Stay Connected

We are facing unprecedented challenges both globally and nationally with the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis.

Here at Black and Key, we are therefore determined to build a strong and better-connected interior design community. If our community can work collaboratively, we are certain that our industry can better support one another during these times of uncertainty and isolation.

The Interior Design industry is heavily made up of small businesses, Black and Key UK included. If you are not yet part of the Black & Key Design Community, make sure you join us now. We want this platform to empower interior designers and suppliers to reach out with their various challenges and queries.

We would love to find out what is working for you, what innovations you would like to see and any suggestions on how we can help you during this time.

Our business is very much operating as usual and we will continue to serve you as best we can and in the safest possible way, conforming to our government’s advice and guidelines.  We will continue to post regular features on our social media and will maintain our monthly email campaigns so that you are able to regain focus and gather inspiration for your next project. If you would like to be added to our email list, please do not hesitate to contact us to receive our monthly communications.

We hope our community and industry can pull through this period with positivity and confidence.

Stay safe and stay well.

The Black & Key Team

Dare to be Different

Whether you are an interior designer seeking inspiration for the next project or a homeowner that needs to update a tired looking room, there are so many places to source ideas from these days. Social media apps such as Pinterest are endlessly stuffed with design inspiration. Trusted retailers both on and offline will also feed our imaginations with colour concepts, furniture styles and soft furnishing creativity.

With such volumes of material comes an influx of ideas and this can often trigger the option of commissioning something that is unique to us, that both fulfils a practical and visual desire for our home or interior project.

Bespoke Black & Key TV cabinet in macassar and antique mirror showing the pivot doors open, and folded back against the sides

There is often a misconception that bespoke or customised design is more expensive than opting for something that is ‘off the shelf’. We find for the most part, that a custom-made item is of a comparable cost to a ready made item of the same quality. The only thing that can differ more greatly is the lead time, with custom items often taking up to 12 weeks to design and manufacture, but as with so many things in life its often worth the wait to get what you want!

We are going to look at the advantages of designing bespoke.

Designing bespoke items

The primary reason for choosing to customise or design a bespoke item is of course so that you can have something made to your exact requirements. Despite the huge volumes and variants of suppliers and products in the marketplace, you aren’t always able to find exactly what you want, and you often end up compromising. It may be that the colour isn’t quite right, or the dimensions are too large or too small. When designing for projects and the home, Black & Key will always stress the significance of customisation. If you are looking for a desk to place in your office, we can help you choose the perfect timber, finishes and dimensions so that we can fit the space and tweak the design so it’s absolutely perfect for the scheme.

Black & Key bespoke trundle bed in faux leather with upholstered mattresses

The Bespoke Design Process- From concept to completion

At Black & Key, we are dedicated to serving all our customers and clients to the highest standard. This goes for all our handcrafted products too! When we set out to design something that can be easily customised or we are requested to produce an item that is bespoke, we follow a process to ensure we get the item exactly right for the client and its situation.  Client feedback throughout the entire process is crucial to ensuring the finished piece is right for them.

Once the items are finished, a quality control check is undertaken before they are delivered to their new homes and put into place. When you can experience the entire process from concept to execution, seeing step by step how your furniture has been lovingly crafted over many weeks, is hugely rewarding for everyone involved.

If you are keen on any of our pieces or wish to customise an existing item or request a bespoke item, you can be certain that Black & Key will offer a high quality and professional service for projects throughout the UK and beyond.

Please get in touch with us should you wish to discuss your project, or find out more about our services.

Design – 2020 Pantone of the Year

Another year triggers the introduction of a brand-new pantone trend. This year, pantone 19-4052 ‘Classic Blue’ enters the spotlight, instilling calm, confidence and connection.

Pantone was founded in the 1950s as the printing company in New York but is now based in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Since 2000, it has chosen a colour of the year decided from trend-forecasting research performed by the ‘Pantone Color Institute’.

This year’s chosen colour seeks peace and tranquillity above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation, a notion that has become ever important in recent times.

Pantone’s decade-launching choice might seem staid (especially in comparison to 2019’s showy Living Coral), but such a recognisable and reliable colour presents a foil to the uncertainty that the future holds, especially in the political and economic climate of late.

Pantone’s insights are aligned with interior design’s gradual return to traditional decorating styles. Blue unites classic design genres ranging from chinoiserie to Americana.

Please see the image below – Among this room’s gorgeously decorated blue walls are stunning red accent pieces – a 1950s Pierre Guariche armchair, a ’30s André Sornay stool, and a vintage leather floor lamp by Jacques Adnet. This is a room that oozes tranquillity, comfort, luxuriance and style.

A living room filled with furniture and a large window

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This Mark Cunningham-designed room perfectly demonstrates the range of the Pantone colour of the year 2020, Classic Blue. Photo by Richard Powers. Image source: https://bit.ly/2NVPfP7

Another example (albeit a very different one) can be seen below. In this instance, Classic Blue perfectly accentuates the kitchen units against a clean and classic use of complementary colours and accessories.

A kitchen with a sink and a mirror

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Ridgewood Rowhouse, New York City, by White Arrow. Image Source: https://bit.ly/2RlE58r

Perfect Pantone Pairing

Geneva Desk

Just envisage this …The divine and handcrafted Geneva desk (as seen below) in Sable bird’s eye maple set against the dark & sultry background of Classic Blue, leaving the desk to illuminate brightly like precious metal. A visually breathtaking feature piece for any home or interior project.

This is our Black & Key recommendation to match with 2020’s chosen pantone!

Geneva Desk

For more information on the Geneva desk or any other pieces to match your 2020 interior project, please contact us on mail@blackandkey.co.uk or 01386 574541

Black & Key Update

This month I write not so much a blog, but more a newsletter to share some truly exciting updates with you all!

Christmas Offer

Take advantage of this fantastic and exclusive offer, for delivery in time for Christmas Day!

For the very first time, we are showcasing a special Christmas combination discount if you purchase both our Orson Mirror and Small Garbo Console.

Both items are from our showroom display and will make the perfect Christmas centrepiece. We can provide you with a guarantee that both these items will be with you in time for Christmas Day! Only one each of these remain so make sure you are the lucky individual to get your hands on this exclusive and unique offer!

New Finishes

We have been fortunate enough to work in collaboration with the incredibly talented Simon Orrell.

Simon Orrell Designs have been creating exquisite furniture since 2001 and has become the UK’s leading specialist in shagreen and parchment, whether it’s creating bespoke designs or renovating and recovering original 20th century furniture.

We welcome the following finishes to our very own range:

Parchment

Shagreen

Other Finishes

New Pieces

We have been working alongside a very talented young designer to create an item of furniture that is unique and quite distinctive to the existing Black & Key range.

We cannot wait to embark on its formal launch in the New Year.

Keep your eyes peeled across all our social media channels, on our website and email communications! It is not something to be missed!

There is plenty going on here at Black and Key HQ – We cannot wait to receive your orders!

Spotlight on Mother of Pearl

Some of the very best materials are produced by Mother Nature herself, and we could not be more grateful. This week, we highlight ‘Mother of Pearl’, a mesmerising material used in embellishment within some fundamental pieces of Black & Key furniture.

Black & Key Mother of Pearl Dazzle Handles

Nacre, or the more commonly known term ‘Mother of Pearl’ is an iridescent combination of minerals that are produced by some molluscs as an inner shell layer; it also makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is both strong and resilient, making it the perfect material when used in architecture and carpentry, along with many other things!

Why is it called Mother of Pearl?

Quite simply, it is so named because the shells, with their nacre lining, are the ‘mother’ from which pearls are ‘born.’ Lovely isn’t it?!

How is Mother of Pearl Different from a Pearl?

The easiest way to distinguish Mother of Pearl from an ordinary pearl is that MoP will display an attractive iridescent quality, a distinctive multi-coloured effect with a simple yet stunning glow. Ordinary pearls are also made up of nacre, however this is deposited and built around a tiny particle, eventually forming a pearl over time. These will adopt a smoother appearance, solid in colour and form.

Why do we use Mother of Pearl here at Black & Key?

The attractive nacre coating of sea shells has been used for decorative purposes for thousands of years, in architecture, carpentry, clothing, musical instruments and jewellery.

This material is incredibly versatile, lending itself to be cut and manipulated into shapes of all kinds, creating an elaborate inlay against counterpart materials. Due to its unique iridescent quality, we believe Mother of Pearl creates a premium, high quality finish to any piece in our range.


The Savoy headboard is shown in Macassar, detailed with a mother-of-pearl inlay.
Radial Cabainet is shown in Macassar with radial veneer marquetry on the doors, mother-of-pearl inlay, and Noir feet. 

Design Trends for 2020

As each year passes, we seek to provide new inspiration for our home or amend existing details that will transform our environment, providing an ever-changing and on trend space where we feel most at peace.

When a new season approaches, decorators, designers and craftsmen show us the trends in interior fashion that they propose will reinvigorate and beautify our living spaces.

It is so hard to believe that we are already in October, just a mere couple of months away from a brand new year. It is during this time, where we can inform you of the key 5 trends we must look out for in 2020. Are you ready?

  • The separation of environments and use of natural materials For many years, we have yearned for open spaces where movement and communication is free and easy. However, this is likely to change in 2020 as designers look for divisions within environments, to provide a greater sense of privacy and intimacy from within each space. We love this notion!
Image source: DTDA pty ltd
  • Colour trends – Grey You may have thought the love affair with grey interiors would have waned by now, yet it shows no sign of stopping. Simple, clean, elegant and versatile in its colour, grey enables you to set a relaxing and cosy atmosphere within any environment. In 2020, look at how grey is used in a bolder way, combining its subtly with vibrant companion colours. This also applies to furniture decoration, carpets and textiles.
Photo Credit – Shutterstock
  • Trending Material – Dark Wood Unlike previous years in which lighter wood was favoured, 2020 will see the immersion of darker tones, providing the home with greater elegance and luxury.
  • Metal and metal colours as materials to decorate Metals are a force to be reckoned with in 2020. Arriving in all shapes, sizes and variants, from those of industrial aesthetics such as steel or those of oxidized aspect, to gold, silver and brass, metals of all kinds will be incorporated throughout our decor with tables, lamps, lighting alongside various other accessories, features and decorative pieces.
  • Pictures of all kinds to embellish bare walls Pictures are a way to invoke colour, personality and emotion to our living spaces. They are an important decorative feature and can enhance the look and feel of an environment. Combine colours, styles and sizes to create your own artistic mural.
Black and Key bespoke tub chair, with 3 decorative, abstract paintings.

So, what do you think?

You may ask why trends matter so much to us here at Black and Key. Well, they matter enormously. We like to keep our eye on the latest movements and innovations in interior design so that we can better help you, our customers, when it comes to seeking the perfect design and creation for your home. We hope you have taken inspiration from this week’s blog and we look forward to discussing your ideas with you over the next couple of months!

Product Focus – Hepburn headboard and bed frame

This glamorous bed-frame in Raven walnut oozes luxuriance and glamour. I can only imagine it’s name was inspired by the most bewitching Hollywood actress of all time, Audrey Hepburn. Both emanate class, majesty and opulence.

The unique nature of what we do, allows you to customise both the headboard and bed frame in fabric of your choosing, allowing you to match this item with your existing decor and furniture. We can, of course, also supply an appropriate fabric after an initial consultation where we would look to discuss the outcome you wish to achieve.

The Hepburn is shown here in a blue satin with French natural antique brass upholstery nails. You can get this very look by pairing with gorgeous neutral soft furnishings, providing an added layer of luxury.

Hepburn headboard and bedframe in situ
Close up of Hepburn headboard

High quality divans and mattress sets, made by a renowned British supplier, are also available for our beds. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the many options we can deliver. Please do note however that divans and mattresses are sold separately.

The Hepburn can be made to any size required, allowing you to fit this beautiful piece into any desired space.

Visual of bed frame and sideboard

Just look at the exquisite detail along the lower panelling of the bed frame. Where else would you witness such precise and divine finery on such an item?

Bed frame detailing

Most veneers and finishes from our collection are available for this piece. To take a look at what we have available, click here and follow the link to our website.

For more information on this any or any of our pieces, please contact us on mail@blackandkey.co.uk or give us a call on (0)20 7351 7989

The Last Straw – Straw Marquetry

If you are yet to witness the incredibly art form that is straw marquetry, please do let me introduce you to this highly skilled, and much desired decorative feature.

Petite Lombard mirror

Just take a moment to analyse our Petite Lombard Mirror. On first glance, it may not seem like much, but this piece has undergone painstaking work to look this good.

Straw marquetry is a craft and intricate art form that is similar to that of wood marquetry in terms of its appearance and the methods in which are used. This method was first thought to have been practised in the East, with first examples brought to England during the 17th century.

Personally, I find this art form totally and utterly mesmerising. The sheer time, patience and skill it takes to make something look so impressive and flawless is inspiring. Flat slithers of natural cured straw has their stems split, flattened and softened. This is then moulded and scraped into a flat ribbon. It is then placed, inlaid and secured edge to edge on a surface of either wood, plastic or paper until the area is completely covered.

The entire process of producing an item made with straw marquetry is handmade in our very own Black and Key workshop. Such technique requires practice, skill, patience and a well-developed sense of colour and tone.

To enquire about straw marquetry or any of the finishes we use, please do not hesitate to contact our showroom.

The Meaning of Luxury

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term luxury means:

“A state of great comfort or elegance, especially when involving great expense.”

I feel as though the term ‘luxury’ has been exploited at present, losing its true essence and significance, instead demonstrating a broad interpretation of an often warped perception.

I had always understood the term ‘luxury’ to describe wealth and splendour. We are now seeing a trend of poorly made, cheap goods, labelled as luxury to fool consumers into parting with hard-earned cash, for a well below par product or indeed set of products. We must retain the true essence of the word luxury, seeking quality at all times to reap the benefits that true luxury brings.

I have no doubt in my mind that the nurtured quality, the underlying responsibility to longevity, the design concepts, our experience and the absolute honesty of our hand crafted materials is altogether something luxurious. Our business ethos is to provide the very best in quality and luxury. Support us in our journey to really prove what luxury and quality is!

Friday Finish

We have come to the end of another busy week and my goodness, we are heading towards the closure of yet another month! Rather than dwell on the speed of time, let’s embrace the wonder that is Friday and with it, a long Bank Holiday weekend. My Friday ‘finish’ of the day is our aptly named ‘Nibble Handle‘.

An unusual design in a hand crafted finish which creates an interesting contrast to hard edged furniture.

Nibble Handle

Personally, I would say that the Nibble handles are the most effective in antique brass. As you can see from the image, the brass, takes on a beautiful mottled effect, providing the illusion of an ancient treasure.

What is Antique Bronze?

Antique Bronze is a robust blend of copper, zinc and other minor elements. Stronger than copper and less likely to split, the most common brass antiques are decorative domestic wares.

Much antique brass dates back to the mid-18th century, when Birmingham was at the heart of metalworking within the UK. By the middle of the 19th century, the city was the world leader in brassware. In order to understand the prestige that surrounds this type of metal, we should identify the cost of a genuine antique brass homeware today. In today’s market, a genuine pair of antique brass candlesticks from the 19th century can fetch between £150 to £650, style and exact age depending. This goes to show just how sought-after and luxurious this metal is.

The angled sides of the Nibble pull handle make it easy to grasp and pull. This pull-handle suits small to medium size drawers and doors. 

Crafted to the highest standards, our luxurious handles complement many beautiful pieces of furniture. Our pull handles are sold with pieces from our collection and also available to purchase individually to enhance your own furniture.

Don’t just take my word for it though! See for yourself …

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