Well I’m feeling a bit better about things this week and I hope you are too and if you’re not, well perhaps be reassured that it seems to be an emotional rollercoaster for all of us at the moment and you can be down for no apparent reason and bounce back up again for something equally spurious. I refuse to believe that running is helping as that would mean I can ever stop and I can only heave myself round that park at a snail’s pace on the basis that one day the gym will open again and I will be able to return to the comfort of a padded treadmill in an air conditioned space.
I do know that all your lovely messages cheered me enormously so thank you so much for sending them. And in return there’s an extra room this week and, I think, a rather fabulous collection of spaces. So come into this incredible kitchen and have a cup of coffee before we set off.
Just look at that stained glass ceiling. Imagine moving into a house and discovering that when you remove a suspended ceiling in a former billiard room during a massive renovation. Do follow @restoration_drama to see the rest of her wonderful house. Words can’t quite describe how much I love this.
But, now it’s time to move to a working space – well a desk anyway – and this lovely room is covered in Morris & Co Bellflowers wallpaper but as much as I love the design I hope you will agree that it’s the navy blue woodwork that really sets it off so much more than if it were white – and I appreciate there are white flowers in the pattern which might make you think that white would work. You’re just going to have to trust me that blue is better.
I had a little set to with the choirmaster general Gareth Malone on this very subject this week (yes I’m going to namedrop – I think he’s great and was thrilled to be namechecked!) when he asked for my help on instagram stories pointing out his navy blue walls and crisp white woodwork and asking if he should paint the floors white. Of course I told him to go over the woodwork in navy blue (or a less contrasting colour) to which he replied that having just painted them white he “wasn’t feeling it” which I get (sort of) so I said yes white floors would make the white skirting boards look like a deliberate design choice. I don’t know if he took any notice although he does (sometimes go to the same gym as me) so I may ask him if/when it re-opens and I see him. He countered by showing my that he does have a copy of my book – in his loo – so I reckon we’re even.
Probably time for a little sit down after all that and first up is this very pretty product shot from Clarke & Clarke, which is a masterclass in pattern mixing and clashing. Basically, the colour palette is very limited – essentially three shades – pink pale and dark (almost red or burgundy) and a bluey green in light and dark with a bit of cream to bring it all together. If you look more closely you can see that the different patterns echo each other in that the shapes are similar and it’s broadly floral or feathery in design with a few insects as well. If you wanted to add another element then a stripe always works with a floral, or any pattern come to that. Black and white is good but here it might be a little harsh against the soft pastels, so if you can’t find a co-ordinating stripe then make sure you bring in some black and white elsewhere to make it look deliberate – a striped vase by the sofa for example. And yes I know it’s a set but you know what I mean.
A more slouchy sort of sofa at vintage seller Susie Blue’s home and I love how this has been upholstered to look like the flowers are growing over the seat and up the back. This would be a great way to bring character to an old sofa and, since the outside is plain, might not make you feel like the pattern was too scary as you could also keep the seat plain and just have the flowers along the back.
Bathrooms next, seems the right place to finish and I do love a good bathroom. I styled one for a job this week (you will see the results in a few weeks on here) which may be another reason for the lifted spirits. I left the house! I mean it was terrifying – I had to get on a train and wear a mask for four hours and before I did it, rather like going to the dentist, it all felt scary in anticipation but once I was out there and saw the one way system at the station and the perspex screens at the coffee shop and the cordoned off seats on the train to keep us all apart it all felt very safe and reassuring and I was happy to be out in this crazy new world we seem to live in. I’m having my hair cut this week and then full re-entry to life will be complete.
Incidentally, a tip I have picked up following the long mask-wearing period. Firstly, if you wear glasses make sure they sit over the mask (just a tiny bit) which prevents steaming up and secondly, if you are buying non medical ones then silk is better than cotton, it’s lighter and cooler and less, well, sweaty. I bought a linen one as linen is anti-bacterial and cool, but there’s no doubt it’s heavier than the silk one I bought from here, which yes is expensive, but is also wearable for long periods so I think worth it. That said I have also bought two from here for half the price but they haven’t arrived yet so I don’t know if they will be any good.
Anyway, bathrooms. Regular readers will know I love natural wood in a bathroom and that top one with its parquet floor and finely grained wooden storage units is heavenly. The rustic terracotta pot brings a much needed vintage vibe although I appreciate most of us would need that space for a loo rather than a small tree but take the general inspiration from it.
And finally, this lovely tiled bathroom which shows you how lovely a classic metro tile can be and reminds me of the importance of the disrupter colour. The blue and white floor tiles are somehow totally unexpected and totally perfect with the wall tiles. I would probably have stuck to a classic black and white and this is better. All hail the unexpected twist in the decor I say.
What do you think?