Today I’m kicking off a new series of posts showcasing some of the best home accessories and furniture designs across a range of categories, starting with the humble scented candle.
For me, scented candles are an essential item at any time of year, but never more so than during the long, dark days of winter. There’s something incredibly soothing about watching gently dancing flames, surrounded by a soft, warm glow. And I’m always amazed by the power of fragrance to completely transform the ambiance of a room or alter my own mood. Here are a few of my favourites…
Lola James Harper
First up is a brand-new discovery: Lola James Harper, created by Parisian perfumier and musician Rami Mekdachi. Rami worked as a perfume developer and art director for major brands such as L’Oreal and Lacoste before launching his own range, which is made by one of France’s last ‘Master Candlemakers’. The 18 nostalgic scents were inspired by memories of specific places and people – ‘The Bomboneria in Barcelona’, ‘The Vinyl Store on Rue des Dames’, ‘The Fun Fair of Les Thuileries’ – and I love their quirkiness. I have ‘The TV Basement of Jonet’, a comforting and evocative mix of patchouli and sandalwood dedicated to Rami’s friend Jonet, whose house is described as smelling of ‘wood, dust and joy’.
The candles and scents are available via Selfridges in the UK and Le Bon Marché in France. Rami also produces mid-century furniture in collaboration with Kann Design, as well as books, photography, clothing and more.
ROAM was created by South Carolina-based design company 42 Pressed, and its founder Jackie Robinson’s love of typography and letter-press printing is evident in the crisp white packaging and rose-gold lettering. The six scents, all inspired by different cities around the world, are just as seductive – choose from the likes of ‘London’ (an eclectic blend of black pepper, oak moss and labdanum), ‘Paris’ (sophisticated muguet, amber and vanilla) and my favourite, the wonderfully fresh ‘Charlestown’ (jasmine, magnolia, tea olive and salt).
Hobo Soy Candles
Next is a long-time friend of These Four Walls, Hobo Soy Candles. It was founded by Rachael Clark, who hand-pours her candles in small batches in the Lincolnshire market town of Louth. The wonderful scents were all inspired by travels and childhood memories: ‘Pear & Freesia’ is an homage to the orchard she used to play in, ‘French Fig & Cassis’ is based on the garden of her former home near Biarritz, and ‘Lemongrass & Coconut’ is reminiscent of tropical beaches in Asia. My personal favourites are ‘Citrus & Basil’ (Mediterranean sunshine in a jar!), and warm and heady ‘Oakwood & Tobacco’, which evokes campfires and cosy evenings in.
Rachael also makes beautiful reed diffusers and travel candles, and 10% of the profits from some fragrances are donated to leukemia research charity Bloodwise.
Also hand-poured in the UK (this time in the New Forest) are Feltan candles, which are made from natural soy wax. They’re based on a ‘less is more’ philosophy and have a beautiful Scandinavian-style minimalism. There are only three scents – ‘Cinnamon Buns’, ‘White Tea’ and ‘Coconut’ – but they’re all delicious, with wooden wicks that make a cosy crackling sound when lit. Best of all, you can opt for striking concrete containers that can be reused as tea-light holders or planters for succulents.
Plum & Ashby
British brand Plum & Ashby has a wonderful range of scented candles made from eco-friendly vegetable wax – some in travel jars, others in beautiful glass holders. There are some unusual fragrances – ‘Fireside Embers’, ‘Heather & Hay’, ‘Herbs & Hawthorne’, ‘Green Fig’ – as well as more delicate scents such as ‘Ancestral Rose’. My personal favourites are energising ‘Eucalyptus’ and ocean-fresh ‘Seaweed & Samphire’ – both perfect for blasting away the cobwebs after a long week.
Finally, I had to include my old favourite Skandinavisk on the list. Based in Copenhagen, it celebrates the Scandinavian way of life with a range of scented candles and reed diffusers, all sporting simple yet evocative names such as ‘SKOG’ (‘forest’), ‘HAV’ (‘sea’) and ‘KOTO’ (Finnish for ‘cosy at home’). I’ve tried pretty much all of them, but I have a particular penchant for calming ‘RO’ (‘tranquility’) and reinvigorating ‘FJORD’.
If you want to find out more about Skandinavisk, check out my 2016 interview with co-founder Shaun.
Skandinavisk images via Skandinavisk; all other photography by Abi Dare. Please note Lola James Harper provided a free candle for the purpose of this post, but all words and opinions are my own.
You can buy a handpicked range of scented candles, including Skandinavisk, ROAM and Plum & Ashby, via my shop. A taster below, or browse the full collection here.