Friday, 22 January 2010
My favourite shop: Caravan
As retail guru, style icon and prime minister-in-waiting, Mary Portas slowly slips down the page, That's Not My Age has decided it's time for another stylish lady who knows how to make a shop look good. Meet Emily Chalmers. Interiors stylist and owner of Caravan, an emporium of loveliness in Shoreditch, London.
Chalmers loves to mix old and new, and describes her style as 'vintage, floral, bohemian.'
The drape (in the background) is made from old silk scarves, and there's a larger version upstairs in the Caravan office but that's....
Two stand-out products are the Deborah Bowness wallpapers and Jielde lamps. (Chalmers and Bowness brought an old sixties doll's house back to life in the January 2010 issue of Elle Decoration.) Other items worth a mention are French designer, Natalie Lete's beautiful rugs and the Bambi lamp, of course.
And then there's Bagpuss, the shop cat, who likes to meet and greet the customers.
Obsessed by dwellings from an early age, Chalmers chose the name Caravan because she likes the idea of moving around, not staying in one place, 'Everything changes. Places change - it's good for shops to move.' And the 41 year-old is not kidding. Caravan has relocated three times in the last six years - but fortunately this inspirational stylist and co-author of an impressive range of interiors books knows how to transform an old industrial space into a modern day palace, and is more than happy to share her secrets.
How to add a touch of Caravan style to your home:
1. Layering is important. Hang things on the wall - plates, mirrors, a vintage dress - at different heights, or drape a silk scarf over a lamp.
2. Follow your heart rather than the latest trends. Nobody wants to live in a show home, it's much better to think laterally, make a flower display using an old teapot or group vintage postcards together on the wall.
3. If you surround yourself with things you love, you can't go wrong.
And finally, I couldn't possibly leave without asking the lovely Emily for a fashion tip...
'I use layering with clothes as well as interiors. It's a clever way to cover up. For me, the good thing about age is that I can quite easily not buy anything new. I'd rather spend a day sorting through my clothes than shopping. It's great to find classics you can get out again and again.'
Which just about sums up the essence of Caravan style. Vintage. Modern. Cool.
Do you have any tips for adding a touch of individuality to a home?
Caravan, 3 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7033 3532
Photo of Emily by Bård Ek