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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Inspiration: Design Royalty

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The happy royal couple (photo by Mario Testino)

Royal weddings (like William and Catherine's today) are steeped in tradition, making them some of the most captivating events to watch.

All of this English tradition has me thinking about some of my favorite brands (past and present) from "across the pond"

Names like Laura Ashley, Liberty of London, Paul Smith, and Farrow & Ball have been paving the way of English sophistication for decades.

I've put together some stunning examples of their work along with some fun British invasion-themed products.

Congratulations to Wills and Catherine and may their union usher in a new generation of British design taste makers.

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Started in 1875, Liberty of London has been producing light and bright cotton fabrics. (liberty.co.uk)

1 Started in 1875, Liberty of London has been producing light and bright cotton fabrics. (liberty.co.uk)

Another classic Liberty print, Caesar B. (liberty.co.uk)

2 Another classic Liberty print, Caesar B. (liberty.co.uk)

To celebrate Will and Kate's nuptials, a limited edition poster was made. It's a fun nod to a circus sign. (liberty.co.uk)

3 To celebrate Will and Kate's nuptials, a limited edition poster was made. It's a fun nod to a circus sign. (liberty.co.uk)

A commemorative tea towel makes a fitting English wedding gift. (liberty.co.uk)

4 A commemorative tea towel makes a fitting English wedding gift. (liberty.co.uk)

Laura Ashley -- an untrained designer and fabric maker -- built a global business creating uniquely English home furnishings. (lauraashley.com)

5 Laura Ashley -- an untrained designer and fabric maker -- built a global business creating uniquely English home furnishings. (lauraashley.com)

Laura Ashley made a name for itself producting affordable, uniquely English fabric prints -- ideally suited for the idyllic English manor house. (lauraashley.com)

6 Laura Ashley made a name for itself producting affordable, uniquely English fabric prints -- ideally suited for the idyllic English manor house. (lauraashley.com)

Another classic Ashley print, Sweet Peas. (lauraashley.com)

7 Another classic Ashley print, Sweet Peas. (lauraashley.com)

A soft, neutral version of the Union Jack -- Britain's flag. (lauraashley.com)

8 A soft, neutral version of the Union Jack -- Britain's flag. (lauraashley.com)

Farrow & Ball's Acanthus wallpaper features a detailed fluid stripe with a soft and curved leaf design which playfully weaves the length of the wallpaper. (us.farrow-ball.com)

9 Farrow & Ball's Acanthus wallpaper features a detailed fluid stripe with a soft and curved leaf design which playfully weaves the length of the wallpaper. (us.farrow-ball.com)

The Lotus Papers are an artisanal lotus-flower design, which is drawn from 19th century French archives and influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement. (us.farrow-ball.com)

10 The Lotus Papers are an artisanal lotus-flower design, which is drawn from 19th century French archives and influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement. (us.farrow-ball.com)

Orangerie is from The Baroque Papers collection and is bursting with extravagant detail encapsulating exotic leaf patterns interspersed with flowers and fruit such as the central pineapple motif. (us.farrow-ball.com)

11 Orangerie is from The Baroque Papers collection and is bursting with extravagant detail encapsulating exotic leaf patterns interspersed with flowers and fruit such as the central pineapple motif. (us.farrow-ball.com)

A range of 73 self-coloured 3½

12 A range of 73 self-coloured 3½" striped papers produced in the traditional 19th century trough method using only our finest water based paints. (us.farrow-ball.com)

When it opened on Bond Street in 1887, Smythson advertised itself as offering ‘first class stationery, leather goods and cabinet work’ Today, they produce some of the finest leather-bound accessories available. The Queen is even a client. Here, a passport holder in hot pink. (smythson.com)

13 When it opened on Bond Street in 1887, Smythson advertised itself as offering ‘first class stationery, leather goods and cabinet work’ Today, they produce some of the finest leather-bound accessories available. The Queen is even a client. Here, a passport holder in hot pink. (smythson.com)

Smythson is known for their irreverent and cheeky touches. This notebook is not for the self-conscious. (smythson.com)

14 Smythson is known for their irreverent and cheeky touches. This notebook is not for the self-conscious. (smythson.com)

A leather-bound street guide that will help get you around London. (smythson.com)

15 A leather-bound street guide that will help get you around London. (smythson.com)

Founded in the Sixties, London's Osborne & Little makes high-quality fabric and wallpaper. Their genius lies in mixing traditional fabrics such as their Lomond Wool tartan and thoroughly modern colors like chartreuse, chocolate and emerald. (osborneandlittle.com)

16 Founded in the Sixties, London's Osborne & Little makes high-quality fabric and wallpaper. Their genius lies in mixing traditional fabrics such as their Lomond Wool tartan and thoroughly modern colors like chartreuse, chocolate and emerald. (osborneandlittle.com)

Their Trifid wallpaper features an interlocking Chinese key design with metallic sheen. (osborneandlittle.com)

17 Their Trifid wallpaper features an interlocking Chinese key design with metallic sheen. (osborneandlittle.com)

Their Wilde Carnation pattern (rows of stylized carnations in metallic and lacquer) would make such a distinctive and cool entryway. (osborneandlittle.com)

18 Their Wilde Carnation pattern (rows of stylized carnations in metallic and lacquer) would make such a distinctive and cool entryway. (osborneandlittle.com)

A witty O & L wallpaper featuring the different dog breeds so loved by Britons. (osborneandlittle.com)

19 A witty O & L wallpaper featuring the different dog breeds so loved by Britons. (osborneandlittle.com)

Master milliner Philip Treacy is surely influenced by nature and architecture when he sits down to create his extraordinary hats. (philiptreacy.co.uk)

20 Master milliner Philip Treacy is surely influenced by nature and architecture when he sits down to create his extraordinary hats. (philiptreacy.co.uk)

Another spectacular hat by Treacy. (philiptreacy.co.uk/)

21 Another spectacular hat by Treacy. (philiptreacy.co.uk/)

David Hicks -- an iconic British decorator and designer.

22 David Hicks -- an iconic British decorator and designer.

David Hicks was known for his bold, geometric patterns.

23 David Hicks was known for his bold, geometric patterns. "La Foirentina" in Ivory/Bark (leejofa.com)

Matthew Williamson, a young British designer known for his bright colors and Bohemian patterns, created this rug for The Rug Company -- another British brand. (therugcompany.info)

24 Matthew Williamson, a young British designer known for his bright colors and Bohemian patterns, created this rug for The Rug Company -- another British brand. (therugcompany.info)

The late, great fashion designer Alexander McQueen also designed for The Rug Company. This style is called

25 The late, great fashion designer Alexander McQueen also designed for The Rug Company. This style is called "Feathers" (therugcompany.info)

Paul Smith -- another iconic British fashion designer -- has expanded his brand with home decor offerings. Here, his colorful, swirl trademark pattern comes to life on a rug. (therugcompany.info)

26 Paul Smith -- another iconic British fashion designer -- has expanded his brand with home decor offerings. Here, his colorful, swirl trademark pattern comes to life on a rug. (therugcompany.info)

Another interpretation of Smith's striped trademark -- this time on an Arne Jacobsen egg chair. (paulsmith.co.uk)

27 Another interpretation of Smith's striped trademark -- this time on an Arne Jacobsen egg chair. (paulsmith.co.uk)

A set of dot bowls Smith designed for Stelton (stelton.com/)

28 A set of dot bowls Smith designed for Stelton (stelton.com/)

Even American companies love playing with Britain's unmistakable Union Jack. Here a bright hose from Alice Supply Co. (alicesupplyco.com)

29 Even American companies love playing with Britain's unmistakable Union Jack. Here a bright hose from Alice Supply Co. (alicesupplyco.com)

A thoroughly English tool box. (alicesupplyco.com)

30 A thoroughly English tool box. (alicesupplyco.com)

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Comments (3)

  • Congratulations to the Royal Couple. I'm watching the entrance of the guests now at the Westminster Abbey even though it's a little bit late.

    This even will be the wedding of all weddings... can't wait to see Kate's wedding dress.

    Is William going to cry...?

  • Kevin thanks for highlighting some wonderful British designs. Laura Ashley has always been one of my favorites. We no longer have an outlet for their products in the US, just licensed merchandise.

  • Amazingly gorgeous wedding everything was perfect the couple were so beautiful and her dress was amazingly gorgeous and elegent.
    Laura Ashley is one of my favorites, their fabrics is amzing and love their furniture. I furnished my home and curtains in Kuwait with Laura Ashley.

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