Tuesday 12 August 2014

World of Interiors 3


Why is it every so-called luxury development in the UK a mix of velvet, dodgy chandeliers, dark wood, silk or sateen cushions, beige... Brown stippled walls, ugly accessorizing, ugly vases, beige marble bathrooms? (Christian Harrup)

Nice kitchen, but the monkey statue is a distraction. (uglyhousephotos.com)

Furniture from an all-over scheme is transported into an environment with a completely different style where it has no practical use, is too big or is the wrong colour. A jardiniere stand from a late Edwardian drawing room is surrounded by generic modern oak furniture, children’s toys and shabby sofas. Sometimes pieces of furniture look as if they were missing their friends. Interior decorators always try to persuade us that an eclectic mix will look marvellous, but this isn’t what they meant. The upmarket version is an arty interior with lime-washed carved oak, black distempered walls, stag’s heads, classical sculpture and that perfect chaise longue/Italian cassone/George III commode.

Half-baked makeover: you repaint the walls and replace the chairs but can’t change the banquettes. Or you add peach curtains and cushions but they clash with everything else.

One-bed flats, studios and bedsits with family-sized kitchens. And why waste space on halls and corridors?

Tudor panelling – in your bathroom. “It was all done by the present owner. He wanted it to be in keeping with the rest of the property.” Escape to the Country

Elaborate pelmets: so 80s – and they belonged in a stately home, not a bungalow.

Black tiles and black granite work top in a tiny kitchen: makes it look like a prison cell.

Volume builders copying a copy of a copy of a copy of “vernacular architecture”. Details are simplified, shrunk, dumbed down, slapped on without any knowledge of their original function. Particularly miniature oriel windows.

Corrugated plastic roof on your lean-to “conservatory”, especially when covered with the dirt of years.

A few very small pictures.


“We’ve got a large baronial lounge.” (Delboys and Dealers)

"Diana Dors had a sumptuous lifestyle. Home was Orchard Manor, a mock-Tudor mansion in Sunningdale, Berkshire. It had a mirrored indoor swimming pool, leopardskin sofas, a Rolls for the school run..." Daily Mail (She slept under a mink bedspread.)

“It’s kind of shabby chic cum glamping,” says the owner of house she can’t sell on Under Offer. Her home sports black baroque mirror surrounds, lots of gilding, and a zebra-striped cocktail bar. More hair salon chic than shabby chic. “Everything is top spec. The banisters are Brazilian mahogany.”

Rachel and Justin build a house in Alderley Edge (known for blingtastic footballers’ homes):

“There are lots of houses going up that are glitzy and footballer-style,” says Rachel, “but we’re in a village and we wanted it to be in keeping – we wanted a Georgian box. People have this awful impression of Alderley, but it’s not what they think. There is a lot of bling, but not everyone is like that. People stereotype Cheshire but, actually, the people who’ve lived here for years aren’t like that at all.” Their house has 4 storeys, 5 beds, 4 baths, recep, dining room, huge living area and “a ballroom sized basement themed around country sports (an expensive add-on to the plans after Justin saw something similar in Country Life.) “Although she had no training as an interior designer, Rachel felt she had a natural flair... “Although our style’s quite traditional, I’ve tried to put a fresher, modern twist on it. I wanted the rooms to be very colourful, to be smart but cosy.” [She teams chocolate, lime and violet.] Taupe is fashionable, and I can do it for clients, but it’s not me... I wanted a simple, hand-painted kitchen, in Farrow & Ball’s Bone, with Mouse’s Back walls... We haven’t done the dining room yet, but I’m tempted to use De Gournay emerald silk, with handpainted chinoiserie. Don’t tell Justin.” [The dining room has a fake vaulted ceiling “which they limestoned to look like an authentic wine cellar in Bordeaux”]. “Much of the furniture came from antique shops over the border in Staffordshire or Derbyshere ‘because there’s nothing really left in Cheshire’, and every room is lit by antique chandeliers.” (Times June 2014-06-22)

More here, and links to the rest.

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