Like “Age Progression”, but decorating progression…The wonders of washi tape. Masking was rubbish!
Like “Age Progression”, but decorating progression…The wonders of washi tape. Masking was rubbish!
Driving around shooting from the hip at places I like in Bedford…Victorian houses, Cheese, Chips, Booze and the River.
I have thus far refrained from Bedford postings as I know many of my followers are from good old Toots. I just cannot resist a post about a new establishment that has opened up on my actual road - yay. I have always wanted a “local”.
The D’Parys started to look promising back in August last year when I noticed a Licensing notice go up on some tatty hoarding outside the tired looking De Parys Hotel. It was by the Charles Wells Group, who I knew of as a big local Brewer but also the people behind The Gorringe Park in Tooting, a stylish pub and the place we held our leaving drinks when we headed to MK40 - so I had high hopes.
My interest stoked, I started tracking progress and googling. It soon became apparent this makeover was going to be impressive. Hoards of workmen were on site all hours for 5 months. I would see them traipsing up the road for their lunch and slowly the building took shape.
A Facebook campaign promised a new place to d’rink d’ine and d’ream. At this point I got a little bit concerned. The placing of the apostrophe so crudely and inappropriately made my teeth itch. Would I be able to get along with a place that such an attitude to an apostrophe? I had a word with myself and continued to be excited, but naggingly also had reservations about the chosen font for the branding. Comic Sans it is not, but equally it is a bit Disney. Having just had a look in my Typography book it is reminiscent of Bruno typeface (named after the typesetter’s cat). Need I say more.
The D’Parys has been opened to the public for a week and is undeniably impressive. The look is rather salvage but not in a New York industrial way, in quite a tweedy, eccentric english way. The fabrics used are quite random, some tartan here and some TFL train fabric there, but actually work to make this feel a cosy space in spite of the size.
It is a very busy decor, there are no minimalist areas at all to counter the industrial chic. It is like they went to an auction house and bought a load of stuff and put it all in. Funnily enough I saw an interview with the owner who said they had been to lots of auction houses to furnish the place. Someone got a bit giddy down at W&H Peacocks methinks.
I would have edited some of the tat, I mean salvage chic, and as people know who read my blog I actually love a bit of tat, I mean salvage chic. However, I admit that it does work and the attention to detail is excellent. Maybe more is more is needed in such an enormous place.
I am d’elighted that the d’esigners worked with the gorgeous Victorian features, picking out the cornice in nice Farrow and Ball greens (I guess Pigeon). The vintagey chesterfield banquettes are cosy and work in the Library area to give a Gentleman’s Club feel. My concern about the library is that the time we went for dinner (admittedly during previews) we tended to get a bit forgotten by the waiting on staff.
Exposed steels in dark lead grey. D’arn nice.
Stunning fireplace and exposed brick but doesn’t the branding on the menu jar - I am afraid I will never get on with the logo and menu style it is so at odds with the look and feel of the interior.
I love the clever use of so many different textures on the floors, original floorboards meet textured engineered wood, meet polished concrete (and the bottom of middle son’s feet sorry - David Bailey I am not).
Check out the Indonesian Shutters on the ceiling.
I like the oversized lighting above the tables but there is a tendency to send these swinging pendulously towards your dinner date or the staff.
Molly’s tuck shop and Gelato is so cute but 2 stools only? Next to a school and you expect only two kids are going to come in for an ice cream. This aspect is going to be so popular with local families we could have done with a bit more seating perhaps?
My husband is desperate to come and stay (despite us living a two minute stagger down the road) and the bedrooms are beautifully decorated all with roll top baths and four poster beds, maybe one for another post. I would like to stay in the little stable building which is just too chic for words. Love the oversized fisherman’s lantern lights and grey/blue paint job. But what is the funny red box I wonder.
The garden area is small but perfectly formed with some more quirky artefacts. I can imagine some cold rose being imbibed in the summer.
Finally, the food. This is an interiors blog remember people. It is good, more than good, very good. Especially the burger. The Sweet Potato chips are heavenly too.
I have not had enough dishes yet to form a full opinion but I definitely like what I have tried so far. It could be described as a bit dated in terms of what is on offer. It is not revolutionary, it is just what you expect in a decent gastro pub. For some reason I had hoped for more than just decent pub grub, even though I just knew from the logo it would be exactly as it is.
My advice would be to scrap the laminated style menus which are so chainy and have a brown paper roll a la Bistro Union - change the food with the seasons and surprise us each time we go. Yes have some staples but be original too.
Another personal gripe is that I do not like is food presented on slates (other than a cheeseboard where, for reasons I cannot explain, it seems to work). Sticky Toffee Pudding on a slate is all wrong.
My son summed up his pleasure “Can we come back for dinner. If I was paying I would pay £10 extra for this burger”. At £15 a burger we did not take up his suggestion mind you!
I have heard some minor gripes about the service. Today was much improved on our preview experience, with keen and friendly young waiting staff. They do not tend to pre-empt requests from diners though, clear the dirty plates, offer another drink etc. Drinks are where you make your money guys. Also, the Management seem to stand off a bit. If my business was new and had had so much investment and hype, I may wander amongst the diners and unobtrusively ask how their meal was and engage in some nice chit chat if it appeared welcomed by the punters. None of that on either occasion. We will see if that is early days nerves or plain indifference on our next visit.
We will definitely frequent the D’Parys regularly. It is worth a try and will hopefully d’elight Bedford.
Gotta love Homesense…
I may have moved to Bedford but I can still appreciate a shiny, well groomed, London front door people. So the drill is, guess the street name and guess an equivalent Farrow and Ball colour…
To make it a little easier we have a garage door as well!
A clue, this road is not far from a wonderful, long shopping street with a regal name. Answers in the comments box please.
Three Christmas presents which are continuing to make me smile every day. West Elm Bowls, Aspinall diary (Smythson is so 2013), and my zingy yellowK Mix Coffee Machine (helped to make a fabbo coffee by my Lidl frother machine). Happy Days.
A package from India… Love my new Kanthas. The bedroom needed a lift and these were just the job.
Well. Despite my best efforts to not think about Christmas until December I do have to consider the Advent situation in November.You see I made a rod for my own back when my little bundle of loveliness Hugh came along. When he was 2 mum bought him this cute little Advent Cupboardy thing.
I was so excited to speak to my Elf Liaison Officer, Fargher to make a plan about what little goodies could go into the box. In the early years it was sweet little things, small animals then progressed to some sweeties.
Then along came another little gorgeous imp. Fred got this.
Fargher was getting busier and the boys were keen to hear all about how the Advent gifts got into the box and the rusty buckets.
It became clear that if the boys had not slept well, or Mummy had had a few too many the night before, that sometimes, just sometimes the cupboard/bucket would be empty (cruel elves) or, alternatively filled later when the elves would not be detected. You see they do not like movement during night time hours because they cannot be seen.
Then a beautiful little fairy came along, Harriet. Her turn has now come to hear all about the magical Fargher and to get an Advent box full of tiny treats.This is hers…
So, the big question is what will they be getting this year. The hunt for small things that do not rot their teeth starts now for Fargher. I expect he will choose Match Attax for the boys, Hot Wheels cars, rubbers and pencil sharpeners are the order of the day. Hattie will obviously get hairclips and small little cuddly bits and Peppa memorabilia. If your Elf Liaison Officer is struggling then I must recommend this Mumsnet thread.
If you are looking for more grown up ideas then this is just so cheap and chic. Check out Most Lovely Things blog - stunning.
We have had decorators in giving the new house a lick of paint since August. I have teased you with a few pictures but it is now practically there. They have finished the painting and so I can finally finish unpacking and titivate.
The Kitchen was the room I most wanted to get finished but it has been the last to be completed. Since finishing it we have been enjoying cooking and socialising in here so much - well worth the wait.
So some before pics, It did not really need anything doing to it, as lots of people told me but we just wanted to put our stamp on it cheaply using the existing layout and units. It already had wonderful features, wooden painted units, lovely floor tiles and the best bit, a large Black AGA.
And now, a couple of days of Carpentry work, lashings of different (yet barely distinguishable except to a grey fiend’s eye) grey paints, some Colporter vintage lights and here we are….
I have to acknowledge taking some inspiration with the horizontal panelling from the gorgeous Abi’s House, previously blogged about. We did that on one wall and had our chippy create a “dummy” cooker hood above the AGA to make a focal point.
I sourced us a new yet old bench which can fit a number of small bottoms on it - perfect for playdates. Our old OKA chairs which were once wicker based have been reincarnated with an MDF seat as they were NOT built to last originally. Many a friend with a slim bottom perched precariously on these prior to their makeover. Mine was fine!
We admired Nigel Slater’s kitchen windows - black crittal - but could not afford, nor wanted to remove the lovely existing windows. We took the plunge and painted them Dulux Flint (very similar to F and B Downpipe). I think Nigel would be quite impressed with these, if not by our AGA disasters (of which there have been quite a few - no-one mention the Pork Belly in the warming oven incident).
A few trips up to the loft to raid some Colporter stock has really helped get this project over the line. I could not have restored these enamel lights without our great Sparky “Down to Earth Electrics” (oh how I laughed) and Gravel Hill Designs (on ebay).
We also needed some open shelves for all of my “bits and bobs”, read various sized Charity Shop plates.
Off to prepare a scrumptious meal now - or should we get a take away…
PS sorry about poor picture quality. Proper camera charger is missing. Grrr
Redbrick Mills in Batley, Yorkshire is a dream for an Interiors obsessive like me. A great combination of companies, and therefore looks, under a very stylish roof.
I used to live in Leeds and could not believe that I had never been but apparently it opened after I had moved to the smoke.
The building is a lofty old mill, and with the ubiquitous industrial features exposed, it is a great space to display Lombok lanterns, Heals kitchenware, Hulsta beds etc. The “art” floors were not really my thing, a bit mass produced and nothing you do not see for half the price in TK Maxx.
If you have shopped til you drop then The Potting Shed Spa looked the ideal place for a relaxing pedi.
With 4 cafes you really can fuel up to spend hours browsing or settle those nerves before a big discretionary spend with a skinny flat white! Or is that just me?
Remember to try for a bargain too, some concessions were offering 10% off yesterday.