Written By: Paola Thomas for decor8
Greetings decor8 readers! My name is Paola and I run mirrormirror, an online lifestyle boutique which specialises in beautiful, unusual and luxurious products made by up-and-coming designers and craftspeople. I also maintain a blog about running my business, trying to run my business with a small baby in tow, my design inspirations, living in London (Notting Hill to be exact), and my upcoming relocation to Seattle, Washington – all while trying to remain sane.
NOTTING HILL – OH MY!
I’m lucky enough to live in the heart of Notting Hill in West London. I know, drool. I moved here ten years ago and am still madly in love with this incredibly diverse, eclectic, vibrant, colourful and inspiring neighbourhood. For many years it has been the heart of London’s West Indian community, which is why every year it is home to the Notting Hill Carnival, the world’s biggest carnival after Rio. It has always had a Bohemian reputation but in the last twenty years its beautiful Georgian and Victorian houses – all painted in different pastel colours – have attracted a host of wealthy media people, bankers, and celebrities. And through the middle (and literally 50 yards from my apartment) snakes the world-famous market on Portobello Road, where antique teacups jostle cheek by jowl with pumpkins and apples, and young designers, making their first tentative steps towards superstardom, rub shoulders with eccentric purveyors of vintage clothing.
The area has always been renowned for its small specialist shops. Within a ten minute walk from my home I can buy eclectic and unusual interiors pieces from Graham + Green, frivolous girly gifts and clothes from Coco Ribbon (both of which were inspirational in setting up mirrormirror), organic baby clothes, every type of exotic spice at The Spice Shop, Diptyque candles, cookery books from a specialist bookstore and, of course, travel books from the shop made famous by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in the 1999 film, Notting Hill. Being a serious foodie, I’m also inspired by an old-fashioned butchers in an Edwardian shop, the magnificent Mr Christian’s deli and, since I’m half Italian, a most marvellous Italian foodstore called Tavola Delicatessen owned by renowned chef Alastair Little. There’s even a Sardinian deli with a full-size (though still tiny) Fiat car in the window. And don’t get me started on the restaurants!
I’m just starting a series of posts on my blog about the shops of Notting Hill and it would be lovely if you could all join me on a little virtual trip to London. Holly has made me blog of the week so you can peek in on my posts all week long, and beyond, for that matter. I can’t wait for you to join me…
SEATTLE – SOMEBODY HELP ME!
I’m also writing to ask for your help. As previously mentioned, together with my husband and baby, we are moving to Seattle at the end of September for three years (I’m going to try and keep mirrormirror going remotely which is an entirely other story). Could any decor8 readers recommend some great design-y boutiques (especially for homewares), food stores, and interesting specialist shops which will stop me missing Notting Hill too much? Or even tell us which neighbourhoods would be best for us to search for a house? I’m a city girl at heart, as you can tell, so we want to live in Seattle proper, but would love to live in a neighbourhood where there’s plenty to do for a young family. Help!
Thanks Paola for the introduction! Here are some of my Seattle suggestions (right column under “seattle”). I’m sure readers have some ideas for you, too.
If you’d like to learn more about Paola, click here for a complete interview.
(images from mirrormirror)
By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor
In the weeks leading up to my recent trip to Los Angeles, I spotted neighborhood shopping guides in several magazines (e.g., Blueprint, Lucky). There is also the helpful LA shopping guide here on decor8 (right column). But when I actually got down there ? in addition to the usual design store suspects (yes, Weego Home is definitely worth a visit!) ? I was delighted to discover great home products in a few unexpected places.
This floral design studio has been around since the early ?90s, but recently moved to Venice?s Abbot Kinney. The expanded space includes a storefront that, as summed up on the Floralart web site, offers ?accessories that related to home, entertaining and the art of giving.?
I was so taken by the etched orchid stemware ? available in several variations (including red wine, white wine, cocktail). The glasses are beautifully etched with a floral motif, and range in price from $72-78 for a set of six.
If new place settings are on your shopping list, the Jonathan Adler selection here may be just the thing for you. Floralart carries his Greek Key, Mod Dots and Hexagon dinnerware ($128.50 for a 16-piece set).
Also catching my eye was the Aphrodite collection. Thick, hand-cut sheets of glass encase your favorite bloom or candle.
Also while on Abbot Kinney, I popped into one of my favorite tea spots. Jin Patisserie serves (and sells) Le Palais des Th?s, which are imported from France and hard to get your hands on in the U.S. They also offer delicious sweets (chocolates, cookies, candies) and savories (sandwiches, salads).
Although seating is all outdoors (there are a couple of covered tables on the porch), don?t forget to go inside the house where all of the work is done. That?s where you?ll find Jin?s boutique ? where you can buy some sweets to take home for later, and pick up lovely little tea sets. The espresso cups ($15 each) ? with patterns on the cup and saucer, as well as a leaf for a handle ? are perfect those mornings when you?ve got the time to sit and enjoy a caffeinated beverage at home.
I am really a tea person, however, so I couldn?t pass up a cute porcelain sugar and creamer set from Japan. A variety of teapots, of course, are also available for purchase.
Even if you?re not much of a tea of coffee drinker yourself, you can shop Jin for a great housewarming gift, and you can shop them online, too!
Zero Minus Plus at Fred Segal (Santa Monica – Sorry, no website.)
Okay, so you think $100 is outrageous for a t-shirt. And you don?t care which celebrities shop here. But, trust me, Zero Minus Plus is not to be missed.
It?s one of many independently-owned and ?operated boutiques within the large Fred Segal shopping emporium. In addition to home accessories, the store sells jewelry, handbags and pet items.
I love that they stock designs from Savannah?s Working Class Studio (only a handful of West Coast stores do). There?s also a good selection of Chilewich rugs and Acme laptop bags (I carry one myself and adore it).
If you?re like me and are constantly jotting down notes, be sure to check out Zero Minus Plus? great paper products. For example, anything in the No. 2 collection (notepads, disposable clipboards).
So even if the clothing and beauty products here aren?t your thing, you can still walk away from Fred Segal as a satisfied customer. And, with a large parking lot adjacent to the store, you won?t even have to carry your new purchases very far.
Do you have any LA favorites to boast about? Let us know!
Thanks a-m for the great write-up covering a few of your unexpected finds!
(images from floralart, jin patisserie, and working class studio)