How to Work Metallics in a Modern Interior by Tash South

To say I have a particular penchant for metallics would be a bit of an understatement, although I do try not to go OTT! Used well, metals can add an instant touch of glamour or edge - depending on how they are used. When incorporating metallics into your décor, there is an art to striking the right balance. These days metal is making it's way into our homes in all guises, and in the most unusual of places, from wallpaper to flooring inlays.

Calico Wallpaper Photo from  Design Milk . Photo by  The White Arrow

Calico Wallpaper Photo from Design Milk. Photo by The White Arrow

THIS! It just makes me want to sprint right up to that bar! Image from  Dezeen , Herzog Bar & Restaurant München

THIS! It just makes me want to sprint right up to that bar! Image from Dezeen, Herzog Bar & Restaurant München

I definitely prefer my metals a bit more burnished or hammered for a more natural look, but I’m also a massive fan where they appear in sinuous sculptural forms, which is shown in much of Tom Dixon’s work... swoon!

Bert & May's Rich, Burnished, Brushed Brass Kitchen, which I've blogged about before  here

Bert & May's Rich, Burnished, Brushed Brass Kitchen, which I've blogged about before here

Tom Dixon's sinuous, sculptural  Melt Pendants . Image from

Tom Dixon's sinuous, sculptural Melt Pendants. Image from

Tom Dixon  Copper Shade Cluster Lighting

Tom Dixon Copper Shade Cluster Lighting

Using metallics is by no means new. Trends have evolved through the decades, in the Twenties, chrome was the metal of choice, paired with plenty of mirrored surfaces. Brutalist metalwork become popular in the Sixties and Seventies, and in the Eighties, gold and brass were all the rage.

Thinking about going for gold? My advice is: Do it!

Here are 4 style tips to help you to start incorporating some shine into your home:

1. Start small

If you are a tiny bit hesitant because you’ve never used metallics before, start with some accessories to test it out, there are some fab items out there at the moment, from copper pineapples and lamps to gold cowhide cushions, buy a few and change them around a bit in your space to see if you like it. And if after a while you LOVE it - go for it! Use your metal of choice on a larger area or as a statement piece.

One of my go to wallpapers to make a subtle yet impactful metallic statement is Antilles weave gold from Thibaut – it has a grasscloth texture, it has dark drama, it has fine threads of gold running through it, personally, it has everything I could ever want in a wallpaper - and I’m definitely finding a place for it in my new house when it’s finished. And I promise I am not being paid to write that!
So try it - using metallics and mirrors reflect light, open up a space and brighten up a dull room in an often unexpected way.

Copper Pineapples by  Oliver Bonas

Copper Pineapples by Oliver Bonas

2. Moderate your metallics

There is a definite trick here to avoid ostentatiousness - unless that’s what you want of course!
To show off metallic pieces in moderation or as a single feature, mix with different textures to balance them out. I love adding rough or soft textures (or both) to the mix - like velvet and exposed brickwork or natural grain wood, for example - so that the metallics stand out even more in contrast.

3. Think about your palette

When adding metallics to your space, think about the colours that would work well with your chosen metal. Gold and brass look lavish with darker hues, such as navy, emerald green and other jewel tones (one of my favourite combos is gold paired with rich green velvet). Steel and silver complement greys, white and blues, while copper loves grey and navy.

I love the gold base of this coffee table paired with the green velvet. Image from  My Domain . PHOTO:  Interiors by Studio M.

I love the gold base of this coffee table paired with the green velvet. Image from My Domain. PHOTO: Interiors by Studio M.

Gold and navy, image from  Photo by Rennai Hoefer

Gold and navy, image from Photo by Rennai Hoefer

4. Mix you metals

Approach with caution! Mixing different metals with abandon should probably be avoided - and best left to the professionals. But if you combine the same colour metal in different textures and finishes, for example; polished, hammered and burnished finishes of gold, a striking effect can be achieved.


I hope I’ve inspired you to try a metallic. If you’ve used metallics in your home, please share them in the comments below.
For more metallic inspiration, check out my dedicated gold and copper Pinterest boards here:
Copper Cool and You are Gold.

Discovering Bert & May’s exquisite new collections at their London Showroom by Tash South

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a guest at Bert & May’s Supper Club, and I was thrilled!
I have been following their growth as a brand and I absolutely love their ranges - having long been a fan of their handmade tiles and use of raw materials.

The Supper Clubs are great relaxed networking events for people in the industry, and they give us the chance to check out all that Bert & May have to offer in their industrial chic showroom and barge right on the canal in Hackney, with the added bonus of a delicious three-course menu, this time catered by Alice Hart and Georgina Fuggle and served on Bert & May’s striking dinnerware.

On arrival we were offered lush cocktails to have whilst we wandered around to take in the various ranges, including tiles, flooring, dinnerware, natural pigment paints, and of course the new kitchen and bathroom collections. I absolutely adored how tactile everything was. I just wanted to touch everything! But with a camera in one hand and a cocktail in the other, this proved a bit tricky.

bert and may supperclub dinnerware and tiles

The History

Bert & May was founded in Spain in 2004 by former barrister Lee Thornley and the brand quickly established into a bespoke lifestyle brand and specialist supplier of handmade artisan tiles,
engineered wood, natural pigment paints, and most recently, furniture, bathroom products and fittings, and kitchens.

On opening his award-winning Andalusian hotel Casa la Siesta in 2008, Lee realised his talent for discovering and sourcing beautiful old materials. The architectural salvage he sourced from his travels around Spain became much in demand from interior architects and designers.

What started as an online venture selling reclamation, developed further in 2013 when Lee teamed up with artisan tile maker, Juan Menacho, to make their own range of encaustic tiles by using traditional techniques.

Bert and May was born in 2013, the company has gone on to produce a distinctive range of handmade graphic and geometric tiles, as well as engineered wood, made in Yorkshire.

The Kitchens

In June 2016 Bert & May launched their new architecturally-designed bespoke kitchens in collaboration with Red Deer Architects, who also designed some awesome spaces like No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station and Bourne & Hollingsworth in Clerkenwell.

All Bert & May kitchens are designed with the focus on honest materials and simplistic forms and are handmade in Yorkshire using natural materials which deliver character, detail and a finish that improves with age. The three finishes available are a carefully-selected palette of raw materials; birch faced ply, hand-finished reclaimed timber and, wait for it… rich brushed brass (my absolute favourite!)

Thoughtful details include extra deep drawers, sleek kickers, and dovetail construction joints to provide strength and a beautiful finish. A key design feature in each kitchen is a shadow gap in place of handles, to ensure a streamlined finish.

Worktops are available in cast concrete or show-stopping Italian marble. Modern industrial brassware, left unlacquered to develop a natural patina over time, completes the look.

Birch-faced Ply Kitchen

Birch-faced Ply Kitchen

Hand-finished Reclaimed Timber

Hand-finished Reclaimed Timber

Rich Brushed Brass!

Rich Brushed Brass!

The Bathrooms

The new bathroom collection was launched in May 2016 and includes a selection of made to order natural pigment cast concrete basins paired with a collection of modern industrial solid brass bathroom fixtures by Sussex based designers Studio Ore.

The basins are manufactured in the UK and come in two styles: The Rho and The Sienna which is available in 12 different sizes.

The Rho Basin

The Rho Basin

The Sienna Basin

The Sienna Basin

The brassware range includes a selection of wall and deck mounted basin mixers, bath fillers and shower mixers. The Studio Ore collection offers a rich, artisan feel and is the perfect finishing touch to complete a Bert & May bathroom. 

Bathroom Brassware by Studio Ore

Bathroom Brassware by Studio Ore

The Paints

Born out of a love of natural pigments and a dedication to colour, Bert & May’s new eco-­friendly paint range has a total of 55 shades formed from 11 palettes, which are available in a choice of limewash, eco emulsion and eggshell. Taking inspiration from the natural tones found within the Bert & May tile range, the pigments create a depth of colour and deliver a sophisticated, matt chalky finish.  

Pangola Grass, Bluebell and Lemon Balm Paints

Pangola Grass, Bluebell and Lemon Balm Paints

And if you need help bringing all these stunning elements together, why not take advantage of Bert and May’s in-house interior design service.

I found both the new kitchen and bathroom collections positively beautiful - they are made with utmost care and attention to detail, and the natural materials used are exceptional.

Thank you to Bert & May for inviting me as a guest.

If you’re in the industry and would like to attend one of the supper clubs, you can find out more here: Bert & May supper clubs.