Enjoy a stroll through this thriving design district. It’s a bit pricey but advice is free, says Barbara Chandler
ONCE something of a shabby backwater, these days Pimlico Road, SW1 is undeniably posh. It’s a short street full of independent shops with fronts in fashionably muted shades and bearing the names of an intriguing variety of interior designers, makers and antiques dealers. Some stores you can only enter after pressing the bell. It can be intimidating — but stick with it.
In shady Orange Square, aka Mozart Square, the Saturday morning farmers’ market has colourful stalls of fruit, fresh pasta, free-range eggs, meat, fish, artisan breads and cheeses. It closes at 1pm and on Saturdays many of the shops are closed, too. Just a few stay open to show off the authentic British craft techniques used when making reproductions of popular originals.
Meet Chistopher Howe at No 93 (howelondon.com), whose hand-carved Irish Pawfoot Bench, his first foray from art into antiques/furniture 30 years ago, is an enduring success — the benches are in the National Gallery.
Other copies of classic chairs evoke Chippendale, Strawberry Hill Gothic, Arts & Crafts and Victorian/Edwardian upholstery. New downstairs is a kitchen by Plain English in Suffolk, handmade in mellow, chunky rescued pitch pine, with antique knobs and pulls. Laden with Royal Staffordshire ceramics is “possibly the longest dresser ever”.
ON THE WILD SIDE
Next door, behind a lifesize 18th-century horse, is Jamb (95-97 Pimlico Road; jamb.co.uk), a wide and surprisingly deep antiques shop that owner Will Fisher has filled with quirky furniture, lanterns, mirrors, urns, busts and even a couple of stuffed penguins. He can also copy his cache of antique fireplaces in ancient marbles, hand-finished to look as old as you like. Or go for a more sober stone from quarries the Romans used, such as Bath or Portland.
Plate-glass double doors and a handsome sweep of windows mark Linley where David Linley, Earl of Snowdon, shows off furniture in fine veneers, with a fitted kitchen in the basement (60 Pimlico Road; davidlinley.com). The London Skyline marquetry panel is a must- see, with 20,000 individual pieces, priced £75,000. For less than £100, buy photo frames, door wedges, or whisky tumblers. At Soane Britain, newly “refreshed” by founder/owner Lulu Lytle, find inspiring arrangements of furniture and fabrics (50-52 Pimlico Road; soane.co.uk).
An august line-up of interior decorators includes long- established Jane Churchill. More recently arrived is Robert Kime, the “royal decorator”. At 89-91 Pimlico Road is Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, arbiter of “country house” style, where exquisite antique and modern cameos are set against rich wall finishes and handsome curtains.
Rather than “shops”, these are showcases or studios for the designers within. However, interior designer Paolo Moschino (trading as nicholas haslam.com at 202 Ebury Street) has open doors at his corner shop with very special lamps and classic silk lamp shades, plus stylish furniture, gifts galore and a nifty line in Belgian handmade shoes. His separate fabric shop is at 10-14 Holbein Place, for reliably chic designs.
Furniture-maker Russell Pinch is a newbie, at 46 Bourne Street (pinchdesign.com). The store is lined with perfect scale models of his work, with its “pared-back” aesthetic. Also new is Cox London, where sculptors Nicola and Christopher Cox have channelled their artistry into furniture and lighting, hand cast in their own foundry (194 Ebury Street; coxlondon.com).
WHAT THE ROMANS DID FOR US
Luke Irwin sells handmade rugs fairly made in Nepal, based on Roman mosaics (see the Mosaic collection at 20-22 Pimlico Road; lukeirwin.com).
Bennison (16 Holbein Place; bennison.com) screen prints about 500 designs from £175 a metre, from the archive of founder Geoffrey Bennison (1921–1984). Christopher Howe’s other little shop does authentic mini-prints on cotton or linen, with matching papers (36bournestreet.com), while de Le Cuona at 24 Pimlico Road excels in weaves in well-coloured natural fibres (delecuona.com).
Brass door furniture is downstairs at Anthony Outred, 74 Pimlico Road. Dale Rogers at 77-79 Pimlico Road does fossils and crystals.
Hilary Batstone (8 Holbein Place) has a soft-edged edit of antique furniture. Nearby, her daughter Rose Uniacke has a burgeoning collection of her own interiors editions. Her signature slender bronze bamboo shoots appear on bar stools, coat hangers, and even balusters to the basement (76 Pimlico Road; roseuniacke.com).
above: bespoke and antique mirror suppliers Ossowski at 83 Pimlico Road; Christopher Howe and his Irish Pawfoot Bench; floral screen prints at Bennison in Holbein Place; furniture maker Russell Pinch’s Bourne Street shop, and Rose Uniacke’s Serpentine sofa (£9,000 inc VAT)
Design partners: Russell Pinch and Oona Bannon at Pinch; below, a Pinch dining chair (£1,080£1,145)
Off the wall: Will Fisher’s Jamb at 95-97 Pimlico Road has quirky furniture, lanterns, mirrors… and stuffed penguins