The moment we saw the Instagram post go up, the Cool Blue Interiors team let out a collective excited squeak of excitement. The British Interior design studio (heralded for its holistic approach and belief in health-led aesthetics with minimal burden on the planet) would soon be hosting its debut creative breakfast in collaboration with creative studio, Nomades_. And with limited space around the linen-clothed sawhorse table, we signed ourselves straight up, ready to listen, learn and look high and low at all the House of Grey home and studio had to offer…
Where we Went
Hosted at the House of Grey helm, the breakfast took place at the home of its founder, Louisa Grey in a suburban part of leafy North London.
We were welcomed at the door by the impeccably dressed Mathieu Lodin and Natacha Roché – cofounders of French creative studio, Nomades_ who took our coats, hung them on a rail along with the most tactile samples of natural wool carpets.
From there, the gradually growing crowd spilled out into the adjoining reception rooms whose beaded partition doors were thrown open to make way for the most beautifully dressed breakfast table you ever did see. And naturally, every mismatched chair was worthy of design icon status.
We settled ourselves in for what promised to be four hours of good food and fascinating conversation around interior design, wellness and harnessing creativity.
What we Ate
As if the hosts and the setting weren’t aesthetically pleasing enough, the catering was supplied by the beautifully branded Popham’s Bakery – a North London institution with outposts in Islington and Hackney and whose pasta is as celebrated as its pastries.
A delectable pot of rhubarb compote, lashings of yoghurt and seeded granola; a gloriously weighty and tightly knotted cinnamon bun; wedges of crusty sourdough, and instantly refreshing orange and ginger juice to wash it all down got things off to a very good start indeed.
(And we were even sent on our way with a Popham’s packed lunch too – the most thoughtful finishing touch!)
Who we Rubbed Shoulders With
The breakfast opened with warm words from Natacha, encouraging us to break (sourdough) bread and chat freely with the intimate group of like-minded individuals with whom we’d be spending the morning.
We talked palette and texture with interior designers, admired everything from the ornate ceiling rose to the orchard garden with a rug weaver, and enjoyed a private tour of all three floors with House of Grey’s Design Director, Fiona. From the studio’s basement HQ (where we were most thrilled to meet Louisa’s Dachshund puppy, Lunar) to the private bedrooms up top, we lapped up every last detail.
What we Learnt
You come away from events like these armed with all sorts. Inspiration, without doubt. Trailing thoughts, every time. And insights into different ways creatives approach design.
Living in the chaos that is London and being submerged in a happy riot of trending colour and must-have pattern every day of the week is our norm, and so stepping into the calm and creative clarity that is House of Grey was a reminder of the adage that less is so often more. A design lesson not forgotten, but not always front of mind, and being in Louisa’s pared-back, minimal world was an appreciated reminder that quiet and calm is good for the soul.
An observation that was repeated from room to room that we stored for future use was the use of a) Bauwerk limewashed walls and their whisper of clay-like visual texture and b) moulded mineral surfaces. House of Grey, contemporary as it seems, is a place of softness and surrender. There are no harsh angles to be found, and the softly sculpted basins, tactile bath tub, and even the moveable kitchen island were all formed from the same off-white, matte textured mineral substance. Those in partnership with unlacquered brass taps by Studio Ore were an understated match made in interiors heaven.
Perhaps that was the greatest lessons of all from the breakfast to beat all breakfasts – the importance of texture. No matter how subtle (both the Bauwerk and mineral surfaces didn’t cry out with texture, but there was something that drew you to them to reach out and touch), the muted nature of the colour palette allows for an abundance of textural interplay that is a sight for the eyes as much as a joy for hands to touch and feet to tread upon.
P.S. Fiona told us that they’ll soon be revealing further tones to their Bauwerk collaborative line of colours. Needless to say, we’re waiting with baited breath…
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