Friday 2 December 2011

Fab gear

I don't think I was quite old enough
to be a smart young chick in 1964 

and I certainly couldn't afford a Tuffin and Foale dress,
but the article was right,
Habitat did reach out into suburbia
and I was able to get my fix of
stripped golden pine and chicken bricks eventually.
I still have the butcher's block

and the soup tureen, 
although lately I have been planting hyacinths in it
as transferring the French Onion Soup into it from 
the Le Creuset is just too much trouble.

In the rather sparsely labelled exhibition,
The Way We Live Now at the Design Museum,
they were marking Sir Terence Conran's 80th birthday.
What a busy man he has been.
See here for his own not quite comprehensive list -
he omits to mention writing his many books.
His cookery book is well thumbed on my shelf.
Elizabeth David was his guiding light.
He opened a restaurant in Neal Street, 
Covent Garden in the early 70s
 and we went there for our lunch on our wedding day.

The new Habitat catalogue was eagerly awaited
and pored over. 
Cork mats, bean bags, duvets
and cheery enamel coffee pots
were all so wantable.
There was, as the article said, 
'a feeling, particularly among young shoppers,
that they want to make shopping for the home
an impulsive, gay affair.'

If only I had been consulted,
I could have helped them with the curating of this exhibition,
and not only with my pertinent reminiscences.

They displayed one of his original fabric designs for
David Whitehead,
and I just happen to have a copy of 
House and Garden from April 1953

in which it is advertised.


  1. I was a huge fan, too. I have lots of early catalogues, his first cookbook with butchers' blue stripe cover, cooking equipment and furniture. What I'm most grateful for, though, is the introduction to his style of cooking and eating.

  2. I was 17 when that came out so I must have been living in Wales, still - so it all passed me by until I moved to Middlesex in 1965. What an exciting time that was!

    Fancy having a 1953 magazine. I wish now that I had kept my early 70s ones.

  3. I've just stumbled across your blog...I loved Habitat, when I was about 15/16. I would go into the shop in Liverpool, wander around and plan my "student pad" that I would have. I would pore over the catalogue and choose everything that I would need...and when my parents offered to buy me a Habitat chair for my bedroom I was in heaven! I still have the chair some 35 (or more!) years later