Looking back for interiors inspiration

I've already mentioned in a previous column that the trend for retro furniture will be a key one this year.

So it makes sense for me to turn the spotlight on to one of our lovely brands.

The epitome of throwback furniture is of course Ercol – that beacon of Britishness.

It's nice to wave the flag, although the family behind it were Italians who came to live in London in the 1880s.

Ercol was started way back in 1920 by Lucian Ercolani who, along with his brother Barry, took the opportunity to mass-produce affordable furniture after the First World War.

Lucian worked in the design teams for what would later become Parker Knoll and G-Plan, before founding Ercol. Based in High Wycombe, the family-run company became one of the town's big employers with around 800 staff.

Lucian was particularly keen on apprenticeships and initiated many young people from the town into the industrial furniture-making.

Lucian was also pioneering in his use of steam-bent wood and for using elm wood – a material that all other furniture-makers considered impossible to work with.

Their Windsor chair became, and still is considered, a quintessentially Britsh item of furniture.

The beautiful rich colouring of Ercol furniture is simply crying out to be teamed with colour.

Use bright greens or yellow to really show your Ercol off in style.

My personal favourite is the Ercol Originals range which I think has a beautiful simplicity about it.

The Butterfly chair is super comfy and the Love Seat looks simply amazing with a few colourful cushions in a hallway, bedroom or kitchen.

Or if you're looking to furnish a sitting room then the Ercol Isola is exactly what you're looking for. It's unmatched for simplistic style.

Every time I think of Ercol furniture I can't help but think of another of my favourite designers – Donna Wilson – as I think her designs go hand-in-hand with that lovely feeling of a handcrafted home.

Donna has been designing cute and quirky knitted products since graduating in 2003 and has been celebrated as Designer of the Year at the Elle Decoration British Design Awards.

YP MAG 29/1/11