Yesterday started off excellently: I was the first UK journalist/writer/hack/blogger to go through the doors of the shiny new West Elm lifestyle store on Tottenham Court Road, and goodness was I thrilled to poke around as I got the grand tour with Creative Director Vanessa Holden.
Don’t get me wrong, shopping is probably my least favourite activity, but I’ve always very much liked West Elm, a lifestyle store I know well from my time in New York, where the Chelsea branch furnished me with much of my china, as well as plenty of bedlinen, soft furnishings and generally useful bits and pieces for the home.
There really is no equivalent over here in London right now: West Elm is kind of like Habitat in the early eighties (when it stocked brilliantly curated ephemera for the home) crossed with the style of The Conran Shop (but it doesn’t sell other people’s furniture) crossed with the prices in Ikea (but chic-er). Oh and it’s wholly owned by the Williams Sonoma group.
Basically if you loved reading Domino (RIP), then you will LOVE West Elm.
They’ve shipped over here for a while now, but larger items like furniture stayed in the States, so this is the first chance for the UK market to get its sticky paws on ALL the West Elm goodness. There’s also a Design Lab on the lower floor, with an interior design service, which will do home visits.
They’ve also brought over their latest concept: West Elm Market, which not only serves coffee,
but stocks really good kitchen stuff (including my favourite non toxic Green Pans,
gifts, and foodstuffs sourced from local vendors. (This is a constant theme throughout the store: it’s very important to the West Elm ethos that local artisans, artists and purveyors are supported by the store.)
I long for these Moscow Mule mugs
It being ye olde festive season, there are also lots of beautiful – and fun – seasonal decorations. I was there during the shop fit, so there were piles of lovely things waiting to be hung up:
This table is possibly one of West Elm’s most famous pieces. I have lost count of the number of people I know who own one, whether it is used as dressing, hall, console table or as a desk.
And happily it opens today, Thursday 5th December. Well? What are you waiting for? Those raccoons need a new home STAT.
West Elm London, 209 Tottenham Court Road London W1T 7PN