I’m local again this week with a look at Sydenham store, Alhambra Home. I had been past the store a few times and always thought it looked very interesting, but I hadn’t managed to stop and have a good look round until a couple of weeks ago. What I found when I did was a beautiful, eclectic mix of tiles, rugs, ceramics, food, cookware, crafts and other home accessories, the majority of which is sourced from Spain, but there are also a few pieces of work from local designers as well as some pieces from further afield too.
The name Alhambra Home is a bit of a giveaway to the overarching Spanish vibe in the store; the colour and patterns of the collections which nod to the Iberian Peninsular and the vibrancy of the product for sale is incredibly refreshing, particularly when you visit in on a dreary day in January like I did. Owner Becca sources most of the product herself from Andalucia in Southern Spain, where she has owned a rustic house in the mountains since 1997.
Alhambra Home is like an Aladdin’s cave of Spanish homeware and design. A range of patterned tiles displayed on the wall and floor immediately jumps out at you when you enter the store, with a wide selection of encaustic tiles, porcelain tiles, terracotta tiles and ceramic tiles available to look at. There is a huge variety of designs, patterns, materials, sizes and colours which is super inspiring and made me want to re-design my home and introduce some Spanish style into my South London flat. And it seems I’m not the only one who is inspired to use the stunning tiles, Alhambra Home has a has a growing client base of interior designers and architects working on projects using their tiles worldwide, including Tara Bernerd, who used tiles Becca had sourced for the floor of the Nico Osteria Restaurant in the Thompson Hotel in Chicago.
Beyond the tiles there is a lot more to look at. There is a wide range of Spanish rugs, known as ‘jarapas’ in Spain, which are handwoven from 85% recycled cotton. They are super soft and are available in a variety of plain colours, striped and patchwork designs, in different sizes and colour palettes. The rugs can be also be used as bedspreads, wall-hangings and hall-runners, and are available in three thicknesses: tight-weave rugs, fluffy reversible rugs and double thickness ‘Provenzal’ rugs which are much heavier. Interestingly, the rugs are what Becca first started selling when she opened the store in 2009, but since then the tiles have become the main attraction for customers who visit and buy from the store.
Elsewhere in the store there is a fantastic range of rustic style Spanish ceramics, including Andalucian patterned jugs, bowls, and plates and and some lovely decorative pieces designed by Matthew Weir, including the bowls pictured above. For the kitchen, you will find a selection of terracotta cookware and serveware plus paella making equipment and ingredients, Spanish spices, oils and vinegars and more. There is also a variety of different cushions, from the coffee bean sack cushions pictured below to beautiful Kantha cloth cushions from Gujarat. Becca also sells woven striped wool mix material from the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain which you can buy by the metre or she can arrange for it to be made up into curtains, a bedspread or cushions at a very reasonable price.
Throw into the mix cards and stationery, beauty products, organic plant wax candles, glassware and other art and crafts and you can’t be disappointed by this treasure trove of mainly Spanish goodies. I interviewed owner Becca about the store and what’s available…
How would you describe your shop and what type of products do you sell? Alhambra sells a wonderful range of homeware, crafts and gifts. These come mainly from Andalucia in southern Spain. I started with rugs, from the province of Almeria where I’ve owned a rustic mountain house since 1997. Ceramics followed, then Spanish food and cookware and finally the wonderful encaustic and mosaic tiles for which Alhambra is best known today.
Where do you find your stock? For all of the Spanish bits, I visit Spain I have driven all over Andalucia to source my stock – often chancing on suppliers in the most unexpected places! It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ve visited some marvellous towns and villages.
What sort of prices can customers expect to pay for pieces in the shop? As a rough snapshot of the main collections, prices for ceramic pieces start from around £5.75 and go up to around £40, rugs start from £27.50 and go up to £185 and tiles start from £45 per square metre.
What’s your favourite item that’s currently available in your shop? Gosh, that’s hard! Maybe our new patchwork tile stock featuring a couple of beautiful one-off tiles or our lovely contemporary tile range designed by Manda Clarke, or a beautiful bowl with a picture of a horse inside by Matthew Weir (pictured below).
You can shop online at http://alhambrahome.co.uk/ or visit the store at 148 High Street Buildings, Kirkdale, London SE26 4BB. Be sure to check when it’s open before you make the trip though. Alhambra Home is currently open Wednesday to Friday from 11am-5pm, Saturday 10am-6pm and other times by appointment.