At first it was hard to see how the colours of the chilly mountains of Ecuador would come together with the equatorial, rocky and, in parts, surprisingly barren islands of the Galapagos. Working boats painted as blue and green as the ocean had bumpers of intricately hand-knotted blue rope. Although it wasn’t flamingo season, we came across a lost flock, all soft pink from their diet of shrimp and algae.
I found that, in some ways, the Galapagos and Ecuadorian landscapes offered the same colours but showed them off in very different ways – a fabulous styling technique from nature itself. I considered whether to even place these two distinct places together, but if a trip is planned to one, it would be foolish not to explore the other. For these reasons, your inspirations are likely to come home all mixed up & this is very natural.
I named my colours (from the top) hacienda, flamingo, Sally lightfoot, alpaca, isola, booby, flotsam, hummingbird, St Anthony & sea lion.
Tune in next week as I start to details the way I brought home these colours, and how I re-lived my experiences through interior styling.
R is for…
Ribbons were one of my first collections and I have never grown out of them. Although I do not sport them in my pigtails anymore, I use them for colour inspiration, making a package special, tying a placecard on a napkin, or have them simply because they’re beautiful.
My ribbons are now housed in yellow vintage labelled shoeboxes, each colour in a different box, all special and all treasured. My mother used to buy me two lengths of ribbon, each a metre long, so I would always have on for each pigtail. I continue to buy two metres at a time, a leftover habit from childhood, but have no need to cut the length in half these days.
A fixation with pulleys and rope serves as more than another excuse for me to rummage in ship chandleries and seaside antique stores. I use them at home and in my shop for many practical reasons – they’re perfect for hanging large items from the ceiling or wall – but also to add textural differences or a new focal point.
They’ve always been part of my styling inventory. I hunt rubber stamps down in antique shops and print specialists or have them custom made from favourite fonts. I then stamp everything from hessian sacks and unhemmed pieces of calico to price tickets at my shop.
My love of nature is no secret, as its beauty reveals colour combinations and textures that rarely disappoint. A bedroom is at best a quiet space where you can recharge, so what better place to rely on the subtle charms of natural elements? Here, a rustic birch headboard sits as the defining centrepiece of the bedroom, without crowding or shouting in the space. Its muted natural colour palette lets it stand as an eye-catching piece while still maintaining the calming feel. The oversized ‘S’ also adds a cheeky touch.
Layering is one of the easiest ways to add interest to a space. Whether it’s a living room or bedroom, you can’t go wrong with generous layers of textiles – but what better place than a bed, really? Here, a vintage futon cover, French ticking and Belgian flour sack crown the bed, with a common thread of colour and texture running through. This lets the bed sing for its supper in terms of a room styling device, but makes it extra inviting at the end of the day. The finishing touch can be seen in the photographic print that references fabric, too – a nod to the room’s textural appeal.
A study of colour makes a fine theme for a bedroom. Here, rich red in all its glory gives this space a vibrant feel, with navy and black accents tempering the look. My favourite Vivienne Westwood wallpaper panel functions as a bedhead and sets the tone for a mix and match of woodblock quilts, screen-printed and embroidered pillows.
The wall above your bed is prime real estate for styling, so think outside the square when you come to use it. Sure, a piece of art or a headboard are easy fixes, but don’t think you can’t have a bit of fun here. A beautiful piece of fabric or wallpaper could be temporarily affixed above your bed, a great choice if you like to rearrange your scheme often. Use a ribbon or string to create your own design as I have here. The stretch of wall is a great blank canvas.