Tories – looking to get the Johnson flat makeover on the cheap?

If you are a Tory and need Johnson’s flat makeover items on the cheap, the Daily Mail is always there to guide you:

Budget stores (and even John Lewis) have VERY convincing copies of Lulu Lytle’s expensive pieces

Harriet Johnston www.dailymail.co.uk (Extract)

While Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie may have been billed £200,000 for their flat revamp in Number 11 Downing Street by Lulu Lytle, the couple could have picked up high street alternatives to their purchases – for a fraction of the cost. …..

…FEMAIL can reveal that many items similar to those for sale on the exclusive Soane Britain website can be purchased from high street stores like John Lewis, whose furnishings Carrie apparently rejected, as well as Wayfair and Dulemn – without the hefty price tag. 

On the other hand a more sophisticated critique is offered by Oliver Wainwright in the Guardian:

A £200,000 paean to French knock-offs and gilded tat

…..Beyond the sense of fortified desperation, the shopping list reflects other sides of the prime minister’s worldview. In keeping with Boris’s talk of “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles”, Lytle’s aesthetic has been criticised for its colonial undertones, with patterns featuring exotic animals and Orientalist motifs. She has defended her designs as the result of “30 years of research” and said in one recent interview that she was “completely baffled by the idea that having a woven lion on my wall from Nepal could be anything other than respectful”.

Instead, she likes to think she is following in the footsteps of William Morris, the socialist artist and designer who saw craftsmanship as a route to fundamental social change (he later realised he had spent his life “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich”). Like Morris, Lytle sees her work as championing a revival of lost traditions, peddling a Brexit-friendly message as “the Boudicca of British craftsmanship”, as one antique dealer described her.

Foremost in her crafts crusade is rattan, a material with its own allusions to colonial verandas, and the Johnson bill includes several such items of rattan furniture – the £3,650 Leighton table and a £3,800 Hurlingham bookcase, which would both be at home on the terrace of a Raj-era governor’s palace. When Britain’s last rattan workshop, Angraves in Leicestershire, went into administration in 2011, Lytle bought the machinery and hired two of the staff. In another exquisite piece of Johnsonian symbolism, she also acquired the rights to Dryad – the company that designed rattan seating for the Titanic.

Theresa May’s No 11 decor might have been dismissed as a “John Lewis nightmare”, but that sounds infinitely preferable to being stuck inside this folksy, chintz-laden sinking ship.