Interiors Little Black Book: Tara Craig

Interior decorator Tara Craig is best known for refreshing historic homes with her contemporary take on interiors. She’s also the founder of Ensemblier, which works with artisans to upholster furniture by hand in the UK using sustainable materials and traditional methods. Here, Tara shares some of her most reliable sources…

Ceramics 

Having studied 20th-century design, I love the stoneware of Bernard Leech and Lucie Rie. Two contemporary great potters are Lucy Dunce and Rupert SpiraDenby Studio has been making pottery since 1809 and has fantastic plates as well. John Julian has wonderful simple everyday ware and The Granby Workshop has the most exquisite soap dishes. For high-end sets, go to Willer which does the most sublime agate ware. For extraordinary art pieces, one to watch is Gergei Erdei. I also love 1690 Works and Avot Ceramics.

Glassware

Some of my go-tos include Summerill & Bishop, Pentreath & Hall and 8 Holland Street. I love early 20th-century cut crystal glassware as it’s so hardwearing, and you can find Georgian rummers for gin and tonics sets on The Saleroom or Antique AtlasHowe London also has the most wonderful collections of 19th-century French lead glass. Hobnail glass jugs are also useful – the best are found at Klimchi or on Etsy if you want a vintage one. The Vintage List is fantastic – as is Bias Editions for tumblers. 

Antiques

The best place to find 20th-century antiques is the Beaux Art district of Paris and PAD fairs. I always love Ed Foster’s finds – he has such a good eye – and the best 18th-century dealer out there is James Graham Stuart. I also love Rolleston. For antique textiles, the London Antique and Vintage Textiles fair at Chelsea Town Hall is always a highlight of my year. Dan Hunt is also opening a small auction house in Lower Sloane Street, which has a starting price of £2,000 rather than the £10,000 of the central London auctioneers. Adam Bray also has some great pieces, including wonderful table lamps.

Textiles

I use natural yarns in my projects and like to find smaller producers. Mourne Textiles is sublime, as is the Cloth Collective which works with small growers, weavers, and dyers to produce ethical and environmental materials. The London Cloth Company is doing some fantastic things right now, as is Newburgh Handloom Weavers in Fife. Bute Fabrics makes everything in Scotland – I love its curtains and upholstery. Merchant and Mills has a large, sustainability sourced selection and I love Malaika Linen’s whimsical designs. Bennison Fabrics and Saved NY are always worth a look – the latter has great bed throws. 

Furniture

Edward Collinson’s lovely low-backed chair in ash is top of my wish list right now and I always go to P.E. Guerin for handles. For non-standard furniture and fun kitchen chairs, look at Berdoulat, which collaborates with local artisans. Mythology Furniture is good for breakfast trays and I love Rowen & Wren’s Aubray shelves. 

Mirrors

I love Irish looking glasses, also late 17th century cushion frame mirrors. Westenholz Antiques is another good source. Howe’s Bucranium mirror is perfect for halls and drawings rooms.  

Rugs & Carpet

Stark has some fabulous cut and looped piles, and Colefax & Fowler does a great range of custom Brussel weaves. Norfolk Rush Matting is also worth a browse.

Lighting

Stephen Antonson is my top choice for extraordinary plaster and bronze pieces, and I love Natalie Page's ceramic pendant light. Soane’s lighting is made in the UK (unlike so many others) and Lulu’s scallop wall scones are still some of my favourite pieces. Vaughan also has some great ceramic table lamps and Balineum makes the most fantastic bookshelf lights.

Art

I’d highly recommend Agnews – Anthony Crichton-Stuart has formidable knowledge having been head of Christie’s Old Masters in New York for more than a decade. I also love Philip Mould – his incredible portrait exhibitions tell both the story of the sitter and painter. Another hidden gem is Charles Beddington, which sells exceptional 17th century artworks. For British Modern art, Matt Travers at Piano Nobile is the authority, and Daniel Katz is the same for sculpture. Finally, for more affordable pieces and prints, Andrew Edmunds is the place to go – there’s also the most delicious restaurant next door. 

 
 

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