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mydeco goes under Ella Doran’s umbrella (Ella Ella) 12 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in design boutique blog.
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If there’s one thing Ella Doran is, it’s creative. Her eye for detail and colour bring the generic mug, coaster and tray to life with vibrant photography and eye-catching subject matter. So no doubt you’ll know (and love – how can you not?) her kitchenware even if you don’t know Ella. But there’s far more to it than flowers and sweets – as I found out when I popped along to her Cheshire Street shop.
Ella Doran Magnolia mug and tea

What was once mostly studio with a shop window attached, is now a colourful  boutique with green leaved umbrellas, knitted children’s chairs, Sweetie Love mugs and a whole lot more. She’s had to expand – demand for Doran’s trademark photographic designs has soared over the past few years and she sells with John Lewis as well as being part of our exclusive design boutique.

So, just how did she carve such a ‘boumercial’ niche for herself? (that’s boutique/commercial btw. See what I did?) She said: ‘There’s a lot of beautiful illustrative designs out there, and we are offering something different with my bold vibrant photographic eye and passion for colour and detail.

‘Photography is becoming more and more widely used; with the advent of the digital camera everyone can essentially take a great photo, but I shoot specifically and work on the image in post production creating repeats from often quite small aspects of the photograph.’

Ella Doran Geo wallpaper and tray and Sunlight through Leaves  blind and placemats

Her lovely assistant, Ruth, showed me some examples. Take her Geo collection, above left. The original shoot focussed on just a small section of the geometric design, yet the post-photo work repeated the image seamlessly to create it’s eye-fuzzing effect – you’d never know!

This brings me, nearly as seamlessly, to Ella’s brand new (quote) ‘never before seen’ Geo Play silk scarf. Ruth showed me a sample and it’s so new, in fact, that the hemlines still needed to be sewn.

Ella Doran Churchill Sweetie Love mug and Pinky umbrella

Image credit: Ella Doran @ design boutique

Ella’s latest success has been her umbrellas – made by the manufacturers that keep the Queen’s silvery head dry: ‘They invented the see-through umbrella for the Queen, so she could stay dry and see people,’ explains Ruth.

‘The Pinky umbrella, aka Meadow umbrella, is a take on this design with a floral edge. We sold out with the four trial designs and our manufacturer had to order extra to meet the demand.’

Ella Doran's Artists brushes mug and tray

My favourite design, Artist’s Tools, above.

Watch out for more new products on the Ella-horizon: a new stripey collection for men, new designs for Churchill China plus aprons, tea towels and oven gloves in her Sweetie Love pattern. A brilliant way to brighten up your cooking – afterall, who wants generic white oven gloves with those tell-tale scorch marks of black sausages and tears…?

What do you think of Ella Doran? Rate her with a comment below >

Guest blogger Sophie Conran on spring bulbs and her new cutlery range 9 March, 2010

Posted by sophieconran in mydeco guest blogger.
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Hello, I am Sophie Conran, home body and mum of two gorgeous kids. Over the next four weeks, I am going to be writing a blog and I really hope you can join me!

Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

I write for two fabulous magazines: Junior, for whom I have been doing the yummy food pages for about 3 years, and more recently House Beautiful, which is really great fun – check out the current issue for some special Mother’s Day ideas.

One simple gift idea is to group together a collection of white vases and jugs and fill them with irises and daffodils – the bulbs are really easy to plant and the colours look stunning. For something more subtle, try filling them with white narcissus and hydrangeas. Have a look at Candida’s blog on my spring bulb workshop for more tips and inspiration.

As well as writing, I also work with a number of businesses as a designer. I have created a range of tableware with Portmeirion, some wonderful wallpaper with Arthouse and a range of elegant cutlery with Arthur Price, soon to be launched at John Lewis:

Image credit: Sophie Conran

I’ve been working closely with Tony and Simon for the past few months and am really excited about the launch.

Next week, I will be talking about my countryside retreats, so watch this space!

Be inspired: Gorgeous garden by community member Sputnik 12 June, 2009

Posted by cleberry in 3D room design.
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Congratulations to community member Sputnik, who designed this striking 3D garden and won the Gorgeous Gardens competition! We are inspired by the simple elegance and chic style of the space, where we would love to spend the summer..

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See more of Sputnik’s designs here.

Don’t worry if you didn’t enter, we are currently running plenty of brilliant competitions which you can take part in. Be sure to keep your eye on our competitions page.