This month, the Decorative Living Fair returns to Eridge Park for the 14th year. It’s a favourite fixture in the calendars of those who love nothing more than spending a day in beautiful surroundings, browsing through the stalls of an imaginatively curated collection of exhibitors and searching out perfect additions to their home and garden.
Whatever you might be looking for, there is a huge choice, ranging from statement pieces of furniture to garden tables and chairs, exciting salvage, and key decorative pieces for a room, including paintings and old signs.
Exhibitors are always telling me they save their best stock for Eridge and when everyone has set up, just before we open, I often feel quite emotional looking round at the stands, because everyone goes to such trouble to make the fair live up to its name.
The event’s fellow co-founder Hetty Purbrick and I have always sought to use the fair as a showcase for new designer-makers working with vintage and antique materials.
Here are a few to look out for this year:
James & Joanna Design: This is a husband-and-wife team of such complementary talents that it is always exciting to see their new work. Inspired by the monograms found on antique sheets, they have created a series of lino cuts, which they use to create beautifully finished and immaculately presented products for the home. “We are convinced they are a design name to watch out for,” says Hetty.
GZ Bad Boys Antiques: This brand takes its name from the cute chihuahuas you will find curled up in a tiny basket amid the company’s wares! They are coming over from France to exhibit at the fair for the first time. Their huge stand will be piled high with vintage white plates, tureens and jugs alongside sets of monogrammed antique linen napkins hand-dyed in fashionably sludgy pinks and greys.
Brocante Living: Each year we offer a prize for the best-dressed stand and last year’s was won by a young dealer from Shropshire, Amy Jones of Brocante Antiques. A talented photographer, her tiny but immaculately styled stand drew the attention of everyone, thanks to her trademark neutral palette highlighted with black, and an eye for the smallest detail.
DB-D London: Although the emphasis is on decorative antiques we are keen to include new homewares, interesting fashion and jewellery. This brand has a collection of pretty summer frocks which are made from vintage fabric.
Le Grillon Voyageur: This is a new dealer from France which designs, dyes and stitches a range of strikingly elegant clothes with a period feel. Their hand-made jewellery combines old buckles, leather, glass beads and water pearls: each piece is unique.
For more information or to book tickets for the Decorative Living Fair which runs from Friday May 17 to Saturday May 18 visit www.decorativelivingfair.co.uk