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RIP Terence Conran

(36 Posts)
kittylester Sat 12-Sep-20 14:27:42

This news made me so sad - the end of an era if you are as old as me!

Esspee Sat 12-Sep-20 14:48:01

Wow. That has brought tears to my eyes. When I got married my first home was almost completely furnished from Habitat. We thought we were so trendy.

tiredoldwoman Sat 12-Sep-20 14:53:38

My goodness , another good name dropping out of our lives .
I liked Habitat stuff too, but didn't have money then - have found a few pieces via car boot sales - they're still classy and timeless ! British Home Stores was Conran owned once upon a time too , if I remember correctly ? sad

MawB2 Sat 12-Sep-20 14:53:47

Absolutely, Kittylester
Paw nd I were lucky enough to live in a brand new hall of residence in our final years at university furnished by Habitat - tiny cell like rooms, but a Habitat desk and chair, easy chair, duvet and bedding and coordinating curtains and bed throw. How I used to fantasise over the Habitat catalogue dreaming of how we would furnish our first flat - we didn’t, but I had the chicken brick, the Provençal pottery and the giant cube glass ashtray! Just a wander round the South Ken store was like interior design porn! I have never quite grown out of Habitat and was thrilled when DD3 started her retail career at their head office (and qualified for the staff discount!)
He was an amazing trendsetter, and for those who like me started their married life in the 70’s, truly aspirational. Truly grateful.

Grandmafrench Sat 12-Sep-20 15:34:55

I worked for him when I was young, Jasper and Sebastian were little boys and there were just a handful of shops. It was such a buzzy company and everyone wanted to work there.( I handled the applications for staff for their new Bromley shop so can well remember the numbers! ) However, life at Head office just off the Tottenham Court Road was very competitive and if you didn't work really hard all of the time, you were out.

My most memorable bits are summer days driving his E-type Jaguar past the Park and down Brompton Road to visit Habitat shops, and much later feeling so sad when I read that Habitat seemed to have gone a bit mad and got into bed with BHS., Ryman, Richard Shops, et al. That was a terrible mistake and as awkward a pairing as a fish on a bicycle. He lost control of his beloved Habitat. But he was a visionary and his life's success was down to sheer hard work, drive - and commitment always to his designs. Sleep well, TOC. You definitely changed design forever.

kittylester Sat 12-Sep-20 15:39:01

I had a chicken brick too!!

When we moved into a new build house (it cost £17,950!!) and had Habitat brown corduroy Scoop chairs in the lounge along with one of those trendy white televisions and a couple of orange sag bags - we were really on trend. grin

We also had a dinner service from Habitat. It was white with sort of blue and yellow stylised flowers on. I still have the milk jug and I would buy it again like a shot.

I'm now nostalgic for mini skirts, black eyeliner and Twiggy hair.

Teetime Sat 12-Sep-20 15:43:36

Loved Mr Conran's restaurants - Mezzo was our favourite. It is sad and reminds me of the days of staying up in town after work and going to a big buzzy restaurant, seeing lots of famous people. Now those days are long gone sigh! I loved Habitat too - there is nothing like that now - Ikea doesn't even come close.

RIP Mr Conran flowers

BBbevan Sat 12-Sep-20 15:52:23

Loved Habitat. My first house was furnished from Habitat. We have a large sofa, refurbished and re upholstered, several times ,but originally Habitat . Much admired by friends and loved by us.

paddyanne Sat 12-Sep-20 16:09:29

We had a cream corner suite from Habitat ,against a chocolate brown wall on a Behar brown and cream shag pile carpet .Loved our living room ,Liked to browse Habitat at lunchtime and find wee things for our house before we got married.I remember an assistant being suprised when I asked if a teapot wa a good pourerand she had to fill it up with water to check for me

Grandma70s Sat 12-Sep-20 16:22:36

Our first home in 1968 was almost entirely furnished by Habitat. Much of the furniture still survives, used by my sons. We had a huge dining table that has been useful for many a Christmas dinner. I remember we felt vague pity for people we knew whose houses were furnished traditionally - they were young people like us, but their houses looked middle-aged!

Oh yes, the chicken brick. It did make chickens taste vaguely earthy, though.

TerriBull Sat 12-Sep-20 16:26:29

Early Habitat would be highly sought after now, I think our generation were all Habitat devotees, it was a look that threw off that dreary post war era. In the eighties I discovered The Conran Shop, which was even better, but a tad on the expensive side!

Some of the younger members of our family chunter on about "mid century furniture" and there was me thinking for a while, they were talking about the 19th century shock until I realised "oh they mean the 1960s of course" Habitat was bang on trend for that seminal decade and it seems it still is now the furniture from that era appears to be having a revival.

RIP Terence Conran yours was one of the names that exemplified that whole era.

Callistemon Sat 12-Sep-20 16:31:35

We couldn't afford Habitat either, but Terence Conran was inspirational.

RIP Sir Terence

Callistemon Sat 12-Sep-20 16:37:29

I remember we felt vague pity for people we knew whose houses were furnished traditionally - they were young people like us, but their houses looked middle-aged!
Perhaps that was us as ours was secondhand G Plan! But there was no Habitat where we lived, we wuz yokels.

Gaunt47 Sat 12-Sep-20 16:41:01

Grandmafrench I think I must know you! I was there at that time too. Great days.

J52 Sat 12-Sep-20 17:09:31

We also had Habitat items in our first home. I remember the storage tins with brown and clean wicker pattern on them, also available in orange and green. Our curtains were Habitat fabric, as was our bed linen and duck down duvet. It lasted for many years. Such good quality in the early years.
We still have a set of dished, cream with a blue stripe, a bit crazed now. ( but aren’t we all!).
Bought more recently, 20 years ago, we have a circular garden table made out of a hardwood, with six matching chairs.
They spend every year outside and are oiled once a year. Still in a fabulous condition.

J52 Sat 12-Sep-20 17:11:19

Cream* dishes* autocorrect!!!

eazybee Sat 12-Sep-20 17:28:54

I think mid-century is more 1950s; lots of yellow, red and black furniture with metal sticking- out legs. I hated it, and loved Habitat; plain, simple, stylish. It epitomised the 60s for me. There was no Habitat where I lived, so had to order my Le Creuset casserole and a blank note book by mail order; still have both, and a white china chicken which I used to keep eggs in. Never had a chicken brick, although I coveted one.

varian Sat 12-Sep-20 17:46:23

I think Terrence Conran gave us all permission to be more relaxed at home.

No longer did we need anti-maccasars or doilies or chrystal sherry glasses or embroidered guest towels.

We were given permission to be casual.

This was a revelation in the 1960s which was the decade when I was married, but it took a setback in the 1980s when formality returned - think dinner parties and dinner dances and balls.

Our generation may well have been temporarily trapped again by formality but we did eventually break free and Terence Conran showed us the way.

paddyanne Sat 12-Sep-20 18:53:24

Varian now I dont know if we were behind the times or ahead of them.Married 1975 ,had regular dinner parties ,went to many a dinner dance and always the odd Ball or two over the Christmas/NewYear period ..Oh an dwe got chrystal glasses galore as wedding presents ,in fact I still have the six sherry schooners on the little wooden tray .Alas I lent the wine glasses ,red and white and the matching decanter and water glasses to a neighbour for a party for her Inlawsand her OH washed them and sat them on a tray on a working washing machine !!! No more chrystal for a wee while in our house.She DID apologise but no offers to replace them .

varian Sat 12-Sep-20 18:58:47

I was married in the mid sixties and I agree we have lived through interesting and very varied times Paddyanne

M0nica Sat 12-Sep-20 19:18:32

I was 17 when the 60s began. That whole decade was about my contemporaries. The see all these icons that were so hip and cool and the quintessence of the swinging sixties, slipping over the edge, first Diana Rigg, now Terence Conran, reminds one that our youth is now history.

Our first living room was Habitat from wall to wall

No longer did we need anti-maccasars or doilies or chrystal sherry glasses or embroidered guest towels.

I am not sure I ever wanted them, they certainly did not feature on my list of essential household goods when I married.

Personally I love dressing up for a dinner dance. We were fortunate to have close friends in the Navy and we got invited to a lot of black tie events in the Wardroom, balls that ended at dawn with breakfast, I loved them and miss them now our friend has died.

Badgranma Sat 12-Sep-20 19:20:48

What is a chicken brick?

varian Sat 12-Sep-20 19:26:32

Oh "Badgramma* I'm guessing that you're too young to remember the 1960s.

Although there is a saying that if you can remember the 1960s you weren't there.

Actually I think that only applied to London where apparently everyone was stoned in the 1960s.

Those of us who lived elsewhere can remember quite a lot about the 60s and some of us never took drugs.

Dinahmo Sat 12-Sep-20 19:37:44


^I remember we felt vague pity for people we knew whose houses were furnished traditionally - they were young people like us, but their houses looked middle-aged!^
Perhaps that was us as ours was secondhand G Plan! But there was no Habitat where we lived, we wuz yokels.

Some G-Plan is prized now. stuff from the fifties is more sought after and can fetch very high prices.

Dinahmo Sat 12-Sep-20 19:42:33

Does anyone else remember Shirley Conran describing how when the had friends round for supper, he used to sit in the kitchen with a copper bowl and a whisk, making mayonnaise. It was the only thing he did make at that time. She had cooked the rest of the meal but their friends would think he was wonderful for making mayo.