Hello and welcome to my show notes for the second episode in our 11th season of the Great Indoors podcast. Yes, we are still recording remotely but it is so lovely to see restrictions starting to ease in the UK and hopefully we can all find a hint of normality. We have all got so used to shopping online now and our lovely new sponsor Harlequin has developed some snazzy tech to help make it easier when ordering wallpapers and fabrics for your home. They have created online design books which give you a full overview of the range, enabling you to combine patterns and styles to your hearts’ content. You can find it all online at harlequin.sandersondesigngroup.com where you can also order those all important swatches.
On with today’s show, we’re talking curtains, blinds and all things to do with window treatments, (including a revelation from me) and we dig into the do’s and don’t’s of the country house trend. On our style surgery, we discuss how to pet-proof your home.
Before we were able to go any further, I had my orders from Kate Watson-Smyth to tell all about my recent revelation. So, I have finally got round to designing the master bedroom – the last to be tackled in the house and the builder husband Tom has removed the Artex ceiling (do get advice before attempting it yourself). We have left this until last as we are hoping for an extension of dreams one day, so the bedroom will inevitably be re-modelled. So, this is a mini makeover, the walls have been painted, although let’s face it with my obsession, it will be wallpapered one day. But in the meantime, I’ve gone for the gorgeous Turquoise by Edward Bulmer after so much deliberation and tester sheets of the calming colours – each time I looked at them and I just felt ‘meh’ so I went with my gut!
On to the curtains, I’ve got three large windows and I have a real soft spot for pinch pleat interlined curtains – which are not cheap! So here goes, the confession, on the basis, that they are large curtains, floor-length and interlined – I have gone for…. drum roll……. a plain neutral. Obviously, I’m not just stopping there, to pimp them up, I’m adding a giant navy pom pom trim to each inner and outer leading edge by Samuel & Sons.
Kate thought I had gone for the neutral because I’ll be re-designing the room again, but I can tell you I won’t be changing the curtains as they cost an absolute bomb! I am addicted to lovely designer fabric and as I live in a cottage style property with mainly small windows I can get away with about 1.5m of fabric for a Roman blind. For the three sets of bedroom curtains, I need about 25m!! So, yes I would love a fabulous floral chintz but that is something I just can’t commit to right now. The other thing is, opting for a neutral, I’m hoping they will go with future scheme changes.
One other point to make is to think about where your blinds and curtains face and whether you want the world to see the plain linings or indeed if you want to look at something pleasing from the garden. I love the thought of having something unexpected with a bold patterned lining – don’t spend too much, however, especially if it’s a South facing room as the fabric will get sun-bleached over time.
We have been asked many times about certain length and generally speaking they need to be floor length. The only time you can get away with short curtains is if you have a small attic bedroom or a cute deep set country window – it’s all about the proportions. Long curtains help elongate the room and if you have low ceilings (like mine) vertical stripes will visually push your ceiling higher. To get around the radiator issue, I have blinds as well so when the heating is on in the winter you can pull the blind down and get the benefit of the radiator. Don’t forget window treatments are a great way to insulate too.
It’s not all about spending loads on bespoke treatments. You can customise some ready-mades with fringing, braids, pom poms and even a nice wide band on the edges can transform the look completely.
Do share your window treatment dilemmas, wins, ideas over on our Facebook group or if you just want to be part of a fabulous interior loving community.
We have seen an enormous jump in the number of people moving to the country which has sent house prices through the roof. Not only are we wanting to relocate to the country we also want to decorate in this quintessential English country style. However, Kate stopped me my tracks to inform me that this English country style was actually popularised by Nancy Lancaster (who was American) when she bought Colefax & Fowler in the 1940s.
It does beg the question of whether the pandemic has changed many people’s plans or has it just sped them up? It seems that many are moving out of the cities seeking a new life in the country as let’s face it, since the pandemic, it has made us appreciate our outside space so much more, and realise that we don’t need to commute five days a week – so our priorities have changed.
This country house look I think does go hand in hand with the current property market and is being embraced by city dwellers too. You too may have picked up in the news recently that Carrie Symonds, partner of the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has employed interior designer Lulu Lytle of Soane to decorate No.10 Downing Street. What I found interesting was in the article it said that an ‘insider’ said that Carrie was desperate to redecorate and “get rid of Theresa May’s John Lewis furniture nightmare.” There’s nothing wrong with John Lewis, I’d like to add!
So No.10 is getting a modern makeover by a fairly young couple but in the style of an old English country house. It’s really interesting to see many millennial influencers like Louise Roe who has started her own home Instagram account @louiseroehome are also revelling in this style. She recently mentioned on stories that she’s been buying 1980s decorating books on eBay for some inspiration. How interesting that the younger generation is emulating this old fashioned, nostalgic country house look.
This has been bubbling over for a while, we discussed #cottagecore last year which was all about craving a rural simple life brimming with nostalgia for baking, home crafts smock dresses. The English Country style is all about comfort and ease, although much grander and it’s more house than cottage.
Whilst you can spend a fortune to achieve this look, it can be done equally as well by looking on eBay or the odd flea market – think wicker, bamboo, chintz, plates on the wall, frills and even pelmets! So if you go for the key staple items you can achieve it on a tighter budget. Look out for remnants of fabric to cover a chair or even the odd metre for a fabulous cushion – do check out The Haines Collection, for surplus high-end fabrics.
Huge thanks to our sponsors Harlequin, our fab producer Kate Taylor from Feast Collective and of course our lovely listeners.