Six ways to work the Signature Stool

You know it already. House Candy can be anything from a beautiful vintage vase that cost peanuts in a charity shop, to a designer chandelier that swallowed a month's salary.

But can it really be something as simple as a stool?

The luxurious  Lune V stool  and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The luxurious Lune V stool and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The answer of course is hell YEAH.  But only if it's a Signature Stool like the stunning Lune V from Open Plan Living. Let my people in Paris explain...

"The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste and the size of her purse. It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, "I bought this for myself, I earned it and it makes me happy." P.31 How to be Parisian Wherever you Are.

The Lune V Stool by Portugese furniture brand Duistt and supplied by Open Plan Living makes me very happy. Nothing could qualify as a greater signature piece based on the above definition because (sorry boys) this one is ALL about me. I secretly saved up the pennies from my sideline copywriting job for this, my first bespoke piece of furniture that wasn't upcycled, and delighted in choosing the exact shade of luxury pink velvet and brushed brass finish. 

Now House Candy at either end of the price scale is likely to cause a stir, sparking such extreme reactions as:

When it's a junk shop find: "What do I want that piece of old crap in my house for?"

or equally...

When it's a designer gem such as this (and especially if one resides in Yorkshire): "Ow much?"

But if we fill our home only with items that avoid heated debate (or indeed a full on row), interior design wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? 

Seriously though, even I had some soul searching to do for this one. A sofa maybe, the iconic Egg chair I've been yearning for my entire adult life or a set of vintage Wishbone chairs, these items of course I would happily save up all my wages for. But a stool? FFS.

Here's a close up of it in hot pink (the colour of my cheeks when I was forced to divulge the price to the House Candy husband).

The  Lune V stool  from Open Plan Living

The Lune V stool from Open Plan Living

There are lots of people who wouldn't flinch at spending big on something as small as a signature stool and plenty of interior designers reading this who will have no problem justifying its price tag to discerning clients who demand the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.

Open Plan Living works with a wealth of clients for whom only the very best will do and prides itself on delivering supreme customer service. But the firm also works with the likes of you and I, who have a much more realistic budget to stick to and yet understand how one or two high end details can transform the whole look of a scheme. For me, this way more European attitude to interior design exemplifies the beauty of the signature stool. 

My house if FULL of junk shop finds that cost peanuts. I wasn't always forced to buy cheap (and in many cases my husband would prefer it if I didn't) but I love their unique-ness and the character they bring to my interior mix. 

However, I am careful not to overdo it. Overdone anything is a bad thing and - just as I love a vintage dress but wouldn't go head to toe vintage - I was conscious my home was becoming too much like a vintage stage set. It needed some added luxe to get the balance back. 

The wonderful buzz you get from buying a designer item comes from knowing you've worked hard for it and in my experience, the designer item is likely to work equally hard for you. This is because you are keen to ensure it is worth its price tag.

My designer stool is working 6 times as hard as a regular stool for exactly this reason. Here's how:

Six ways the signature stool can work wonders

1) Dressing table

Dressing table.JPG

2) Bedroom perch

3) Desk Dolly

4) Extra Dinner Guest

5) Lady in waiting

6) Foot stool

I've come to the conclusion that this pretty pink perch is actually the supermodel of stools. It has the power to make anything look good and can therefore justify its high wages.

In all of the images above, the Lune V stool is teamed with charity shop finds which, you have to agree, notch up a style level once they've acquired some designer luxe. This mix and match approach to decorating means that you can afford to splash out on a seemingly ridiculous signature pieces from time to time because you've saved money elsewhere in the budget by buying second hand. It's the eclectic way and the Parisian way. And whilst it might not be everyone's way, it's most definitely the House Candy way. 

Have you got any signature House Candy? Designer or charity shop? I'd love to know what you think to mine. Please drop me a line in the comments section.

Happy weekend all. Why not treat yourself to a little luxury just for you, even if it's a £5 coffee at a coffee shop instead of the mediocre instant brew you'll make at home. Like I've told you before, you're worth it.

Claire x



Designer cheat chic

Oh I love a designer classic. My home would be a museum of iconic furniture design if funds allowed. My shopping list would include:

1) A Le Corburssier Chaise 


2) A Sputnik Chandelier

3) Hans Wenger Wishbone dining chairs

As far as I can tell, the ONLY thing wrong with classic designer pieces is the fact that I can't afford them. Which is a bit of a sticking point, admittedly.

So thank heavens for on-line designer-style store Vita, who make it possible for non-celebs like me to own furniture celebs like this.

Arne Jacobsen style egg chair £489

Arne Jacobsen style egg chair £489

Cool huh?

Now, there will be some of you reading this who will tut and sigh, mutter FAKER under your breath ... and who knows, maybe even do that horrible thing of hitting delete. For you guys I'm throwing in the A bomb.  

Abigail Ahern - she of dark colours and Super Styling. Yes even AA says going down the designer cheat route is absolutely fine. If you don't believe me then hear it for yourself at her amazingly brilliant crash course in cool - the Abigail Ahern Design School - held at her own jaw dropping London home. Oh and while you're there, check out the dreamy marble top Tulip table (where you may be lucky enough to eat your lunch) and ask AA if it's a real one.

My guess is she will smile the smile of a qualified design cheat. The smile that says, I could if I wanted to, but I don't. And  - Like, why would I pay thousands of quid when I can get a brilliant copy for peanuts? THAT smile. Know the one?

I do because I've also got the smile. Ever since I placed this copycat George Nelson Starburst clock in my family room and witnessed my walls shift from mediocre to marvellously mid century modern.

George Nelson style Starburst clock £49.95

George Nelson style Starburst clock £49.95

Here it is in-situ:

See, designer pieces have the power to add the wow to a room - kind of a celebrity element that non brands are missing.  Whether we like it or not, somewhere in our subconscious we register an appreciation of iconic design and when we see it for real - original, reproduced, even parodied - we have to admire it.

The clock is an entry level example of excellent designer cheating. For around a quarter of the price of an original George Nelson clock, Vita Interiors has a massive choice of reproduced retro designs available, including the infamous ball clock:

Ball clock £49.95

Ball clock £49.95

And the ultimate eye-catcher:

George Nelson Eye clock £69.50

George Nelson Eye clock £69.50

My colourful starburst clock is a perfect reminder that it's about time I progressed onto Grade 2 designer cheating: Statement Lighting:

Poul Henningsen Artichoke light - £166

Poul Henningsen Artichoke light - £166


And then onto Grade 3: Fine Dining 

Eero Saarinen style Tulip table with marble top - £995

Eero Saarinen style Tulip table with marble top - £995

Come to think of it, the only time I might turn my nose up at designer cheating is if I win the Euromillions. In which case, money will be no object and I will happily, guiltlessly, spend my fortune on the real McCoy, which we all know is the ultimate goal really.

Until then I am happy in the knowledge that going copycat gives me the double benefit of owning something that looks like the thing I really want, but won't have me up on a GBH charge every time my children launch a flying plastic object within half a metre of it.

Maybe if I didn't have kids things would be different, but since I do, I'm championing the view that buying a lookalike classic is still an appreciation of great design, whilst also acknowledging that practicality is an equally important virtue of modern style.  

I would love to know what you think of designer copycats. Would you fake it with pride or only own originals? Would you even notice... Do you even care? 

Please do drop me a line and share any other style secrets you may be hiding because it's really not cool to keep these things to yourselves. That would be cheating.