This month the coveted Decorative Living Fair returns to Eridge Park. We take a look at what to expect from this year’s event…
It’s the fair that people talk about all year round, and the buzz about this event is one of the most satisfying rewards for organisers Caroline Zoob and Hetty Purbrick.
“People telephone us to ask for the date months in advance so they don’t book holidays at the same time,” says Caroline. So what makes this fair so special?
“The venue is spectacular”, says Hetty. “It’s such a lovely place to linger and spend the day. I think that because the exhibitors enjoy being there, they make a huge effort with their stands and the result is a very beautiful and inspiring fair.”
The clue is in the name: the show is about making your home and garden beautiful, whether your idea of beautiful is pared back simplicity with one or two key salvaged pieces, or the colourful jumble of spongeware on a painted dresser. Anyone who enjoys browsing antique and vintage treasure for their home and garden will feel as though they have fallen into paradise. There really is something for everyone, with prices ranging from pence to thousands. While most of the stallholders are dealers in antiques and vintage, there is some fashion and jewellery, as well as a couple of exhibitors who sell contemporary homewares.
“We are very keen on finding designer-makers whose work incorporates vintage or recycled materials, and we love to support brand new businesses such as Nancy Meiland Parfums and Bodie and the Nomad, both of which have launched at the fair,” says Hetty.
How Green Nursery, suppliers of plants to many a Chelsea Gold Medallist, create a fabulous display of plants on the terrace – and many exhibitors sell garden pots and statues, as well as pretty French garden furniture. The Blackbird Café is renowned for delicious cakes and lunches, and if the weather is nice tables and chairs are set up on the lawns to enjoy the far reaching views.
“People tend to stay for most of the day, alternating between shopping and browsing and exploring the gardens,” says Caroline. “It is great fun laying out the fair and creating a journey through the different stalls. It’s hard work, but a couple of years ago I heard someone saying ‘It’s the fair I look forward to all year’ and it gave me such a thrill!”
The Decorative Living Fair comes to Eridge Park on May 13 and 14.
MEET THE EXHIBITORS
Here are three stands you need to pay a visit to while at the fair…
Bodie and the Nomad
Launching at the fair this year is Bodie and the Nomad with a collection of beautiful vintage and contemporary pieces for little folk and the home. Inspired by family lifestyle, the collection features a neutral palette and natural textures. “On our travels we have sourced and gathered a stunning collection from true artisans all around the world to style the home and clothe and fascinate your little ones,” say co-founders Caroline Turner and Ellie Hopper.
Streett Marburg, Charlotte Casadejus and Muna Mascolo
Local antiques dealers Streett Marburg, Charlotte Casadéjus and Muna Mascolo are bringing together their knowledge of the antiques and decorative world to exhibit a range of their most original and unique pieces at the forthcoming Eridge Fair. Only buying things they themselves love, they will be showing a selection of vintage French and Italian furniture, lights, textiles and decorative pieces. Their look is an eclectic and stylish mixture of products for those who want something a little bit out of the ordinary and unfailingly chic.
Weathered and Worn
Weathered and Worn are old favourites at the Decorative Living Fair. Madeline Tomlinson, a stylist manqué, creates such mouth-watering displays that her stand is mobbed as soon as the doors open. An indefatigable buyer, she trawls the countryside in both England and France to find well-worn treasures, which she then puts together with an artful insouciance that is impossible to imitate. The clue is in the name of the business: she does not upcycle or refurbish any of her finds, and that is part of their charm. She does however find new uses for what others might consider unpromising finds. In her shop last week rusty garden sieves looked fabulous housing a collection of pillar candles. Last year, she and her daughter opened a shop and cafe in Hadlow, near Sevenoaks, where you can sit at scrubbed tables and read magazines, surrounded by Madeline’s finds, with a delicious cup of coffee and homemade cake.