I just got back from London. Wow!!! Although I didn’t get the antique fainting couch I had my eye on, I did come home with a bundle of inspiration. Every step I took, every corner I turned in London there were eye-popping colors and textures. 

I was hoping my trip would be more of a buying venture for staging than it turned out to be, but it’s hard to put a couch in a suitcase. I am looking into importing more substantial furniture and art pieces from the UK. More on that later. 

If I tried to capture all of the inspiration that I gleaned from my trip this would be the longest blog in the history of blogs. What I will do is pass on some highlights and trends I noticed that were unlike anything I have seen in Charlotte. 

You can do the same thing when you travel. More precious than a photograph, you can remember the places you’ve visited by incorporating the colors, textures and patterns inspired by that culture into your home decor.

When we arrived in London, my husband and I checked into a swanky hotel overlooking the London Tower and the Tower Bridge. Ultimately, we wanted to stay in the real London but for the first night we chose comfort and ease. First stop? Talk to a local. 

I asked the stylish young man at the hotel counter about the funky bits of London nearby, you know not where tourists want to go, you feel me? Although he had no idea what I was talking about, a lovely man who overheard my question knew exactly what I was asking. He led us to Brick Lane, an area that is a combination of Middle Eastern influence and fearless, aggressive art and social commentary layering every inch of space. Oh, and it’s home to London’s largest vintage store. 



My bugs and bones soul loves, well, bugs and bones. In the Notting Hill area of London where we stayed there were two whole stores devoted to spectacular natural element design.

“A New Naturalism” is spectacular and magically curated. I was fascinated with these huge ostrich eggs. Like the finest china, these giant hollowed-out eggs were in a beautiful natural seagrass basket. I wanted to take the whole thing home.

There were also shells of all shapes and sizes, including a giant clam shell the size of a kitchen sink. Hey wait, it could totally be a kitchen sink design element!

Another spot that deserves a mention is “Graham and Green”,  a purveyor of local art and home goods along with refinished furniture and some antiques. Unfortunately, they don’t ship but it was just a treat spending time in that fantastic shop.


My other momentus design takeaway from my London trip is fearlessly combining old and new.  The first place I noticed this was a flat we stayed in. Our host introduced herself to us as an interior designer. By old and new, I mean like older than the United States has been a country, pre-1700s statuary, artwork and textiles combined with items from the mid-20th century to today. Blending truly old-world Europe with contemporary is just stunning and humorous at the same time.  


I can’t wait to take more trips to Europe. Everywhere I go informs who I am as a designer and a stager. You can incorporate a global style into your home as well. That kind of style doesn’t have to adhere to any rules. You can combine different patterns, artwork, handicrafts and materials to tell the story of your adventures. And if, like me, you couldn’t fit it all in your suitcase, when you get home you can take inspiration from the cultures you admire and shop antique stores, yard sales and even Etsy.