Textile designer Flora Soames lives between London and Wiltshire, but remains drawn to the capital and her memory-filled old haunts. These include a hidden Art Deco gem, the cafe that reignited her caffeine habit and the restaurant where she once dined with Lucien Freud.



Flora's Favorite Bar: The Fumoir, © The Fumoir


My Favorite Restaurant: Clarkes, Kensington Church Street

A classic with supremely delicious, unadulterated food. My first visit was for lunch with Lucien Freud at his usual corner table overlooking the garden. I was writing my dissertation on his etchings and, after the most gripping, memorable lunch (not necessarily for the Souffle Suisse), it has become a firm favorite. My husband and I love nothing more than an impromptu 7pm sitting and a short amble home after.

My Favorite Café: The Gentleman Baristas, Mayfair

Having not drunk caffeine since the age of 20, I have hit the ground running in the last few years having revisited this old haunt.

My Favorite Bar: The Fumoir at Claridges

The Fumoir at Claridges is a hidden gem. I adore the art deco details and old school glamour of the interior. The cocktail menu is rather special too!


Flora's Favorite Hidden Treasure: Grays Antiques Market, © Spectrum Antiques jewellery, photos by Holly Kavanagh.


My Favorite Hidden Treasure: Grays Antiques Market

Grays Antiques Market is a wonderful hunting ground for vintage jewellery - and Jessica McCormack for something stunning and new.

My Favorite Shops:

For Books: Heywood Hill, Curzon Street

Their staff are beyond knowledgeable and have been enormously supportive in the selling of my recently published Rizzoli book, The One Day Box.

For Lighting: Christopher Butterworth, Pimlico Road

For antique lighting, Christopher Butterworth is one of the originals. His pieces may not all be small, but his shop is compact and filled to the rafters. One of the original treasure troves and a go-to for decorators looking for sought-after, unusual pieces.

Flora's Favorite Shop for Lighting: Christopher Butterworth, © Camilla Frances


For Antiques: James Graham Stewart

For antiques, James Graham Stewart has one of the best eyes in the business and is a champion of supreme Arts and Crafts, amongst other things. Often with scale in mind, and always with a sense of understated elegance and grandeur. Wilson Stephen Jones is also a firm favorite for decorative artwork and objets.

For Flowers, Vases and Scents:

With summer gardens on my mind, the Lacquer Chest is my go-to for vases, to fill with freshly cut English Flowers from Scarlet and Violet. For delicious scents and the discovery of something less expected, you cannot beat Les Senteurs.

My Favorite Museum or Gallery:

The Garden Museum is a treasure off Lambeth Bridge. Deeply stylish, varied in its events and exhibitions (and with sublime food). The Tate Britain remains a firm favourite also, with memories of a Sargent exhibition as a child, and a staggering Sargent and Fashion exhibition on show now until 7 July. 


Flora's "Firm Favorite" Gallery: Tate Britain, © Miguel Sousa and Laura Chouette.


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