Juxtaposition, according to David Champion, is the key to good taste. His aim is to create a calming environment by balancing different textures to create an aesthetic effect. Bamboo lamp-bases jostle with Burmese rice-carriers; a French bridge chair in fake elephant-skin sets off a South African township picture frame. Here is a reproduction Chinese screen in glitzy Viennese style, with a pounds 2,350 price tag; there is a pair of carved wooden Ethiopian chairs (pounds 1,100 each). Incense sticks poke out of tall, elegant Vietnamese ceramic holders, and on the floor stands a Mexican sweet-mould made of wood, converted into a candle-holder.
One wall is hung with a range of Moroccan mirrors made from bone and silver. Some designs are uniquely Champion, such as a pair of limed-oak lamp-bases turned by a specially commissioned craftsman in Norfolk. For the pounds 780 each that they cost, you would not expect to find anything similar elsewhere.
It is a classy shop, to which clients return again and again to browse. There are no overbearing staff to bother you - merely a quiet welcome. And after half an hour of wistful dreaming over the more expensive items, you find some consolation corners.
Downstairs, large ceramic bowls are filled with brightly lacquered Vietnamese pebbles in a range of colours, from pounds 7.50 each. There are Indian saris and throws, Lebanese cushions, and bars of olive-oil-and-laurel soap for just pounds 1.80. Or how about a hand-painted chapati-roller for pounds 11.50? And certainly, decorative Mexican and tin obelisks, Ethiopian horn goblets and Vietnamese crackle rice bowls are features that will enhance a dull or faded background and bring new life into a tired old room.
David Champion, 199 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2SB (0171-727 6016)Reuse content