Insta-Worthy Restaurants: London

Today, we’re going to talk about some of our fav restaurants, in the city we love. Goes without saying (of course) - the interiors played a huge role in curating the list. Hope this is as interesting for you to read as it was for us to make. Go ahead, read on.

Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

Influenced by the vibrant summers of Tuscany and the romantic winters of Provence with Chef Marcellin’s perfectly handcrafted menus – this restaurant is a dream.

PS : It’s also always wine o’ clock at Maggiore!


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Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Clerkenwell

We know a great place for some late night dancing, street food and al fresco cocktails. Taking inspiration from the faded grandeur of a stately home, B & H Buildings has an informal charm. Whether in the mood for a boozy brunch or a casual coffee date, we’d totally recommend.


Redemption Bar, Covent Garden

Breaking all myths about healthy food, Redemption takes clean eating to a whole new level of sinful! The thought behind this restaurant is to firmly care for the planet, it’s animals and ourselves.

PS: The alcohol-free cocktails are a must try.


Sketch, Mayfair

What can we say, this place is just faabulous! One of the most stunning restaurants in London - the interiors are arty, edgy, stimulating, and SUPER-GLAM. It quite possibly is the quirkiest and most ‘grammed restaurant too.

PS: The Afternoon Tea here is to live for!


The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea

Here’s where you can experience spring all year round. Perfect for a lazy afternoon, it’s easy, breezy and relaxed. Also great for breakfast or even some delish cocktails.


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Berner’s Tavern, Fitzrovia

In the mood for a bit of a throwback? Here’s where you can dine in style. Characterised by 19th century interiors with a fresh modern take, this place is totally lush!


London has our heart and TBH there are WAY too many places. There’s Annabel’s, Dalloway Terrace and Circolo Popolare (recommended by our social media pro, Diya Chaitanya) to name a few. And today we’re off to Coppa Club, a place we’ve been dying to go to. Until next time then, from London – with love!

Crushing on Terrazzo

Can we just please tell you how hard we’re crushing on Terrazzo lately? We want to use it everywhere. Terrazzo is ridiculously versatile, it can be used on walls, floors, countertops and even, furniture and accessories. What we end up with is some major ‘Retro-glam’. Can’t really blame us for being so obsessed, can you?

A little info on the history for the geeks - Terrazzo came about through the inventiveness or sheer boredom in some Venetian stone workers, who were left with oddly shaped pieces of marble after completing their tasks. They put these into clay and flattened the mixture into a comfortable walking surface. Wonder if it was an accident, but they found that goat’s milk was a great sealant; and voila, they had a new, durable, low-cost, low-maintenance flooring! This was back in the day (around the 15th century), and is now making a major come-back, with a modern twist.

It has evolved in terms of style and techniques involved. It comes in bolder, brighter colours and with larger pieces of stone. What used to be an economic option has over time become a luxury material. It is slightly expensive, but the skill and amount of labour involved is very high. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop us from making big plans with Terrazzo!

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PS Travel Diaries: Iceland

Caution: Long post ahead! 

PureSpaces traveled to Iceland and you wouldn't guess when! Many would think it’s crazy to travel to a cold country in the dead of winter, but what's life without a punch of experiment. So we went on with the plan and don't regret it one bit. It was really cold, but with no snow, it wasn’t anything that you couldn't handle with the right winter gear.

We flew into Reykjavik from Frankfurt one afternoon, all snug and safe, and checked into Hotel Borg. Fixed up in dignified Art Deco interiors, it overlooked the beautiful square of Austurvollur, in the heart of Reykjavik, across from Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament and the cathedral. We couldn’t wait to step out and explore this beautiful country!

Iceland is known for some of the best views of the Aurora Borealis and its spectacular waterfalls. Lesser known is its peculiar folklore - many Icelanders hold these stories of elves, trolls and other hidden beings in high regard. Luckily, we had an enthusiastic and engaging storyteller in our guide Tryygvi. He was our attendant for the entire trip and filled our long rides with such interesting stories about trolls and Vikings, each one more compelling than the other. Icelanders believe that rocks are homes to trolls who live in a parallel universe. There was no way to explain how their attempts to build a road over a rock, failed over and over again. When nothing else worked, they had to build the road around this rock. Such anecdotes are exceedingly fascinating from an outsider's perspective. As amusing as we found them, they had to be put on hold, for our priority was to see the Northern Lights.

Following dinner at Jamie’s Italian in our hotel, Tryygvi drove us 2 hours out of the city to see them. We had assumed it’d be as easy as it would be amazing. But it turned out that the Aurora Borealis can’t be spotted by just looking up at the night sky! We had to drive to a pitch dark spot far from the city lights. This was followed by a long wait in the freezing cold weather, until we saw the lights dancing very faintly. We build high expectations from stunning photographs we have seen or movies we have watched. So seeing something yourself could turn out to be a bit underwhelming. Nonetheless, it was truly beautiful.

The next morning Tryygvi got a jeep with massive tires to take us to Husafell and Langjokull glacier. It was a two-hour drive and we made pit stops at the Krauma geothermal baths, and, The Beauty and the Beast waterfalls on the way. The Godafoss waterfall, or ‘the waterfall of Gods’, is considered one of the most impressive in the country. It is aptly nicknamed beauty by the locals, in comparison to Dettifoss, which is considered the beast. The waterfalls still continued to run, but with some icicles and frost. We had lunch at Husafell, which has incredibly breathtaking, snow-kissed lava fields. The Ice Cave tour was next on our itinerary. People usually hire a monster truck (SIC) that’s better suited to driving on ice and this is what we had done too. But the unduly adventurous Tryggvi managed to get some special permit speaking in Icelandic to the officials and drove us up to Langjokull himself, in a much smaller truck. The word Langjokull translates to the Long glacier, and is the second largest glacier in Iceland. It also houses the largest man-made cave in the world. Walking through the ice tunnels was an incomparable experience, but little did we know then how risky our ride had been. With a visibility of less than a foot, we could hardly see anything around us. We barely managed to follow these sticks along the road to find our way up. It almost felt like we were going backwards. The guides at Into the Glacier we met up there were shocked when they found that we had driven up in a private vehicle during a snowstorm. We wouldn’t have done so, had we known we could have gotten lost or killed! The journey back was slightly better, but we were terrified however, now that we knew what could happen if we strayed off the track. But the experience was still worth all the struggle. It was very windy due to the snow storm and we were surrounded by beautiful, snowy vistas. There was most certainly a very Game-of-Thrones vibe to it. We ended the day with dinner at a fabulous restaurant called FISH MRKT. We highly recommend you eat here if you ever visit Reykjavík.

On day 3, we went on the Golden Circle tour and dog sledding. The famous Golden circle covers the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall. They drive you from Reykjavik and back, which forms a 300-kilometre circular route. In the morning, we visited the dog kennel. This is extremely fun for a dog-lover, for Iceland is home to a vibrant dog-sledding community. The sleds are pulled on winter snow by Snow Dogs or the adorable Siberian huskies. We were worried about hurting them, but apparently, this was their exercise and they really enjoy it! The duration of the sledding depends on the dogs, people, weather and trail conditions. On an average, they cover 7-8 kilometres in about 45-60 minutes, during which you get to enjoy the power of sled dogs. Afterwards, we were driven to Gullfoss waterfalls and the Geyser geothermal area. Gullfoss was all frozen and looked magnificent. It was no wonder it’s called The Queen of Icelandic Waterfalls. It looked majestic as the icicles dramatically slipped into a deep gorge. On the other hand, the geysirs were erupting at regular intervals, sending boiling water upto 20 metres in the air. They have been dormant for a while now, but the area is still highly active.

Later, we went to Thingvellir National Park, which is one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, known for its uniqueness as well as its historic significance. Apart from being the site of the ancient parliament of the Viking commonwealth and the birthplace of the nation, it is strewn with breathtaking views of ravines ripped open by earthquakes. An interesting tidbit for you - the stage for many a open-air assemblies, Almannagja gorge, was also the shooting location for the famous HBO series of Game of Thrones.

Our heads full of stunning landscapes, we headed off to explore some charming Christmas decor at night and then to check out Harpa, a modernist, honeycomb concert hall and conference centre. It is one of Reykjavik’s most distinguished landmarks and home to the national opera and symphony. The building features a distinctive coloured glass facade inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland, and the colours change constantly. Facing the sea, the building almost had a sculptural quality to it. It is an understatement to say that we were exhausted at the end of this long day. We called it a day with a quiet dinner at this really cute place called Ristorante Caruso. It is located in a restored historic building that was initially built in 1801 and their food was out of this world.

The first thing on our itinerary for the last day was a visit to Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavik. You are awestruck by this towering structure rising out of the ground into a pointy tip, at almost 75 metres height that can be seen from almost the entire city. Designed by the late architect Gudjon Samuelsson, it took around 41 years to complete the construction. The composition is inspired by the local basalt rock formations as well as Iceland’s glaciers and sweeping landscapes. The country did not have its own style of architecture apparently, for the longest time. It had always been a medley of different historical styles in confluence with foreign influences. Recent times have brought about change in terms of newer architects and weather-appropriate materials being put to use, that gives character to the present Icelandic cityscape.

We had saved the best for last - and headed to the Blue Lagoon after Hallgrimskirkja. The drive here was scattered with BEAUTIFUL sights all along that we had to stop often and enjoy them at leisure. The best of our pit-stops was at this active crater and we climbed up on to billowing steam. We soon arrived and checked into The Retreat Hotel. Nestled amongst volcanic horizons and panoramic vistas of mossy mountains, it was like we had walked into a paradise of relaxation and luxury. With the designer’s radar always turned on, one of the first things we noticed that ALL the furniture in here was Minotti (which is one of PureSpaces’ favourite brands).  

It was a surreal experience waking up to the beautiful views of moss-covered lava fields and volcanic mountainscapes. One would think nothing could beat this, then came their excellent food. And as a cherry on top, we tried their in-water massage and it turned out to be an exceptional experience. It was an indulgent massage elevated by the revitalizing geothermal seawater against a jaw-droppingly stunning backdrop. It seemed to unlock sublime levels of well-being in you. We also got the complementary Blue Lagoon ritual that came highly recommended. It was a combo of lava scrub, silica mud mask and algae mask. It would suffice to say that we were in heaven. And who could possibly not want to go back after being spoilt rotten like this?! On a different note, PureSpaces also gives the Blue Lagoon skin care their seal of approval!  

Iceland, all things considered, had charmed us in many ways. It was a unique experience in winter, where you need to pack a whole lot into really short days of around 5 hours of daylight. But this winter wonderland was calm, quiet and less crowded, which was something we really savoured. We had had some amazing food, always fresh and very expensive. Here goes another Tryggvi trivia - the food in Iceland is rather expensive owing to the fact that they need to be grown in greenhouses. How different and exotic life is, just a few hours away from our homes! Travelling gives us so much food for thought. Like all travellers, we had done so much in so little time, and had our share of ups and downs. But there isn’t a thing we would change about it, (except for, maybe, going up to the glacier in a safer vehicle). Kudos to Iceland as a great vacay spot, even at the peak of winter!

What’s on TV?

Forget binge-watching Game of Thrones and Black Mirror we’ve got a bunch of other outstanding Netflix shows lined up for you. It goes without saying that all shows we recommend here are related to interior spaces. Not only are these shows hugely entertaining they’re inspiring, transformative, engaging and emotional. Each of them in their own way could trigger a sense of growth and yet they’re fun to watch. Here goes our list -

Queer Eye

So, we’d like to start off with Queer Eye, which undoubtedly tops our chart. The 5 gay professionals, or the Fab-Five as they are called, come in and transform the lives of people stuck in a rut. Like magic, they make their way into someone’s lifestyle, fashion, food, interior space and emotional life, and leave a brand new person in their wake, ready to take on the world. What it does for the viewer is not entirely different - we are left awe-struck by the magnitude of what’s possible for us too! The show is a spin off of an old series - “ Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ” starring a different cast in 2003. Over a decade later, we have the new series which amidst all the glamour, throws in a good dose of conversations about social concerns. There are intense emotional interactions which unmask their vulnerability and leave us reaching out for tissues.  Altogether, every episode leaves a mark on us with their beautiful story-telling and their incredible impact on people’s lives.

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Abstract: Ilse Crawford

We can never have enough role models who inspire us and spark our imagination; and we found a spectacular one in Ilse Crawford, in the episode featuring her in Abstract on Netflix. She started out her career in times when interior design was all about pomp and theatricality. But she made such a great impact with her unique attitude that she stood out from the crowd with effortless grace. Design, for her, is a ‘frame for life’ and the tangible senses are what guide her subtle style. This makes the pivotal theme for her book The Sensual Home as well. We could absolutely relate to her style in Ett Hem , a century-old home that Ilse converted into a boutique hotel. It is like the epitome of her design philosophy – there is a sense of tranquility woven through the space with its cozy furniture, muted color tones and earthy textures. Her design outlook and aesthetic is contagious, and leaves one nothing but inspired. All you wish is you could do it with her ease and poise.

Stay Here

This is a space make-over show, similar to Queer Eye. If the Fab-Five transformed spaces for personal use, the Stay Here team works wonders for businesses, but with a personal touch. Designer Genevieve Gorder and real estate expert Peter Lorimer come together to help clueless homeowners transform their holiday homes into havens for a diverse group of travelers. They push the boundaries of design in challenging situations to come up with practical and  innovative, yet simple solutions; while not losing focus on the primary goal of revenue generation. The trendy spaces and their tremendous success leave the viewers very impressed.

Tidying up with Marie Kondo

Here we have on the show a unique personality who truly transforms homes. Some would say, the Queen of Clean! Ironically, she is this petite, happy woman with a halo of tranquility, who wreaks havoc in homes that she walks into before working her charm. The families go through a  journey of retaining things that spark joy and parting with memories that don’t, which is often very difficult. But Marie makes tidying up look as easy as it’s not. In the end, they are thrilled with the overall outcome. And the viewers are left wishing for a swish of her wand in their own homes.

And we’re done! Our list does involve a lot of design and cleaning up but it’s a short one. We promise it'll be worth your while, and if you do decide to give the make-over a go, that’ll be worth it too!

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Story of The Wall

If you walked into our office a year ago you’d have found our Pantone wall right at the entrance. Krishna and Kamini had put it up, card by card, at the inception of PSHQ in 2016, along with Team A&J who shared the office space with us back in the day. Then again, if you were here 6 months ago, you’d see a vibrant tropical wall mural. Pink hibiscus peeping out from behind lush green leaves, hand painted by artists from our very own Artifold. Now here we are, not too far into 2019, with our Dusty Pink Board and Batten Wall. Quite evidently we love change, and what’s wrong with that?!

You might wonder how we arrived at this sophisticated feature wall from our quixotic garden mural. We’ve always loved the Classical British Style of Interiors and wall moulding is an intrinsic feature of this style that offers endless possibilities in decorating a wall. Although it had a functional origin, over the centuries it’s journeyed from its ornate past to the simpler designs we see today. We narrowed down on the Board and Batten design which perfectly fits into a contemporary set up and works well with our aesthetic.

We were ready to begin our newest little project. The mural was scraped off and the wall prepped for its brand-new cladding. The placement of battens involved a fair bit of math. We sampled a few squares to see what worked best visually. While the boards and battens were up on the wall in the blink of an eye, choosing between Summer Pink and Desert Rose wasn’t as easy as we’d imagined. We finally managed to select one and the wall was ‘duco-ed’. Turns out, we were nowhere near done with our fascination for the tropical! It made its way back into the artwork and looks so much the better for it.

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With the redesigned accent wall our office looks absolutely groovy. Wall moulding is the go-to design detail for classical addicts. It is so versatile that it can make a space look modern and minimal or even vintage and grand. These designs have come alive in a contemporary form at a law office we recently designed. The mouldings are painted in a stately grey and neutral white, and reflects the power and tension involved in their profession. It’s a feature that we have used consciously on wall panels, cabinet shutters and doors with a view to tie the whole space together holistically. Contrary to the austerity we’ve orchestrated here, the wall decor taking shape in our upcoming classical villa is all splendour and extravagance. But no matter the style, we always get stunning results. Needless to say, we’re gonna be using it a lot! Because we know this is a trend that’s here to stay.

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