July, named after Julius Caeser is on average the hottest month of the year. There are plenty of things happening to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days....and the summer holidays are just round the corner...so you may find it interesting that during July the bikini made it's debut at a Paris fashion show. (1946) and the first cultivated strawberry was displayed (1806).
Thwack....Strawberries, Cream and Wimbledon
It's at this time of year that everyone starts dusting off their tennis whites, tightening their strings and getting ready for the start of the Tennis season. Wimbledon gets under way on 3rd July and at Figura we're all ready for game, set and match.
Luxury New Build
This was a really interesting project in an outstanding and fully bespoke new build property on one of Oxshott’s premier private estates.
The client worked with Claremont Homes, a prestigious developer who offers a service that is specifically designed for those who aspire to build their ideal home, taking advantage of the new, exciting and innovative design possibilities in a location they already know and love. The clients’ superb skills in sourcing beautiful and meaningful materials and artefacts are reflected all over the house making it a new build that is exceptionally personal. To compliment this and make the most of a wonderful open family space, they specifically wanted a kitchen that was truly designed just for them. Figura worked closely with the developer and the client to design a truly bespoke and luxury kitchen befitting this magnificent home.
Outstanding features include the elegant curved island crafted in elm and granite, the curved dresser in unique oak with elm surface, a magnificent bi-fold larder cupboard, walk-in pantry, unusual end grain elm chopping board, bespoke fold-down spice rack and Sub-Zero Wolf appliances with antique mirror splashback.
The client attributes the success of this living space to the time we took to fully understand what they were looking to achieve both in the functionality and styling of this space.
“Giles spent five hours talking to me to ensure he fully understood all my needs” “There is not one thing that I would want to change about this kitchen, and that is because Giles understood exactly what I needed”.
A contemporary look for a designer property with Figura’s renowned attention to detail.
New Home for Grange Park Opera
In less than two decades, Grange Park Opera has established itself as one of Europe’s leading opera festivals. It has become synonymous not only with artistic excellence, but also the warmth of the relationship shared between loyal audiences, supporters and artists. Not without reason has it become known in the opera world as ‘a small jewel with big performances’.
They have recently relocated from Hampshire to West Horsley Place in Surrey, inherited by the author Bamber Gascoigne and managed by the Mary Roxburghe Trust.
Some of the Figura team went along to see Tosca last week and were enchanted by the location and the performance.
Glowing brick façades, framed by antique box hedges and walled gardens, sit in the midst of a 300-acre estate slumbering in the Surrey countryside. Behind the house, an ancient orchard opens into a wooded glade. This is to become the setting for a new cultural venue, the Theatre in the Woods. Here Grange Park Opera will realise the next chapter in their quest to make world-class performing art accessible to all.
A new opera house for the UK is something to sing about.
The new opera house, known as The Theatre in the Woods, is set just beyond the historic orchard and is modelled on the four-tiered horseshoe shape of La Scala, Milan, with a vibrant acoustic, and a generous orchestra pit. Concealed with the richly textured, mysterious brick drum is an intimate auditorium, “a decorated room”, with balcony fronts enriched for warmth and splendour, a painted ceiling and columns soaring from floor to roof through the generous atrium.
Phase 1 of the project achieved enough of the construction for the first performance in June 2017 (Tosca with superstar tenor Joseph Calleja as Cavaradossi) with scaffolding enveloping the unfinished theatre. Phase 2 continues after the 2017 festival and includes the exterior brickwork.
We are currently working with a client where a teppanyaki cook top is required for the La Cornue Chateau range cooker we are installing. There is also a Teppanyaki grill plate on our La Cornue in the showroom, so lets take a closer look at this style of Japanese cooking.
Compared to Japan’s ancient traditional cuisines, teppanyaki is ‘new’ – it was invented in 1945 by a Japanese restaurant chain and quickly became popular with foreigners, who found the food more familiar than sushi, noodles and the rest, and enjoyed watching the artistry of the teppanyaki chefs.
In Japanese kitchens they can pretty much cook a whole multi-course meal, with side dishes, on the hot plate. Saucepans and frying pans are placed on there to, as well as cooking direct. They even cook rice on it, illustrating it's versatility.
Lunch Japanese style....in style!
Moshimo is a modern Japanese restaurant occupying a unique location in Brighton. The Opticon is a stunning modernist building with sliding walls (similar to Shoji screens found in traditional Japanese rooms), that is designed to resemble a lantern floating on the City’s Bartholomew Square.
In the summer, tables rise up from the surface of the surrounding desk for stylish al fresco dining. The menu combines Japanese tradition with British produce and passion. So there is locally grown Japanese daikon and mizuna, handmade tofu from Lewes and lots of sustainable fish.
At the end of last year, Moshimo secured planning permission to build Skylight, a restaurant which will be suspended seven storeys high above the city's Bartholemew Square. The Skylight will be constructed in Littlehampton before being transported to Brighton via the sea. Work started in March 2017 and is expected to take 6 months.
Moshimo is run on the “omakase” principle, a traditional way of eating which allows the chefs to decide on the menu according to the best seasonal produce we can get. It’s a way of eating that is very sustainable, reducing food waste and ensuring that the food we serve is as fresh as it possibly can be.
AA Gill in The Times wrote that Moshimo is one of the 3 best Japanese restaurants in the UK.
The tapas style menu is designed for sharing, we like the look of:
Cornish crab, avocado & flying fish roe maki
Chicken Kang Jung: Morsels of fried marinated free-range chicken with peanuts in a firecracking Korean sauce
Tree of the Year 2017
From elegant cherry trees to towering elms, do you have a tree with an interesting story that is special to you, your friends and family or your community? Tree of the Year returns for the fourth year and The Woodland Trust once again are calling for your most beautiful, interesting and quirky special trees. And nominations are now open until 30th July. If you need some inspiration read more about previously nominated trees.
Charter for Trees and Woods
Led by the Woodland Trust, more than 70 organisations from across multiple sectors are working together to build a future in which trees and people stand stronger together.
On 6 November 2017, the 800th anniversary of the influential 1217 Charter of the Forest, we will launch the Charter for Trees, Woods and People. More than 50,000 tree stories have been submitted in the last year and the themes from these stories have informed the ten principles which underpin the charter. We believe the people of the UK have a right to the many benefits brought by trees and woods. The new charter will recognise, celebrate and protect this right.
The Tree Charter will draw its strength from the hundreds of thousands of people across the UK that sign. Sign the Tree Charter and they will plant a tree.
Taurus Wines Recommends
We asked Rupert Pritchett from Taurus Wines for his recommendation to go with Moshimo’s Cornish crab maki and chicken Kang Jung.
Just as Japanese food isn’t always about sushi and noodles, similarly their wines aren’t all the same either. "I must admit it’s sometimes hard to find a Koshu (the indigenous grape variety of Japan) that tastes of something more than an over-priced Pinot Grigio, but this one from the Grace vineyard in Kayagatake (£19.99) in the foothills of Mt Fiji is light, fresh and has a great length to it too. There’s a hint of lemon and lime on the palate, which will complement the crab maki roll perfectly, while the bready lees give the wine enough body to stand up to the firecracking Korean sauce."
"Dog Days" (Latin: diēs caniculārēs) are the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere they usually fall between early July and early September. Lula popped into the showroom on the hottest day of June for 40 years....it certainly was a scorcher!
We chatted to Katherine Watters at House. about the importance of showcasing the interior of your property when putting your house on the market. "The interior of a house can tell so many stories. Not only does it reflect the owner’s style, it also often sympathetically reflects the history, character and period of a property. From old to new, classic to contemporary, one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is just the amount of different styles of interior decoration I see."
Katherine goes on to say that "no two are ever the same and you never know really what you are going to find behind a front door; some take your breath away, some make you smile and some make you want to put your sunglasses on. But that is the real beauty of inheriting a free rein when you move into a property. The phrase “ put your own stamp on it” is well heard in the property world and for good reason; because a house is never just bricks and mortar to the resident – it’s home."
Our favourite picks of the unique and handcrafted from the interiors magazines this month...
From left to right
Bespoke Garden Art
Topiary is a fascinating form of art. Constantly growing and changing the possibilities for creating formal, fun or head turning creations for your outside space are endless.
Inspired by the topiary we have been lucky enough to see, including some in our clients gardens we came across Agrumi, who specialise in creating custom-made plant sculptures for any space at their family-run nursery located in the beautiful New Forest. Their Director Stanley Jackson learned his horticultural know how from experts when he lived and worked in Italy.
Agrumi undertake almost any bespoke topiary commission combining our expertise with their clients’ ideas to create designs that delight, surprise and inspire.
So if you fancy growing something creative or unusual for your outside space this year....how about considering some Topiary?