Top Drawer: London

42 pressed ooak london map | simple pretty

42 pressed | london map

Serendipity led me to Top Drawer over the weekend. I went to see one person*, and fell into a rabbit hole of fun finds in the stationery section. It felt like NYC in May for a moment as I wandered the aisles.

42 Pressed

It was a delight to stumble across 42 Pressed at the show. They were sharing space in what appeared to be a “Best of Charleston” booth** and I fell in love with their new foil-accented city posters. The typeface and colors were perfect, with a range of favorite cities to choose from, including London, Paris, Chicago, and yes, Charleston.

42 pressed ooak paris map| simple pretty

42 pressed | paris map

big jon letter and card designs | simple pretty

big jon | graphic letter prints + cards

Big Jon 

If you want to grab my attention, framing letters in the typeface Didot will usually do the trick. Big Jon’s booth featured simple, graphic designs which made it easy to connect the dots to designer Jon Harvey’s roots as a graphic designer/art director. The “251216” cards — yes, for next Christmas, and I’m not really ready to talk about that just yet — were brilliant, too.

big jon booth at top drawer london | simple pretty

big jon booth

imogen owen boxed notecards | simple pretty

imogen owen | a little box of gratitude

Imogen Owen 

It’s hard to find fault with a company whose tagline is “Handmade by nice people in England”, and über-talented calligrapher Imogen Owen charmed me with her simple boxed notecard sets, greeting cards, and the prettiest calligraphed ribbons and wrapping paper. (If you’re a fan of her style, you might like to enroll in one of her calligraphy workshops at Quill London.)

imogen owen at top drawer london | simple pretty

imogen owen | boxed sets + ribbons

à l'aise at top drawer london | simple pretty

à l’aise booth

À L’aise

Founded in 2015 (and launching at Top Drawer) À L’aise is focused on minimalist luxury stationery.  I thought the greeting cards, with their muted color palette and simple labels for each message were undeniably sweet and immensely appealing — I wished I could take a few home with me. Can’t wait to see where designer Suzie Dicker is headed with this brand, which also boasts custom calligraphy and leather goods, given the strong début.

à l'aise greeting cards | simple pretty

à l’aise greeting cards

meticulous ink ampersand | simple pretty

meticulous ink | ampersand print

Other Friends It was also nice to see old friends like Meticulous Ink (with their beautifully luxe letterpress options) and new to the London shows, Egg Press (featuring their classic, clever + cheery range of paper goods). All in all, a very happy outing.

* which I CAN NOT WAIT to tell you more about but you’ll have to wait until February.

** there were candles on display from Rewined and Produce (also Charleston companies that feature package design by my friends at Stitch). Curious, I asked the rep if all the artists were from Charleston, and I got a very British non-answer. If I had more time, I would have dug deeper to figure out the connection.

all photos by jane potrykus

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Favorites: January 2016

favorites: january 2016 (photo by jane potrykus) | simple pretty

Here we are at January, again. Suddenly, there’s all the time in the world but less that I’m motivated to do. I’ve dragged out the non-original, repetitive (yet well-intended) resolutions for a re-boot, and am hopeful that in this winter/spring of uncertainty, that the pieces will naturally fall into place.

Less broody is the thought of travel and visitors on the schedule for January and February. I’m looking forward to exploring with friends, returning to Paris (because I never tire of that), and gleefully taking note of the ever increasing daylight.

In this season of nesting, and reflection, I hope you enjoy this current selection of favorite things:


  1. Christmas silver full moon
  2. morning | winter | still life | homebody
  3. untitled
  4. legoman
  6. third year in a row ….
  7. protect the tiny envelope!
  8. I loved the larger-than-life plates ….
  9. I call this one “Chair #onlinden.” ….
  10. untitled
  11. Spent the day with @nruphoto ….

To Watch

  1. Batkid Begins
  2. Infinitely Polar Bear
  3. The Comeback Kid
  4. Master of None

To Visit

  1. Plain Goods this home furnishings and design shop in New Preston, CT (found thanks to Tricia Foley) perfectly suits my minimalist tendencies. Am busy stalking their Instagram in advance of the website launch. And planning an in-person visit as soon as possible.

photo at top taken January 1 by Jane Potrykus

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‘Flea’ at Jayson Home

The problem with sale shopping (for me, anyway) is that I immediately abandon the plan to scavenge for deals and instead home in on the new, full-price merchandise. Case in point: yesterday’s scroll through Jayson Home‘s “Flea” sale ended with me coveting the gorgeous, not-on-sale items. I’d love to add one of the pieces shown here to my gallery wall. (Alternatively, the framed matchbooks would look great in a powder room.)

(To be fair, there were some good finds in the sale, too: have a look.)

images from

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Barbara Macfarlane

barbara macfarlane, 'pale manhattan' | simple pretty

‘pale manhattan’ (oil on paper)*

One big advantage of living in London is the easy access a big city provides to an amazing range of art. Whether at a small gallery, or large museum, or a happenstance stumbling across a street fair, there are myriad ways to connect with artists and derive inspiration. One of my happiest discoveries in 2015 was UK artist Barbara Macfarlane. During September’s London Design Festival, Macfarlane presented “Zoomed In”, a collection of maps focused on Chelsea’s environs, at Anthropologie. (I love maps so I immediately took note.) I am taken with the colors she uses, the handmade papers that are the base of each work, the calligraphic details she incorporates, and yes, I revel in the subject matter as I love to pore over a good map.

barbara macfarlane 'london' in pink and orange | simple pretty

‘london’ in pink and orange (oil on linen)*

barbara macfarlane 'UES 59 to 87' | simple pretty

‘upper east side 59 to 87’ (oil on paper)*

barbara macfarlane 'black point' |simple pretty

‘black point’ (oil on paper)*

barbara macfarlane at anthropologie, september 2015 | simple pretty

macfarlane’s exhibit at anthropologie, kings road (september 2015)

Barbara Macfarlane is represented by Rebecca Hossack Gallery (with locations in New York and London). To see more of her work, please visit her website.

* art photos are courtesy of barbara macfarlane; the anthropologie exhibit photo is via so-shan au

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Favorite Things: Travel Guides

stocking stuffer ideas: travel guides | simple pretty

I am addicted to travel guides. The ones with beautiful photography inspire you; those that are painstakingly researched give you the confidence to explore like a local. Whether you’re hoping to inspire or inform, they also make great last-minute gifts. If you’re looking for some great resources for travel in England or France, may I suggest you choose from the following:

  1. Cereal City Guides  for a luxe, minimalist take on a city, look no further than Cereal magazine. The natural progression of the magazine’s feature stories and online travel suggestions, each guide opens with a series of personal essays from locals that thoughtfully describe the city and lend a sense of place. What follows is stunningly photographed, exclusive-to-Cereal photos paired with Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton’s personal list of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and hotels. Paris is the latest addition to the print lineup, but guides for New York and London (newly updated) are also available.*
  2. Concierge Bath  former Soho House (Babington) events director Josh Tully wanted to showcase his insider’s take on Bath’s independent shopping scene. His new guide, which like Cereal is image-driven, stylishly captures the essence of the city’s creative entrepreneurs, many of which operate out of gorgeous old Georgian buildings. (The sublime combination of art and architecture is what led me to fall in love with Bath, and so the book will double as a treasured keepsake.)
  3. Blue Crow Media Specialty Maps this map series addresses all of the subjects a committed foodie is interested in when visiting a new city. Well-designed and easy to tuck into a pocket — bonus: no roaming data! — each map/guide allows you to feel in-the-know whether your focus a well-crafted cocktail or a top-notch coffee. (London is the authors’ primary focus, but there are coffee guides for New York, Paris, and Berlin, and new maps are always being added.)
  4. Simple Pretty London  a bit of self-promotion, but I’m proud of my tiny deck comprised of 25 favorite London spots, published by Telescope Cards. My intention was to shine a spotlight on my go-to sources for flowers, coffee, food, and shopping, honed throughout my expat experience. Telescope’s print-on-demand system means guides can easily be edited to remain current, and in that spirit I updated the guide earlier this month.

* Cereal’s website maintains an extensive city guide section.

Please note: I received review copies of all of the above guides either as gifts, or for the purpose of my review. In addition, while the Telescope deck is solely my creation, I receive no compensation from sales.

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