Abigail Ahern, author of A Girl’s Guide To Decorating (Quadrille, £16.99), whose über-chic “atelier” is on Upper Street in Islington (020 7354 8181; atelierabigailahern.com) is taking her ceramic poodle light for a walk to the Paris design fair Maison & Objet, along with her broader collection of animal lamps (all made in Staffordshire), furniture and prints before returning for sale in London.
Bunty Turner, of Holland Park interior design company Turner Pocock Cazalet (020 7603 3440; turnerpocockcazalet.co.uk), says animal wallpapers are perfect for the grand hall of a country house, or any room in an upmarket London home.
Catherine Cazalet is an artist who’s made her animal drawings into subtle patterns. A polar bear is in decorator shades of cream and turquoise, and sophisticated metallic zebras cavort on a grey ground. These papers include an ostrich and an ibis and cost £70.50 a roll.
It's raining dogs and meerkats
At the New Designers show of graduate talent in Islington last month, mischievous meerkats wallpaper by Kate Usher (075 0000 4178), drawn originally for her five-year-old son, made everyone smile. “I drew my meerkats from life on a pet farm then slimmed them down and made them a bit more chic.” This paper costs £150 a roll.
Stags, butterflies and bees are a fantasy take on fabrics from new designer Sarah-Jayne Guest (07956 287507; sjguest.com), who uses them to cover vintage chairs and cushions.
Artists and designers have a passion for breed details worthy of Crufts. Fashion maestro Ben de Lisi brought dogs to Designers at Debenhams last season, in memory of Ella, his French bulldog. De Lisi fell in love with the breed after seeing Yves Saint Laurent’s pet at dinner in Paris 10 years ago. “I like to think my dogs are charismatic and soulful. They offer a certain sense of humour and whimsy that we all need in our lives,” he says (mugs, £6; cushions, £18; white china lamp, £35; 08445 616161; debenhams.com).
Onion, an endearing bull terrier light, is a big success for Soho designer Shiu Kay Kan (SKK Lighting, 34 Lexington Street, W1; 020 7434 4095; skk.net). The lamp was modelled by sculptor Myra Heller on a real bull terrier starring in a Ewan McGregor film. Now comes Diego the schnauzer (right) with long face and drooping whiskers — the ultimate hangdog, in five colours. There are also rabbits, elephants, and cats and Kan has fashioned the Gorillaluce (gorilla light) to underline the plight of that endangered species.
Graphic designer/artist Maggie Mumford (01372 844586; maggiemumford.com) offers two labradors, a dalmatian, an Airedale, a bassett hound and an appealing mongrel called Heinz 57, on hand-made tiles (£19 each).
South London painters and printmakers Marie Rodgers and Maria Livings have put foxes back in the country on their lamps and cushions. These designs, also with birds, come as vinyl stickers at £15 and £8. See them at Lush Designs, the new shop in Greenwich Market (or visit lushlampshades.co.uk).
Harking back to the Seventies, wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst (murdered in 1977 at the age of 76), designed Stampede, a pattern of outlined galloping horses, still available through Borderline at Chelsea Harbour (£230 a roll; 020 7823 3567; borderlinefabrics.com). John Lewis has adapted this for a striking pair of cushions, £45 each (johnlewis.com).