On Wednesday evening Soho Home hosted an event in our space on the 4th floor at iconic London department store Liberty. Guests listened to interiors editor Claudia Baillie in conversation with Soho House Design Directors Linda Boronkay and Siobahn Farley which saw them talking about their careers and sharing some of the secrets that make the Houses feel like a ‘home from home’ – and how to translate that into your own space.

When asked about the common mistakes that people make when decorating a room, Linda said ‘Lighting! We’re learning from our mistakes as well. I think lighting is key and people often concentrate on high level lighting like ceiling lights and lots of spotlights, but what really makes the room is the lower level lighting – and to put them on a dimmer as well – so table lamps, floor lamps, you can never have enough of them. And patterns – I think it’s a bit challenging to mix patterns – so try not to mix the same scale patterns, do larger and smaller, or geometric with florals, or not too similar patterns in the same room because that can get a bit confusing.’

 

 

Siobahn and Linda talked about the ups and downs that happen over the course of a project, with Siobahn explaining ‘It’s definitely not always glamorous and it doesn’t always come together until the last minute, rushing around pulling together the last pieces. There’s always disasters where you order something online and it arrives and it’s tiny! It’s your final pottery display and it’s miniature and you have to rush out and buy something else. Linda added 'Or you buy the most gorgeous vintage cabinet and you realise the staircase is too tight and you have to take it apart and carry it up in pieces! You expose yourself to mistakes all the time but that’s when the solutions and the surprises appear.’

In addition to the Soho House designers, we were joined by the skilled craftsmen and women from our partners Burleigh, Hypnos, George Smith and Whichford, who showcased the skills and techniques that make our products so special.

 

Burleigh

Jackie from Burleigh showed guests how she uses a centuries-old tissue printing technique to finish Burleigh’s ceramics with their famous floral designs. After applying the tissue paper to the biscuitware and slicing off the excess, she used a simple toothbrush to apply a sugar paste to release the paper, leaving the design printed on the clay. The piece is then fired and a glaze is applied and it's this underglazing that makes Burleighware dishwasher-safe.

George Smith

Jim from George Smith gave a demonstration in deep buttoning on one of our Charles armchairs, showing how he pulls each button through the piece individually, smoothing the pleats precisely by hand and finishing off with a velvet bow.

Whichford

The team from Whichford Pottery (based just down the road from Soho Farmhouse) invited guests to have a go at decorating our stoneware with blue hand-painted stripes. The range was created specifically for Soho Farmhouse and can be found in all the cabins there.

Bed making

Head of Housekeeping Ian Nieuwoudt showed how to make a bed, Soho House style with a 4.5 tog duvet, six plump goose feather-filled pillows, crisp white Frette bedlinen and all the finishing touches.

 

Siobahn explained how the mix of vintage and new in every House is a careful balance: ‘We probably do 30 percent vintage or even 40 and it comes in right at the end of the job when we’ve got all our set big sofas and the right tables and we go and get the vintage layer with a big list and a budget. There’s lots of early mornings and bartering! Often you’ve got this big list and it’s the final hour and you can’t find what you’re looking for and there’s lots of improvising. Lots of the stuff you buy at markets needs recovering – it might be a great chair shape but the fabric’s knackered - or a big vintage sideboard that the carpenters need to touch up so you don’t always find the perfect piece, they need some work.’

‘In Soho House Berlin in the lobby there’s an amazing chandelier that we found that came out of an old cinema. And in Soho Farmhouse in the main mill barn behind the bar there’s a huge wall unit that came from America that fits the bar and looks great. It’s the bigger more impressive pieces that you have to get shipped and put back together that are the real show stoppers.’

Finally, she summed up the essence of Soho House style ‘We always have a really good mix of vintage and new, the vintage is always a big part and we always source that at the end. Lots of our products are made bespoke and we might find a vintage piece and have it made new, but it’s got that different feel – and we don’t just buy off the shelf, it’s always unique to Soho House and that really helps as well. I think we don’t follow too many trends, we just try to keep things classic and lived in and don’t try to be too clever so we don’t go in and out of fashion and that’s what works.'

Soho Farmhouse

Make the most of the summer and escape to the country with a stay at our House in the Cotswolds