The art of organising your treasures with Addison Ross

We speak to Sarah Ross of Addison Ross, to talk about their latest designs, home organisation tips and fabulous ottoman trays.

Addison Ross is a British brand based in the beautiful Cheviot Hills of Northumberland. They design quality home accessories, from beautiful enamel photo frames and storage boxes to lacquered ottoman trays. Since the business was established in the ’70s, founder David Ross and his wife and Sarah have been dedicated to producing quality collections, with an emphasis on modern classic design, elegance and personal customer service.

Originally, Addison Ross started life in Eaton Terrace, Belgravia in 1978, where they had an Art Gallery. They created hand veneered and gilded pictures for all the West End Galleries and supplied many corporate contracts for banks and hotels including the Lainsborough on Hyde Park Corner and the Balmoral in Edinburgh. 

‘I met David in 1990, and on a visit to the factory on the Scottish Borders, I was playing around making some photo frames for myself,’ explains Sarah. ‘There was nothing much available in the market in those days, and once I had them back in my flat in London, guests admired them so much that David and I decided to create a collection and take them off to various boutiques.’ Buyers snapped up Sarah’s frames, and today Addison Ross sells to over 40 countries globally, including Liberty in London and Saks Fifth Avenue. Over the years they have added complementary collections of Silent Movement Alarm Clocks, Lacquered Storage Boxes and Ottoman Trays.

Our long-lasting appreciation for the Ottoman

Along with their close relatives such as the hassock, pouffe and tuffet, the ottoman can – as the name suggests – be originated all the way back to the Ottoman Empire. Hosts would invite guests to rest their feet on stools stacked with cushions, creating a social seating arrangement that would encourage open and friendly conversations. The padding was intended to provide comfort, but often featured remarkable designs created by traditional Turkish carpet weavers.

These exotic upholstered footstools eventually arrived on our European shores in the late 18th or early 19th century, and as demand grew, designs and styles became more varied. Today, the ottoman is a favourite with interior designers, and can be found in stylish homes across the country; perhaps at the foot of the bed or in place of a coffee table in the living room. They bring colour, pattern and texture to a room, and are a true example of how heritage, form and function can create something utterly timeless.


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Ottoman trays are the ultimate storage accessory

Adding a tray makes an ottoman even more useful and is an easy way to maximise on functionality while adding a stylish touch. The trays give you a stable and level surface that can be used for candles, drinks and ornaments, but they can also keep clutter at bay. 

We’re always attracted to high-quality products, and we really liked the Addison Ross collection of Scalloped Ottoman Trays. They all have a velvet base and are finished with 20 coats of high gloss lacquer, which is hand polished between each coat. 

We caught up with Sarah to find out more about how it all started, how to keep your home organised and how to style those lovely ottoman trays…

Sarah Ross (Image credit: Nicole Haines)

What inspires the design of your collections? 

We take inspiration from everywhere, from our travels around the world (when we’re eventually allowed again!) to Australia, Thailand, Bali to California and New York. We also go to a lot of exhibitions in London and Oxford, which is a constant source of inspiration, be it colour, or textures or just overall styles. Last year we loved the Tim Walker exhibition at the V&A, that was wild!

How do you usually go about designing a new product?

I have to say everything I do starts on a piece of paper with a pencil, but I’ve even been known to use some crayons and even scissors – I’m a bit low tech in this regard. I then give it to our technical team who will create my designs on the computer. David is much better with PowerPoint, so his designs usually start off looking much more professional than mine!

We adore your Instagram page – all the rooms look so neat and tidy. What are the key elements when it comes to combining form and function in the home?

I don’t have any rules, to be honest. I’m not a trained interior designer, but I do like displaying collections of beautiful objects around the house. I think this is what makes a house a home. 

In our family home, we have used the same paint colour throughout which is Dulux Chiffon White 2. It looks slightly blue in some rooms and grey in others, but it does keep a flow to the house. It’s a very calming colour. I’ve also used a lot of plain dove grey linen throughout for our curtains, I never tire of it, and from there I go mad with the colourful accessories and change them around whenever I want.


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Do you have any tips for someone who wants to reorganise and declutter their home?

My advice is to start small and focus on one corner of the house, such as a bookcase or a chest of drawers. Empty all the clutter out, then restyle with your favourite objects and use some elegant storage to store away the vital things you don’t necessarily want on display. 

I like to be fairly ruthless with anything left over, if it hasn’t seen the light of day since my last clear out maybe I shouldn’t keep it. David’s additional tip is to have a halfway location outside the house to allow for 2nd thoughts; everything seems to miraculously disappear, eventually!  

Which of your products are most popular with your customers at the moment?

Our frames are always popular, especially with our free Print and Fit service where you can upload your photo with any of our frames. We’ll print and frame it for you, gift boxed and delivered for free, making them the perfect gift. Our Silent Ticking Alarm clocks are also popular, especially as people are trying to keep their smartphones away from their bedsides, it’s nice to have an analogue night’s sleep! Our lacquered boxes and ottoman trays are also trendy, we’ve been slightly taken by surprise by the love shown for our scallop trays in particular. 

We love the lacquered ottoman trays – can you give any advice on how our readers can use them in the home? 

Thank you, yes we love them too! We keep finding new ways to style and use them. Obviously the trays look great on an Ottoman, styled with a couple of art books, a candle, maybe a pretty dish or small vase of seasonal flowers. Use our lacquered boxes to tidy away the ugly TV remotes. 

We also love using the scallop Ottomans as a bar tray. It’s lovely to keep the drinks bottles altogether and combined with a few glasses it gives happy hour more of a sense of occasion. 

What do people often use your display boxes for? 

We designed the large boxes specifically to fit up to three TV remote controls or two play station controls. Remote controls are my absolute bugbear, not only are they ugly but they’re always lost when you need them. Of course, our customers use the boxes to store other items as well, from matches to playing cards. In the hall, I have one specifically for the car keys and phone charges, and then I have another one by my bed for my earphones, book and reading glasses.

Your products come in a variety of colours, from bright yellow to pastel shades. Why would you say this is important? 

We love colour, and whilst the neutrals are always a good starting point, I think there’s a significant shift happening towards colour and people are becoming more confident using brighter shades. As much as I adore and admire the all-white interiors, I can’t resist the temptation of a cheerful orange, pink or blue.

You offer an exclusive print and fit service to your customers – why is this so popular? 

Our Print and Fit service is what truly makes us unique, and it goes to show why outstanding customer service is a part of our values. Simply choose a frame, upload your photo onto our website, edit it and change the filter. We will print and fit the photo for you. It’s so convenient as you’re saving time, and it’s also fun to use – it’s a bit like Instagram but for real printed images, and customers enjoy personalising their photos to match the frames. Once you start uploading your pictures onto our website, you’ll be hooked. This Christmas, we’ve launched our fantastic Collage Frames, and the largest will hold 96 photos – and you can fill each and every one using our Print and Fit service. 

Westbury Garden Rooms is a British company that values quality, elegance, and exceptional customer service. We instantly recognised these same values in Addison Ross. Visit www.addisonross.com to see their range of products and find out more.