Meet the online home style gurus
- Credit: Archant
With the vast majority of interiors purchases being made online, we bring you three of the best home boutiques on the web.
Online shopping is the future. It’s pretty much the norm already, with 80 per cent of UK adults buying a wealth of wares over the internet – and that figure is expected to increase to 90per cent within the next four years, according to Future Foundation’s consumer trend forecasters.
But it’s not just shoppers who’ve experienced change when it comes to snapping up new and wonderful things. Although the internet’s often blamed for poor retail sales, it can also harness a new breed of shopkeeper. Meet the ‘chic boutiquers’ – a cluster of fashion-forward online style gurus who, without the expense of bricks-and-mortar, are setting up shop and trading with ease. We meet the shape-shifters forging ahead in the world of interiors...
Mini Moderns – minimoderns.com. Launched: 2006. Selling: Wallpapers, lampshades, paints and home accessories
Dungeness, off the coast of Kent, is the only official desert in the UK. It’s a strange, surreal, beautiful place, where sky, sea and vast expanses of shingle meet the surrounding land. Nestled between clumps of grass on the sands, is a converted railway carriage that belongs to designers Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson – the duo behind Mini Moderns.
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Having a coastal retreat has influenced Mark and Keith’s designs, which grace wallpaper, fabric and home accessories. The surreal and rugged local landscape formed the basis for the ‘Hinterland’ collection and a new ‘P.L.U.T.O.’ wallpaper design, inspired by the ‘Pipe Line Under The Ocean’, a World War II fuel line built under the English Channel from Dungeness to France, to supply the D-Day invasion troops with fuel.
Keith and Mark find unending inspiration in 1950s and 1960s designs, and have been fans of the era ever since their teens.
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Fforest General Stores – fforest.bigcartel.com. Launched: 2010. Selling: Welsh blankets, bushcraft and camping kit, plus local artisanal treats
Among the lobster pots and pebbles of picturesque Aberporth bay, on the Ceredigion coast in Wales, is a pretty, stone cottage, just a few metres from the beach.
Sian Tucker and her partner James Lynch live here with their four sons, running fforest – a camp where they combine ethically sourced materials and local craft to create relaxed, comfortable and inspiring spaces where holidaymakers can stay and play. They have a cafe and a ‘pizza tipi’ as well as an online shop, with the outdoors at the core of all they do.
Both art school graduates, the couple spent many happy years in East London’s trendy Shoreditch working as designers, until deciding to up sticks and move to a 200-acre farm.
They initially opened a bricks-and-mortar shop selling outdoor clothing and kayaks, but soon realised they couldn’t compete with bigger stores, so decided to sell carefully selected products online instead.
The online ‘general store’ is filled with things the fforest family lives and works with. Welsh honey – sourced a few miles away – rustic aprons, beautiful blankets (woven exclusively for fforest using a vintage pattern that Sian adapted) and camping paraphernalia. It’s a beguiling and expertly edited store, filled with well-made, utilitarian treats.
Liefs van Maantje – liefsvanmaantje.nl. Launched: 2013. Selling: Illustrated prints, stationery and paper goods
Janneke van Houtum’s online and offline worlds merge into one, magical realm in her Dutch home in Eindhoven. Her colourful pad is filled with fun details, as is her whimsical web shop Liefs van Maantje, which translates as ‘Love from Moon’. Her online site is covered with tiny glittering stars and the virtual aisles are lined with quirky illustrated prints, while her home is a cheerful wonderland.
Janneke set up her online shop because she wanted a creative project to sink her teeth into, following a bout of illness. Liefs van Maantje allowed Janneke to indulge her life-long passion for illustration. Her collection is unique – carefully selected paper decorations, stickers, greeting cards and posters are sourced from near and far. “I deliberately include products by both well-known and lesser-known artists,” she explains. “I want an eclectic offering that nobody will find elsewhere.”
The three-bedroom home she shares with husband Jeroen and their sons Raave, six, and Midas, four, is an extension of her creative vision. Pom-pom and paper garlands adorn windows and living room walls, while colour and pattern are widely embraced.