It is extremely fortuitous (jammy even) that when Helen Cormack owner of wallpaper and fabric company Tissus D’Helene asked me to style a Japanese window (at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour) that she had chosen a collection of wallpapers in an orange and grey colour palette. Part One of my Marmalade and Slate interiors recipe was well underway as a blog post so it neatly dove-tailed with this trend – just love it when that happens!
I have really enjoyed styling several ‘oriental’ interiors features over the years for magazines – sometimes loosely termed. It was important though that the styling for this project needed to be defined more specifically as Japanese (a trend which Elle Decoration have cited as ‘Mood of The Moment’ for AW17).
Traditional Japanese design encompasses both decoration and colour but also has a strong ethos of simplicity and use of natural materials such as wood and bamboo, so I decided to try to marry the two. I took the circle motif on the Japanese flag as the basis for the window design, creating one semi circle from a decoupage patchwork design of several wallpapers and another with Anna Jeffreys new Helene wallpaper as it had a larger pattern repeat. It was important to showcase each wallpaper as clearly as possible so I did this with scale of pattern and contrasting colour.
These are the wallpapers selected by Helen for the window which are from some of the worldwide companies which Tissus D’Helene represents. From top to bottom: Ladder Leaf design, Anna Jeffreys; Links in Ochre from Galbraith & Paul; Art Deco by Ornamenta; Karin, by Ornamenta; Stars ink designed by Helene Blanche, Tapet Cafe; Helene Ochre and Blue by Anna Jeffreys; Diamond Apricot by Galbraith & Paul;
Scale it up
Although window displays can be abstract in style, it is difficult with this small space not to want to be playful with scale and create the illusion of a much bigger space. In the Spring this year, I suggested a theme of an ‘Indian style wedding tent’ as part of the British summer season. This time – a Japanese bathroom – complete with luxurious tea tray.
Useful props were rush matting for the floor (beach mats from Amazon), a Japanese inspired stool designed by Paul Brown at P B Woodcraft (a talented carpenter I found via Ebay – who made his design made to measure for Helen’s window. A big thank you to Paul for prioritising this for us) and lighting and display towel ladder in bamboo, few bathroom accessories and soaps I covered with wallpapers. I covered the tray with Galbraith & Paul’s zingy Links wallpaper design. P.S. Dunelm Mill gets a stylist’s thumbs up for their incredible selection of affordable faux flowers (prices have gone mad everywhere else and their selection was also the best!)
Props dress rehearsal
You may remember from the Wedding Tent window I styled for Tissus D’Helene in the Spring, that the ground floor display window at Chelsea Design Centre is a small but perfectly formed space of 2.5m x 95 cm square (ish). It is, give or take a few centimetres, the same size as our shower cubicle at home, so dress rehearsals with props are easy to do in advance.
Particularly useful, when space is at a premium and you need to ensure that there is interest from top to bottom of the window. Here is the beautiful handcrafted stool made by Paul Brown (IG: @pbwoodcraft) in Taunton. I covered three soaps in wallpapers, towels (Dunelm Mill – used some much nicer linen ones in the end from Notonthehighstreet). I am waiting for some Japanese wooden sandals to arrive (on the high seas from Japan!) to fill a little spot next to the tea tray … Should be here soon.
Many of the wallpapers from Tissus D’Helene are artisanal hand printed works of art and the prices reflect the time and expertise required to create them. Luckily, our miniature schnauzer Panda takes props guarding extremely seriously … woof.
This is our rather useful covered car port where I cut out and prepared the two Japan flag wallpaper inspired semi circles in advance of installation. I decoupaged one with various wallpapers and the other was made from Anna Jeffreys new Helene wallpaper.
Backseat from The White House in Reading to Chelsea Harbour
I don’t know what I would do with my old estate car! However, the boot with all the other props wasn’t the place to keep flat the wallpaper patchwork semi circle …
Hands on team
This is Helen Cormack and her colleague Matthew Daines (who is himself a trained textile designer/furniture designer – as well as ex World of Interiors staff under ex Editor Min Hogg) helping to put the wallpaper on the backing boards. I think I mentioned it before in a post on the Design Centre, that the level of qualifications and experience of staff is quite incredible.
East meets West at Tissus D’Helene
I designed the window so that the various wallpapers worked together in harmony offering visitors a contrasting view from each side of the window.
Thank you so much for reading! Coming soon is my Stylist meets New Designer interview featuring Anna Jeffreys who designed the Helene Ochre/Blue wallpaper and the Ladder leaf design used in the Japanese window display.
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