Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Vintage Honeysuckle - quality that stands the test of time

I was really delighted when one of our old customers popped into the showroom recently.  I hadn't seen this lady for some years  in fact she hadn't realised Michelle had had a break and was back - so we're talking some time here.

We were of course only too happy to supply her with new sitting room poles upgrading them to something a little more substantial.  She reminded us of  how the poles had been in the house when she had moved in and had now finally expired.  I couldn't believe that we had made the curtains for her over 18 years ago - how time flies!  The great thing about these curtains is the fantastic condition they are in.  The Nobilis fabric is in timeless delicate colours - and was expensive at the time.  What a great investment  they were and testament to our expert curtain making it speaks volumes about the quality of materials we use.  The pole diameter was much greater than the original which meant the curtains needed to be shortened - no problem all part of the service.

Here's what they looked like when we'd finished... at least another ten years in them!

And here's what our lovely customer wrote to us:-

Hi Marina

I am truly delighted with the curtain poles and the transformation of my ancient curtains -  please give my thanks to everyone concerned with sprucing them up, you have all done a wonderful job.

Talk to you again very soon

Jan x


Monday, 13 June 2011

William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Movement - paste this into your browser and find out more about the 150 year celebration and where to find Morris & Co exhibitions

Well I said I'd be back with more on William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Movement. So if you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin ........

I am often asked to re-create a room in the style of Art Nouveau only to find that the client’s idea and the true representation of the period are two different things completely.  There is a distinctive difference between the two styles and an experienced eye will spot them immediately.  The Arts and Crafts movement was from 1860 – 1925 and was inspired by medieval architecture. Everything was made to the highest standards and where possible using traditional methods and materials. Furniture was made from oak and would have very simple straight lines.  The tone of the Arts & Crafts interior was set by William Morris in the 1860’s whose wallpaper and fabric designs were based on medieval motifs and on nature.  William Morris was one of the most significant characters during the time of the Arts & Crafts movement and he remains one of the most well known British Designers to this day.
His essential aim was to achieve the high standards of craftsmanship that he believed had been lost due to the dehumanising effects of the industrial revolution.
Naturalistic colours in warm, subtle colours included sage greens, rusts peacock blue and gold. If you want to see a great example of Arts & Crafts architecture locally  in Basingstoke visit the All Saints Church by Fairfields School and have a look at the commissioned Morris circular stain glass window design.

Art Nouveau style is far more exuberant than Arts & Crafts.  Its curvilinear style is more organic and flowing and wound it’s tendrils around France, Belgium and Germany between 1890 and 1910.  French Art Nouveau includes designers such as Tiffany and Gallet famous for lamps and glassware.  If you have had the opportunity to hop over to Paris check out the French Metro which embraces the style completely.  Britain’s most famous Art Nouveau designer was Charles Rene Macintosh.  Mackintosh favoured pastels such as soft pink and aqua or white, set off by a stencilled pattern at the top of the wall or accentuating a feature such as a fireplace or a window. He combined a mixture of stylised roses and thistles and geometric squares in his designs and often used black as a contrast accent. You can easily replicate Mackintosh in your own home as most of the large DIY stores will have stencils to apply yourself and even door handles.  Reproduction accessories to compliment your Art Nouveau interior can be found in high street stores particularly good examples can be found in Past Times. 
Couldn't resist sharing this photograph of a beautifully embroidered Honeysuckle firescreen on display at Standen -  And Tomorrow is a new day......

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Celebrating 150 Years of Morris & Co at Standen - Our Secret Revealed!

So our secret is out !- this is the design team dressed to impress yesterday - in our hand made outfits in beautiful William Morris fabrics. As soon as we knew that we had been invited to the prestigious  private viewing of "Standen and 150 years of Morris & Co"  our first reaction was "What are we going to wear".  It was obvious we had to make something in Morris fabrics.

 The excitement has been too much to bear every Monday and Tuesday for what seems like weeks, after  the showroom closes we have been busy cutting patterns and tailor tacking.  It's been such brilliant fun and has rekindled our love of dressmaking. We wanted it to be a surprize for our lovely representative Caroline to turn up on the day and see her reaction.

Feeling slightly self concious we arrived at Standen to an amazing reaction from everybody.  Yes, we did make it ourselves and yes the pattern placement all matched up!
The agenda for the day was set - a welcome, a private viewing, lunch and a talk by Michael Parry author of Morris & Co a Revolution In Decoration.

We had the most  perfect day - come back soon to find out more


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Under wraps - couture and curtains watch this space

For several weeks now the design team have been closetted away working on a top secrect project.  All we can say is that its taken all our skills as seamsresses and has tested our patience to the extreme!. We will soon be able to reaveal what we've been up to but our lips are sealed.


Watch this space  - all will be revealed after the 8th of June...

Marina xx

In the meantime here's a sneaky peak at what is to come....

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you ..........

You have to forgive me for having a nostalgic moment today - I'm so proud of my business 23 years of trading and I love it as much today as I did when I started out.   I am one of those lucky people who enjoy going to work everyday because I am passionate about what I do and the people who I come into contact with because of it. 

I've had one of those typically hectic days today chasing my tail.   Actually I am officially on holiday, but I had promised one of my lovely customers that I would try and get her curtains fitted for her before she went away and see a really busy lady who needs our help restoring a period property -  today was the only day. That's the essence Honeysuckle for you - we are dedicated to customer service and I don't think anyone else does it like us.

I always say I owe so much of the companies success to the fantastic team of people that work for me - it with great thanks to them, all their hard work and dedication that Honeysuckle remains constant enabling our loyal customers to be able return again and again.

Over the last 23  years  I have certainly seen some changes in soft furnishing design and interiors, I can honestly say I've seen and done it all.  And how technology has changed over that time.  When the business set up there were no mobile phones, email, computers  or satellite navigation all those things I take for granted now!

Right that's it nostalgia moment over  - all that's left to say is HAPPY BIRTHDAY HONEYSUCKLE - here's to many more brilliant years to come. Check out what we did on our 20th birthday bash theres a link on the website  - Bring on a silver jubilee birthday celebration!!!

Marina xx