Perfect Garden Parasols for the Period Home
The period home should be elegant yet relaxed both inside and out. The key to achieving this is to mix to achieve an eclectic look. I love to contrast classic British formality with more casual elements such as rustic textures, contrasting patterns and styles creating a less considered feel. So I was delighted when, whilst searching for a fittingly glamorous parasol for Brigitte the Glamavan’s forthcoming trip to the Cote D’Azur, when I came across some stunning examples that would add a wonderful colonial touch to an english country garden and decided I must share with you my selection of perfect garden parasols for the period home.
If you have a beautiful garden, why would you want to adorn it with anything less than something amazing? So why is it that parasols are so generally uninspiring? I mean, a parasol, as we have come to know it, is technically a practical piece of equipment, usually neutral in colour (yawn!), every now and again reaching into the heady depths of a few primary colours and is essentially built to simply keep the sun off. Sadly since so often practical is what practical does, we have come to expect nothing other than, well frankly boring options. However, as I always say practical does not have to mean plain, boring or ordinary, thinking outside of the box is what creativity is really about whatever you are doing and the makers of these beauties understand that.
First up are these charming bespoke parasols from Sunbeam Jackie At the top end of the market and describing themselves of “arbiters of bespoke design and lovers of creativity” artists Charlie and Katy Napier work from their 12th century grain store studio in Cornwall and have become known as the most exclusive and luxury parasol and canopy makers around.
These beautiful parasols are limited edition and ‘one offs’ and the prices reflect the first class design and handmade workmanship that goes into each and every one. Topped with handmade heritage textiles, all are antique, vintage and designer fabrics, the frames are hardwood hand oiled Ash and the mechanisms are polished stainless steel.
This is top quality design and build and a prestigious list of past clients to recognise their fabulousness include Liberty’s, Olga Polizzi, A-List celebs, Designers Guild and House of Hackney, to name a few, but Charlie and Katy are as happy to produce a gorgeous parasol for a small outside space as they are to collaborate on larger projects.
For those of you familiar with my design aesthetic you will have noticed a touch of British Colonial style. When conjuring up images in my mind of the days of the Raj I think of beautiful lush gardens and an elegant formally laid out afternoon tea on the lawn under a pretty parasol. Adding some exotic flamboyant elements of the orient to classic styling again keeps the look eclectic and adds some heat! So I was pretty excited to find the East London Parasol Company who produce these striking, opulent and glamorous parasols. They have brought together hand crafts and fabrics from across India and Indonesia and blended traditional techniques from India and Bali with contemporary design.
The canopies are made from taffetas, hand block prints and antique Rajasthani textiles. Brainchild of Lucy who, when living in Southern India, became enchanted by the decorative parasols used during religious ceremonies and decided to bring some exotica back home to east London and eventually launched The East London Parasol Company. The 2017 collection is soo glamorous they have been named after well-known Divas, Whitney, Cher, Liberace and Diana Ross and I have my eye on one for my very own Diva Brigitte the Glamavan… can you guess which?
The Raj Tent club have long known the beauty of Indian workmanship and have been hiring and selling their exquisite range of Indian tents since 1997. Inspired by the nomadic tent culture of India and the desert state of Rajasthan in an era where emperors would erect whole tented cities for royal weddings, celebrations and hunting expeditions. They now offer a range of complimentary products including these pretty parasols.
The poles are made from natural bamboo and are embellished with a typical hand carved Balinese design. The shades are made from 100% polyester and are decorated by hand in gold, finished off with tassels and beaten metal hangings.The interiors of the parasols are equally as beautiful as the exteriors.
I could frankly gaze at these beauties all day, they are such great examples of how creativity has transformed a practical object into a thing of beauty and I’m definitely all for that!. They are investment pieces for sure and they are not the kind of parasol you can leave out in all weathers and expect it to look amazing. That would be rather like expecting to chuck your best silk blouse or cashmere sweater into the machine on a hot wash! One must cherish them well and they will last for many years never letting you down and always looking effortlessly fabulous!
Which one will you choose?