Before we get started, I wanted to say on behalf of Kate and I that we know you, like us, are probably pretty concerned about the coronavirus. It’s a strange and worrying time and at a time like this chat about cushions and paint might seem a bit trivial. But, on the other hand, it might be just the escapism and cheer we all need. So in that spirit, we particularly hope you enjoy this podcast.
Well, I can’t quite believe that we have reached the end of series six of the Great Indoors podcast. A huge thank you to our sponsors Topps Tiles for helping us to get this point, our fabulous producer Kate Taylor and of course you, our lovely listeners. Don’t forget to join our wonderful interiors community on Facebook and please do rate and review as we do read each and every one!
On with the show, (listen to the full episode here) This episode is all about our love affair with pattern and colour and our house tour with Orla Kiely delivers on all fronts! Pattern is popular appearing everywhere, walls, floors, sofas – you name it, you can stick a pattern on it! Kate thinks that tiles are a great way to introduce pattern on a small scale and that less is more – of course, I couldn’t disagree more – more is more! So whatever your tastes check out Topps Tiles‘s plethora of designs where there’s something for everyone.
Orla Kiely’s iconic stem prints went on to be one of the most recognisable motifs and is responsible for the introduction of adding bold pattern to handbags which really wasn’t that much of a thing before Orla came on the scene. Now her fabulous retro-inspired designs adorn furniture, wallpaper, textiles, homeware and accessories and even a limited edition of Citroen cars!
Orla’s South London home certainly packs a pattern punch and is a riot of colour too. I loved visiting her and getting an insight into how she decorates. We started off in the lovely open plan kitchen, dining living area on the lower ground floor of her Victorian terrace which clearly has a modern mid-century vibe although still works well in the Victorian home. Orla strived to keep the original Victorian features throughout the house, although in the basement there weren’t any to speak of, so she had full reign on how to design her kitchen/dining space and it has a much more modern and midcentury vibe as a result, complete with concrete floor, walnut frame windows and a dug out floor.
The space is also unified by the use of walnut wood panelling from the back door frames, along the walls as a cladding and into the kitchen units. A really clever use of how a material can link an open plan space. Look at that wallpaper, one of Orla’s early designs, it seems I’m not alone in my passion for yellow as it’s also her go-to colour for it’s happy and bright character.
On the way up to the ground floor, we pass this idyllic library nook – I just adored the way this area has utilised a small space and the gloss yellow is heaven! I could quite easily make use of this space! Orla says her three hero colours are yellow, orange and olive and you see these repeated throughout her home which brings real harmony and so when she does pop the colour in unexpected places, the colour doesn’t feel random.
On to the large living room, which houses Orla’s fabulous collection of midcentury furniture and really oozes her unique sense of retro-meets-modern style. All of the original architectural Victorian details like the ceiling roses and cornicing are rightfully celebrated, but it was the huge picture window at the far end that got most of my attention. It was part of an addition from the previous owners but Orla had the large glass picture window installed to a very James-Bod esque effect! Also, note the walnut wall panelling again – a lovely red thread moment throughout the house.
I happened to mention what a gorgeous wall colour to which Kate happily pointed out is GREY! Orla feels a dark ‘grey’ is the ideal background for her brighter colours to pop, and I have to agree it really works in her setting as the perfect backdrop to get textiles and collection of art and ceramics.
Whilst there is a strong mid-century feel to this house it is not contrived or forced as all the pieces were carefully chosen by Orla because she truly loved them and suit her style and family needs. Combined with the tight colour palette throughout the house, it helps unify the home and creates consistency. Orla sits happily in the maximalist camp, and there are a variety of patterns, but all with her signature 60’s influence.
Onwards, up to the next floor but we’re stopped by what appeared to be some modern artwork, a resin set of panels but it’s actually a hidden door….
… concealing a fab shower with a glass ceiling so you’re bathed in natural light. Genius!
Upstairs to the master bedroom, and behind Olive’s (her 12 year pooch) chair is – what I thought was a floor to ceiling mirror – is actually glass separating the bedroom and bathroom creating more light in both.
I’d like to thank Orla so much for having us visit her beautiful home, which felt just that, a home. If just a very stylish one too! The two Kate’s and I have devised a way to continue recording the podcast remotely and have full intention to keep broadcasting every other week. So we’ll see you in the Great Indoors!