5 Must-See Places Interior Stylists should Visit In Manchester


Visiting Manchester for the first time

If ever there was someone to recommend places to visit in a new city – especially when you only have a couple of hours to spare – it’s an Interior Stylist. That’s exactly what I did last week when I was setting up an event for Pepco’s new interior launch in Manchester.

City of Manchester

I’d travelled up from Kent on Wednesday, set up the event all day Thursday, added finishing touches Friday morning and then had a few hours to kill before heading back to take it all down again late afternoon.

Luckily, I knew just the person to grab a quick coffee with. Interior Stylist and Art Director Laura North whom I interviewed on the Inside Stylists podcast . She lives in Manchester. After a delish coffee and slice of divine lemon cake at The Feel Good Club, Laura gave me a list of places to visit – and they were all within walking distance to the Northern Quarter. She gave me an order of what to go where ending exactly where the event was (thanks Laura)

I zoomed around Manchester taking in all the sights, architecture and interiors heaven as fast as I could. I didn’t want to miss anyone off the list. Here’s where I went.

 

 

Fred Aldous – @FredAldous

When I tell you that Fred Aldous is THE BEST ART SHOP I have ever been to I am not making that statement lightly. It’s three floors of every kind of fabulous art, craft and imagination-fulfilling element you could ever think of. I mean, there’s a whole floor devoted to paper. Just paper. It gave me goosebumps.

Fred Aldous has been around since 1886. No that’s not a typo. 18-86! Five generations have been supplying materials to people who make things. That’s us guys right?

Fred Aldous - @FredAldous

On the basement floor, there are rows and rows of paints, ink, screen printing materials, rolls of wicker for basket making and upholstery. I was drawn to the wooden blanks and the thick wooden hoops. So many ideas springing up from those!

There are bargain rooms too with vintage posters and pieces of art, as well as items that are misprinted but still work – like mugs with wonky designs.

If you like twine THIS is the place to get it. I counted no less than 60 different designs and colours. If you can’t find it here it doesn’t exist.

The steps to treasure in Fred Aldous Manchester

“What did you get Emma?” I hear you ask.

Randomly, I bought these skinny strips of acrylic. Why? I have absolutely no idea, but I’ll think of something I can do with them.

Acrylic Sticks for crafting with from Fred Aldous. Not sure what I'm going to do with them yet!

Next stop was Form Lifestyle Store.

Form Lifestyle Store- @FormLifestyleStore

Form Lifestyle Store- @FormLifestyleStore

This little boutique is so tucked away I would never have found it without Laura’s recommendation. It is BEAUTIFUL.

The moment you walk into Form Lifestyle Store you’re greeted by soft playing music and the most divine scent. The shop sells candles and they’re like an instant relaxer.

The mix of vintage and handmade pieces just works in this shop. There were also the most exquisite paper flowers. I had to touch them to see if they were real. Just incredible.

I totally fell in love with these tiny wooden spoons. What is it about everyday objects made mini that just draws us in? I think this is the item I will regret not treating myself to the most. I buy consciously and if this beautiful piece is going to sit hidden in a drawer I’d rather someone else had it. It was only when I got back to the hotel that I thought how it would be perfect to replace a marble salt spoon I broke a few years ago. Oh well, I’ll just have to come back.

 

Nordic Muse – @Nordic-Muse

I don’t know what I said when I walked into Nordic Muse but I was probably talking to myself and possibly saying “Oh my gawd, this is sooo cute!” The reason being that when I went to pay for the dinkiest hand-thrown pots ever, the sales girl commented about my chatter. I do talk to myself a lot and if you had seen these on the dark-painted shelves as soon as you walked through the door you would have too.

I have to admit that from the outside this shop looks ultra designer and super expensive but it isn’t. There are gorgeous coloured Falconwear tins with yellow stripes (another regret) and blankets that look vintage. I also completely loved the HUGE bags – or propping bags as I would call them.

The curation of Nordic Muse is spot on. Just enough of a designer feel, with clever unique finds and a few vintage touches to boot. There’s glass wear, fragrance, beautiful jewellery, rugs and art.

I fell in love with a tiny old shelf unit. It looks like a ladder that’s been cut down. I selected the one with the most vintage ironmongery on it. I was thinking about putting it in the Daughterlings Dinosaur bathroom but that space is super modern and the vintage vibe probably won’t work. I just knew I had to have it so maybe it will have to go in my bathroom instead – with a mini candle pot!

Manchester Craft Centre – @ManchesterCraft

I was starting to run out of time when I arrived at the Manchester Craft Centre which is a real shame as it’s a fabulous place and if I lived nearer I would be in there all the time. They run interesting workshops, have little craft shops around the edge of the beautiful glass-roofed building, and there’s a coffee shop too. It’s two stories of unique gifting that’s for sure – especially jewellery. Such stunning pieces.

Material Source – @MaterialSource

Furniture at Material Source - @MaterialSource

I have to admit that when Laura was telling me about Material Source I was a little envious not to have one of these on my doorstep. I’m sure there’s something similar somewhere so once you read this if you know of one around London please let me know*

Crown Paints at Material Source - @MaterialSourceMaterial Source is a place where interior designers, architects and makers can find all sorts of interesting materials and products for their projects. Whether you’re looking for tiles, wallpaper, paint, vinyl, furniture, lighting or accessories they have it, and the samples for you to take home too. They also highlight emerging designers and showcase new products.

New materials at Material Source - @MaterialSource

The space is amazing. Just think what I could do with a …

50+ theatre

18 person workshop

7 meeting spaces

A gallery

Podcast studio

The list is literally endless, but the community and networking is what’s most impressive.

I may have picked up a few samples and started creating rooms sets in my hotel room when I got home that night.

*Material Source – please open up a centre in London. I’d be your best friend.


I totally fell in love with Manchester and will definitely be back… with a big suitcase or an empty car!

The North Quarter is so big and the architecture is beautiful. It’s so easy to walk around a new place and never look up. In Manchester there are statues everywhere, the architecture is fabulous and the graffiti is pure art. Laura told me that there are lots of film crews on the streets around Manchester as some of it looks like New York – and it really does. Just look at this building.

New York buildings in Manchester

I feel very lucky to have seen Manchester on a work trip. 9 times out of 10 there isn’t a second spare. We turn up, style, pack up and go home, but as I was styling a day time event which we set up the day before and I wasn’t needed till pack down late afternoon, I had a few hours to spare. What a treat. I think I’ll recommend Liverpool for the next event. I’ve not been there yet.

Where would you recommend to visit or eat out in Manchester? Leave a comment below and share the Mancunian love.

Emma morton-turner EmmaMT

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