Mad About . . .

Monday Inspiration: Beautiful Rooms

20th July 2020
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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.

stained glass ceiing via @restoration_drama

stained glass ceiing via @restoration_drama

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.

Bellflowers wallpaper image via morris&co

Bellflowers wallpaper image via morris&co

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.

abjua fabric image via clarke and clarke

abjua fabric image via clarke and clarke

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.

wooden bathroom units https:::www.instagram.com:anthology_creative_studio:

wooden bathroom units via anthology creative studio

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.

freestanding bath via @making_mulgrove_magical

freestanding bath via @making_mulgrove_magical

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?


Light and airy bathroom with wooden cabinets and wooden parquet floor.

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  • CJ 10th August 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Lovely! I really enjoy the soft pink and brown tones in these rooms!

  • Karen Ann 20th July 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Very pretty rooms! Loved all of them. Very inspiring. Especially enjoy new find Clarke & Clarke as I love pattern matching.

  • Anna 20th July 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the mask advice Kate. Just ordered two charcoal grey silk ones.

  • Jeff Clipse 20th July 2020 at 2:38 pm

    I love the underlying psychology of decor and design. The twist is in the mind. Unexpected jots of color are found in the day to day or cherished objects of a homeowner. You or I may say – “not on the floor!”. But YES on the floor is where it makes the most impact. A favored color or a repeating pattern on a favorite fabric – why not on the floor – wall – ceiling? Certain plants in a bathroom are soothing both to the nose and to the eye (citrus, lavender, eucalyptus). A terracotta planter isn’t my first choice – but this one is large, lovely and earthy.

  • monique cox 20th July 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Loved all the photos today. Especially love the stained glass in the kitchen but also like the different counter materials. Loved the sofa, one of a kind.

  • Jenny Harmes 20th July 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you Kate for all the gorgeous inspirational you find and provide. It gives us all a lift and sends our minds soaring…

    And keep up the running… Its a matter of perseverance! You will find one day, you finish your run and realise it was much easier! The more you run, the soon that time will come… (a voice of experience and I am no spring chicken!)

  • Leslie-Anne 20th July 2020 at 12:21 pm

    I agree the Susie Blues room is divine. I want to have my morning coffee there.

  • Anji 20th July 2020 at 10:26 am

    A lovely post, thank you. Curious about where else to look for fabric face masks. Practical and gorgeous would be great!

    • KittyT 20th July 2020 at 1:20 pm

      I think if you search online, Etsy would a good place to start, there is a choice of literally thousands! Best of luck.

  • Pauline Johnson 20th July 2020 at 8:39 am

    Just wondering if that velvet on the sofa is still available anywhere?

    • Susan Mears 20th July 2020 at 8:44 am

      Hi there, I bought this lovely sofa from eBay about 10 years ago for a bargain price! I think it’s a 1930s sofa and the velvet has been hand stencilled. I haven’t seen another one since.

  • Jade 20th July 2020 at 7:45 am

    Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen a sofa upholstered like that before and instantly fell in love with it. I clicked through hoping it was for sale but sadly not. Something to file away in my brain for use in the future.

  • Rachael Hare 20th July 2020 at 7:17 am

    Everything about the @susiebluesrooms is divine – I covet that sofa. Thanks for sharing the joy this Monday morning

    • Susan Mears 20th July 2020 at 8:47 am

      Thank you Rachel that’s a lovely thing to say.

      • Rachael Hare 20th July 2020 at 10:30 pm

        My pleasure, it brightened my day!

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