Shimu Logo
Return to Shimu website

« Older Entries Subscribe to Latest Posts

29 Jan 2016

How the Chinese celebrate New Year

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORIGINS OF CHINESE NEW YEAR

It is unclear when the New Year celebrations in China actually started. There is debate between historians as to whether it was during the Shang Dynasty (1766 BC – 1122 BC) or whether it in fact started as early as the reign of Emperor Yao and Shun (2300 BC). In the beginning, the date of the celebration varied from mid-winter to early spring.

With the maturity of the solar base calendar, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 BC) established the first day of the first month as the beginning of the year, where it remains.

Red lanternsThe tradition of cracking bamboo also appeared at this time – bamboo creates a loud cracking noise when it’s put in fire and it is believed that the sound drives away evil. It was not until the Wei Dynasty (220 – 265) that fireworks were introduced and the tradition of Shou Sui (or staying up late to welcome the New Year) took shape.

According to legend, Chinese New Year is the result of a battle against a mythical beast called the ‘Year’. The ‘Year’ looks like an ox with a lion head and lives in the sea. On New Year’s Eve, the ‘Year’ would emerge from the sea and wreak havoc.

However, gradually people discovered that the ‘Year’ feared the colour red, fire and loud noises. This is why the practice of hanging red Dui Lian (left) in front of houses, launching fireworks and displaying red lanterns at the year end began.

 

ACTIVITIES IN THE MODERN NEW YEAR

In the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, there is great activity: shopping, cleaning and hanging decorations, in preparation for the big event.

New Year’s Eve dinner is an important meal for the Chinese. It is considered a time for family and family reunion and is celebrated at home rather than in a restaurant.

During the dinner, fish will be served, and in Northern China, dumplings are an important part of the meal (both these dishes signify prosperity). New Year cake is also served: known in Mandarin as nian gao (“higher year”), eating a piece of this traditional steamed rice cake is supposed to improve your luck in the coming year.

dumplings

At midnight fireworks are launched to celebrate the coming of the New Year and to drive away evil. It is believed that the person who launches the first firework of the New Year will have good luck.

During Shou Sui – meaning ‘after New Year’s Eve dinner’ – family members will try and stay awake during the night to fend off the mythical ‘Year’ beast by lighting fires.

Giving ‘red packets’ is also a Chinese traditionThese are red envelopes containing money ranging in value from one to a few thousand Chinese Yuan. They are given by adults, especially married couples, and the elderly to young children in the days following New Year. It was believed that the money in the red envelopes warded away evil from the children, kept them healthy and gave them a long life.

On New Year’s Day – people traditionally either stay at home or visit family, especially the older generation.

On the second day – some Chinese host a religious ceremony to honour the gods. It is also the custom for married females to visit their parents.

On the third day – people traditionally perform a ceremony to honour their ancestors.

On the fifteenth day – is the Yuan Xiao festival, also called the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the New Year celebrations.

In 2016 the Chinese New Year begins on Monday 8th February, and heralds the Year of the Monkey. Look out for next week’s blog post to find out what the Year of the Monkey might mean for you!

 

15 Jan 2016

Events to celebrate the countdown to the Chinese New Year 2016

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

We’re getting ready to celebrate and so wish you a (slightly early) happy New Year!

Chinese New YearThis is the first of three blog posts celebrating the traditional Chinese New Year. In this post, we highlight events happening up and down the UK during the countdown; next time we will look at how the Chinese celebrate; finally, we’ll investigate just what the Year of the Monkey means.

The Chinese New Year’s Day is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The date is different each year when using the Gregorian (internationally-used) calendar, and falls between January 21st and February 20th. In 2016 it’s Monday February 8th.

London will see the biggest celebrations outside Asia, as hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to mark the occasion. A colourful New Year’s Parade will pass through the city to Chinatown, with dragons, acrobats, dancers and singers. An official opening ceremony will take place in Trafalgar Square.

At the Magical Lantern Festival Premiere at Chiswick House & Gardens in London, the environment will be transformed into an extravaganza of lights, culture, art and cuisine. The festival is an outdoor event, and will be a wonder of light and illumination. Guests will enjoy a 75 minute cultural adventure and explore a picturesque garden trail through Corridors of Light leading to vividly themed zones.

Elsewhere in the UK, Chinese communities will hold New Year parades and public celebrations close to the first day of the Chinese year. These include:

  • Lion dances in city centres with a strong Chinese community
  • Performances of traditional and contemporary Chinese dance and music
  • Communal meals and tasting sessions of traditional Chinese and Chinese inspired foods
  • Short courses and lectures on Chinese history, language and culture
  • Exhibitions of art and crafts created by artists from China or of Chinese decent
  • Displays of lanterns and fireworks

Most events are open to the general public and are friendly and welcoming for people of all backgrounds to learn more about Chinese culture.

Why not leap into the Year of the Monkey with four days of spectacular celebrations in Manchester from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th February? Happenings include an Asian food market, a giant Chinese Golden Dragon and the Parkour Monkey Runners.

In Leeds, this year’s event takes place on Sunday 14th February at Leeds Town Hall. The occasion promises to deliver an authentic Chinese experience, with dancing, music, a Chinese lion dance, Chinese calligraphy, kung fu and tai chi. There will also be stands offering Chinese food, crafts, beauty and face painting.

Grab the kids and head to Leeds City Museum on Wednesday 3rd February to make a Chinese creation of your own. Join artist Van Nong to make a beautiful lantern in celebration of the New Year during one of two workshops, which are free and open to adults and families.

Kung Hei Fat Choy are the Chinese New Year celebrations in the Glasgow Museum Resource Centre. This event takes place on 14th February and will include calligraphy and making Chinese lanterns as well as traditional New Year ceremonies and rituals for all members of the family.

In Birmingham, the Chinese New Year is always a huge event and generally attracts up to 30,000 people.  You can see in the Chinese New Year 2016 with a spectacular show in Wolverhampton as part of the region’s cultural line-up.  The University of Birmingham welcomes in the New Year with a free concert.

Join us next time on the blog for an insight into how the Chinese celebrate in their own country.

 

 

 

 

11 Dec 2015

What Christmas means to the Chinese

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

blog2Like most of Britain, we’re getting very excited about our favourite time of year. But what about China? We thought you might like to find out exactly what Christmas means to the Chinese people and how it is celebrated, if at all…

Christmas is not a public holiday in China as most Chinese people are not Christian (only 1% officially) and there is not much Christian cultural influence. However, along the coast and in the big internationally-influenced cities, it has been steadily gaining popularity and has been a big commercial success.

On the mainland, Christmas is celebrated in large cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where a large number of expats live and Western influence is greater. However, in smaller cities and in the countryside of China’s interior, Christmas is a foreign concept, especially for the older generations.

It is a two day public holiday in Hong Kong and Macau, due to the British and Portuguese influence. In Hong Kong, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are both official public holidays. In Macau, Christmas Eve is included as an official public holiday too.

Most Chinese people who celebrate Christmas do so as a happy occasion to get together with friends and family. In the major cities, Christmas trees, lights and decorations can be seen on the streets and in the department stores. Much like in Britain, you’ll hear Christmas music playing from the end of November. Christmas carols can be heard over the noise of the crowds shopping for the Christmas season sales and promotions.
A Chinese “Father Christmas” (圣诞老人 Shèngdàn Lǎorén /shnng-dan laoww-rnn/) helps complete the scene.

You’ll see many of the same decorations as we see in the UK: Christmas wreaths, Merry Christmas banners, colourful lights, and ornaments and baubles. Global trade means that many of the decorations bought in the West now originate from China anyway!

 

25 Nov 2015

Some favourite Chinese antiques from my recent trip to Beijing

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

I have finally had a chance to draw breath after my trip to China earlier this month, so I thought now would be a good time to share some of the favourite antique pieces I selected from our various suppliers in Beijing when I was over there.

I should say first of all that it has become more and more difficult over the 12 years since I started Shimu to find good quality antiques. Ten or fifteen years ago there were many workshops across the city that would source furniture from their own network of suppliers throughout northern China, or buy from the unrestored antique furniture markets in Beijing, before carrying out restoration and selling on for export. Nowadays most of these workshops have either disappeared or now only produce new furniture, as the supply of antiques has dwindled. Particular styles and types of furniture that were easy to come by when we started up are now quite rare.

The situation is partly down to lack of supply, as there is only a finite amount of quality antique furniture available, particularly as so much was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. As the amount of unrestored pieces has diminished and they have become fewer and farther between, it has also become harder and more costly for the network of suppliers out in China’s regions to gather these items ready for sale to the restorers. This means that fewer people are interested in this line of work, particularly compared to the perceived potential riches of an alternative job in one of China’s rapidly growing cities. Despite this it IS still possible to find good quality pieces, and on each visit so far I have always managed to find a few standout items that I can’t wait to ship back to the UK.

We now work with three or four small workshops that still have a good source of antiques and are skilled at restoring them. The finest pieces, in the most original condition, are usually finished so as to show the old colour and details as much as possible. Other pieces might be stripped down and given a completely new lacquer finish, essentially breathing new life into an old, possibly unloved piece of furniture.

The red lacquer two door cabinet shown here is typical of a piece that used to be reasonably common but has now become rare. Antique furniture from the central province of Shanxi, where this piece originated, is well known in China for its quality and, at one time, abundance. Cut off from much of China by mountains and rivers, Shanxi suffered less than other parts of the country during the Cultural Revolution and so the beautiful painted armoires and cabinets that it is famous for survived the ravages of that period better than most. Nowadays though, it is rare to find a cabinet like this one, particularly one with its old lacquer and such beautifully detailed carvings on the base. These include delicate flowers and birds as well as a bat at each side to represent good luck.

The pair of large elm doors are one of several pairs available through one of our regular suppliers. I have often thought that these would make a fantastic, imposing entrance mounted in a modern setting, or even used just as decorative elements on a wall. I’ve also seen many of them converted into large coffee tables. You’d need plenty of space to make this work but the old iron handles, large heavy studs and weathered elm wood provide real character.

Camphor chests used to be plentiful when Shimu started up around twelve years ago. I remember our first few shipments of Chinese antique furniture all included a few of these and they always sold quickly. Over recent visits to Beijing, though, I’ve seen fewer and fewer. Used throughout China for storing clothes and bedding, camphor wood has a menthol-like aroma that acts as a natural insect repellent and the wood has a lovely tone and character. The chests are great as toy boxes or blanket trunks in a bedroom, and are also often perfectly sized for use as coffee tables with handy storage space inside. This particular chest also has its original brassware, including the front clasp and studded side brackets.

Lastly, the pair of mutidrawer chests in blue lacquer shown here is a good example of the ‘new from old’ furniture that I mentioned earlier, where an antique piece has been adapted and refinished to produce something more practical in a modern setting. These two chests started life, again in Shanxi, as one large medicine chest used by a Chinese apothecary. The original chest was cut and put back together as the two smaller pieces seen here, which were then refinished in a more modern shiny blue lacquer. Whilst the result bears little relation to the original piece of furniture, the new chests would look wonderful in a modern home office or bedroom.

These are just a few examples from the eighty or so antiques that I selected over in China and which we will be shipping over the coming weeks to arrive here in our showroom in the new year, so look out for the full collection soon in the New Arrivals section of our website. We’ll also post photographs on our Facebook page as soon as we have these so, if you haven’t already, please ‘like’ us to get a an early view of what we have lined up!

 

10 Nov 2015

Fluffy dogs and hairy crabs in Shanghai

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

I arrived in Shanghai last Wednesday in time to check on the final container of our Classical Chinese Furniture due to leave before Christmas. Whilst some pieces were already finished, others were still at the woodwork stage. It’s always interesting to see our furniture in the various stages of production, as well a good opportunity to check the quality of workmanship and joinery before the final finish is applied.

The workshop we use is fairly small, so the production of our furniture is very much a traditional, cottage industry. The carpenters are producing individual pieces by hand as far as possible, aided by cutting tools and other machinery to ensure accurate and tight fitting joinery. Unlike other factories, the workshop produces only Chinese style furniture, so the carpenters are all very familiar with the designs and construction of the Shimu style.

It was good to meet some of the workers and see our furniture in production. In particular I was able to view and check on the various ‘bespoke’ pieces that will be included on the container – most of these were finished to the woodwork stage so I’m looking forward to seeing photos of the final pieces in the next week or so.

On Friday afternoon a couple of the guys here offered to take me out of Shanghai to an ancient town close by called ZhuJiaJiao. Built over a river and network of tributaries, it provides a stark contrast to the high rise hustle and bustle of central Shanghai. Busy with tourists but still feeling calm and tranquil as boats slowly ferry back and forth along the waterways and under the many arched stone bridges, the town gives a glimpse of an older, slower China that I rarely see on my visits.

I very much enjoyed ambling along the riverside, checking out the various stalls and wooden framed shops that offered everything from the usual jade, stone and  jewellery aimed at the passing tourist traffic to food stalls displaying their wares of pigs trotters and crayfish. We stopped at a tea house by the river and soon afterwards headed for one of the little restaurants for a meal of ‘hairy crab’ – a seasonal delicacy in this part of China in October and November – and other delicacies.

It was a nice way to finish my Shanghai visit as, after a final brief trip to the workshop on Saturday morning for some final checks, I flew on to Beijing. This second part of my China trip is mainly to select the next container of antique Chinese furniture to ship, along with discussions on some future reproduction ranges. More to follow soon on what I’ve lined up so far.

 

30 Oct 2015

The transformation of Talliston House & Gardens

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

house

The exterior of Talliston House & Gardens

We were thrilled and intrigued when we discovered the story behind the recent purchase of a cabinet and some birdcage lamps.

Our customer John Trevillian is the mastermind behind Talliston House & Gardens – a three bed ex-council semi which he purchased a quarter of a century ago and then set about transforming. Talliston means ‘the hidden place’, and this once ordinary house now hides thirteen rooms, each set in a different time and place.

Over 25 years, John has painstakingly deconstructed each room back to the brickwork and rebuilt from scratch. Now the project is complete, not one square centimetre of the original house remains. John only used professional tradespeople when essential to comply with building regulations (structural, electric and gas), and the rest of the skills (from carpentry, bricklaying and garden landscaping to basket weaving and gold leafing) were learned and contributed by ordinary people.

John estimates that over 100 friends, artists and volunteers have helped him to transform the house. In a recent interview with The Guardian he said: “Everyone thinks I’m independently wealthy or that I’ve got a degree in interior design. But all I had was these stories in my head. I was the kid who’d run around castles, dreaming. This is the house I was meant to have.”

aff4297b-4c4e-4baf-9099-334cf1ff5aa5-2060x1236

The voodoo kitchen

The rooms include a 1950s New Orleans-style voodoo kitchen, a New York detective’s office, a gothic haunted Scottish bedroom, a Cambodian treehouse in the attic and a moveable tipi. Each space is full of objects from around the globe, sourced from antiques traders or auctions, or gathered on research holidays.

starhouse

The starhouse

The input of Shimu was in the Starhouse, a recreational arkspace melding Oriental tea house and Art Deco styling, where we contributed an antique Chinese cabinet from Shanxi province and birdcage lanterns.

We were delighted to able to help John with his amazing project. He commented: “Building Talliston I have worked with innumerable companies, sourcing pieces from all across the world. As the deadline loomed I knew I would not be able to travel personally, and was looking for singular unique pieces. Everyone at Shimu excelled at helping me with questions and details on a number of items before we found the exact right combination. I wish all of my experiences could have been that helpful and professional.”

John says his favourite rooms are the haunted bedroom, as its construction was the most complex; and the office, as he has written three novels here and believes it embodies the feeling of escape that Talliston represents.

The Talliston project was completed earlier this month and was opened to the public over the weekend of 18th October. John is now planning a well-deserved break and hopes to return to writing, as well as securing Talliston’s future and financial independence.

9 Oct 2015

Time to hibernate

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

Not long now until the clocks go back and although we are looking forward to the thought of an extra hour in bed, we also know it means that winter is coming. But why be gloomy? The change in season is a great excuse to turn your home into a cosy haven as you snuggle up and spend more time indoors.

Medium lotus lampUnfortunately we can’t actually hibernate, but here are a few hints and suggestions to snugify your home. Be warned – if you follow all our tips, you may not want to leave the house until spring…

Lack of natural light during the shorter daylight hours means that it’s vital to ensure cosy lighting indoors. Think about where you’ll be sitting to work out where your light sources need to be positioned and use table lamps and spotlights to create pools of warm lighting.

For a warm and inviting atmosphere, keep overhead light usage to a minimum in bedrooms and living rooms, choosing lower-level wall, floor or table lamps instead.S lamp cream

 

 

We have a gorgeous collection of soft furnishings including luxurious faux fur throws like the grey Marilyn one featured below to snuggle up on the sofa with. For maximum comfort, surround yourself with an array of cushions.

When choosing soft furnishings, go for tactile fabrics and cosy textures like velvet, fur and chenille. Update your summery blinds with heavy curtains and consider adding rugs to hard flooring.

Now sit back with a steaming mug of your favourite hot drink and resolve to remain in your winter retreat until spring arrives!cushions

 

24 Sep 2015

Chinese Carved Wooden Panels

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

As you know, we’re big fans of the antique carved wooden panels that we source in China and sell online and in our showroom. Our customers generally buy these intricately carved panels as unusual wall art, but in this post, we want to share a little of the history of these pieces, and look at how they would have been used in a traditional Chinese home.

A little background to Chinese wooden architecture

A fundamental achievement of Chinese wooden architecture is the load-bearing timber frame, a network of interlocking wooden supports forming the skeleton of the building. This is considered China’s major contribution to worldwide architectural technology.

Unlike western architecture, in ancient Chinese wooden architecture, the wall only defined an enclosure, and did not form a load-bearing element. Buildings in China have been supported by wooden frames for as long as seven millennia. The emergence of the characteristic wooden Chinese frame emerged during the Neolithic period. Seven thousand years ago mortise and tenon joinery was used to build wood-framed houses. (The oldest are at Hemudu site at Zhejiang). Over a thousand of these sites have been identified, usually with circular, square or oblong shaped buildings. During the Yangshao culture in the Middle Neolithic, circular and rectangular semi-subterranean structures are found with wooden beams and columns. Wooden beams or earth supported the roofs which were most likely thatched.

wooden panel

A major feature of Chinese homes were the carved wooden lattice panels either used as room dividers or internal and external window covers (like the more modern shutters). It’s this type of piece that you will find in the collection at Shimu –  in a modern home they are a great way to add interest to any interior wall space.

For example, the carved wooden panel on the left was once part of the interior of a Chinese house in Shanxi province, but today would make an interesting decorative element hung on a wall, or could even be fitted with glass to create an unusual mirror.Pair of wooden panels

The pair of wooden panels on the right date from 1900 and would once have formed part of an internal dividing wall in another Shanxi home. The central lattice panels are made with mortise and tenon joints, still secured with the original nails.

Yin Yu Tang at the Peabody Essex Museum

At the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, the amazing spectacle of a 200 year old Chinese house can be viewed. Named ‘Yin Yu Tang’, the Huang family ancestral home was brought to America and reassembled. Looking around the house, either by taking the interactive online tour or in person, allows a rare perspective on Chinese art, architecture, and culture.

The house was built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Huang, a prosperous merchant. It was a stately sixteen-bedroom house in China’s southeastern Huizhou region.Chinese house

The house was oriented in the village according to principles of feng shui to ensure a harmonious relationship with the landscape and was constructed according to local building traditions and customs. Coins were placed under structural columns to bring prosperity to the home’s inhabitants. The first floor bedrooms have intricately carved lattice windows that look out onto two fish pools in the central courtyard. These details tell as much about the aspirations, identity, and creative expression of the Huang family as they do about the architectural heritage of the region.

The family’s well-documented genealogy and the accumulation of furnishings passed down through eight generations offer the opportunity to understand historical changes in China as they affect individuals in their daily lives and cultures on a global scale. If you ever get the chance to visit Massachusetts, we’d strongly recommend a visit to the Peabody Museum to see Yin Yu Tang – it’s certainly on our bucket list!

For now, why not visit the Shimu website for a stunning selection of antique wooden panels and screens sourced from across China. All are made with great craftsmanship and would make a beautiful talking point in any modern home.

 

11 Sep 2015

Feasting for the Moon Festival

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

The Chinese Mid-Autumn or ‘Moon’ Festival is traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month , so this year will take place on Sunday 27th September. The Mid-Autumn festival is the second most important festival after the Spring Festival, and this is recognised with a two day public holiday.

moon

The full moon is a symbol of peace, prosperity and family reunion. The moon is supposed to at its brightest and fullest on the night of the festival. The tradition is for people to return home from wherever they are in China or the wider world to eat with their their family, admire the full moon and eat mooncakes.

Mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries, made of wheat flour and usually with a sweet stuffing. However, they are made in many different flavours and each region has a different style. Fillings depend on local eating culture and tradition. The most popular variations include Cantonese, Suzhou, Beijing, Chaoshan and Ningbo, and modern moon cake flavours include green tea and ice cream.

mooncake
The moon cake is a symbol of family reunion, and the cake is traditionally cut into pieces that equal to the number of family members.

Mooncakes are named after the moon goddess and in ancient times, were a kind of offering to the moon. In Chinese culture, roundness symbolizes completeness and togetherness. A full moon symbolizes prosperity and reunion for the whole family. Round mooncakes complement the harvest moon in the night sky.

The mooncake is not just a food, but a profound cultural tradition held deep in the hearts of many Chinese. During Mid-Autumn Festival, people eat mooncakes together with family, or present mooncakes to relatives or friends to express love and best wishes.

Other delicaies which are traditionally eaten during th festival are pumpkin (for good health), river snails (to brighten eyes), wine fermented with osmanthus flowers (for a happy life), duck and hairy crab. To find out more about these Mid-Autumn Festival culinary delights, visit this page on the China Highlights website. In the meantime, we wish you a happy Moon Festival, however you choose to celebrate it.

 

28 Aug 2015

Coastal chic for your home

Posted by James Cottrell. No Comments

We may dream of living by the coast – fresh sea air, long walks on the beach, sound of the waves – and for most of us it is a world away from our fastpaced everyday lives.

But forget relocation, why not just bring a bit of the seaside into your home?

Zen matters

Encourage relaxation by embracing and reflecting natural surroundings. Evoke the undulations of sea and sand by choosing furniture with curved edges, like chairs with horseshoe backs, circular mirrors and round tables.

Antique horseshoe chairs from Shimu with gently curved backs

Antique horseshoe chairs from Shimu with gently curved backs

See your home as one calm and flowing space, with the eye easily moving from room to room, mimicking the constant motion of the tide.

Let in the light

Consider these key elements when creating your space. Think about how it feels to be beside the sea and the emotion that evokes within you.

Visualise that special kind of light you only get by the water… Now consider your home, and use the light sources you have to recreate those big skies. Position key pieces of furniture near windows so the space is flooded with light from sunrise to sunset. Accessorise with glass pieces and mirrors so light can reflect and illuminate. Glass panels in doors are also a nice trick to boost whatever natural light you have. Keep window coverings delicate, perhaps using voile or cotton.

Steer clear of too much polish, clutter and fussy detail. By keeping furniture to a minimum and including pieces that let light through, such as slatted or rattan chairs, you will boost a room’s sense of space.

Blue green ceramic jars evoke the sea and sky

Blue green ceramic jars evoke the sea and sky

There’s something enchanting about a completely white room; it has an immediate calming effect. Only a hint of colour is required: try accents in classic coastal shades of blue and turquoise to bring the space alive whilst also giving a subtle nod to sea and sky.

White-painted tongue and groove cladding instantly evokes the seaside. Use it on walls throughout your home, not just the bathroom.

To give a sun-baked look to floorboards, shelves and table tops, limewash the boards, or try the Scandinavian ‘white lye soap’ treatment: after sanding, apply caustic soda to open the grain then use  white lye soap to bleach the wood and give it a beautiful chalky finish.

Bring the outside in

Bring warmth to your scheme with natural textures, for example, a coffee table made from reclaimed elm evokes driftwood strewn on the beach. For soft furnishings, choose natural fabrics like cotton, linen and jute in neutral colours and touchable textures.

Coffee table from Shimu's Chinese Country collection handcrafted from reclaimed elm.

Coffee table from Shimu’s Chinese Country collection handcrafted from reclaimed elm.

Shells and coral collected from the beach make wonderful ornaments and bring back memories of happy times. Pieces fashioned from driftwood like candle holders and mirrors are perfect.

Try using everday items you would normally find outside to give a subtle hint of beach life. A vintage deckchair in the bathroom, a white-painted folding garden chair at a desk, an antique tennis racket on the wall or a aged zinc bucket as a bin.

To avoid the beach house clichés, mix new with old, high street with antique, natural with gloss. Let your personality shine through and who knows, your own unique take on coastal chic could refresh you as much as a fortnight in the sun!

 

  • Browse

    or
© Shimu Ltd. 2010. All Rights Reserved.