Emily's exposed brickwork walls are all painted in a delicate off-white. She has made a set of antlers into a place to store her jewellery. Photo by Debi Treloar
Emily's exposed brickwork walls are all painted in a delicate off-white. She has made a set of antlers into a place to store her jewellery. Photo by Debi Treloar

A Minute With: Emily Chalmers, the owner of Caravan

Emily Chalmers is the author of a number of interiors books, including the bestselling Modern Vintage Style. She lives in London.
I live in a 1960s ex-local authority building in East London, right next to the Columbia Road flower market. It's such a vibrant area with so much energy. It constantly inspires me.
I love London. It might be because I grew up in a countryside village where there are only 16 houses and no buses or trains, but I always find it amazing that you can get whatever you want at any time in the city. Everything is accessible, and yet there are pockets that are really peaceful.
My home is still evolving. I've always been interested in architecture and I try to reflect the feeling of a house when I decorate. I've painted all the walls, woodwork and floorboards in the same specific off-white colour: Dulux 1002Y. I've seen it being mixed. It has tiny amounts of grey, turquoise, coral and yellow ochre in it, which just gives it a touch of warmth.
Home is where I can be myself. I like to be surrounded by things that I love and to be cosy.
My first baby, Bunty, was born seven weeks ago, so I've spent so much more time at home recently with her, which is lovely. Before, I used to practically live in my shop. It's exciting to decorate her bedroom, and becoming a mother has made me look at interiors in a different way.
Ilse Crawfordis one of my favourite designers. She shows such integrity in her work. Her interiors reflect society today. They're solid and long-lasting.
It means nothing to say that an object is "designer" - everything has been designed by somebody. I wish that people wouldn't take design so seriously. Everyone's a designer in their own way.
A lot of the design industry is so highbrow and people can be obsessed with names. It's a really male-orientated industry, too.
I'm juggling having the new baby and running my business at the moment. I've had an idea for another book, too. We're expanding the website for Caravan Style this spring and working on a brand new bricks-and-mortar shop, which is due to open next summer. My shop has always been an extension of my home, really, and this new one is literally 90 steps from my front door - the perfect location. I've signed a 10-year lease.
If ever I want to update a space, I clean it, tidy it and rearrange everything. Have a good sort out. You don't have to paint it or buy new things. Just by positioning things in a different way, you can make a whole room feel completely different. It's just energy.
When you've worked in a shop for years, you really appreciate a weekend off. As we're moving the shop, I've managed to have proper weekends recently for the first time in a while. I like to potter around one of our excellent local markets, shopping for food or bric-a-brac, then have breakfast somewhere. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal to eat out.
I still buy CDs. I listen to Metronomy and Emmy the Great. That's the sort of thing I like. I'm into the French 1970s singer Serge Gainsbourg at the moment, too, which is a bit odd.
Good design is when people think practically and aesthetically. It's wonderful when you find something that's really well designed, an item that's built to last and has a story.
I've learnt so much over the past few years: always listen to your instincts, take each day as it comes and be confident in your convictions.
Life inspires me. Nature inspires me. But mostly I'm inspired by people who have a passion for what they do, whatever it is.
There's a dog grooming parlour next door to my new shop and I love it. Today, I walked past and there were two massive poodles at the back, one being blow-dried, the other being sheared. It's the most wonderful thing to see on your way to work.
I adore the photographer Tim Walker's book Pictures. It's huge, and I dip in and out of it all the time. Dyed cats and bunnies - it's surreal.
I find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Having Bunty was the perfect excuse to buy a plastic bucket with a lid from our local grocer's shop. I've had my eye on it for ages. My husband said, "This is an example of why nobody can ever buy you a gift, Emily. That plastic bucket is the last thing I thought you'd ever want."
Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers is available to order via Magrudy's or www.amazon.com. For more on Emily and her shop, visit www.emilychalmers.com or www.caravanstyle.com

if you go

Getting there

Etihad (Etihad.com), Emirates (emirates.com) and Air France (www.airfrance.com) fly to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, from Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively. Return flights cost from around Dh3,785. It takes about 40 minutes to get from Paris to Compiègne by train, with return tickets costing €19. The Glade of the Armistice is 6.6km east of the railway station.

Staying there

On a handsome, tree-lined street near the Chateau’s park, La Parenthèse du Rond Royal (laparenthesedurondroyal.com) offers spacious b&b accommodation with thoughtful design touches. Lots of natural woods, old fashioned travelling trunks as decoration and multi-nozzle showers are part of the look, while there are free bikes for those who want to cycle to the glade. Prices start at €120 a night.

More information: musee-armistice-14-18.fr ; compiegne-tourisme.fr; uk.france.fr

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others


5pm: Baynunah Conditions (UAE bred) Dh80,000 1,400m.

Winner: Al Tiryaq, Dane O’Neill (jockey), Abdullah Al Hammadi (trainer).

5.30pm: Al Zahra Handicap (rated 0-45) Dh 80,000 1,400m:

Winner: Fahadd, Richard Mullen, Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

6pm: Al Ras Al Akhdar Maiden Dh80,000 1,600m.

Winner: Jaahiz, Jesus Rosales, Eric Lemartinel.

6.30pm: Al Reem Island Handicap Dh90,000 1,600m.

Winner: AF Al Jahed, Antonio Fresu, Ernst Oertel.

7pm: Al Khubairah Handicap (TB) 100,000 2,200m.

Winner: Empoli, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

7.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap Dh80,000 2,200m.

Winner: Shivan OA, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi.

Company profile

Name: Yodawy
Based: Egypt
Founders: Karim Khashaba, Sherief El-Feky and Yasser AbdelGawad
Total funding: $24.5 million
Investors: Algebra Ventures, Global Ventures, MEVP and Delivery Hero Ventures, among others
Number of employees:


Director: Alexander Payne

Starring: Paul Giamatti, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Dominic Sessa

Rating: 4.5/5

Company Profile

Company name: Fine Diner

Started: March, 2020

Co-founders: Sami Elayan, Saed Elayan and Zaid Azzouka

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and food delivery

Initial investment: Dh75,000

Investor: Dtec Startupbootcamp

Future plan: Looking to raise $400,000

Total sales: Over 1,000 deliveries in three months

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government



Dir: Pa. Ranjith

Starring: Rajinikanth, Huma Qureshi, Easwari Rao, Nana Patekar  

Rating: 1.5/5 


6pm: Mazrat Al Ruwayah – Group 2 (PA) $40,000 (Dirt) 1,600m
Winner: AF Alajaj, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

6.35pm: Race of Future – Handicap (TB) $80,000 (Turf) 2,410m
Winner: Global Storm, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

7.10pm: UAE 2000 Guineas – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,600m
Winner: Azure Coast, Antonio Fresu, Pavel Vashchenko

7.45pm: Business Bay Challenge – Listed (TB) $100,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Storm Damage, Patrick Cosgrave, Saeed bin Suroor

20.20pm: Curlin Stakes – Listed (TB) $100,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Appreciated, Fernando Jara, Doug O’Neill

8.55pm: Singspiel Stakes – Group 2 (TB) $180,000 (T) 1,800m
Winner: Lord Glitters, Daniel Tudhope, David O'Meara

9.30pm: Al Shindagha Sprint – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Meraas, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi