Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Houses, gardens, and and oh so much more

LAST year’s Henley House & Garden Show, sponsored by the

LAST year’s Henley House & Garden Show, sponsored by the

Henley Standard
, was a huge success. The 2016 event takes place this weekend (March 12 and 13). LUCY BOON sat down with the show’s founder and director, interior designer Niki Schäfer, to find out more

Is the show really about houses and gardens?

To a certain degree, yes — we have an abundance of property talent on our doorstep, I’ve tried to capture as much of it as I can and have created the event around them for the people in Henley who genuinely love their homes and gardens. But there’s so much more.

Do tell...

Well, we have 65 exhibitors who range from fabrics to floors, conveyancing to cushions, lighting to landscaping. There are professional services including architects, garden designers and insurance brokers, but we also have florists, artists, photographers and candle makers. We want the show to represent the whole property spectrum — both inside and out.

But I’m only after a new sink. Is it worth me coming along?

Taylor Jones Kitchens can help you with kitchen sinks and Outhouse Bathrooms can help you with bathrooms basins.

But while you’re in the marquee, you’ll bump into Jonathan Coles of Jonathan Coles Lighting Studio who will show you his new pendants, and Henley Interiors’ range of floors. The Loft Access Company can discuss converting your attic space and Jack Brunsdon will wow you with their windows.

Obviously, we aim to inspire people with ideas but we also want to give the practical professional advice people really need — so speak to Mercers Solicitors, Macbeth insurance brokers and Ballards estate agents too. But it doesn’t stop there. The Henley House & Garden Show is a “show” after all. We have choirs to open the show, speakers, including the BBC’s Julia Kendell and Nick Knowles, cooking demonstrations by Shaun Dickens and, less edible but equally delicious, flower arranging by Jo Wise of Floral Circus.

We are also repeating the Home Décor Fashion Show where our fabulous local sporting heroes and celebrities, including Calum Best and Olympian Toby Garbett, will model home and garden accessories down the catwalk. It’s a fun way to end the Saturday and more importantly, we’re raising funds to build a multi-sensory room in the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children, a Henley respite centre.

Ah, great. Do I need a ticket?

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, the Henley House & Garden Show is free of charge. The speaker sessions are also free to attend. They’ll be taking place on the hour in the committee room on the first floor of the town hall. Nick Knowles will be speaking on the Sunday and we’ll be collecting donations for our charity before and after his talk.

You must have seen some incredible interiors in your career. Spill!

My favourite interiors are the ones still with potential — so I can get my hands on them! I love lots of different spaces though, from train stations and museums — the Musee d’Orsay in Paris — to New York lofts, Rajasthani palaces to Japanese pagodas. I spent two years travelling in my twenties and saw lots of ideas — fretwork, textiles, art, sculpture, woodwork — that help me today. I don’t recreate them but allow them to influence me in different ways.

What brands or designers inspire you?

I admire Sue Timney because she’s brave enough to do everything in black and white. Ilsa Crawford has a lovely emotional response to interior design. I love visiting the design shows and talking to designers about their work and how or why it came about. I find that knowing the story behind the piece will always make it more interesting.

What’s going to be hot in 2016?

Patterned floors and wall tiles. I’m loving yellow too, which is odd as it’s always been my least favourite colour. On the whole, I’m not into what’s in fashion — I’m far more interested in what makes somebody happy. I think a room can change how you feel and that’s my aim — be it to feel calmer or happier or more efficient. Making it look gorgeous isn’t difficult, making it feel gorgeous is the game changer.

• For more information on the show, go to www.thehenleyhousegardenshow.com

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