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Well, here we are–at the end of this week long experiment of taking one topic, British Influence, and looking at some of its various facets, from notable designers to icons to film and retail. What do you think? It’s a ton more work for me, but it’s satisfying in a new kind of way to wade hip-deep into one idea. And this final post looks at Sherlock Holmes and his more recent media incarnations–and, more specifically, the representations of his abode in those shows. I originally thought I’d include the Guy Richie led films in this post, but, honestly, I’m much more interested in the modernized Holmeses, Sherlock from BBC/PBS and CBS’s Elementary, so those shows will be my focus today.


Sherlock as imagined by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss for BBC. |

Is there anyone who has seen Benedict Cumberbatch’s embodiment of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and not instantly been captured by it? This seems to be one of those shows that cuts across all boundaries and, because it’s so smart and engaging, has created fans from all walks of life. When it comes to interiors, the default feeling is moody mixed with creative–a spray-paint smiley face on flocked wallpaper; a 3D art piece–which provides a ton of visual interest while keeping an appropriate level of tension. Here is the central image from the set:

The most well-known wall on the Sherlock set. |

On the right edge of the above shot, you can see “Mr Blue Skull”, an original piece by British artist John Pinkerton who describes it here:

The piece itself is actually two skulls, a black one painted onto a blue marbled background on cut plywood and a silver one (silver leaf) on cut perspex placed slightly above. Four bolts separate the two sections making it a bugger to clean!

He produced a limited (221-piece) edition that quickly sold out; here’s what that looked like:

"Mr Blue Skull" by John Pinkerton. |


Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson. |

Relocated to NYC and starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Holmes and Watson, Elementary is CBS’s take on Sherlock Holmes as a Brit in the US. Strangely enough, it works–which I think is primarily due to the good work and interesting chemistry between the two leads. Their primary set is a brownstone that serves as both home and office, and it contains a mix of both off-the-curb found pieces and mid-century modern classics like this Womb Chair:

A shooting target & a Womb Chair on the Elementary set. |

Along with Tolomeo Lamps, various Eames chairs, and at least one Saarinen Executive Armchair, the set contains a Strut table and Mouille lamp:

A Mouille lamp and the Strut table share the spotlight on Elementary. |

On Monday, when I posted the Coming Up this Week post describing my topic–British Influence–and outlining what would be covered, I included a sentence that turns out to be chock full of errors: “Designer Terrance Conran founded one of the first lifestyle brands when he opened The Conran Shop.” Well, chock full may be hyperbole, but there are two pretty big (and stupid) mistakes there. First of all, it’s Terence Conran, not Terrance; then there’s the fact that The Conran Shop–the current incarnation of the Conran lifestyle brand–only came about after Conran’s first retail endeavor, Habitat, was no longer under his control.


Terence Conran founded Habitat in 1964. |

50 years ago–in May of 1964, to be precise–Conran founded Habitat, the first British retailer to position interior design in the lifestyle category. This was less than two years after the first Crate and Barrel opened in Chicago and almost 15 years before Ikea came to England. The way products were showcased at Habitat set the standard for furniture and housewares retailers for decades to follow, and Habitat’s focus on affordable design had a tremendous impact on how the first post-war generation decorated and lived in their homes.

The Conran Shop

The Conran Shop Chelsea, London location. |

Today, the Conran lifestyle brand is brought to life via The Conran Shop’s locations in London, Paris, and Japan. The intervening years and evolution of Terence Conran’s influence on how we live today included merging Habitat with another brand and creating Storehouse; ultimately, The Conran Shop grew out of that and is currently under the leadership of Jasper Conran, one of the elder Conran’s children. Under Jasper Conran’s leadership, the brand has retooled its retail establishments to include The Conran Apartment, an entire floor of the store designed to show off collections of both in-house designs and the best of curated home furnishings from other brands. Here’s a look at The Conran Apartment from their Marylebone store:

The Conran Shop tour on Japanese Trash. |

The Conran Shop tour on Japanese Trash. |

The Conran Shop tour on Japanese Trash. |

The Conran Shop tour on Japanese Trash. |

The Conran Shop tour on Japanese Trash. |

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