Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.42.34 One of the best things about being fabulous is when other people realize you’re fabulous. Particularly if it’s someone whose taste and style you admire.

Yes, I know one can be quietly excellent in one’s field in a low-key, taupe cashmere sort of way. But quite frankly, if I’m putting on a show, I like a round of applause. Nobody notices the quiet ones in this game.

So, when I do a display for Guinevere I want pizzazz (it’s a Diana Vreeland word) and I want plenty of it. Show stopping backdrops with beautiful furniture as center stage. Off-white walls and quiet good taste? Leave that for the estate agents brochures please.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.42.59 Sir David Tang is the sort of client who understands this approach, no shrinking violet himself in the style stakes, he knows what he likes and if he likes it he tells you. Successful people don’t have time to faff about or be indecisive. I’ve recently been using bold horizontal painted stripes as the backdrop for our window displays. I love the immediacy of paint and the transforming power of colour.

It started with two windows I did at Guinevere in collaboration with Interior designer Alidad. He has used stripes as a foil to his beautiful multi layered exotic schemes. Alidad’s stripes are controlled and meticulous, Alidad is controlled and meticulous. Now, about me.

Ask anyone who knows me and I’m actually very shy, but when it came to doing striped backgrounds, we are talking bigger and we are talking bolder.

20151108_134126 Broad bands of darkest chocolate brown with gold contrasting with the softest ivory. Against this I placed a set of French gilt chairs upholstered in delicious red velvet and enough ormolu accessories to make Louis XIV blush. The other window was in the same broad stripes, this time café au lait, gold and the same ivory with a monumental pale grey painted ivory bookcase filled with plaster casts and a v.chic travertine centre table.

I think Alidad liked it, at least he said he did. I hope we managed an okay fusion of Alidad taste in the Guinevere style. Sir David certainly did and he called me from Hong Kong on his mobile to tell me so and ask if we could replicate the effect in his “country residence”, a charming lodge within the grounds of Hyde Park.

Now, a lesser man might have gone down the chintzy, pale painted grey, shabby chic route with a lodge in the park but thankfully Sir David is more chic than shabby.

IMG_7773 Working to a tight schedule of a looming party as our completion date we began the transformation.

Painting horizontal stripes is actually much trickier than you’d think, it all about proportion, getting the thickness right for the space and deciding on the sequence of colours, you just know when you’ve got it right, but it takes time. Luckily I work with Guinevere’s in house man Rafi, he manages to translate my ideas into reality, usually without too much complaining. Drawing out and masking up the lines takes ages but once the painting starts it was wonderful to see the Lodge’s library and sitting room assume a whole new character. When we finished I styled both rooms back up; the library took the chocolate and gold scheme which proved to be an excellent background for a book-laden mahogany round table surrounded by caned library chairs.

The sitting room looked incredibly glamorous with light wood mid-century modern pieces Sir David had chosen at Guinevere and a beautiful oil painting he already had.

The wonderful thing is that nobody would expect any of it from the outside, but when you walk through the door the effect is dramatic and that, of course, is the best of it.

I suppose that is what I aim for with the displays at Guinevere, to be predicable would be the worst thing in the world.


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Wednesday morning flight to Boston with BA. At least we left from Terminal 5 which is normally efficient. I was with Hannah, my daughter, who had a couple of appointments in Boston, so we combined our trips.

IMG_6134 Anyway, we left on time. I had some wine and watched two mindless films to while away the hours. I can’t even remember what they were. Hannah did give me the look about the wine as it was only 11.30 am. We also landed on time and then hit American customs….. Two hours later we exited….

We were met at the airport by our friend Nancy. Nancy lives outside of Boston in a lovely mansion filled with beautiful pieces which she collected with her late husband over the last 40 years. This is the view from the pool past the fountain up to the main house.

Thursday and Friday were spent in Boston for Hannah’s appointments, but in the morning’s I was able to catalogue some of Nancy’s pieces, part of the reason for my trip.

Friday afternoon we left Boston in rush hour (deep sigh) and headed for Pawtucket, a small town just outside of providence, Rhode Island. We have a share in a large building there which was formally a car showroom and has a theatre on the 1st and 2nd floors. The main showroom has been divided into smaller showrooms and two of these are antique shops.

Unknown IMG_5984 We were with our friend, Paul, who co owns the building, and had dinner that evening at Al Forno in Providence. The food and wine was delicious, even if the staff were a little too pleased with themselves!!

Saturday morning was spent in our building as there are repairs ongoing and so there were decisions to be made. I also looked at some Mid century pieces that were offered at a good price in one of the shops.

Then it was back to Boston, where I was able to catalogue some more items. This is the living room with just a little bit of malachite.

Sunday was much the same cataloguing except we had take away ribs Sunday afternoon, which were delicious, whilst Nancy watched the football (?) Then a rather sleepless flight overnight to London. I now know what they mean by red eye.

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Guinevere donated to the Princes Trust an American Limited Edition Serigraph from 1979 by Yaacov Agam, for their ‘Invest in Futures’ gala. The gala is taking place in February 2016. It is a fantastic cause so we are very happy to do what we can. In return I was very kindly invited yesterday evening to Clarence House to see the Highgrove Christmas shop.


Unlike most of their guests however, I was far more interested in the lovely Antiques. The glass of champagne was gratefully received, but I particularly wanted to take home the carpet and stunning ormolu mounted table I spotted in the corner.

No harm in dreaming….

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As an Olympia virgin I was not entirely sure what to expect. In my mind I saw it as a large, lavish and beautifully presented space, with the best pieces the dealers have to offer. In most respects I was completely right, but it was smaller than I expected.

CS9w0DFUEAIEhpI Champagne on arrival was accepted willingly, as my partner in crime Roger, a previous Guinevere Stylist, and I started our journey round. Roger had a very particular way he wanted to go around the fair; apparently there is a method to these things. Unfortunately this fell on somewhat deaf ears, and I managed to convince him to be a bit more haphazard. This may or may not have had something to do with the champagne… but was most definitely to our detriment. I am pretty sure I saw the same stretch 4 times over.

There were a few pieces that caught my eye, including these amazing prints by Raoul Dufy print called ‘La Fée Électricité’.Unfortunately a bit out of my personal price range at £27,000, however it is safe to say I fell in love.

IMG_2091 Another stand-out piece was “Mao Two Faces” by Ren St Hong on Tanya Baxters stand.

However the area in which we lingered the longest, not only because of the sheer size it took up but also because of the subject matter, was Chen Dapeng’s. A very renowned artist in China, although personally I have to say I haven’t heard of him or seen his work before, so another first. It was all very big and very bold…However, not necessarily to my taste. His grand unveiling of his homage to the Queen, immediately caused a stir and I could see on my twitter feed comparisons being made between the sculpture and Tom Hanks. In my opinion it had more of a resemblance to Mrs Doubtfire. The bust was created to commemorate the ‘gesture of reconciliation’ between Britain and China.

I was subsequently blown away by the rumours of the value of one of his pieces representing Chinese history, with Ying and Yang embodied by a sculpture of balanced male and female counterparts. The price tag doesn’t bear to be mentioned.

Overall I had fun, the company was good and although not all of it was to my taste (art not company)…I guess you can’t have everything!


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To keep you all up to date on the ins and outs at Guinevere, we’ve decided to start a diary. Not only will we be updating you on what happens in store but also all the exciting things happening behind the scenes, encompassing everything from trends and events to buying trips.

So don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for updates!


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