The art world has seen some eye-wateringly expensive pieces being sold at auction recently but Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s current Art for Living exhibition (6 – 21 December 2017) at their Pimlico Road showroom is exciting for two reasons. Firstly, the selling exhibition shows how to use contemporary art in room sets with both antique and contemporary furniture and secondly, the prices are in the more affordable region of (£1,500 – £15,000) – think high street sofa to budget kitchen.
Art for Living
What are the elements which bring to life a beautiful decorating scheme and make it a home? Sometimes it is books or accessories such as glass and ceramics but more often than not it is some well-chosen art. Whether it is photography, an oil painting or prints – the size and type of picture can dramatically alter the dynamic and mood of a room.
The art for the Art For Living exhibition I visited last week has been selected by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler design director Philip Hooper in conjunction with Fred Mann, director of New Arts Project. The work has been chosen from 7 emerging to mid range international artists:
Mix it up
Contemporary oils hung with fine white frames next to antique armoire and centred just above a dark wood antique chair.
Hung at eye level, these prints draw your eye along the passage wall.
Art connecting with art
This gentle oil by Fergus Hare (my favourite BTW) is hung low and directly in line with some art glass and centred above an oriental display unit.
Switch it up
This is a great example of how contemporary art can really give a more traditional room attitude.
Scale it up
This large-scale (243 x 131 cm) pastel botanical urn with its dark background and frame fits perfectly just below picture rail and just above the skirting.
Interior design details
The beauty of the exhibition is that you see how the art interacts and changes the dynamics in the showroom room sets. While I was there, I was also busily scribbling down some interior design details I noticed along the way. Here are a few of my favourites:
Oh the ruggage
Monochrome striped cotton dhurry with thick stitched seams. Exquisite. Just relaxes a room and the combination of tribal/boho elements such as these wooden bowls and dish are v now for country house decorating. The great thing is that tribal/ethnic accessories never go out of fashion, they just add layers of interest and texture to a room and work with both contemporary and antique furniture.
Bunched – Pantone Colour of the Year 2018
When I visited the Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler showroom it also happened to be the day that Violet, Pantone colour of the Year for 2018 was announced … perfect timing with purple anenomies and violet clematis arrangements already on display.
It’s curtains for white lining
The direction of curtain styles and fashions tends to filter down from interior designers. The beauty of this curtain treatment is that you see a pretty fabric – rather than just white lining when you look through glass doors or windows. This curtain has the bold print on the interior and smaller print for the lining. It also has a very sweet narrow leading edge and is pooled just ever so slightly. Yum.
Curtains and carpets
Linen curtains with silk velvet leading edge and hem, thickly interlined with gentle pooling on a very pretty floral carpet. Adore.
Guest room chic
It really is all in the detail. How lovely, to go to someone’s house this Christmas and find a beautiful fabric covered luggage stand in your guest room. Just remember to bring equally elegant luggage!
Oblong cushions are sitting perfectly in proportion to the back cushions of this sofa. The reverse fabric in Wedgwood blue velvet is picked out from one of the blues from the Chinoiserie facing fabric. It is the contemporary twist of horizontal black and white fabric trim that makes it complete. Two is all you need here. Definitely.
Bespoke interior decoration
5 reasons why we all need an interior designer or stylist: 1. It takes someone who is confident with colour to put together a colour palette of ochre, red, brown and ice blue and to make it work; 2. I am not sure you can see in this shot but the walls are lacquered with a special paint effect by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in a gloss that you really wouldn’t get from a pot of ordinary gloss paint; 3. bespoke display shelves creating oriental angles in the fireplace recesses; 4. A glamorous power sofa – understated, not shouty. Serpentine shaped in buttoned ice blue (has a hint of Jackie Kennedy at The White House about it); 5. an exquisite floral patterned carpet …
Walls and skirts
Where to paint and how much is a question often pondered. See how resolved the decoration is in this passage. The ceiling is painted in white – reflecting the white patterned carpet. The pistachio green specially mixed by Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler covers the dado rail but not the skirting which is kept white. The white skirting neatly joins with the white of the carpet. There are no rules as to whether you paint the skirting the same colour as the walls – but here the white skirting definitely works with the carpet and ceiling.
Bobbin William IV armchair
You may remember from a previous post that one of my latest passions is bobbin furniture. This is an ebonised bobbin wood antique William IV library wing armchair c1830 – 40 for sale in the Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler showroom, £6,950.
Thank you so much for reading. I expect that you, like me will need to get organised for Christmas. I have so loved sharing these blog posts with you this year and I have a few more up my sleeve for 2018, so please stay tuned … !
In the meantime, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes. Charis x