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Photo by Riikka Kantinkoski.
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Mr Walnut Grey's profile

Published on Nov 18, 2015

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Photo by Riikka Kantinkoski.

Mr walnut grey AGED 11, accoutred in grey


Queen's university, Belfast

I have a diploma in Interior Design from the Interior Design Institute, London and a certificate in Interior Styling from Central Saint Martins, London.

I’m also a psychologist. I have a bachelor’s in Psychology from Queen’s University, Belfast and a master’s in Psychology from the University of Surrey.



I’m a freelance design writer and a blogger for my online zine, Walnut Grey Design. I write intelligently about ‘good design’ from the viewpoint of interiors, architecture, objects and lifestyle. I have a specialist focus on modern contemporary and midcentury Nordic, British and Irish design.

I’m particularly interested in how we foster emotional connections with design and how we can use design to curate our lives. As such, I style and curate spaces.

Photo by Riikka Kantinkoski.



My style is masculine, urbane, urban and punctilious.

I value my integrity. I do have an opinion on design and I will constructively voice it. I’m also the questioning and reflective type.

I understand a great deal about human emotions and behaviours, a competency I feel is integral to my writing. I believe ‘good design’ should be people-centric.

‘Monocle Man’

I styled this image in Copenhagen at NORM.ARCHITECTS' beautiful warehouse studio in the heart of the city. Objects from Danish company &tradition were used, alongside personal effects.

Photo by Rune Lundø.


DesignTrade Copenhagen

I was very happy to be involved in this inaugural design show.

I am part of a European-wide bloggers’ alliance, comprised of nine prominent design bloggers from nine different European nations.

We are passionate about good design and its potential to inspire and improve quality of life. By visiting and spending time in different European cities, it is our vocation to discover, revisit and champion the best the design world has to offer.

Styling by Mr Walnut Grey at DesignTrade Copenhagen’s blog zone. Showcases a carefully tailored mix of contemporary and classic design.

Photo by Riikka Kantinkoski.

See www.bloggerstour.com for more information.

talking design

My most recent speaking engagement was at designjunction during the 2013 London Design Festival. I was delighted to speak about lighting & emotion and Chilean architecture & design.

Image via www.designjunction.co.uk.



I was born and bred in Belfast, but moved to study, live and work in the vibrant, sometimes maddening and truly creative city of London for almost 14 years. On top of this, I lived in Tennessee for one year, but that’s another story. I returned to live in Belfast in October 2012.

Belfast may be a small UK/Irish/European city, but it’s dynamic and cosmopolitan (surprising many visitors), having a vibrant culture, a burgeoning design scene, celebrated architecture and friendly natives. With its vivid history, Belfast is often misunderstood and overlooked. Recent cultural and urban development programmes - notably the Titanic Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter - are helping to rejuvenate this 400 year old city. Despite a continued sectarian divide in some locales, the vexing ‘marching season’ and the need for a better public transport infrastructure, tourism is at an all-time high and Belfast is shining and striving. It is arguably Ireland’s finest destination.

Belfast is a well connected city – to Dublin, London and many European destinations, meaning this design aficionado can keep his finger on the design pulse.


Sights in the city inspiring my creativity.

Ulster museum

Sights in the city inspiring my creativity.


Sights in the city inspiring my creativity.

Juxtaposition I

Sights in the city inspiring my creativity.

Belfast is a city of many architectural styles and some wonderful juxtapositions of buildings.

The bakery

I live in an urbane apartment in a wonderful converted bakery, aptly named The Bakery, in the heart of Belfast. The Bakery was originally the Ormeau Bakery. Opened in 1890, it was once Ireland’s largest bakehouse.

Photo by Mal McCann.



I am a city boy. I have a natural predisposition towards city life. It fuels my imagination, stirs me at an intrinsic, emotional level and influences my thinking. As a writer, I am fascinated by urban life and the people who live within the context of cities. I relish the pretentious, precocious, tempestuous, vivacious, maddening, voyeuristic, sadistic, ebullient, disturbing, lonely and convivial behaviours that en masse give rise to a city’s personality; its own unique form of expression.

Image shows Belfast's imposing city hall.

Inspiring Urban landscape: texture

Inspiring my creativity.

Inspiring Urban landscape: brutal

Inspiring my creativity.

Inspiring Urban landscape: light

Juxtaposition Ii

The urban landscape constantly inspires me with it's many juxtaposed settings.

Untitled Slide


Grey is never merely grey. A staple colour in Nordic design, grey effuses an aura of calm, its presence both solid and grounding. With a poetic narrative and a strong charisma that connects on an emotional plane, grey relieves tension, anxiety and pressure. Grey is smoky yet translucent, bold yet light, emphatic yet understated. More than a rainy day or concrete block, grey is the formative colour and texture by which all others are judged. It is influential, developmental and decisive. Undoubtedly, grey is one of the design world’s foremost foundations.

Image shows signage for marketing communications company Grey Group's new headquarters in New York by Pentagram, an independent design consultancy. Image © Pentagram Design.

Favourite things

Favourite design: good design
Walnut Grey Design is consistently focused on ‘good design’ and advocates Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design:

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design makes a product understandable
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is thorough down to the last detail
Good design is environmentally-friendly
Good design is as little design as possible

Favourite designer I: Hans j. Wegner

Hans J. Wegner on his Flag Halyard Chair. Photo by Jens Mourits Sørensen.

Favourite designer Ii: Charles and Ray Eames

Favourite icon: Dolly

Backstage at a Dolly concert.

Favourite Chair: The shell chair

The Shell Chair was designed by Hans J. Wegner. Also shown is a Vipp bin & Eames DSR chair. Taken at The Bakery.

Favourite publication: Monocle

Monocle shown on a Bølling Tray Table in walnut & storm blue. Taken at The Bakery.

Favourite Pleasure: coffee with something sweet

At Nordic Bakery, London.


Wooden Monkey by Kay Bojesen. BIRDs by Kristian Vedel. Taken at The Bakery.

All images by Mr Walnut Grey unless otherwise noted.