So we ‘re at the penultimate episode of the fifth season of The Great Indoors already and we would like to say a huge thanks to John Lewis & Partners for sponsoring us, our producer Kate Taylor and of course, you, our lovely listeners! Don’t forget our Facebook group for the love of all things interiors, so please get involved and share your views and questions about the show.
On today’s episode, we take another tour of my holiday let in Brighton and I show Kate all the renovations so far, we chat about connections between fashion and interiors and then on to hosting, entertaining and styling (laying) the table. You can catch the full show here.
I did actually amaze myself that my latest project is almost finished! I guess it’s different from my own house as it is a commercial property and I needed to get it ready for guests. As you would have seen from my last podcast notes, the bulk of the black has gone and has been replaced with green – Kate says Teal but I think it’s closer to a jade green (first disagreement of the day). As you may have heard on the last episode it’s a bijou terrace cottage and I have really gone for it in the colour and pattern stakes. I think when you’re lacking space really go all out and make the space really fun and a joy to be in. Anyway, all the walls have been adorned with Graham & Brown’s Bloomsbury emerald wallpaper and I asked the clever folk at Mylands to colour match the background so I could paint the ceiling in it and replace my design crime of a white ceiling.
Some of you may have seen on my Insta stories that I also painted the walls the same colour as the ceiling before wallpapering. Why, you may ask, as Kate did! Well, top decorator’s tip – if you have wonky, uneven walls it makes life much easier to paper so you will not see any slices of white or unsightly joins and you’ll get more of a professional finish.
I wanted a patterned rug in here but had difficulty finding the right one at the right size, as I didn’t want a ‘rug island’ scenario. So, I went to the fab Alternative Flooring who made me a large rug from the Quirky B Leopard Java carpet to my specifications so the feet of the sofa and armchair sit comfortably on top. Remember, if you’re going for this maximalist look, you have to go for pattern on pattern on pattern so a large rug or carpet will inject a big chunk of it. Another thing to bear in mind is to think about how you’re going to use the space, this is a holiday let and a bit of a party house so is perfect for full-on maximalism, not so great for somewhere you would want to relax and unwind in.
You can’t help but notice the gorgeous geometric fabric draped on the sofa, so just imagine this on the entire sofa. I just love it, it is Neo, part of the high performance Omega Velvet collection by Linwood. Not only does it make an edgy and fun addition to the florals in the room, but it is also made from the ever so practical polyester – perfect for a party house.
The kitchen was once entirely black with some jazzy glass knobs and I have toned it down somewhat but still kept it fairly dark with a deep forest green. I started with the tiles then good ol’ Mylands colour matched the paint to use on the cupboards. My plan was to let the kitchen area recede and slightly disappear into the corner of the room, focusing on the wallpaper and pretty much everything else.
Moving upstairs and to the master bedroom and it is pretty amazing – if I do say so myself! You cannot ignore the fabulous Geometric Aviary wallpaper by the equally fabulous British brand Divine Savages the perfect choice for the Birdcage Cottage. A small bedroom but I’ve gone big on pattern – on all the walls and updated the woodwork with a rich cobalt blue, I went for Smalt by Little Greene to surround the original pretty little window and shutters. The rest of the woodwork, skirting and architrave etc, have been painted in the same colour as the ground of the wallpaper so they just fade away. Which brings to my next top tip – pick your room’s best point and make a feature of it by painting in a strong colour to really make it stand out.
There is one thing missing, however – a canary yellow velvet headboard will be added to this room and I cannot wait for it to be complete. We mentioned before that to stop a house looking too bonkers, you need to have cohesion and a common thread (aka red thread) and for me, in this house, you’ll notice elements of black & white and yellow throughout which connects all of the spaces. Although, your red thread doesn’t have to be a colour – go for the same texture or textile – I also have a velvet thread going on too!
We had a wetroom flooring issue which was sorted thanks to our amazing builder who turned it all around for us pretty quickly – but it was obviously an unexpected extra cost – so top tip, if you’re renovating a bathroom or kitchen always have a contingency budget as you never know what’s lurking behind!
This subject came about when Kate received a press release highlighting ‘the little black chair’ – ‘the little black dress’ of the interiors world so, that got her thinking about the link between fashion and interior. So here we are, we looked at how the recent trend for Neo Mint has translated extremely well and has become the new millennial pink, the same cannot be said for Pantone’s colour of the year 2018, Ultra Violet. We saw it flashed across many a catwalk and big make-up brands adopted it but it never appeared in interior design.
One question Kate had was if we see trends first on the catwalk and high street and then put it in our interiors? I think it’s just a case of the fashion industry picking up trends from forecasters much quicker and get them on the rails and fashion trends tend to move quicker than in our homes – we’re not updating/decorating as often as we change our wardrobe!
This brings us on the Instagram hashtag #dresslikeyourhome where people have snapped themselves in their homes and there is a clear relationship between the clothes and interiors. Kate has always advised that if you’re stuck for a colour scheme – look in your wardrobe because if you love wearing it you’ll love living with it. Although this may not work for everyone, you may know by now that I love a pop of yellow in my home and may well wear the odd accessory – but not a yellow dress!
Kate, on the other hand, decorates her house then eventually takes inspiration from it and updates her wardrobe. I have done the reverse, I have had a long love affair with the Magnolia fabric by GP&J Baker and have procrastinated where I can use it for quite a while. As you can see below, I just about managed to grab the H&M jumpsuit last summer in said fabric and now I have actually made a decision and getting my new sofa covered in it – so exciting!!
I had a bit of fun when researching this topic and came across some tried and tested fashion rules and wanted to see if they translate into interior rules….
Firstly, Coco Chanel’s top piece of advice was “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” I have to say I have never done this although when styling a photoshoot I do like to add everything first (despite the looks from clients at first) and then gradually take things away. Kate does abide by this rule and has actually done in within interiors – so that rule gets a thumb up!
Next up, Leopard is a Neutral. I totally agree with this one, I own quite a bit, shoes and accessories and it really does go with everything. Plus I think it really adds a quirky edge to an interior but in the form of a cushion or objet, I’m not talking full-on Bet Lynch here. We agree that it works as a neutral but in its original form – no neon interpretations!
Then on to: Always invest in a good pair of shoes. The concept behind this is they are classic, comfortable and timeless and similarly invest in something that you use every day, so the sofa, mattress or oven perhaps – buy the best you can afford.
Lastly, matching shoes, bag and belt. On a fashion note, we thought this was really down to taste rather than a hard and fast rule and we could only compare it to a three-piece-suite. So in interiors a big no! No matchy matchy.
We’ve seen quite an increase of late on Instagram with people showing their table setting skills and especially in the lead up to Christmas we are all trying our best to impress our guests. But this got us thinking about how there seems to be a lack of interest in ‘the ding room’ with more and more people having multi-function rooms, open plan schemes or repurposing the space. Could we see a return to the dining room tough with so much interest on social media on creating the ideal setting?
I have to say, ordinarily, I don’t make much effort to ‘style’ the table as quite frankly cooking is enough effort, but for Christmas, I go all out. I love all the Christmas paraphernalia and if I can add it to the dining table I will, and not forgetting my best china too! I do have a serving table for the food, so I can make way for the fresh foliage, lights and tonnes of tealight holders.
So whether you like to keep it simple or really go to town remember don’t try and go for perfection, just make sure you do things that spark joy for you.
On the next episode we have a real treat in store, we chat to the lovely Rachel Khoo who will be sharing her top tips on entertaining over the festive season. Make sure you subscribe to the great Indoors on your podcast app so you don’t miss out!
Image at top: Emi velvet loveseat, Wayfair