright colour palettes and laid back 1950′s LA vibe.

For an authentic vintage look, go with small scenic motifs in 100% silk or rayon in classic 1940′s and 1950′s colour palettes of mustard, soft browns and creamy pastels.  For a more contemporary look, go with Prada’s rock-a-billy shirt or larger Hawaiian prints in neon brights.


Here are some of D4L’s favourites to get the luau started.


Jean Paul Gaultier’s pink sunset

Available from Jean Paul Gaultier by clicking (here)

Hawaiian shirt




Rag and Bone’s hand drawn Hawaiian print of Snoop Dogg’s original Cadillac

Available from Mr Porter by clicking (here)

snoop dogg Hawaiian shirt




Prada’s rock-a-billy shirt

Available from Prada. Prada’s store locator is available by clicking (here)

prada ss12




Karmakula Hawaiian shirt for Asos

Available from Asos by clicking (here)

Hawaiian shirt




Palm trees and aeroplanes from Topman

Available from Topman by clicking (here)

topman shirt




The real deal from Karmakula

Available from Karmakula by clicking (here)

Hawaiian shirt




YMC Japanese Hawaiian print

Available from Asos by clicking (here)




Thank you to www.jeanpaulgaultier.com, www.topman.com, www.mrporter.com, www.asos.com and www.karmakula.co.uk for the images used.

A Spotlight On Rose and Grey - April 26, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Industrial Clip on Lamp available from Rose and Grey


This post contains content relating to D4L’s previous post entitle ‘White Out’; click (here) to read.


Readers may remember that I made a pledge, post Priscilla Queen of the Desert, to document all home improvements during 2012 (click (here) for more information).  I hope that my choices and ideas will inspire you to undertake your own DIY and redecoration projects.  After all, your home is a giant canvas, waiting to be coloured in with your own personal brush strokes.


When it comes to writing about interiors, you may have noticed my fervent passion for documenting great lighting solutions.  We’ve featured jewelled splendour from Canopy Designs (click here), chemistry set charisma from The machine shop (click here) and industrial magnitude from Trainspotters (click here), to name but a few.  And this obsession I have isn’t constrained to the virtual page, it overflows into my own home.  However, the difference between waxing lyrical on D4L and styling my own personal space is vast.  Not every piece I feature, however much I would love it to work, will.  So, I’ve spent hours searching the internet and visiting both vintage lighting specialists and London based contemporary designers for the right pieces to illuminate my home.

When it came to my most recent renovation however (featured (here)), Rose and Grey had already stepped in to provide the perfect bedside lighting; two ‘industrial clip-on lamps’ from their online collection.  These spotlights were photographed in both ‘before’ and ‘after’ settings of the room, to illustrate how the room in its original state was failing it’s fittings.  Since images of the room post make-over went live (below), these little lamps have been creating quite a stir.

Rose and Grey is the brainchild of Guy and Lyndsey Goodger.  With pieces inspired by old and new stomping grounds; London’s Borough Market, Brick Lane and Columbia Road and Manchester’s Chorlton, Didsbury and Northern Quarter, their online boutique is paradise for the vintage home enthusiast.  With the Goodger’s love of travel and passion for industrial, eclectic and quirky interior design, their tastes run like roots through the collection, which is put together beautifully.


Oliver Thornton

Rose and Grey


These industrial clip-on lamps, although slim on the bridge, hold a quality, functional shade which gives a directional light, perfect for reading into the midnight hours.  Don’t let the words ‘clip on’ guide you towards images of 80′s plastic earrings, the attachment is a delicate vice which adds character and industrial oomph.

There is something which feels intrinsically detailed about these lamps, so you’ll have more success using them to compliment a space of crowded composition; for example, a pantry full of jars or a book case stacked with literature.  With the attachment echoing a workman’s vice, also consider screwing them to exposed, raw materials like wooden shelves made out of reclaimed timber, rusting iron bedsteads or, as in the context of my room, the heavily soldered metal of a storage unit.

To quote a previous D4L post “Lighting maketh and breaketh a room”.  Make sure your lighting maketh and not breaketh your home by visiting www.roseandgrey.co.uk.


design for living

industrial light


vintage home




Images by www.oliverthornton.com/designforliving.  Thank you to www.roseandgrey.co.uk for the extra image used.


Topman Trends – Marrakesh - April 24, 2012 by Oliver Thornton



The joy of following and wearing independent or designer labels is that the collections, season to season, can be easily translated into mini vignettes.  These brands have the time to develop a theme, set a tone and provide context for their collections, which goes a long way in capturing the consumer’s imagination.  For example Prada’s SS12 ‘crazy golf’ menswear might inspire a round in Palm Springs, whilst DAKS’ SS12 womenswear sends you on a jolly holiday to the British seaside.

Unfortunately this sense of narrative doesn’t always trickle down to the mass market.  As leading high street brands expand, proportionally the size of their collection grows to meet demand.  The result; fractured and sprawling offerings where detail and storytelling get thrown out of the window.

How refreshing then to see Topman creating a ‘Marrakesh mood board’ online, out of their spring collection.  A small but perfectly pitched token to get us dreaming of summer evenings spent in bustling medinas.  The styling is wonderful, encouraging us to embrace laid back, easy looks and bold patterns inspired by African prints.  I especially love how outfits have been accessorized with pocket squares and neck ties knotted around the wrist.

The world they have created out of vibrant colours, exotic snap shots and retro cool looks has me inspired to revamp my wardrobe with sandy pinks and blues, Hawaiian shirts and fitted shorts suits.  With the Marrakesh mood board serving us over March and April, I wonder where May and June will lead?







Visit the Marrakesh mood board and shop these looks by clicking (here)


Thank you to www.topman.com for the images used.


Max Rollitt - April 22, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Max Rollit Antiques and Interior Design



Max Rollitt is a man of impeccable taste.  His Hampshire based company is divided into three distinct areas: antiques, interior design and a bespoke service.  Here, Design for Living cherry picks its favourite pieces from his current online collection.



19th Century carpet covered trunk


carpet trunk



Early 19th Century Swedish armchair, upholstered with its original leather


shabby chic armchair



Early 20th Century Khotan rug from western China


Chinese rug



Two early 19th Century fire buckets


antique bucket



Regency giltwood overmantle mirror, circa 1810


Regency mirror



Leather bound jewellery box, Regency, circa 1815


jewellery box



Mid 19th Century painted dressing table with decorated panels


mid century dressing table



Radar Truck


vintage toy



Vintage photographer’s backdrop


photographers backdrop



Early Victorian cast iron umbrella/coat/hat stand


Victorian coat stand



Painted Windsor armchair, probably West Country, circa 1790


windsor armchair



Triple plate overmantle mirror, possibly Irish, circa 1740


Irish Mirror



Visit www.maxrollitt.com to view the full collection and purchase items.



Max Rollitt

The man himself - Max Rollitt




Thank you to www.maxrollitt.com for the images used

White Out - April 20, 2012 by Oliver Thornton



Readers may remember that I made a pledge, post Priscilla Queen of the Desert, to document all home improvements during 2012 (click (here) for more information).  I hope that my choices and ideas will inspire you to undertake your own DIY and redecoration projects.  After all, your home is a giant canvas, waiting to be coloured in with your own personal brush strokes.

A lady in a habit once sang that the beginning is “a very good place to start”, a piece of advice which is all too easy to forget when revamping a room.  As tempting as it is, concentrating on the finishing touches often leads to overlooking the foundations of interior design – the walls, ceiling and floor.  So to pay heed to Miss Andrews’ instruction and start by getting the right colour and quality paints or wallpaper.

It’s a lesson I learnt the hard way four years ago in painting my first bedroom a dove grey/blue which, from the day it went up, struggled to bring the room together.  Knowing I’d have to redecorate, I began to think about what might work in complimenting the two main elements of colour in the room; a pillar box red bed and a turquoise vintage wardrobe.  Then one day, when spring was a mere twinkle in winter’s frosty eye, a snow storm gave me the inspiration to paint the room completely white, providing the backdrop these two vibrant pieces needed.  I always thought white rooms were reserved for zen masters, modern minimalists and Soho trendies but as I watched the snow settle, I realised the colour white isn’t exclusive.  It’s universally loved for its associations with innocence, cleanliness and honesty.  Why else did twitter, at that very moment, go into an Instagram melt down with pictures of our dirty city scape transformed into scenes of snow blown purity?  Renewed, reborn and immaculate.


The bedroom pre make-over;

red bed

The wall colour was gloomy and fought the room's furniture.



The vintage wardrobe, painted a vibrant turquoise, sits awkwardly alongside the wall's original colour.


floor boards

Whilst I love the distress of the original floor boards, TLC and the right colour was needed to bring them back to life again.


red bed

The red bed clashes with the cool blue in the walls


Snow melted, floors sanded and paint brush in hand, I turned to Farrow and Ball’s extensive white palette to find exactly the right shade for the project.  Almost a contradiction in terms, white has many subtleties of tone.  A true white is stark and dazzling, whilst an antique or earthy white can offer a more delicate result.  My choice; Strong White, for an aged, mellow finish.  I decided upon painting the whole room, ceiling to floor, in the same colour.  This only works if you have many different surfaces and architectural details within a room.  In a monochromatic space the eye needs texture to create energy and interest.  In my case, the bedroom in question has both smooth and rough plaster, wooden floor boards, a picture rail, original wooden sash windows and an exposed brick chimney.


Farrow and Ball

Farrow and Ball Estate Emulsion


Farrow and Ball

Farrow and Ball Floor Paint


Farrow and Ball

Farrow and Ball Primer and Undercoat for light wood floors


Farrow and Ball was founded in Dorset, England, where the business still runs from today.  Known for their exquisite palettes and uncompromising standards, Farrow and Ball have had to dig their heels in over the years to continue to deliver the finest paints in the market.  Whilst virtually all other manufacturers, post war, abandoned traditional formulations and switched to cheaper acrylic paints with a high plastic content, F&B stuck to its craft and continued making paint to its original formulations, using high quality pigments and resins and no low quality ‘fillers’.

But matching the fortitude needed to uphold such traditions, vision sees F&B move with the times, where appropriate.  All of their paints are eco friendly and low in odour, being classified as either low or minimal VOC (volatile organic compounds) and, unlike many other manufacturers, they use naturally occurring pigments such as umbers in their purest form, chalk, lime putty and china clay.

Below are images of the room with all of the paint work complete.  A total whiteout with the bed, wardrobe and distressed yellow door creating vivid pockets of colour.  I designed a ‘copper piping’ storage unit which was installed by my builder and I’m adding  finishing touches to the room everyday.  These will all be covered in future posts.  Ceiling, walls and floor were painted using Farrow and Ball Interior Wood White and Light Tones Primer and Undercoat, Farrow and Ball Wood Floor Primer and Undercoat, Farrow and Ball Strong White Estate Emulsion, Estate Eggshell and Floor Paint.









Farrow and Ball’s Strong White has filled the room with light.  Once a dingy incoherent space, where floor boards fought against furniture and furniture fought against walls, the room now has continuity, the relationships between all of the room’s elements working together, the foundations solid.  Such is the power of building on rock.

I love the way the walls reflect the tones of near by fixtures.  The far wall takes on a creamy, antique quality from the warmth of the copper, whilst the shadows cast by the wardrobe are cool and mineral.

If this post has inspired you, why not head to www.farrow-ball.com and start planning your own home makeover?  Just remember, a white room is a high maintenance lover.  Just like the driven February snow, the crisper the color stays, the better the room will look.  Muddy paws and sticky fingers will diminish it’s beauty.  Yellow snow never was a good look.







Images by www.oliverthornton.com/designforliving

Emilia Wickstead AW12/13 - April 17, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Emilia Wickstead AW12/13

28 Cadogan Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 9RX


Also read: Emilia Wickstead SS12 by clicking (here)


After the overwhelming response to our article on Emilia Wickstead’s SS12 collection (view here) , how could we fail to feature D4L’s favourite pieces from her AW12/13 runway, shown during February’s London Fashion Week.

This collection, as with previous offerings, has a romantic nostalgia about it.  It’s like spying into a wardrobe full of French and Italian vintage couture and yet, her work remains fresh and relevant.  In Wickstead’s own words “classic with a twist”.

For autumn/winter 12, pleating, the brand’s signature, makes it’s regular appearance, along with gowns of simple elegance and dramatic splendour.  Demure pieces worn with elbow length leather gloves create a successful contrast, whilst square necklines seem particularly striking, coyly covering cleavage and emphasising the collar bones.  Toile prints, dispersed amongst the collection, offer the eye relief from block colouring in black, burgandy and camel.  On trend for next season, sheer fabrics weave their way into the collection, some cleverly pleated on the thigh, creating the illusion of a hidden pair of suspenders.

The queen of femininity, Wickstead’s label has come to signify the essence of glamour and sophistication.  Her Belgravia atelier offers ready to wear and made to measure pieces.  Collections are also available by appointment only from locations in New York, Milan, Beirut, Riyadh and New Zealand.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12



Emilia Wickstead Aw12

Ultra feminine silhouettes.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12

A grand gown.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12

Square necklines.



Leather gloves.


Toile print

Toile print.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12

Sheer fabrics with pleats on the thigh.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12

Block colouring.


Emilia Wickstead Aw12

Fresh and relevant.




Thank you to www.londonfashionweek.co.uk for the images used.

Psychedelic Dreams - April 15, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Field Candy Tents in collaboration with Basso and Brooke




Be the envy of your fellow holiday makers, festival goers or neighbours when you set up camp with a tent from Field Candy.  Field Candy host a string of high profile collaborations with both emerging and established designers and artists, their latest coming from leading digital printed fashion designers Basso and Brooke.

Basso & Brooke, hailed the ‘Pixar of Clothes’ by Style.com, made history with their groundbreaking 100% digitally printed collection, earning them the prestigious Fashion Fringe Award.  Vogue championed them as ‘ones to watch’ in their annual Vogue List and they won ‘Best New Designers’ at the Elle Style Awards.  All of which is worth knowing when you’re in the battle for best pitch.

The inspiration for Basso & Brooke’s design came from ancient silk routes in which civilisations of China, India, Persia and the Mediterranean first met to trade.  It’s a psychedelic, tribal extravaganza.  But owning such a vibrant abode during festival season ought come with a warning.  When the morning swings around after a night of hedonism, you may just wake up thinking your magic mushroom goggles are still on.


You can pre-order this Basso and Brooke tent by emailing design@fieldcandy.com




Below are some other tents from different designers, which D4L has it’s eye on for a summer under the stars.  All available from Field Candy.













Images via GoodleyPR.  Thank you to  www.fieldcandy.com for the extra images used.

Put Your Foot In It - April 13, 2012 by Oliver Thornton

Carl Auböck corkscrew and cork stopper

Available from www.sigmarlondon.com


Putting your foot in it at a dinner party is not the advice I usually find myself dishing out, but one of Carl Auböck’s vintage corkscrews or stoppers is sure to bring a flush of pride rather than embarrassment.  In fact, why not dig yourself a deeper hole and put your hand in it too?


Carl Auböck corkscrew


cork stopper


brass hand


Carl Auböck



Click (here) to be taken directly to Carl Auböck’s Corkscrews and stoppers, available from www.stigmarlondon.com


Thank you to www.stigmarlondon.com for the images used


Call of the Wild - April 11, 2012 by Oliver Thornton




Animals on clothing.  It’s a risky business. ‘Wolves howling to a full moon’ and ‘eagles soaring over a rocky outcrop’ have given critters printed across the chest a bad name, but this dolphin sweater, from Viktor and Rolf’s SS12 collection, may restore some faith.

This bold block colour jumper is like a hit of summer sunshine and was one of the stand out pieces from fashion magazine Mode’s recent editorial ‘Ocean Drive’.  The punchy, graphic silhouette proves that answering the call of the wild is best done sans dream catcher and Cherokee Indian, and has D4L saluting the animal kingdom once more.




Thank you to www.loverofsplendid.tumblr.com for the images used.

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