Stylish comfort

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2011, 12:00am


The royal wedding, temporarily at least, put the world's focus back on things that are British. Apparently, British-styled furniture is back in vogue, especially when antique elements gel with fashionable eco-trends.

'The British are drawn to antiques - pieces with a history and a story to tell,' says Nicole Wakley, founder of TREE. 'Many families have old bookcases, desks and dining room tables that have been in their family for years and years.'

But many don't. And for that lived-in, homely look, Wakley says the British like to buy pieces that look like they were passed down from generation to generation.

'We have a dream that we have a dining room table that was our grandmother's. We buy something with a beautiful, romantic idea to hand it down to our children,' she says.

As the world becomes more eco-conscious, Wakley believes there is definitely a shift in people seeking out sustainable eco-furniture and brands that support communities and reforestation projects.

'Recycled, reclaimed and reloved' is how Wakley puts it. She sources wood from old ships, houses and furniture, and redesigns it into vintage pieces.

These pieces can be 'dressed up or dressed down' with any number of accessories, accents or finishing touches.

'What is contemporary in our lifetime in one way will be antique and passed on from generation to generation. We do see that in British homes a lot,' Wakley says.

This type of look also appeals to Hongkongers and mainlanders establishing a home here.

'The thing about this style is that everybody likes it. It is easy to put together and you can really express yourself. You can go crazy and eclectic,' Wakley says.

She says a very simple way to achieve an 'overstuffed feel' is with cushions in big floral patterns set on a basic, solid-coloured sofa.

Beyond tradition, the present Britishness means something more direct - the Union Jack.

'Being British, we are lucky to have a royal family. Britishness is wonderful and we are very proud of our flag,' says furniture designer Kelly Hoppen, of Kelly Hoppen for Halo.

This trend of vintage British chic in furnishings is echoed by Geoff Fuller, managing director of Tequila Kola.

'British style today is very eclectic and reflects the cosmopolitan nature of today's Britain. At the moment, there is a trend towards plush vintage luxury,' he says.

Notable products include the Bensington sofa, upholstered in denim with a Union Jack covering the whole piece, and the Downing chair, a leather chair with the British flag on the back.

'These are statement pieces that are designed to stand out, not blend in. They are conversation pieces,' Fuller says.