Vintage Soul & Forward Thinking

Goodness we arose early this morning.

Antiques markets start at dawn and you need to be an early bird to pick up the choice of one-off pieces of furniture. A strong cup of coffee for fortification and we dedicate ourselves to personally selecting the unique, quirky, beautiful items we have developed a reputation for collating in the shop.

In our passion for interior design there is nothing we enjoy more than creating a ‘new look’. But a ‘new look’ does not necessarily mean new things. There is a heart and soul in vintage pieces that cannot be found in off-the-shelf furniture so beloved by the flat-pack generation.

Vintage furniture, with its softly faded hues, quality of construction and great design, gives an interior individuality, heart and balance. A good mix is essential to add character to a space.

We are often commissioned to source specific items of retro furniture. So if you require that mid-century chest of drawers or that Art Deco side table, then a bit of forward thinking; let us know your requirements and we will set about finding it for you.


Fur throws and short sleeves

It has been a really busy September and early October for us. We hit the ground running after our return from the summer holidays. All that relaxed, Mediterranean, easy pace of life soon dissipated into a frenzy of trade show after trade show, antiques fairs, auctions and balancing the books in preparation for the forthcoming, retail–focused new season.

It is a very surreal experience to find yourself choosing luxurious fur throws, in the midst of a hot, sun-filled September, dressed in short sleeves and sandals.

However, we have now made our selection and have curated an inspired collection of beautiful things, both new and vintage. We are now busy introducing these into the shop; there is plenty to entice all design-lovers from our stunning Alice Wingfield-Digby Feather Frames to our boxed set of six vintage Whitefriars ‘Glacier’ wine glasses. So do come and visit us and be inspired.

Out with the Old & In with the New – Or Not?

In these early days of 2014 it is appropriate to wish everyone a Happy New Year, which leads me to thinking about edits. New year tends to get me considering: ‘out with the old and in with the new’, resolutions, re-arranging, alterations, discarding and revising. As the Christmas decorations come down, I look at my home in a new light and start to scrutinise. I begin to plan re-decoration, peruse colour charts, browse wallpaper books and covet new cushions. Children’s desks get re-positioned and adorned with a new angle-poise and that picture in the hall gets sent to be reframed.

There is something of an interesting dichotomy for The Concept in such edits: we embrace both the old and the new; we have a strong dislike of throw-away society and have a passion for our carefully sourced and re-invented period furniture; and yet on the other hand we are also excited by the new, contemporary design-led accessories and gifts we stock. We have a passion for heritage and provenance and yet we welcome the chance to re-design, re-decorate and re-fresh.

We blend the classic with the contemporary, the period with the modern, beauty with function. For us it is all about a celebration of fine taste, quality and cachet and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

However, at the start of 2014, we would like to give a special nod in the direction of the new – particularly in light of us being a new business. We have a new website soon to be launched, new period furniture, new contemporary stock and a new range of paint. If you are thinking of re-decoration (often on the ‘to do’ list in January), we are very proud to be one of the only two North London stockists of the bespoke range of Mylands paints. They have a beautiful range of colours, are of high quality, amazing finishes and have the Royal Appointment. Check them out as featured in Homes and Gardens this month and come in and have a look at our colour boards and swatches – we are ever-present if you need our expert advice and design-knowledge. However, you really don’t need an excuse to come and browse – we would welcome a visit from you. Happy 2014!ImageImage



Haircuts and Renovations

It is that back to school feeling in our house this week.  All of us seem to be experiencing that “butterflies in the stomach” sensation, as we contemplate what the new term holds in store.

I don’t know what happens over the summer but we all look at bit wilder during August; hair grows longer, white skin turns a healthy looking glow, children look a little feral but happy. However, we have all now been cut, trimmed and generally spruced up, presented ready for the new term. And this is what it feels like at The Concept too…..

We opened the front door to the shop this morning and looked at it with after-holiday eyes. It really is in a poor state of repair and we have so much ahead for us to do before our fast-approaching launch date. However, we relish a challenge, especially an interior design one. There really is nothing quite like the excitement we feel as we choose the colour schemes, fabrics, flooring and lighting. We can’t wait to show you the beautiful, bevelled, metro tiles we have sourced for the exterior….Image

Brittany blues & hues

We are out in Brittany enjoying a family holiday before we launch The Concept; a last few days of r and r before the work starts in earnest.

Ever since my parents bought a holiday home here over 20 years ago, we have enjoyed our summers holidays Bretagne style. Typically and quintessentially French, the Bretagne people love their departément, love their traditions, love their regional heritage. Little has changed in terms of local architecture and design since we have been coming; the traditional Bretagne stone built gites and farmhouses still have the same ‘Brittany Blue’ doors, shutters and windows that adorns all the chocolate-box style postcards us British can send home.

And yet……this year for the first time we have noticed a different approach to painting the outside woodwork… more natural, greens, taupes, stone hues have started to appear. Our trip to Roscoff, the local picturesque port, seemed to have a minor colour revolution germinating.

Has Brittany been infected by the designer paint trend? Whatever your opinion, it certainly works from a design point of view. Whilst we have always loved our ‘Brittany Blue’, the new painting trend emerging out here really does work; the more natural, subtle and sophisticated colours enhance the stonework and add a real elegance.

Which brings me back round to The Concept launch. Back in London in a few days time we have a meeting lined up with the suppliers of a bespoke, designer paint range that we are going to stock, so if you are interested in an elegant, sophisticated, exclusive feel to your home interior or exterior, be sure to drop in (once we’re opened!) and browse through our swatches. We would love to help you choose – we have a passion for colour!

You never know, alongside a coffee, you might be offered a piece of ‘Far Breton’, the calorie-laden, rich and moreish Bretagne cake.

Brittany Blue imagesIMG_0558IMG_0560IMG_0934