Gone to the Dogs
You think you know this city, then curator and collector Jerome Dodd lets you into some of his London secrets. The interior design doyen of Les Couilles du Chien ushers us to the most special addresses in Notting Hill – and we discover treasures that we never knew were there…
Paris-born Jerome Dodd is the owner of eclectic antiques store, Les Couilles du Chien (the name is a cheeky nod to the English slang term meaning the very best). An acclaimed interiors consultant for clients such as LVMH, Roland Mouret and Anya Hindmarch, Jerome’s shops on Golborne Road off Portobello and Church Street in Marylebone have been go-to destinations for architects, artists and designers for over two decades. Fans of the Laslett’s ornamentation, will be delighted to hear that Dodd is developing his own range of homewares, including mirrors, lamps and curios.
What inspires you in London?
London’s wealth of parks and diverse architecture, and museums – two gems are a short walk away from the Laslett. 18 Stafford Terrace – formerly Linley Sambourne House – is a beautifully preserved 1880s house with remarkable interiors which belonged to the celebrated 19th-century Punch cartoonist, Edward Linley Sambourne . Walk a few minutes’ further from Notting Hill, and across Holland Park, and you will find Leighton House Museum, an Arts and Craft gem with a breathtaking ornate Arab hall. Of course, Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields Is my all-time favourite. I find its collection built up from Soane’s travels around the globe extremely inspiring.
Golborne Road is rather special. Friday morning is the best time to visit and enjoy the mix of vintage and antique stalls, shops and cafés. Golborne Deli and the Kipferl Kneipe & Kitchen are excellent – I especially love a homemade Austrian cake and any of the delicious coffees at Kipferl. For a real treat, head up to Rellik at the top of Golborne Road. Its selection of vintage clothing and accessories is second to none – they specialise in treasures from the Eighties and there are pieces by Vivian Westwood, Saint Laurent, Jean Muir, and Bill Gibb.
What to sip, see and taste when in London?
Cocktails at the Laslett – the Henderson is their rum-based signature – followed by an evening amble across the road to the Print Room Theatre just off Westbourne Grove. This exciting contemporary arts venue set in a Victorian theatre hosts fabulous dance, theatre and music performances. Do check the programme and book in advance as this is fast becoming London’s top fringe venue. Then head for supper at Malabar, my all-time favourite Indian restaurant on Hillgate Street just behind the rear of the theatre. It’s hard to beat a thali or the three-course Sunday buffet in this charming contemporary dining room.
Favourite curios at the Laslett?
Iove the diorama of the Victorian stuffed perch swimming through the Icelandic lava one of the Maste Bedroom Suites — it looks like it’s going through a meteorite.
How has Notting Hill changed?
I opened my shop in Golborne Road 25 years ago. At that time the ambience was a charismatic combination of the West Indies, Portugal and Spain. Unfortunately much of this has disappeared, but somehow there is still a heady creative multicultural mix particularly on Golborne Road. You can still get a pastéis de nata (custard tart) at the Lisboa Patisserie and authentic tagine from the Moroccan Fish Stall – it’s a van with some tables on the pavement, usually opposite Golborne Pharmacy. He’s won awards for his Moroccan-spiced sea bass and king prawns served with rice, chips and salad. With the change in the area, new businesses and flavours have emerged and the vibrancy of the area, something which I cherish, hasn’t left. Notting Hill continues to draw independent businesses to its heritage… The Print Room Theatre, Honest Jons Records just off Portobello Road, Lutyens & Rubinstein bookshop on Kensington Park Road are all great examples of this. As you sit at the Henderson bar having a having drink, look up at the portrait of Russ on the wall – he’s one of the founding fathers of the Notting Hill Carnival and a local legend. It’s changing, but Notting Hill hasn’t lost its soul.
Your perfect out-of-town weekend?
A family suite at The Pig hotel in Brockenhurst in the New Forest. They serve excellent locally sourced food and the hotel is set in amazing location with a glorious kitchen garden to explore.
Secret London spots?
I’m amazed more people don’t rave about Sunday lunch at the Chelsea Physic Garden. A friend took me several years ago – it’s a very special London location where you feel transported to another world and time. Founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries it’s one of Europe’s oldest botanic gardens.
Most memorable find?
London is so full of things. With its diverse cultural heritage and colonial past the Capital is filled with treasures. It has myriad small auction houses and markets. People suggest poking around the fleamarkets of Paris but I find the best things are in London. If we went to a marché aux puces tomorrow we’d want everything – but it’s all so expensive it’s ludicrous! I say to someone wanting a Murano chandelier, look at Christie’s! In Italy they are beyond pricey. All the best French antiques I’ve ever bought have been in London for much less than we’d have found them for in France. My most memorable find ever is a pair of shell and malachite-incrusted mirror by my all-time favorite 1970s’ designer Anthony Redmile. I remember as a child visiting his shop in the Pimlico Road with my mother and being captivated by his amazing creations. Having bought some of his mirrors from a junk shop in Fulham, the dealer also gave me a pair of books that he had been given with them. They turned out to be one of Redmile’s sketch books and some Polaroids of his
workshop – an absolute treasure. A piece of his can cost around £20k
The work I get is about taking spaces and creating an environment which is well curated. There’s a pressure for things to conform and look the same today and spaces can be beautifully decorated, but not memorable — for me, it’s all about adding detail and interest.