OMG IT’S NICKY DOBREE
Of course Nicky Dobree would never actually say OMG. The bastion of style and elegance that she is. But this morning when I clicked on an email from Casafina, which had a suspiciously well-edited collection of chalet furnishings at huge reductions, a second look identified the pedigree of this offering.
Nicky Dobree editing a collection for Casafina is a bit like Balmain coming to H&M in your Southampton mall. You’d be mad not to snap it up and come back for more, so it is an excellent move on Casafina’s behalf.
Nicky is top Madame of the European chalet interior design market. Pick up any weighty chalet interiors book and her glorious mountain interiors will be spread across many glossy pages with a gsm weight higher than a Claridge’s linen thread count. So, if she says here’s a cushion worthy of a Russian Oligarch’s butt cheeks and Casafina wants to sell it to you for £23, you’d be a fool to say anything other than ‘don’t mind if I do, please ship it next day.’
I met Nicky last year after seeking her out to help us with our bathroom refurbishment scheduled for this spring. I put aside my severe case of chalet dysmorphia (we’re missing an extra zero on the property valuation and about four additional bedrooms compared with her actual clients) and thought I would chance my luck. She was charming, good humored and a total star who found a way to swiftly solve my Swiss plumbing nightmares over a cup of tea in a tile shop in Wandsworth.
I absolutely love the collection she has edited for Casafina. Because Nicky is a well practised interior designer, she knows what it is like to actually have to fit furniture into a space once it is delivered, and she’s chosen really nicely proportioned furniture. High leather wing back chairs that subtly cordon off and define space in an open plan room, narrow consoles for table lamps offering mood lighting options and L shaped sofas that allow for both drinks parties with lots of people and cosy movie nights in à deux. But she’s also a mother of teenagers and chalet owner herself, who lets out her own sumptuous chalet. She’s put together a collection of luxe, affordably replaceable options that won’t make you cry if something happens to them, as well as some tough, durable items that will last the distance. I look forward to more interior design led edits of this calibre from Casafina from top designers. Getting that kind of expertise for free with a massive discount on the products is a real value add.
As a warning, Casafina has the initially annoying quirk of requiring you to log in to browse their items, but you are richly rewarded by hugely discounted prices. The idea behind it is to allow designers to offload products in a somewhat private way when stock levels fall below a threshold that makes it worthwhile having in it retail stores, or lines that perhaps haven’t found the right market and are not selling. Items are not permanent, so if you see something you usually have a limited window to snap it up – roughly three weeks for this collection.
The collection has the most beautiful cushions I have seen for mountain interiors, exquisitely proportioned chairs and a corner sofa that would work well in a smaller apartment without everything looking too cluttered. There are some modern lighting options to give your chalet some edge as well as some nice accessories to add a bit of texture or a splash of colour.