© All pictures by Emma Lewis
The “wrong” end of King’s Road is reinventing itself as the Chelsea Design Quarter (chelseadesignquarter.co.uk), with some very glossy names. Smart new shops offer rugs, sofas, tiles, chairs, cabinets, lighting and beds. “We’re like a glamorous department store strung along a street,” says Hermione Kennedy, of George Smith, where upholstery is made by hand in the north of England.
“We’ve got five stores for lighting, the same for rugs, numerous furniture stores, and three stone specialists. Decorators’ address books are stuffed with us.”
The windows of Best & Lloyd have show-stopping lamp bases in Venetian glass. Inside, classics, including the Thirties Bestlite table lamp (even Churchill had one). Over the road is purist hi-tech John Cullen, with an all-white room — the “pod” —for lighting demos.
Christopher Wray’s lighting (Victorian glass and brass) is now stocked by several shops, including Leather Chairs of Bath, where the smell is deep-buttoned. Christopher Wray itself, in new hands, is behind And So to Bed, where vast displays include Vi-Spring mattresses — “handmade with finest British fleece”. More sleep merchants are Savoir Beds and Simon Horn.
Gatley Kitchens are British wood and Italian stainless steel, with more kitchens at Eggersmann and Chalon. For rugs, there’s Woven Ground; Paul Smith at The Rug Company and Deidre Dyson. For surfaces, try stone and tile wizards Decorum Est, and De Ferranti.
Tatiana Tafur has zebrawood furniture, plus shagreen and lacquer. Opium Chinese Cupboards are a fine find, as is Channels furniture, cool and modern. Elegant Interio shines with mirror, lacquer and chrome, and Be Modern lives up to its name.
Established shops include Guinevere, celebrating 50 years, and the Trowbridge Gallery. And stroll down Lots Road past stone-masters Lapicida, to the new Imperial Wharf station, and Zaha Hadid’s curvy showroom for Roca bathrooms.
For a full list of shops, visit www.chelseadesignquarter.co.uk