Just in from decor8 reader Julie... "I don't think I've read where you've mentioned Clarissa before. She is a UK based designer. Great stuff. She just recently released her 2006 line online. You can also find her lampshades, etc. at Heal's. Anyway, I thought her designs might make a good article for your blog. I just returned from a trip to the UK and her stuff is even more impressive in person." - Julie
Julie you couldn't be more spot on! With her new line of lampshades, wallpaper, photo albums, pillows and throws, I couldn't be more excited to share Clarissa Hulse with all of you. Show of hands, how many of you have been to London? I don't want to sound like a travel snob when I say this, but I'm been about 15 times because I'm a total travel geek/anglophile - I love all things British. I nearly went broke traveling as a single girl, so it's nothing I can brag about too much. I lived on ramen noodles for a period in my life just so I could afford airfare. Seriously. My obsesssion began back in 1996 during my first British encounter. Got a moment? There's a story to all of this...
A friend of mine in Boston (Matt) was into this tall lanky girl (Katrina) who was from Wendover Bucks in England. They were in touch here and there, but nothing serious except for the major crush he had on her and of course, her amazing accent didn't help matters any. Matt said she had a cute brother, which sparked my interest because I also was into cute accents (still am). Weeks went by, Matt was still in touch with Kat, and I was hearing all these stories about her cute brother who was also a BA flight attendant. That interested me because how could knowing a man that has a free pass to venture the globe be a bad thing? Unbeknownst to me, Matt slipped Kat my phone number to give to her brother who was soon to visit Boston.
I was going about my life as I always had until my roommate slipped a note beneath my bedroom door. It read:
"Jo called from London. He'll call you later. He's in Boston. Cute accent"
That picqued my interest faster than you can say ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod! It was, I think, 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning (summer 1996) and I was sleeping in again as I always did on Saturdays after being out with my friends the night before. Scrambling around my room with note in hand, I raced to my wardrobe to pull out something cute and headed for the showers, tossing a thank you into the air as my roommate stood there amazed to see me surface so quickly after waking me only a second earlier. Cute accent just may call back, I thought. I must be prepared. Shower. Shave. Perfume. Viola!
The call never came. A few hours passed. My shoulders slumped. Forget it, I thought. This is dumb.
I laced up my inline skates and went outside for awhile. After skating to complete exhaustion, I pulled myself up the stairs to my apartment and heard the phone ringing. Must. Find. Key. As a fumbled around trying to fit the key into the lock, hands shaking like a drunk needing vodka, I pushed open the door and raced to the phone. It had stopped ringing. A few words sprang out of my mouth that I won't repeat here as flopped down on the sofa thinking of how pathetic I'd become waiting for mystery brit to call. I noticed my roommate had gone for the day, so I cranked up the stereo and started stretching to work out my leg cramps. As I stretched, visions of Hugh Grant raced through my head. Would this boy behind the accent be tall and willowy with that ever so stylish floppy brown hair falling into twinkly brown eyes? As I fast forwarded, envisoning a wedding in England (yeah, I told you already, pathetic) the phone rang again. Nearly breaking both legs, I grabbed it and instantly transformed my voice from out of breath skater girl to husky 900 number babe. "Hello, this is Holly", I meowed.
Long story short, caller was young Brit, we had a thing for a few years that amounted to nothing, but I racked up some serious frequent flyer miles to the UK, had the time of my life in England and France with him, and had the opportunity to meet a lot of great friends through it all. What does this story have to do with Clarissa Hulse? Absolutely nothing and somewhat a lot at the same time. Although the story has nothing Clarisa about it, the experience of being in London, shopping, taking in the culture, exploring the city... All of these images pop into my mind whenever I post about British designers. I think that's why I'm so drawn to them. When you have experienced a culture and made friends there, you have a certain connection to the land. If you've had the chance to travel, you know what I mean. I connect everything I post to some part of my life.
I hope to visit London again, maybe this year, and if I do I promise to share the adventure with you, only this time it will exclude boys and include toys. Home decor to be exact. But for now, we can drool together online as we browse websites showcasing gorgeous products from Londontown, like Clarissa Hulse.
p.s. I've added a lot of London links to the shopping column this week, so don't forget to browse those for more fab shopping.