Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

In Conversation

In Conversation: Todhunter Earle

 Emily Todhunter founded her interior design business in 1988, with Kate Earle joining as her partner in 1998. Since then, the company has expanded rapidly both in size and scope. Projects range from English country houses to well-known restaurants, yachts, 5-star hotels and beautiful homes worldwide. 

Emily Todhunter, one half of this talented design duo, shares challenges, inspiration and more in today’s conversation.

Dear  Emily, first of all, I would like to know what are your biggest sources of inspiration.

I think I find inspiration in everything and anything that I am doing – all day long. Whether I am nosing through a coffee table book or Instagram, going for a walk on the downs, visiting an old English country house, in a museum, an art fair…wherever I am I am thinking about colour combinations and styles. If it had to be one source of inspiration, I suppose I would say that it was being brought up in lovely houses. I was very lucky.

Watercolor of a dining room in Scotland designed by Todhunter EarleWatercolor of a dining room in Scotland designed by Todhunter Earle


Over the years I’m sure that you have had many challenging projects, is there one that was particularly difficult?

I can’t think of any physical situation that has been too challenging. I am not at all fazed by the size or complexity of a project. What makes a project difficult is if there is an underlying family unhappiness that no amount of decorating can heal. We get so close to our clients and usually, we pride ourselves on our ability to lift and lighten everyone’s mood. We like to design happy houses and we usually do. But occasionally, (actually, only once I think!) the family dynamic was beyond repair. That was a real challenge!

A glamorous yet comfortable home in Belgravia by Todhunter EarleA glamorous yet comfortable home in Belgravia.


Favourite London interior

It’s probably very unimaginative but I do love the interior of the 5 Hertford Street. It’s so cosy and spoiling.

5 Hertford Street, London5 Hertford Street. Gloria González photography


  A colour you would never be tired of.

As a wall colour, I suppose I would never be tired of a Farrow and Ball’s ‘Downpipe’

Country home in Yorkshire by Todhunter Earle Countryhouse in Berkshire


Yachts, ski chalets, family homes…What’s your best advice to be able to do such diverse projects yet maintain a signature style in all of them?

I don’t think about it! I just follow my instinct and do whatever feels right at the time. I am not sure why I make the decisions I do. I just hurl it all together and hope for the best!

Swiss Chalet by Todhunter Earle                                                                      Swiss Chalet                                                                           

Any tips to adapt the English Country Style to modern times?

Yes – just simplify, reduce, lighten…but keep the character, keep the mementoes, don’t lose that evolved relaxed atmosphere, don’t be too precious. Reorganise the space so that the kitchen becomes the heart of the house. Gone are the days (sadly!) of having staff behind the green baize door. Open the house more to the garden, maximise the views through the windows. We used to need heavy curtains over the windows to keep out the draughts, but times have changed now, we have such good insulation so we ought to change our decorating accordingly and use lighter curtains and let the light flood in

Madresfield Court. Todhunter Earle Madresfield Court. Todhunter Earle
Madresfield Court

 Thank you so much, Emily!

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Images: Todhunter Earle unless otherwise specifically stated.


In Conversation: Molly Mahon

Molly Mahon’s bold and cheerful block printed fabrics, wallpapers and homewares are inspired by nature, her travels to India and her daily life in Sussex.

On today’s conversation, we get to know the work and life of a modern print maker.

In conversation: Molly Mahon
Molly Mahon


Dear Molly, first of all, I would like to know when did your love affair with block printing started?
Staring through the windows of an amazing fabric shop in Barnes, London where I was living and had my first child, so was often out pushing a pram. A feast for the eyes of fabrics all hand bock printed here in the UK. This led me to the shop owners block printing workshop set in the idyllic Sussex countryside and from that moment on I have been block printing obsessive.

I grew up in a very artistic environment where my mother was always making or doing something creative at the kitchen table. Therefore I feel very at home when I am at the table printing, in a nostalgic homely sort of way!

In Conversation: Molly Mahon


What did you find the most difficult part when starting your business? And the most rewarding?
My business has really grown organically so there isn’t a start date as such. At first it was my happy creative outlet which caught the eyes of friends. Slowly it grew to me printing for people outside of my circle, this was when I realised there was a business here.

Finding the people to work with and help me grow was hard, it took a lot of meetings and time and research. But, now I work with some wonderful people and have grown some very special relationships, in the UK and India. This is extremely rewarding as they also understand and want to make our products a thing of beauty.

The business is also my life, I am very passionate about what I do, so take everything personally! So if something goes wrong I really feel it, but when it goes right and when I see a pleased new client my heart sings and I realise that what I do is completely worth it.

In Convesation: Molly Mahon


Has Social Media changed your business model in any way?
YES – I think I have a lot to thank for Instagram. It’s the only social media channel that I use. I adore it, so simple and so visual – the perfect app for our product. It has enabled a very small kitchen table business with a small cash flow (so little expenditure on advertising/PR etc) to be seen all over the globe. I am certain that many of our orders have come off the back of my posts. I have also made many business connections through Instagram. It’s a really happy, positive, inspiring community.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon
Molly Mahon’s s Instagram @mollymahonblockprinting is full of inspiration


Favourite English interior.
The has to be Charleston farmhouse. Heavily embellished with colour, pattern and fabrics and set in the South Downs, down the road from us, Charleston has been a big influence on me and my designs. It concretes in my mind that ‘more is more’ and that colour and pattern makes for a very happy feeling home.

Charleston House (Sussex) Source: Charleston Trust. Penélope Fewster photography


A colour you would never be tired of.
Pink, in all its shades. Pink seems to be one of the hardest colours to mix, so we are delighted that we have some really lovely pinks in our collections.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon


Do you have any tips for mixing different prints in the same room?
Firstly, dont be scared to do it. If you like how it looks then thats good. A home should be made by very personal decisions, not by someone elses rule book. Start with one item, maybe a lampshade and add slowly…cushions, wallpaper then a new sofa cover perhaps…Mix up the scales, dont worry about colours, do what feels right to you.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon


When creating a new design, what part of the process do you enjoy the most?
I carry ideas around in my head, so I am in heaven when I find the time to sit down and pour them out on to paper. Once I have got the motif as I want it there is nothing more thrilling than carving the block and seeing how it looks in repeat. I am very impatient and work quite quickly. I can feel immediately if its going to work on fabric/wallpaper or whether it goes in the box of ‘needs more work’. Once I have the design I look at it and can imagine what sort of colours it should be printed in, its fascinating how colour can change the look of a design. I get very excited when I lift the block for the first time. A newly printed design that has been a success in my mind really is a thing of joy to me.

In Conversation: Molly Mahon

Thank you so much Molly!

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Images courtesy of Molly Mahon unless otherwise stated.

In Conversation: Vladimir Kanevsky

Vladimir Kanevsky creates porcelain flowers that have become an “objet du désir” for many. His sculptures are delicate, beautiful and easy to love: who wouldn’t like a bouquet of flowers that lasts forever?

Howard Slatkin , the late Oscar de la Renta, Carolyne Roehm or Deeda Blair are among his clientele and he is preparing an upcoming exhibition at the Hermitage Museum.  On today’s conversation, we are getting to know this fascinating artist.

Dear Vladimir, I’m a big fan of your sculptures. Who or what is your greatest influence?
Probably not from the field of flower making but most definitely real flowers, early 18th century porcelain and architecture. Sometimes even modern sculpture. For example on a recent excellent Picasso sculpture show in MoMA I noticed how he deals with something that I’d call gesture, freedom of gesture. I am trying to achieve it. This is a universal idea and genre does not matter.


You were an architect in USSR; when you arrived in America, you answered an ad for a ceramic maker—what prompted you to answer the ad? Was ceramic something that had ever interested you growing up?

Yes, it was an ad from the decorator Howard Slatkin. I needed some temporary work and asked a friend of mine to call and make an appointment. I started to experiment with very primitive ceramics back in Russia, but not with porcelain. There is a huge difference. After meeting Howard I had a month to buy simple equipment and learn porcelain making. I am still learning.


What was the first object you sculpted on porcelain?
I started with porcelain melons and papier-mâché cabbages of all things. Very primitive flowers started almost a year later. Eventually I developed a library of techniques and concepts.
I had to develop different techniques for almost every new flower. It is easy to see how different are for instance Lily of the Valley and Rose, Foxglove and Hollyhock, Lilac and Morning Glory. Some of them were rather simple, but some needed literally years to develop.

What are the steps you follow to create a new sculpture?
First I study the real thing, sometimes on my backyard. Then I photograph and scan the plant in my computer. I have a huge database of flowers and old botanical drawings. I also ‘sketch’ in real porcelain and real metal. When you sculpt, all sketches mean nothing until you touch the clay, stone  or metal and your hands start feeling the material. I (with help of my assistants) usually make a lot of flowers of a certain kind and put them away. Recently we rebuilt our studio. It is right in our house which is very convenient for my wife and me. We both work 10 – 12 hours a day.


Vladimir Kanevky’s studio







Source: Carolyne Roehm


Thank you so much Vladimir!

Images: Vladimir Kanevsky unless otherwise specifically stated.

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