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Shop Talk - Holloways of Ludlow Brasted

With the rise of the online shops, offering quick access to almost everything that interiors afficionados could wish for, I often find myself craving a visit to a brick and mortars shop. Nothing beats a friendly chat with store owners, plus you get to see products up close, which helps avoid any disappointment when you order online ("it's much smaller/bigger than I thought/it looked).

Some time ago I wrote a piece about Holloways of Ludlow's new lifestyle shop in Brasted, Kent, a place that turned out to be like a curated Alladin's cave full of interiors goodies. Today, I am taking you back to check out what's new in store and talk trends with their Head Buyer Michelle Alger.

Shop Talk - Holloways of Ludlow


Collaborative post. Photo Credits: Jenny Kakoudakis

Special thanks: Joy McKintosh at Baker PR

interiors shop Holloways of Ludlow Brasted

On this recent visit I am invited into the inner sanctum of Michelle Alger and Director Mark Holloway who live above the shop in a building that dates from 1480. Making my way to the first floor of a 14th century home, I wonder what I should and should not touch.

"This chair cost more than my car", Michelle points out in the living room, where a new Finn Juhl Pelican armchair in burnt orange wool fabric takes pride of place. It is a remake of the classic mid-century design, nevertheless I decide not to touch that one (or worse, try it!) and ask how she manages to keep kids away from it.

Her response confirms what I expect. Children are drawn like a magnet to it. And why not. It looks unusual, super fun and comfy. It's a design icon that is built to withstand the test of time. Not sure about children though. In the opposite corner I am pretty sure I spot a Nyhavn desk, complete with tray, also by Finn Juhl. At around £4,600, that's one desk I would not want my kid to do his homework on.

Despite the very obvious mid-centure vibe, these pieces look right at home in this room with its low ceiling wobbly floors.

Michelle Alger Holloways of Ludlow

Shop Talk - Michelle Alger at the Holloways of Ludlow Bradsted store

Finn Jul is just one of the many brands that Michelle has picked up for Holloways during her frequent trips in Denmark. A seasoned buyer, she has worked as Head of Home for Heals and retains great contacts in the industry. While travelling for business is hard, she speaks fondly of her visits abroad during trade shows. She's at her element now and her face lights up.

We talk about the work that the company currently undertakes. A few years ago I remember visiting their stand at Clerkenwell Design Week when everything was still about the lights side of the business. The company has since expanded into other areas of residential interior design, and even have a separate business for bespoke kitchens that you can find here.

Their kitchens are individually designed and manufactured in their Shropshire workshop, where the brand originally opened its doors 30 years ago selling architectural salvage (in Ludlow). And with the help of Michelle, clients can get a totally dressed kitchen including lights and accessories. She clearly has bags of style.

Above, a Holloways of Ludlow kitchen design.

"When we take on, say, a kitchen project and visit the home before we start the design", says Michelle, "I will advise clients who might want to go for something very modern when in fact the rest of their character home is not going to be able to support the look. There needs to be a flow between rooms. This is something that an interior designer should do. A beautiful kitchen that ends up feeling out of sync with the rest of the home is not a great result".

The shop is filled to the brim with beautiful textiles as well as the lights which continue to be the brand's forte, but also selected pieces of furniture from well established brands like Design House Stockholm (see the Arco Desk, above), Hay and Petit Friture.

And as for trends? Here's what I got from Michelle.

1/ Invest in future-proof design classics

From a solid wood dining table to a study chair, by original, from more affordable design brands and you will only need to buy once. Mid century and nordic design works brilliantly with a number of other styles too so you can mix it up.

2/ Marble and splatter effect crockery

These have been a great success in the store and are flying off the shelves. You can see more of the marble effect here or if you prefer splatter effect, try the Gerona collection which is handmade in Portugal.

3/ Beauty products for you and your home

My favourite brand Meraki is available at the store (and I did grab a bottle of hand soap on my way out). You can also find candles and diffusers by popular brand Skandinavisk as well as Noble Isle (try their Whiskey and water hand wash available here).

4) Flowers can be faux

It's ok to go faux with flowers. And the store ticks the box with a good collection on site (less of it online).

5) Use a neutral palette and add pops of colour with accessories

Michelle herself is a little partial to a bit of neon colour and the colourful cushions and throws around the shop (as well as the bold coloured tapper candles and British Colour Standards {Pantone-style} mugs below) definitely demonstrate her point.

6) Use layering as your go to design technique in every room

The store also has a good collection of everyday use small rugs and runners, as well as throws. Layer with texture or layer with lights. Add pendant lights at different levels over a dining table. Use organic material like wood, wool and stone.

And what I get from their shop this time? I have been looking to update the mirror in your downstairs WC so this HAY Strap mirror in light grey was just perfect at 70cm width and with it's elegant rubber strap.

To shop at Holloways of Ludlow, visit their online shop here.


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