Last night’s episode of Mary Queen of Shops on BBC Two wasn’t so much a study in retail design as a wake-up call for anyone interested in domestic styling.
Indeed, shop designer Callum Lumsden of Small Back Room hardly got a look in as the indomitable Mary Portas showed aging hippy couple Dazzle and Denny the error of their ways in inflicting their 1970s taste on customers of their failing homewares store Under the Moon in affluent Kingston upon Thames.
Lumsden’s cool, but colourful design for the renamed 37 Old London Road provided a great backdrop for the new-look store, but it was the merchandise – an eclectic mix of refurbished vintage and modern furnishings and accessories – that stole the show, along with a useful sourcing service for time-poor locals like rock chick Jo Wood.
The real heroes though were celebrated interior designer Abigail Ahern and Elle Deco editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin, described by Portas as the high priestess of style. They told not just our hapless shop-owners but the viewers just what currently constitutes good taste – and that, it appears, is a blend of mid-20th century nostalgia and new, with a bit of customisation thrown in to swell the coffers of inventive retailers. G-plan furniture and bespoke china are, again, the order of the day.
I bet you wish now that you hadn’t heeded Ikea’s call to ‘Chuck out the chinz’. With the likes of Wood currently keen on 1940s floral wallpaper, it might have fetched a fair amount on Ebay.