Sunday, 28 August 2011

shopping in ~ Brighton

On the bank holiday weekend, Mr NBTR & I took a trip to Brighton to meet up with a friend & have ourselves a little break from the city. Having not been to Brighton for a few years I was delighted to find that as well as the little boutiques and craft shops, there also amazing interior & design shops all over the place, even a Heals. I've decided to share the shops I found as I was so impressed, who can resist a seaside day out with some interiors inspiration thrown in?

First up, after the most amazing veggie breakfast at Iydea (worth the trip alone) I found Abode at 32 Kensington Gardens, a beautiful mix of furniture accessories, unusual lamps, soft furnishings and tableware. I'm coveting some black shelving and the ceramic crow from here...

After a spot of beach walking & a visit to a tiny ceramics studio (a whole other post) We found Steamer Trading on Ship Street, a cook shop designed by Terence Conran &  made up of three floors filled to the brim with beautiful designer cookware & appliances. The ground floor contains baking & cooking basics and Mr NBTR bought some cupcake & muffin cases. I'm working on the laptop in the kitchen and as I type the air is filled with the scent of him baking a dozen cupcakes and the sound of him whipping up a batch of butter cream icing. 

Just up the road on the same street, England At Home have not one but two stores. The one at number 59 is mostly gift items, books and some cookware. My favourite store was at 22b though, furniture, very classy stationery, bags & cushions were all winners. My star piece though was a very reasonably priced resin buffalo skull... and as it's not in the 'scary real skulls' category, there's a good chance I might just be able to get it in our flat. 

On the way back to Kensington Gardens, we came across Papillon on Union Street, stocking everything from Miller Harris fragrances, travel bags and throws, to perfect grey velvet sofas, silk lamp shades & enormous rococo style mirrors. They stock some really choice pieces from Sia and after I spotted the resin stags head wearing a jaunty striped scarf I pretty much decided I could live in the shop, the last word on maximal decadence...

Unfortunately Pigeon, selling vintage furniture on Pelham Street was shut, but from what I spied through the window they had some excellent & unusual pieces as well as lamps and some odd props, making their window look something like a surrealist wonderland.

Just up the road though, and very much open, was another vintage furniture dealer, Swag. I was stopped in my tracks by the huge stripped metal desk in the window. It was the size of a bed. My iMac would look perfect on there... as long as I didn't need room for anything else in the living room, like our sofa. Swag did have some smaller stripped metal pieces though, if I had the budget. The thing I loved the most though was a beautiful tan leather armchair, aged with scuffs and worn like a good leather chair should be. Unfortunately neither my purse or my lack of space let me get away with purchasing & so I left, although not before peeking in the drawers of an antique French rustic chest that was a good foot taller than me.

We wandered up to the main street, only to spot a sign that directed us back again. Mr Magpies Collectors Emporium on Gloucester Road really did live up to it's name, stocking everything from vintage wood block type-settings to a giant Millennium Falcon.

I was drawn, as ever, to a dusty shelf of old bottles and ceramic pieces. I fell for the cracked Raku like quality of a tiny vessel, marked up at just four pounds. I went to pay having no idea what it was. Mr Magpie explained that it was a cream pot, from back in the day when the milk carts delivered milk from churns, you'd get a little pot of cream too. Apparently the lids never survive, being too delicate. Anyway, I'm very happy with my little piece of domestic history.

Just down the road a little, In My Room stocks vintage mid century furniture and contemporary designs by owner Oliver Learmonth. I was positively drooling over the classic vintage Eames chairs and refurbished industrial cabinets. In fact, every single piece has been lovingly restored or polished to perfection.

Right next door is perhaps my favourite shop of all, Brighton Architectural Salvage is full of amazing fireplaces, mirrors, radiators, doors, plasterwork & garden ornaments. If I had the cash & the muscle I would have carried home a six foot piece of pub signage there & then. Although most of the fixtures are clearly not of much use to a renter, there were plenty of decorative elements on offer.

The garden out the back was particularly interesting. Chimney pots, zinc barrels, tables and pots on a scale that mean they must have come from some country pile are all fair game for any urban garden. Smaller pieces on offer included some beautiful blue & white ceramic & stone urns and some outdoor mirrors.

Last stop before the shops closed & we went off to get some ice-cream, was Junk Funk a couple of doors down, selling their own designer t-shirts as well as a great range of funky stationary, clever gifts, prints, small accessories and design & interior books. 

So, all in all a fantastic, inspirational day out... Next time I'll need a truck to drive home...

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