From natural to neutral: a directory

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Percheron*, 97-99 Cleveland Street, London W1P 5PN (tel 071-580 5156). The best of fabrics from Italy and France. Not cheap.

Manuel Canovas*, 2 North Terrace, Brompton Road, London SW3 2BA (tel 071-225 2298). Though he is better known for his bright colours, Canovas's new cotton and linen 'Africa' fabric won the Best Fabric award at the prestigious Biennale Fabric Fair in Paris earlier this year.

Ian Mankin, 109 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8UR (tel 071-722 0997) and 271 Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6 2TX (tel 071-371 8825). A man who survived the Eighties by not being greedy and seeing the market for natural calicos and canvases, subtle stripes and checks.

Nobilis-Fontan*, 1-2 Cedar Studios, 45 Glebe Place, London SW3 5JE (tel 071-352 3870). Unnaturally pricey if exquisite fabrics, but then designers on other people's money don't blink at pounds 100 plus per metre.

Russell & Chapple, 23 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9DE (tel 071-836 7521). Utility fabrics like canvas, hessian and duck intended for artists and set designers - now being used by decorators.

Thomas Dare, 341 King's Road, London SW3 5ES (tel 071-351 7991). Large selection of reasonably priced cotton furnishing fabrics, particularly good for stripes and checks.

*Trade only, telephone for stockists.


Charles Hurst Workshop, Unit 21, Bow Triangle Business Centre, Eleanor Street, London E3 4NP (tel 081-981 8562). Best quality tongue and groove matchings, as used in Sue Skeen's house, wider than the flimsy-looking stuff sold in most DIY stores. Will cut to length and deliver nationwide.

Farrow & Ball Ltd, 33 Uddens Trading Estate, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 7NL (0202 876141). National Trust paints in fab drab colours which come in Flat Oil, Egg Shell, Gloss, Oil Undercoat, Oil Bound Distemper, Soft Distemper and Oil Lead Paint (restricted to use in certain listed buildings); available only by mail order, not from National Trust Shops.

Roger Oates Designs, The Long Barn, Eastnor, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1EL (tel 0531 632718). Subtle herringbone wool carpets, made to their own designs, and stair runners; also seagrass matting and felted wool floor coverings.


Alison Morton, Eagles Yard, Machynlleth, Powys (tel 0654 703864). Handwoven hand towels. Huckaback linen is boiled after weaving to soften and then left outside on grass to partially bleach for two weeks. Send SAE for brochure and price list.

Liberty, Regent Street, London W1R 6AH (tel 071- 734 1234). Their Hole in the Wall department caters for the interior gardener and cultivator of style with rustic furniture, twisted candlesticks, galvanised metal jugs, and very plain - and therefore very superior - terracotta flower pots.

Muji, 26 Great Marlborough Street, London W1V 1HB (tel 071-494 1197). The ultimate in Japanese designer-utilitarian.

Gregory, Botley & Lloyd, 8-12 Rickett Street, London SW6 1RU (tel 071-381 5522). Fossils, minerals and dinosaur eggs sold in a splendidly Dickensian basement. Probably more beloved of interior decorators than mineralogists - though they prefer them to the ones that come in for the 'healing power' of the crystals.

The Blue Door, 77 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 9HH (tel 081-748 9785). Gustavian-style furniture and perfectly edited fabrics and accessories. Worth a detour.

Eaton Shell Shop, PO Box 140, 30 Neal Street, London WC2H 9UE (tel 071-379 6254). Too poor to fly to exotic beaches to get your own coral? Too rich to go beachcombing for your own shells? Then this is the place.

Philip Milne, 2 Wrights Court, Elm Hill, Norwich NR3 1HQ (tel 0603 667441). Taxidermist selling beautiful preserved insects in glass cases. Half the price and twice as good as similar specimens in London designer shops.

John Stefanidis, 261 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HY (tel 071-352 3537). Impeccably stylish designer accessories include wool and silk throws and bowls of shells.

The Conran Shop, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD (tel 071-589 7401). Head for the pretend-you're-a-gardener department where you will find weird-shaped pods, bunches of twigs and raffia plus aesthetic watering cans and gardening tools to leave around the house.

Clifton Little Venice, 3 Warwick Place, London W9 2PX (tel 071-289 7894). Great for garden antiques you can pretend you found in a skip.

Shaker, 25 Harcourt Street, London W1H 1DT (tel 071-724 7672). Puritanically simple furniture.

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