Interiors Little Black Book Jennifer Manners
Interiors Little Black Book Jennifer Manners

Interiors Little Black Book Jennifer Manners

Having swapped a journalism career for interior design, Jennifer Manners soon found herself unable to find rugs in the precise size, colour, scale and quality she wanted. A fortuitous meeting with a master weaver in Nepal led to a second reinvention – as a rug designer. Here, Jennifer shares the names and places she relies on time and again.
By Georgina Blaskey

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If I could only buy homeware from one place, it would be Tollgard Design – either in Pimlico or at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Staffan Tollgard is a passionate designer himself (and often collaborates on items sold by the studio) and has worked tirelessly to curate the most inspiring collection of modern pieces from Scandinavia, Italy and beyond – all of which are so thoughtfully considered and yet exceptionally functional. I always come out wanting to redo my entire house! 

The most interesting interiors shop is Rose Uniacke. Rose has designed and curated a treasure trove of craft-inspired furniture and fabrics that feel really architectural. Each piece is simple, high quality and interesting. Shealso have a collection of woven fabrics crafted from recycled water bottles if you’re into the idea of sustainable luxury.

The coolest interiors shop I’ve found on my travels is in Udaipur, India. It’s called Ganesh Handicraft Emporium and you’ll find a mix of antique textiles, sculpted bronze statues and unusual objects that reflect the amazing handmade crafts that hail from this country. I go to India often and am always impressed at how exquisite the handmade items are – whether it’s sculpting, embroidery or painting. It’s rumoured that the fashion designer Tory Burch found a lot of the inspiration for some of her most iconic prints at Ganesh.

The best department store in the world for homeware is ABC Home & Carpet in New York. It can almost feel like wandering through a souk, but the quality on offer (there are six floors!) is exquisite, and there’s a big focus on Fairtrade and sustainably sourced items. It takes hours to explore everything, but there are three restaurants to refuel you.

The coolest independent interiors brand is Wolf And Badger. Beyond fashion, it sells an array of homeware sourced from independent designers, a lot of whom focus on sustainability and limited production runs.

You’ll find lots of independent designers and makers at The New Craftsmen. Its mission is to ‘promote and sell work from some of the finest makers across British Isles’ and the pieces (particularly the furniture) are all of the highest quality.

The coolest under-the-radar brand is Shenouk. It sells block-printed items that feel really special. I love the tablecloths and napkins.

My perfect shopping day would include a morning at Alfie’s Antique Market followed by lunch at Fischer’s on Marylebone High Street, followed by more shopping at The Conran Shop. Some of my greatest finds have come from Alfie’s – I love the range of vintage mirrors and lights. The one-off pieces of furniture stand out too.

The best vintage store in the world is Pamono, which is an online collection of vintage furniture from sellers across Europe, with many one-of-a-kind pieces in both modern and traditional styles. The site has an easy-to-use filter so you can find the right piece from smaller vintage shops within the UK and across the continent. New items are uploaded all the time.

My favourite vintage piece is an original Eero Saarinen Tulip Dining table in marble. My uncle was an architect and a bit ahead of his time. He’d bought the table for some clients in Kentucky, but it was rejected; he then gave me the opportunity to buy it, paying him over time. In my view, it’s a modern classic and has stood the test of time in my home.

The best sustainable brand is The Haines Collection. Jules Haines focuses on repurposing fabrics and wallpaper remnants from large interiors projects that would otherwise end up in landfill. The company makes cushions and other accessories, and also sells on remnants for smaller projects. The interiors world is riddled with waste, but initiatives like this are setting the standard for sustainability going forward.

For something really special I go to Liberty London. Liberty was one of the first department stores I visited in London, nearly 30 years ago, and I immediately fell in love with its rich Tudor style and selection of brands. When I’m shopping for a birthday or wedding gift, I always pop by Liberty to look at the home accessories (the show-stopping cushions are a favourite), fabrics and tableware.

The best interiors gift I’ve ever given was a sycamore box by David Linley with a pale grey chain inlay pattern (also in sycamore) and lined in grey suede. I bought it for my partner to store his cufflinks but I think I enjoy it more than he does. It lives on our coffee table now.

The best interiors gift I’ve ever received was a sumptuous cashmere Hermès blanket that I now keep in my study. I’ve had it now for eight years and it’s still one of the most versatile and often used pieces in my house.

The most recent item I bought for my home was some art. I am a big fan of travel photographer Max Milligan (who has published several coffee-table books documenting far-flung places like Ghana, Peru and Iceland). Many of his photographs have a sense of humour and the one I bought is The Harmattan which depicts the Saharan dust season in West Africa. It gives me such a sense of peace to look at it.

The most expensive investment in my home was the texturised raw silk wallpaper in my entryway by American wall covering company Phillip Jeffries. It’s a subtle stone colour, but reflects light in the most delicate way, so it would suit both contemporary and traditional interiors. It makes me feel calm the moment I walk into the house.

For tableware I go to Jessica Buckley in Edinburgh. Jess is an interior designer who has opened a shop in the middle of the city, and has hand-selected a colourful range of items that make great gifts. Her serving dishes and ceramics are very soulful and her china is cheerful. She also does great bins in marbled paper.



For bedlinen I like pure white bedding made from high thread-count Egyptian cotton. Soft, sumptuous sheets are the key to good sleep. The best I have found is from a US company called Peacock Alley. The sheets almost have a sateen finish (as soft as silk) but wash incredibly well.

For glassware it has to be William Yeoward for crystal and Liberty for everyday glasses. I especially like the Estelle Colored Glasses from Liberty and the American Bar Crystal collection from William Yeoward – both have the simple, clean lines I love.

I always find great art at the Frieze Art Fair in London. Some of it is quite aspirational, but I feel very inspired when I go.

For furniture I go to Casa Botelho. Joao Botelho, the former MD of fashion house Donna Karan, has brought his fashion eye to the home. His studio has an array of metal and stone tables and chairs that are so beautifully crafted, they’re like works of art. The tables are solid steel and brass (nothing hollow here) with the most incredible stone tops sourced from Italy. The martini table is already an iconic piece and I have two Athena chairs in a deep navy Armani velvet upholstery as well. 

For lighting I rely on Cox London which also does stunning mirrors. I love the Bamboo Cane lamps from design duo Salvesen Graham. They’re lacquered in bright colours and genuinely suit any space. They also have a great selection of lampshades to go with them. 

The item I regret not buying is a painting in an antique store in Petworth, West Sussex. I was with my children (who’d lost all patience) and so took a quick snap of it just before lockdown. I rang the shop and sent a photo of the painting as soon as their doors were again open and found out someone else had bought it.

If my house was burning down I’d save a set of eight etched crystal champagne coupes that belonged to my grandmother. They were a wedding gift in 1933. Not only are they beautiful, whenever I use them I’m transported to a time when my grandparents sipped champagne and danced the night away (their waltz was legendary). So often, it’s the story behind these pieces that give them their meaning and make them special.

Next on my shopping list is this sideboard. A collaboration between Aimee Betts (an embroiderer) and Gareth Neal (exquisite furniture maker), it’s available from The New Craftsman. The untreated wood and zig-zag embroidery make it interesting, but also the kind of piece I would treasure for years to come.

For more information and to find out more about Jennifer’s work, visit

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