Occasionally, the elements for my bespoke interior Styling Box service sound more like the ingredients for a cook’s recipe or episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ than for a decorating scheme! A client’s brief to find a contemporary country scheme for an open plan living/dining room in Wiltshire recently found me doing a bit of time travelling in my research. On the design journey I found exquisite new wallpapers and fabrics whose design DNA comes from the berries of Swedish forests, to the spicy hues of English 13th Century cob houses and Renaissance Italy.
Winter spice palette
Inspired by nature’s earthy pigments, the resulting scheme offers a fusion of warmth with hues of cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, ochres and saffron against a backdrop of crisp and uncluttered monochromatic black and white.
The tonal palette makes for a calming scheme and one which allows for the shapes of interesting furniture and accessories to take centre stage. Pattern on pattern with multi colour can work well for some clients but for others it can be just too busy.
Sustainable decorating scheme
Finding a sustainable scheme that clients will love for the long term is paramount. Reusing and repurposing existing furniture and acesssories is something I always discuss with clients. As a long-time advocate of vintage and antiques, I know that the choice is quite the opposite of limited when it comes to style and availability.
The overall scheme is rather like a puzzle. Working out where to use old and when to buy new becomes apparent in the early stages of the design process.
Winter berries wallpaper
Lanka in Fresh Ginger colourway is such a pretty wallpaper design and is available direct through its Swedish designer Cathy Nordstrom Textiles. It is one of those designs that could work with either a wintery or summery scheme and it is that tension that makes it even more appealing.
Antiques of the future
I love the Galvin Brothers‘ furniture designs with their nod to the past as well as the future. The aesthetic is clean and crisp, turning everyday furniture into something rather special.
Ian Sanderson’s showstopping ottoman
Ian Sanderson’s stand at Decorex 2021 with the launch of their Poppinjay II collection was one of the stand-out collections at the show. What also made many of our hearts skip a beat was this deep buttoned ottoman which design director Helen Sanderson styled using her designs Lord Velvet, Amber, with piping in Palis Velvet, Veridian with fabric border separating the velvets in Inca Ravenna.
The power of paint and soft furnishings
Paint is one of the most powerful and affordable ways of making a difference in a room, and I think the combination of this gorgeous colour and contrasting roman blind is rather wonderful. The interlined blind was made by Mrs Steed Interiors using Ceylon Stripe by James Hare.
It shows how thickly interlined roman blinds can maxmise light in a room as well as insulating against drafts and heat loss. The contrasting paint was chosen by Karen Steed’s client Sue Perkins and is Chanterelle, a warm ochre inspired by wild mushrooms from Fenwick and Tilbrook
Black and white grid of picture frames
I was invited to The White Company’s Christmas 2021 press show at a glamorous apartment at the old TV Centre in West London’s White City. I loved the simplicity of the eucalyptus, berry and bauble sprigs which highlighted a row of black picture frames.
Each one included an easily achieveable and affordable art work on a piece of thick water colour paper which was then tacked loosely to each frame. Very smart and the perfect dynamic for my Wiltshire client’s contemporary country scheme.
Diffused pendant lighting
Smart, casual lighting by Gong as seen at Decorex 2021.
Check out this box pleat console table cover
I loved this smart check box pleat tablecloth made more elegant by the height of the console table. As seen on The World of Interiors magazine stand at Decorex 2021.
Recolouring vintage bamboo
This was a dining table laid by The White Company for their Christmas 2021 press show. Their merchandising team had used some rather lovely vintage (not White Co) bamboo chairs which were sprayed an eye-catching squid ink black.
Mellow fruitful upholstery
I liked this sofa upholstery by Sofas and Stuff using a digital collage of antique print imagery from The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Natural History collection. Its contemporary suggestion of the countryside works perfectly for my client.
When a wardrobe becomes a drinks cabinet
Whether you are looking for a drinks cabinet or just general storage in a living space, you can make it fun by customising a wardrobe, such as this one by Clockhouse Furniture.
Vintage and Antique cupboards can also be upholstered/wallpapered or painted to do the same thing.
Walling is a luxury wall covering using fabric and braids, and it also offers a softening level of sound insulation. I loved this version I saw at Focus 2021 as it had just the country aesthetic I was looking for the Wiltshire project.
It also occurred to me that country houses have long had a practice of reusing vintage fabrics for this purpose which also makes a more sustainable option. You might like to take a look at the Haines Collection or Georgie Pridden’s Fabrics who has a new online shop coming soon.
If you are looking to refresh a room(s) in your home, are a first time-buyer, upsizing or downsizing, you might like to take a look at my affordable interior design service Styling Box. Bespoke design schemes include samples wrapped in this beautiful and useful storage box. Gift vouchers are also available for Christmas, a special birthday, baby shower, wedding or house moving present.
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