No I don’t think I’m done with the florals and greens yet. Must be the onset of winter. And the clocks going back. Or the continuation of living indoors. Probably all of it. It’s hardly surprising that green, the colour both of nature and creativity, is drawing us all in this year and I have been gazing at this room below for several days.
Now, yes it has ridiculously high ceilings and huge amazing windows, but it’s the enveloping walls, ceiling and woodwork that have drawn me in. Paired with a simple stripped wooden floor and furniture and almost no other colours. Of course every person reacts differently to every shade of a colour and this might not be yours, but for me this dark shade with no yellow but a hint of grey that lies somewhere between olive and forest is the one. You could lighten it with natural linen curtains, paint the ceiling in a soft pink or disrupt it with a vibrant pink as in the image below which is invisible green by Little Greene with chairs painted in leather.
Sticking with dark and I love this book corner in the home of Sharon Hornsby. Fitting the bookshelves around this corner really gives it a purpose, while the plant screens it from the rest of the room. Using plants like this is how you do broken plan living, which is the new open plan. Basically, while open plan is lovely for allowing the light to flood into previously dark spaces, it can end up feeling like everyone is spread out in one large space. Using rugs, plants and low shelves to break up the space keeps the light but creates smaller zones where different activities can happen.
I’d love to sit here with a book and while away an afternoon and before anyone comments, I imagine the chair was pulled out for the photograph rather than because it always sits out here. The other day someone pointed out that often these images show none of the messy realities such as computer wires and while that’s true, and these images can present an idealised version of our homes, they can also present us with inspiration and ideas.
So if you are thinking of bookshelves, mine are similar and are painted MDF, which is a cheap material. If you are just storing paperbacks they can be as narrow as 20cm, if you are allowing magazines you need to go to just under 25cm so they really don’t take up much space in a room. And dark shelves really allow the books to stand out in the way that white ones don’t.
Below the dark shelving unit has been painted white inside but the backs of the cubby holes vary. If the books aren’t filling the space entirely then think about left over wallpaper or perhaps a shade of paint that is slightly darker than the one on the rest of the walls. Have fun with it.
But actually it was the chairs that drew me to this image. Mismatched fabrics on matching chairs; each one is slightly different and they look brilliant in this otherwise classic dining room with its plain berber rug and large gilt mirror. I keep reading that patchwork is the new trend, partly because if you do it yourself it’s a good way to use up leftover fabrics rather than buying new. If you don’t have anything spare and fancy a go then look at the Haines Collection, which sells surplus material left over from interior design jobs. The site tells you how much is available and you can buy in 1m lengths. There is also advice on what the weight of the material makes it good for.
Finally, talking of doing something unexpected how’s this for a gym? It’s part of Les Deux Gares hotel, designed by the current darling of the interior design set Luke Edward Hall, and it’s a mix of emerald greens and cobalt blues with floral and leopard print sliced through with stripes. You might think it’s too much, I think it’s a lovely antidote to all the white boutique hotels we have seen of late. That said I also think it is a hotel that works well for instagram.
It’s tucked down a side street between the gares nord and est and has been designed to Luke’s anti-modern aesthetic. If it wasn’t for the pandemic I’m sure we would all have heard much more about it. I’d definitely like to have a look next time a trip to Paris is on the cards. What do you think? It feels very English and it will be interesting to know what the French think – although presumably they won’t be staying in it. Mind you I lived in Paris for three years some 30 years ago and I remember how they all adored the M&S sandwich as they had nothing like that back then and it was regarded as the height of good taste (both literally and figuratively). What will they make of these bonkers clashing colours I wonder.
Would you stay there? Or are you retreating from mad florals to the more restful green end of the palette?