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The Alternative Blog

Charlie Gladstone

Founder Pedlars and TGLE

Pedlars is a family-run business based in North Wales with a general store and café in Notting Hill. Pedlars offers a curated, considered and beautifully designed range of homewares and gifts. Interested in products with stories to tell, with patina, history and a good dose of warmth and fun, the now well-established Pedlars Friday Vintage initiative sees the brand working with a network of dealers to create weekly parcels of best-quality vintage items for the home and garden. And follow @pedlarsvintage on Instagram to see their latest project, Pedlars Vintage Live, where you have access to best value genuine vintage direct from the source.

TGLE is The Good Life Experience (www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk) the festival Charlie and Caroline Gladstone have founded with Cerys Matthews.


Here Charlie shares his decorating tips about giving your home its personality.

I have one main and very simple tip when it comes to decorating. And it’s this…don’t worry about trends, be confident, do what you like and then your house will look wonderful. Make your home a reflection of your character and it’ll sing; it’ll look great and feel great, both to you and to others. Confidence is the key; the only thing that really matters.

I know lots of amazing homes and even more boring homes. And the simple thing that distinguishes the former from the latter is that wonderful houses echo their owners’ character; their peculiar tastes, their humour, their warmth. I’m not sure that there’s such a thing as good taste, but I know that there’s such a thing as confidence and belief in your taste.

Take, for example, a girl in the street dressed in 1970s clothes. Her look is full on and she looks amazing. Why, because she’s put the look together with confidence and verve. Individually, these pieces would look terrible to most of us (and terrible on us) but on her -with her belief, sparkle and peculiar eye- they look great. The same applies to homes. Your home shouldn’t be copied from a book or a magazine (although inspiration is around every corner); it should be a confident reflection of your taste; and yours only.

So, if you like the idea of a Chesterfield sofa next to an Eames chair, a Victorian oil painting above some framed 1950s posters, a row of Dinky Toys on a Georgian mantlepiece…try it! If it doesn’t work you’ll know straight away and can try something else. That’s the joy of believing in your own taste; you can work at it until it feels right to you. And if it feels right to you, it’s working. Keep experimenting.

Having said all of this, a few of the things that are exciting me at the moment and that we’re trying at home are…

First, dark, dark walls; slate grey or even black. We’ve just done our dining room in two deep tones of grey and it’s my favourite room ever. The joy of paint is that you can so easily change it if it doesn’t work out. A quick weekend’s work and the colour that didn’t work has gone. Bingo!

Second, dark walls look great with gilded frames. Oil paintings have been out of fashion for years (I’m not talking Old Masters here) and can be picked up for a song. They feel right to me at the moment; their depth and warmth and patina can’t be imitated and in their soft gold frames they look great against stark, dark walls. But consider lighting them properly so they jump out at you; those over-picture lamps that our grandparents loved look pretty good if they’re painted to match the frames.

Third, dark wood floors with kilims or rugs work well with these dark walls and oils. A good floor is an investment and one worth spending on. But good rugs and kilims don’t need to cost a fortune. A rug adds warmth and texture to a room and I love the contrast between great floorboards and simple rugs. The great thing about Alternative Flooring’s rugs is that they can be tailored to the size you need and you can make your own with their fabulous Make Me a Rug service. My favourite is the Sisal Malay Chen with the dark grey striped border.

Finally, mantlepieces are one of a room’s most overlooked assets. Think about your mantlepiece and make that a focal point in the room. Lean pictures, one in front of the other; add some empty frames, balls of string, toys, photos and (my current obsession) if the mantelpiece is big enough, a vintage motorcycle helmet or two.’

CoolBrands Alternative Flooring and Pedlars have also got together with ideas to refresh your kitchen for the summer.  This competition is a great chance to win a cool rug and pendant light.

Enter here




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The Edit - home style by Alternative