Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Discovering the fine art of clock watching

Yorkshire Post - 3rd June 2009 - Life & Style Section : Homes


Marking time, Interior Designer Jamie Hempsall reveals clocks which tick all the right boxes.

The wedding present season is upon us with many a June bride organising their list at high street stores.

It can be disheartening to opt for a matching cruet set, but I always find couples are more than happy for you to go "off piste" – provided you consult first and ensure it is a tasteful gift that reflects both your and the happy pair's personalities.

Make it something with a sense of fun, but also mildly practical.

Despite digital clocks featuring on everything, it is still nice to ensure that a home has a central time piece.

The hall clock has been superseded by the kitchen clock as this is now the main thoroughfare in most homes. A well-chosen piece excels as a wedding gift, marking time throughout the marriage and being used to remember special occasions.

It can grow in usefulness as the family develops – through late-night clubbing, midnight feeds, setting bath and bed times and marking the inevitable curfew imposed on most young adults.

A clock is not only a functional device, but a piece of wall sculpture. It should either complement the room design or, if dynamic enough, form the basis upon which the rest of the room can be developed.

To ensure that you give, or receive, a clock that will be on show and not consigned to the attic, consider some of the elegant, innovative or just amusing designs that I have found available.

For those setting up home for the first time, the Kitchen Utensils Clock makes fun use of stainless-steel implements that should be put to good use when creating a myriad of menus (£24.99; www.hiccupgifts.com – 0845 373 1430).

A host of evolving memories can be created with the Family Time
Photo Frame Wall Clock; a lovely treasure to display images of special occasions, friends and family (£19.99; Hiccup Gifts – details as before).

For the eco-conscious, the Recycled Clock & Thermometer, from Boutiko, is made from vending-machine coffee cups (direct from the national Save-a-Cup scheme).

The innovative material has a lovely solid feel, very much like slate. The clock is designed to be weather-proof so it can be used inside or out (£26.95; www.boutiko.co.uk – 0845 884 8511).

It can be nice to have a special place to pin important notes or write a love message as you fly out the door. All that is possible with The Time Square Blackboard Magnet Board Clock, from The Contemporary Home, which even allows the creative to draw their own clock face (£49.99; www.tch.net – 02392 469400).

Retro twists on home classics abound, with humorous updates for the modern home. Avoid three flying ducks and opt for the Pink Butterfly Clock, by Amode, that incorporates three separate butterflies for the recipient to incorporate in their home (£109.99; www.amode.co.uk – 0845 867 8449).

Purves & Purves also offer a witty take on a hideous holiday keep-sake, the Walnut Cuckoo Clock, by Diamantini and Domeniconi, which should bring a smile every time it announces the hour and even goes to sleep at night, thanks to a light sensor (£215; www.purves.co.uk – 020 8893 4000).

A classic home will be well complemented by the Lille Antique White French Clock which features a slightly domed centre surrounded by 12 domed segments – très chic (£69.99; The Contemporary Home, details as before).

Although the tea set may not feature on many wedding lists these days, the U+ Teatime Vintage Cups Clock, from Amaroni, would certainly top mine. Each hour is marked by a hand-picked vintage teacup (£344; www.amaroni.com 01205 260 384).

•Jamie Hempsall is a member of the British Interior Design Association and one of the region's leading interior designers. Visit him at http://www.blogger.com/www.jamiehempsall.com or call 01777 249463