Label Conscious

Label Conscious lead image showing enamelled bread bin

As a stylist I am always on the lookout for items that are characterful and distinctive – pieces that will add that special touch to a space. Typography has fascinated me since the days of being an art student and, even now, I enjoy graphic design that features an interesting combination of text and imagery. Often, objects that would otherwise be ordinary are lifted by the inclusion of lettering: it can inject humour, offer motivation, even transport us overseas (think French enamelware or Mexican inspired pieces) and there are also items of furniture which have been artfully transformed by the skilled hand of artisans who print, emboss or etch meaningful messages onto products.

I often find that, when reminded of a particular passion, I begin to spot related things everywhere and this has recently been the case for me and typography. So, over the past few weeks I have been making a note of any products featuring lettering that have caught my eye and I thought you might be interested for me to share these with you.

Vintage sideboard by Jonathon Marc Mendes using Annie Sloan paint

Vintage sideboard by Jonathon Marc Mendes using Annie Sloan paint

I find the Annie Sloan website so inspiring as it reminds me that old pieces of furniture can often be given a new lease of life with a little imagination and some elbow grease. This fun sideboard is the work of painter-in-residence, Jonathon Marc Mendes, who chose to use six of the Annie Sloan Chalk paints; he created the final look using some of the finishing products also sold by Annie Sloan – Brass Leaf, Dark Chalk Paint Wax and Craqueleur. The end result is that an old 1950s sideboard has been brought up-to-date with an unusual and stylish look.

 Crossword Solution (Concentrate) etched apothecary bottle, from £24.95, [vinegar & brown paper]
Crossword Solution (Concentrate) etched apothecary bottle, from £24.95, [vinegar & brown paper]

This quirky etched bottle would make a good gift for a crossword lover to sit upon a desk or bookcase display. [vinegar & brown paper] is the brainchild of former advertising creative, Andy Poplar, who quit his job in search of a different lifestyle and discovered glass etching was his thing. With a huge array of products on offer and the chance to commission your own piece, his website is really worth a browse; you can also take a look at Andy’s Instagram page, @mendyourhead, to see more.

Communication - Writers - Thinking in Ink - P132301-4, £144 for a mural measuring W180cm x H265cm (4.8 metres square), Mr Perswall at Rockett St George
Communication – Writers – Thinking in Ink – P132301-4, £144 for a mural measuring W180cm x H265cm (4.8 metres square), Mr Perswall at Rockett St George

An easy way to create an impactful scheme is to cover a wall in bold imagery. This hand-made mural would be perfect for this. Bespoke sizes are also available.

Tone-dipped measuring cups, £36 for 4, Anthropologie
Tone-dipped measuring cups, £36 for 4, Anthropologie

One of the things that Anthropologie does best is to take utilitarian objects and make them look uniquely pretty and far too nice to hide away in cupboards; I think that these power-pressed stainless-steel measuring cups deserve to be display pieces.

Chilli storage tins, £9.50 for a set of two, Graham & Green
Chilli storage tins, £9.50 for a set of two, Graham & Green

Let these vintage-style storage tins evoke the heat and vibrancy of Mexico and Spain. As well as being handy tins for storing kitchen implements, they will add a burst of colour and pattern to your work surface.

Antique French cabinet with lettering
Antique French cabinet from Antiques Emporium Griffin Mill

This fabulous piece was picked up by my parents from an antiques and reclamation site in Stroud. It is a perfect example of how lettering can immediately transport you somewhere in the world – in this case I immediately think of relaxing with a coffee and magazine at a Parisian cafe. It’s now affixed to the wall and serves as the perfect place to store glassware.

Personalised logo tray, £25.50 each, Crates 4 You
Personalised logo tray, £25.50 each, Crates 4 You

In recent years wooden crates have enjoyed something of a renaissance, with design-savvy shoppers using them to provide instant rustic charm and useful storage to boot. Crates 4 You have a fantastic range of crates which they have made using new wood that has been cleverly distressed to give them a vintage feel.  Best of all, the crates can be personalised with text in a font and colour of your choice, making them perfect for both the home and other display spaces; I also think that, labelled with appropriate wording, they would make thoughtful gifts.

Storage jar labels, £4 each, Very English
Storage jar labels, £4 each, Very English

Handmade from fine white porcelain, labelling your glass jars with these tags will make for a very well organised and attractive looking larder. There are 15 different labels to choose from: as well as kitchen staples such as Flour and Sugar, there are others such as, Dog Treats, Sweetie Jar or even La-Di-Da-Tea.

Enamel bread bin, £65, Baileys
Enamel bread bin, £65, Baileys

We’ve had one of these Bailey’s bread bins for a number of years now and so can vouch for how good they are at keeping loaves fresh. We love the classic French enamel look which sits well in many styles of kitchen.

Cacao Payraud stencil, from £6.98, Dizzy Duck Designs
Cacao Payraud stencil, from £6.98, Dizzy Duck Designs

How about using a stencil to transform a piece of furniture with lettering? I was quite taken by this fantastic stencil which has given a rustic French feel to this cane-backed sofa. The stencils are laser cut in the UK and, whilst there are five different sizes ready to ship, stencils can be made with custom dimensions to suit your project.

Coco Chanel vintage style mirror, from £675, Rockett St George
Coco Chanel vintage style mirror, from £675, Rockett St George

A well-dressed dressing table can ooze old-style glamour and this mirror would certainly help to do just that. Antiqued glass has been used to reflect light around the room whilst creating subtle reflections. The fabulous decoration has been added using 23 carat gold leaf for a truly luxurious finish.

Antique medicine apothecary bottles, £24 for 3, Home Barn
Antique medicine apothecary bottles, £24 for 3, Home Barn

Readers of our newsletter, The Thread, may have realised that, here at Home Relish, we are partial to a bit of cobalt blue and I particularly love these old apothecary bottles which would look great in a bathroom or even as receptacles for white or lime coloured flowers.

1950s American milk bottle and tumbler, £26 each, Baileys
1950s American milk bottle and tumbler, £26 each, Baileys

One of these lovely bottles would be a great addition to a desk and, as well as looking very stylish, would serve as a reminder to keep hydrated throughout the day.