Little London Luxuries: Jane Means & The Quince Tree

fullsizerender-5Another one of my great pleasures is beautiful and unique stationery. I stumbled across the Jane Means Pop-Up Shop at Clifton Nurseries this morning and was so impressed by the large collection of artfully made cards, ribbons, and wrapping material. I realize the holidays are still a few months away, but I strongly suggest that you stop in to pick up some essential gift-wrapping equipment. Whilst you’re at it, enjoy a cappuccino and a slice of cake at The Quince Tree. This lovely little café offers a selection of patisserie, savoury treats and fine teas and coffees, along with daily specials for a tasty brunch or lunch. The romantic space is also available to hire for private events.

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A Day At Decorex International 2016

I had the pleasure of attending Decorex International 2016 on Wednesday September 21st and did I have a blast! The four-day event enables access to some of the best designers and manufactures in the world and was a true display of craftsmanship, creativity, and beauty.

Many of this year’s designers built unique display stands with gorgeous installations and it was great fun to walk around and experience so many different spaces.

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My personal favourite was The Sofa & Chair Companys installation that mimicked a luxury flat complete with bar area, dining space, living room, and master bedroom. The display was perfectly curated by the company’s team of interior designers and merchandising experts, who did a wonderful job of showcasing innovative products inspired by the latest design trends in this season’s neutral and serene colour palette of blue, gray, beige, black and elements of gold.

As they so well illustrate, what city flats lack in size can be made up for with high-impact style choices: bold and unique furniture pieces, a great colour palette, and textured décor can transform a small space!

img_1361Next, I spent some time admiring Heirlooms‘ fine linens. This English brand began manufacturing linens in their workshops in West Sussex in 1984. The company combines the finest materials and traditional craftsmanship to create linens of exceptional quality and lasting beauty. Heirlooms designs for the luxury consumers’ every need at sea, on shore, and in flight. I fell in love with a few beautiful safari themed nursery items and table linens that would work perfectly as a place setting for dinner on board a fabulous yacht.

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Lastly, I loved learning about the high quality textiles available for made to measure curtains, blinds, and bespoke upholstery at Prêt À Vivre. The company is London based and offers a nationwide measuring and fitting service as well as personalized guidance throughout the process. Prêt À Vivre has a huge range of exclusively sourced fabrics and offers a wide range of colours and prints. They also teamed up with French company Toile de Mayenne to supply their beautiful fabrics in the UK.

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I enjoyed a glass of bubbly at the 1508 London designed Champagne Bar, attended a LuxDeco sponsored panel discussion with Maurizio Pellizzoni, Matthew Jones, and Nicole Kluk about how the different areas of the creative community work together to produce bespoke spaces, and met with many company founders and creative directors. It was a packed schedule, but it was highly informative and fun! I even got to play with some English Sheep called “Exmoor Horns” brought to Decorex by the Campaign for Wool and I cuddled with a Springer Spaniel named Charlie.

img_0899Decorex also works to support a few organizations, take a moment to check out their websites and learn about the good they are doing: Goodweave and Fine Cell Work.

Next stop, the Monaco Yacht Show!

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Decorex 2016: September 18-21

I have the pleasure of attending Decorex International at Syon Park, just outside of London. The event hosts thousands of design professionals and many brands preview their collections. Aside from exhibitors, industry leaders will discuss relevant topics in the luxury home goods sector and over 50 seminars are being held over the course of the four day event.

For more information and to secure tickets: http://www.decorex.com

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The Importance of Quality Sleep

Today, we’re inundated with information about how to get a good night’s rest. An infinite number of magazine articles, websites, and blogs cover this hot topic regularly and it has become a growing concern among hard-working professionals who average about six hours and thirty-six minutes of sleep a night.  Are we getting enough sleep? What can we do to get better quality sleep? And what are some modern approaches to making the most of our time in the sheets?

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Not surprisingly, a good night’s rest starts with a comfortable mattress, pillows, and sheets. Focusing on individual needs and preferences is a must. Too many marketers have convinced consumers that quality comes down to thread count, when in fact, quality is determined on so many levels: the length of the fibers used, the type of fiber, the weave, and so on. Some individuals may prefer a higher thread count of a very thin fiber, whilst others may sleep better with a softer fiber and lower thread count which allows for more breathability. At the end of the day, just like fine art, it comes down to individual preference.

Here are a few tips for making the most of your time in bed:

  1.  Invest in high quality bedding. We spend over a third of our lives in bed – linens are not something to skimp on. That said, the great thing about luxury linens is that they don’t have to be inaccessibly priced. There are countless brands today that offer high-end bedding starting from $300. It is worth while doing some research before you invest. Industry giants, like Frette, charge thousands of dollars for a set of bed linens and claim to produce their products in Italy, but most are manufactured in China and simply finished in Italy. Many smaller boutique brands offer a higher quality for substantially less.
  2. Choose a pillow firmness that matches your sleep style. Down pillows offer the greatest luxury and, unless you suffer from allergies, they are considered the best choice. Stomach sleepers should choose a softer low profile adjustable pillow. Back sleepers would do well with a medium thickness pillow. Side sleepers should consider a medium-high thickness pillow. It’s all about cradling your neck and adjusting your spine to a neutral position.
  3. Choose a sheet set that’s right for you. Some individuals prefer the ease of a fitted sheet and duvet, whilst others insist on having a flat sheet and a blanket. Focus on what is comfortable for your needs and preferences.

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Defining Luxury & Luxury Home Goods

Having studied the luxury industry and become an expert in the field of luxury home goods, it is valuable to open this blog with a conversation on the definition of luxury and luxury home goods.

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The term and concept of luxury was once easy to define but it has taken on different meanings over time. Today, the meaning of the term luxury has become diluted and has taken on many forms due to its democratization. The question “What is luxury?” can be answered in countless ways. The responses are relative to personal beliefs and are closely linked to one’s socio-economic status and culture. More importantly, what constitutes luxury for one, may not be luxury for another. Ultimately, luxury is an experience which is unique to each individual.

The luxury industry is primarily focused on creating needs that consumers do not know exist. Luxury products are not necessities; they are personal pleasures and the majority of luxury purchases are inspired by more than a need. One may need a car for transportation purposes, but one does not need that car to be a Ferrari in order to get from point A to point B. This argument frames luxury in a specific and unique way and allows us to define it in a somewhat metaphorical sense.

The role of luxury is to sell dreams. As Jean-Noel Kapferer, one of the great experts in the field explains, “Luxury evokes the notion of rarity and of access to the privileged life.” Therefore, luxury is largely concentrated on creating products that tap the emotional side of consumers. In order to do that, luxury brands focus on long-term value, rather than becoming a bestseller.

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I define luxury home products as those which have been created with the utmost respect for the material, craftsman, and customer. These products highlight an individual’s skill and ability to work with their hands to create fine and delicate products that are available in limited quantities. These products are generally created with rare materials such as antique lace, high quality, durable and expensive cotton, and are finished by the hand of a highly skilled artisan who shares an appreciation for the product.

This blog will focus on highlighting luxury home products and showcasing them in their purest forms. We will review products, discuss hot topics in the industry, and talk about all things related to bedding, towels, and tableware. Welcome to the world of Anne France Home!