Interiors

Interiors: A Los Angeles apartment with macabre flourishes

Obsolete, Ray Azoulay’s shop-cum-gallery in the Venice district of Los Angeles, has been described as Gothic and moody.

It’s a look that has lured such customers as Helen Hunt, Diane Keaton and Sheryl Crow. And little wonder, as it is the perfect place to find that special piece to set your Hollywood Hills hacienda apart from the rest. The shop offers an unusual mix of furniture and art, from the early 19th to mid 20th centuries, mostly picked up in Europe. Think a pair of boxy mid-century Danish white leather armchairs, battered trestle tables whisked from French country kitchens or a swirling steel art-nouveau mirror.

Alongside the Florence Knoll sofas, Jean Prouvé desks and Verner Panton lights are stranger objects with a touch of the macabre, including staring canvas-covered mannequins or a painted wooden hand stretching through a wall, which you wouldn’t want to reach out for on a dark night. Azoulay’s “installations” in the shop, where he arranges these objects and furniture with more regard for colour and form than chronology, have provided inspiration for many a Los Angeles interior designer.

Where the shop shows off Azoulay’s dark side, his apartment 10 minutes down the road on Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a lighter and brighter affair, with simple, regular spaces, polished concrete floors and gleaming wooden kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

It is one of seven homes in the AK Live/Work complex, which stretches half a block, and was designed – and is partly owned – by the architect Michael Sant. The building has been cleverly divided so that the apartments are sheltered from the maelstrom of hipsters and surfers in the street below.

A staircase from the street leads up to a glass entrance that opens on to the living-room, kitchen and dining-area, which are connected by a 50ft passage. Azoulay has used this to great effect as a showcase for his collection of photography, including a dreamlike landscape by Robert ParkeHarrison and an Irving Penn image of a tractor printed on aluminium, one of just three issued and a treasured piece.

The walls throughout are an elegant dove grey. Azoulay was lucky enough to get an “education” from Donald Kaufman, a renowned “colourist” who creates bespoke paints, while restoring his Pennsylvania farmhouse some years ago, and applied his new skills by choosing a colour that would create a play of light and shade through the day.


Mid-century classics in the living-room, including a 1950s Martin Visser sofa (TIM BEDDOW)

The walls were white when he moved here in June 2007, but the switch to grey was a smart move, as the bright California light streams in from the central terrace and grey mutes the glare.


A Jean Prouvé desk and chair in the office are overlooked by a 1930s sculpture of a man (TIM BEDDOW)

There is little fuss and even less clutter in his home, but those objects that he has chosen are surprising and often funny. On the terrace, guests might be unnerved to sip a cocktail next to an abundance of mannequin heads. In the kitchen a bird’s skull is suspended in a glass case, and a Humpty Dumpty egg is painted with the condescending eyes and twirly moustache of a concierge straight out of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.


The kitchen contains clues to the owner’s love of the macabre, with a dolphin skull on the worktop (TIM BEDDOW)

The master bedroom is homely, with a beautiful wooden wall salvaged from Alice Tully Hall in New York, and one of a pair of vintage indigo quilts, the other of which is in the guest bedroom. Azoulay eschews homely here, however, in favour of a mechanical taxidermy deer by the sculptor Ron Pippin.


A bedspread of African fabrics and a Tyson Grumm painting bring colour to the bedroom (TIM BEDDOW)

So how did a native New Yorker find himself running a business 2,800 miles away on the Pacific Coast? Born in New Jersey, Azoulay rose through the ranks at the women’s label Liz Claiborne, where he eventually became design director, before ditching the world of fashion and falling in love out West.


The kitchen, with teak cabinets installed by the building’s architect, Michael Sant (TIM BEDDOW)


The bathroom (TIM BEDDOW)

He is gregarious, laid-back and great company, and describes himself as “72 degrees and sunny” – a natural candidate for West Coast living. And so he made the move. After serendipitously spotting a To Let sign in June 2000, he established Obsolete and now travels the world to source stock, before hurrying back for stints behind the till. The one thing customers won’t find there are rugs, which are conspicuously absent in his apartment too. “I hate rugs!” he as good as yells. He and Sheryl Crow both, apparently.

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Interiors: The Parisian home of Joy de Rohan Chabot

Being dyslexic, de Rohan Chabot found solace in drawing from an early age and has never stopped making art. And what a spectrum of disciplines in the decorative and fine arts she embraces: painting, sculpting, casting, metalwork, lacquering and gilding. Her practical streak is in evidence throughout the house: she has covered walls and doors in extravagantly patterned fabric; reupholstered beds and furniture; painted butterflies on the outside walls; and even sculpted the front gate in steel and bronze, surmounted by one of her signature owls. Then there is her furniture – fabulous baroque creations that she sculpts from wax and casts in bronze before adding the final decorative layer of painting, gilding and lacquering.

While de Rohan Chabot has built up a considerable reputation in France over the years – she holds an annual exhibition at Galerie Matignon off the Champs-Elysées and the fashion designer Valentino is said to be a collector of her work – her whimsical furniture, tableware and clocks are little known on this side of the Channel. This may change with an exhibition in London at the beginning of next year. Simply titled ‘Joy’, it will be held at the Brompton Cross branch of the clothing store Joseph, which has teamed up with Sophie Tremlett’s design company VIP Corner to create a series of three-month artist-designer shows.

Whether in Paris or the countryside, de Rohan Chabot is always busy. She is as passionate now about her art as when she was a young girl drawing portraits of her dolls. The biggest compliment anyone has ever paid her is that she creates an entire universe in her work. ‘I think this mix of painting, sculpting and patina is unique to me. I like working across many disciplines because I love working with new techniques. Once I know how to make something, I get bored because then I am only using the hands – and not the brain.’

A selection of de Rohan Chabot’s work is sold through Belgrave Place (belgraveplace.com)

The Salon

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The L-shaped salon (main picture and above) connects the drawing room to an adjacent smaller sitting room. Joy de Rohan Chabot covered the walls in fabric herself, with ribbon braid concealing the tacks. The fabric is based on an 18th-century print. She recently refreshed the room simply by taking this down, washing it and rehanging it. The carpet is by Madeleine Castaing. The furniture, objects and paintings are a mix of inherited family pieces and the many auction buys in which de Rohan Chabot’s husband, Jean, likes to indulge. The button-back sofa and chairs were bought from the French decorator Hubert de Vinols.

The table in the doorway is an antique – the first piece of furniture that she and Jean bought together, and an inspiration for her future work. Over the fireplace in the sitting room is a portrait of de Rohan Chabot as a young woman, while to the left of this is a portrait of one of her illustrious ancestors, the Duc de Choiseul, who was one of Marie Antoinette’s most trusted ministers.

Above is another view of the salon, with a console table by de Rohan Chabot that has proved to be one of her most popular designs. Each one is unique, with varied configurations of branches, birds, butterflies and so on. On the wall is a portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud. On each side of this are examples of the green ceramic leaves from the 19th century that de Rohan Chabot likes to collect.

The Studio

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

De Rohan Chabot converted the basement garage into the spacious studio, where mature trees and other plants thrive under glass. Shown here is one of her gold-painted bronze chairs, Grande Fleur Pensée, and various works in progress.

The Dining Room

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The de Rohan Chabots extended the house into a small courtyard next to the kitchen in order to add this charming dining room. The glass panels in the floor allow light into her studio below. Above is a terrace garden that is reached via the guest bedroom. The dining table was designed by de Rohan Chabot. The portrait is of her half-Scottish maternal grandmother, May Balfour, who designed jewellery for Chanel among others.

The Master Bedroom

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The master bedroom adjoins the L-shaped salon, designed by de Rohan Chabot as if it were a hotel suite. When parties are held, she simply tucks the bed out of sight in a cupboard. Above the bed is a photograph of Château de Haroué, where she held an exhibition earlier this year. The trompe l’oeil ‘cushioned’ bedhead was painted by de Rohan Chabot, who also covered the walls in this butterfly-print fabric from Marché St-Pierre in Paris.

The Bathroom

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

An antique double basin takes centre-stage in the master bathroom, which is decorated with several of the handsome Venetian mirrors that de Rohan Chabot collects. She bought a job lot of faux tiger-skin rugs from China, using some here and taking some to the country chateau.

joyderohanchabot.com

View the original article here

Interiors: the Parisian home of Joy de Rohan Chabot

Being dyslexic, de Rohan Chabot found solace in drawing from an early age and has never stopped making art. And what a spectrum of disciplines in the decorative and fine arts she embraces: painting, sculpting, casting, metalwork, lacquering and gilding. Her practical streak is in evidence throughout the house: she has covered walls and doors in extravagantly patterned fabric; reupholstered beds and furniture; painted butterflies on the outside walls; and even sculpted the front gate in steel and bronze, surmounted by one of her signature owls. Then there is her furniture – fabulous baroque creations that she sculpts from wax and casts in bronze before adding the final decorative layer of painting, gilding and lacquering.

While de Rohan Chabot has built up a considerable reputation in France over the years – she holds an annual exhibition at Galerie Matignon off the Champs-Elysées and the fashion designer Valentino is said to be a collector of her work – her whimsical furniture, tableware and clocks are little known on this side of the Channel. This may change with an exhibition in London at the beginning of next year. Simply titled ‘Joy’, it will be held at the Brompton Cross branch of the clothing store Joseph, which has teamed up with Sophie Tremlett’s design company VIP Corner to create a series of three-month artist-designer shows.

Whether in Paris or the countryside, de Rohan Chabot is always busy. She is as passionate now about her art as when she was a young girl drawing portraits of her dolls. The biggest compliment anyone has ever paid her is that she creates an entire universe in her work. ‘I think this mix of painting, sculpting and patina is unique to me. I like working across many disciplines because I love working with new techniques. Once I know how to make something, I get bored because then I am only using the hands – and not the brain.’

A selection of de Rohan Chabot’s work is sold through Belgrave Place (belgraveplace.com)

The Salon

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The L-shaped salon (main picture and above) connects the drawing room to an adjacent smaller sitting room. Joy de Rohan Chabot covered the walls in fabric herself, with ribbon braid concealing the tacks. The fabric is based on an 18th-century print. She recently refreshed the room simply by taking this down, washing it and rehanging it. The carpet is by Madeleine Castaing. The furniture, objects and paintings are a mix of inherited family pieces and the many auction buys in which de Rohan Chabot’s husband, Jean, likes to indulge. The button-back sofa and chairs were bought from the French decorator Hubert de Vinols.

The table in the doorway is an antique – the first piece of furniture that she and Jean bought together, and an inspiration for her future work. Over the fireplace in the sitting room is a portrait of de Rohan Chabot as a young woman, while to the left of this is a portrait of one of her illustrious ancestors, the Duc de Choiseul, who was one of Marie Antoinette’s most trusted ministers.

Above is another view of the salon, with a console table by de Rohan Chabot that has proved to be one of her most popular designs. Each one is unique, with varied configurations of branches, birds, butterflies and so on. On the wall is a portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud. On each side of this are examples of the green ceramic leaves from the 19th century that de Rohan Chabot likes to collect.

The Studio

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

De Rohan Chabot converted the basement garage into the spacious studio, where mature trees and other plants thrive under glass. Shown here is one of her gold-painted bronze chairs, Grande Fleur Pensée, and various works in progress.

The Dining Room

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The de Rohan Chabots extended the house into a small courtyard next to the kitchen in order to add this charming dining room. The glass panels in the floor allow light into her studio below. Above is a terrace garden that is reached via the guest bedroom. The dining table was designed by de Rohan Chabot. The portrait is of her half-Scottish maternal grandmother, May Balfour, who designed jewellery for Chanel among others.

The Master Bedroom

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

The master bedroom adjoins the L-shaped salon, designed by de Rohan Chabot as if it were a hotel suite. When parties are held, she simply tucks the bed out of sight in a cupboard. Above the bed is a photograph of Château de Haroué, where she held an exhibition earlier this year. The trompe l’oeil ‘cushioned’ bedhead was painted by de Rohan Chabot, who also covered the walls in this butterfly-print fabric from Marché St-Pierre in Paris.

The Bathroom

PHOTO: Frédéric Vasseur

An antique double basin takes centre-stage in the master bathroom, which is decorated with several of the handsome Venetian mirrors that de Rohan Chabot collects. She bought a job lot of faux tiger-skin rugs from China, using some here and taking some to the country chateau.

joyderohanchabot.com

View the original article here

The 50 best interiors shops


Bert & May
We adore this new tile shop, which runs the gamut from reclaimed Victorian to a modern twist on Moroccan encaustic tiles. There’s a good eye at work in this east London space, with no dud designs among the stacks of tiles, and if you can’t find an old design you like, they can distress brand-new tiles for you. 67 Vyner Street, London E2 bertandmay.com


BHS Furniture
Our prize for best high-street lighting goes to BHS, for its range of incredibly cheap interpretations of design classics. The furniture’s good-looking too, with some smart sideboards and dining-tables. Check out the Oslo and Honley ranges. bhsfurniture.co.uk


Blodwen’s General Stores
There’s no smarter way to stay warm in the winter months than under a traditional Welsh blanket. The bold, geometric patterns might look modern, but they’re based on designs woven in the valleys since the 18th century.blodwen.com


British Standard
The simple lines and solid craftsmanship of a Plain English kitchen are what those in the know hanker after, but they don’t come cheap. That’s where its sister company, British Standard, comes in. Simple instructions walk you through how to measure up, design, order, collect and fit its “no-frills” wooden cupboards and worktops. 41 Hoxton Square, London N1 britishstandardcupboards.co.uk


Caravane
Ready-made curtains sound like a disaster, but Caravane’s are both understated and chic. As you might expect from the London outpost of a hit Parisian store. 38-40 New Cavendish Street, London W1 caravane.fr


Cath Kidston
The megalith of kitsch homeware needs no introduction. Some might argue that it’s ubiquitous, and there’s no doubt Cath K has conquered the world. We say there’s nothing wrong with that when the bright oilcloths pack a punch. Branches nationwide, and a factory shop at 1A Alpha Drive, Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire cathkidston.com

Christopher Farr
You’ll keep a rug with you forever, however many times you move, so it’s a good investment. Christopher Farr’s collection with Gary Hume is the closest most of us will come to owning a piece of YBA art. 6 Burnsall Street, London SW3 christopherfarr.com

The Cloth Shop
The new collection of washed linens in 10 spot-on, low-key colours is reason enough to visit this temple to cloth. Cotton prints, wools, muslins and, crucially, double-width fabrics for curtains can be found here, as well as a selection of blankets and pots. 290 Portobello Road, London W10 theclothshop.net

Cole & Son
Paint dominates over wallpaper these days, but for a small space, such as an understairs loo, something bold and colourful from Cole is a realistic option. Try Macchine Volanti, a riot of hot-air balloons from its Fornasetti collection, or Vivienne Westwood’s Squiggle. Unit 10G, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 cole-and-son.com

The Conran Shop
Conran’s position in postwar design can’t be overestimated. Where others might have run out of steam after so long, it powers on under Sir Terence’s son Jasper, who has injected new life into the stores since taking charge in 2012. It’s still the place to go for modern furniture but it’s the kitchenware we lust after. 81 Fulham Road, London SW3, and 55 Marylebone High Street, London W1 conranshop.co.uk

David Village Lighting
Sheffield shoppers are spoiled for choice at this showroom of ultra-modern lighting, including Foscarini and Artemide. It also offers a full home-lighting design service. 180 West Street, Sheffield davidvillagelighting.co.uk

Dorton Reclaim
Rock-bottom prices for salvage – before it gets cleaned up for the urban market – lure intrepid shoppers to this reclamation yard. Subscribers to its mailing list receive notice of the best finds before they’ve even been removed from demolition sites. Station Goods Yard, Station Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex dortonreclaim.com

Fired Earth Factory Shop
Sort your bathroom and kitchen in one fell swoop at this factory shop. Lavatories, basins, baths, taps and tiles are stylish and well made rather than revolutionary. Modish metro tiles abound. Twyford Mill, Oxford Road, Adderbury, Oxfordshire firedearth.com

Garden Trading
Don’t let the name fool you into thinking that this online shop caters only for outdoors. As well as smart garden furniture and tools, there are simple items for stylish indoor organisation in natural colours and materials. Think wooden drying racks and powder-coated steel storage bins for every conceivable domestic need. Warehouse sales take place three times a year. gardentrading.co.uk

Georgian Antiques
Mahogany furniture is deeply unfashionable at the moment, so invest now in solidly built pieces in mint condition at this 50,000sq ft former whisky bond in Leith. 10 Pattison Street, Leith Links, Edinburgh georgianantiques.net

God’s Own Junkyard
If it’s neon, lights up and looks quirky, chances are it’s the work of Chris Bracey, who’s been in the neon sign business for 37 years. Long enough to have changed a lot of flashing lightbulbs. Unit 12 Ravenswood Industrial Estate, London E17 godsownjunkyard.co.uk

Habitat
Of the furniture chains, Habitat carries the largest stock, and with concessions in Homebase is hugely accessible. Classic stackable dining-chairs and clever storage options have a Scandi feel. habitat.co.uk

Heal’s
We get the feeling that the Heal’s design team has thought about how most of us actually live, assembling pieces that they themselves want. The result is an intelligently curated collection, cleverly displayed. Six branches nationwide and online. heals.co.uk

Hector Finch
What’s not to love about lights that look far more expensive than they are? Kit your house out at this endlessly inspiring shop, with the sort of pieces your friend with the impeccably interior-designed house might find, from lanterns to picture lights to table lamps. 90 Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6 hectorfinch.com

Hema
Bargain-bucket prices for colourful, well-designed basics from this Holland-based megalith. Branches in London, Bromley and Kingston upon Thames. hemashop.com

IACF Fairs
Ten thousand stalls selling every type of antique under the sun, at 29 events each year. Newark and Ardingly are our pick of the five locations, though Shepton Mallet has the advantage of being at the weekend. iacf.co.uk

John Julian
We’re convinced that food tastes better eaten off one of Julian Sainsbury’s handmade classical dinner plates with their smart cobalt-blue line around the rim. Guest artists are invited to produce distinctive one-off collections. johnjuliandesign.co.uk

Lassco
By combining showroom with restaurant, the Oxfordshire outpost of this architectural-salvage outfit repeats the trick of its Vauxhall location. It is also the place to find unusual items, such as a Victorian pulpit, among the fittings, fixtures and furniture. London Road, Milton Common, Oxfordshire lassco.co.uk

Looking Glass of Bath
Thirty-five years and still going strong… Mirrors large and small, old and new are what this Bath institution, with its bright-blue façade, does best. It will also make pieces to commission and can antique a piece of new mirror glass cut to fit a particular spot. 96 Walcot Street, Bath lookingglassofbath.com

The Lollipop Shoppe
Find big names at this big-hitter on the design-shop scene, which now has a brand-new space on Brighton seafront. Lighting and table settings with a strong modern aesthetic rub shoulders with Danish mid-century chairs from the likes of Carl Hansen. The whole lot is simply but beautifully curated. 54-55 Kings Road Arches, Brighton thelollipopshoppe.co.uk

Marks & Spencer
It might be best known for being the nation’s underwear provider, but let’s not forget that M&S is also pretty strong on the furniture front. From the new autumn collection, we have our eye on the Marcel Mona dressing-table and stool, and the Padstow larder, which is as smart as its green paint. marksandspencer.com

Mandarin Stone
Simply the best selection of terracotta, limestone, marble, granite etc. You name it, they’ve got it. And at prices that won’t leave you reeling. 10 showrooms nationwide mandarinstone.com

Marianna Kennedy
Proof positive that it’s better to do a few things well, Marianna Kennedy’s shop in the heart of Huguenot Spitalfields sells mirrors, resin lamps, bronze sconces and round-top tables. They’re pricey, but just one of these items will make a room. 3 Fournier Street, London E1 mariannakennedy.com

Modern Shows
Keep an eye on the website for up-to-date information on these fairs in Dulwich and Haggerston in London (with additional pop-ups), which bring together mid-century modern dealers for one day only, four times a year. Disciples of mid-century modern design (and their numbers are ever growing) know to arrive early for the best pieces. modernshows.com

Miles and Wilde
Ceiling moulds and cornices for our Victorian and Georgian housing stock are what these plaster perfectionists do best. Visitors to the monumental dining-room at Berners Street Hotel in London will have seen their work in all its glory. Unit A, Arch 110, Astbury Business Park, London SE15 milesandwilde.co.uk

The New England Shutter Company
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Five styles of shutter, both solid and tilting, made from wood from environmentally responsible suppliers. You can’t go wrong. 16 Jaggard Way, London SW12 thenewenglandshuttercompany.com

Oka
A visit to one of the 11 Oka showrooms nationwide will leave even the pokiest bedsit decked out like a comfortable Cotswold pile. The signature look is slightly Sloaney furnishings that might have been handed down through the generations. Would make a great alternative to a department-store wedding list. okadirect.com

Original BTC
Handmade in Oxford, these table, floor, pendant and wall lights in metal, bone china and prismatic glass are a modern take on elegantly curvy 20th-century designs, at reasonable prices. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 originalbtc.com

Pentreath & Hall
Ben Pentreath and Bridie Hall’s bijou shop is so elegantly kitted out in their twist on the traditional English look that we’d happily move in. There’s upholstered furniture, but it’s the finishing touches – vases, trays, linen napkins and the like – that are the real draw. Those unable to visit can follow Pentreath on his blog. 17 Rugby Street, London WC1 pentreath-hall.com

Pitfield London
Pick up a coffee and a slice of cake at the café on one side of this treasure-trove of vases, candlesticks, teapots and tankards. The buyers’ clever clustering of objects makes for a visual feast. Leave one hand free to grab a bunch from the florist just outside. 31-35 Pitfield Street, London N1 pitfieldlondon.com

Redbrick Mill
Quite simply the best all-round interiors destination outside London, with four floors of the best in the business: sofas from Conran and made.com, Feather & Black beds and Calligaris tables. There’s also a spa for the end of a long day’s shopping. 218 Bradford Road, Batley, West Yorkshire redbrickmill.co.uk

Redloh House
A number of textile tastemakers show their collections in this mews house tucked away behind the King’s Road, from Vanderhurd to Jennifer Shorto to Bird in the Hand. Good for prints-piration. The Old Gasworks, 2 Michael Road, London SW6 redlohhousefabrics.com

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour
A Mecca for interior designers, the 100 showrooms at DCCH also welcome the general public. Fabrics are a particular strength. Our favourite is Tissus d’Hélène, but other options include Colefax and Fowler, Lewis & Wood and Turnell & Gigon. Lots Road, London SW10 dcch.co.uk

Dickinson’s Period House Shops
Sticklers for period detail will appreciate the Bakelite light switches and replica Victorian airing racks at these two Shropshire shops. If they haven’t got what you’re after, their experienced restorers will help you hunt it down. 141 Corve Street, Ludlow, and 65 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury periodhouseshops.com

Retrouvius
Wooden worktops, windows, slabs of marble and furniture – they’re all to be found in this cavernous warehouse of modish salvage. Look out for hand-dyed velvet cushions by Kirsten Hecktermann. 1,016 Harrow Road, London NW10 retrouvius.com

Tim Page Carpets
Anyone traumatised by 1970s carpet squares will be reassured by the tasteful carpets, rugs and runners to be found here. A full installation service will take away headaches, or have the company make something to the correct size for you and lay it yourself. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 timpagecarpets.com

Surface View
Get designs printed on to blinds, tiles, lampshades, wall hangings, Formica tabletops. Choose from about 3,000 Getty images, various museums and selected designers (or send your own) and start living in a technicolour dreamland. surfaceview.co.uk

Tinsmiths
Ticking stripes? Check. Checks? Er, check. Sturdy fabrics and Irish linens for smart curtains and upholstery abound here. Lighting and artists’ prints complete the line-up. Tinsmiths Alley, 8A High Street, Ledbury, Herefordshire tinsmiths.co.uk

West Elm
High-end New York style at reasonable prices. The rugs and dhurries are particularly good value compared with similar styles elsewhere. Think wood and steel finishes for furniture and neutral textiles. 209 Tottenham Court Road, London W1 westelm.co.uk

Willow & Stone
Once you’ve covered the glamorous bits (sofas, rugs, dining-table) you’re still going to need the less sexy stuff – door knobs, hooks, towel runners and the like. This shop should furnish you with the lot. 18 Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall willowandstone.co.uk

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Which interiors style is for you?

Colour-blocker, pastel lover or minimalist? Click through our gallery guide to create the interiors style that suits you.

COLOUR-BLOCKING

For proof that colour-blocking works as well on walls as it does in an outfit, look no further than this home, belonging to the French antiques dealer Florence Lopez. She is such a committed colourist she repaints every two years.

Picture: The Interior Archive

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Interiors: A Madrid flat with marvellous murals

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Interiors: bring the holiday feeling home

It’s time for the great escape – to the coast, to the continent, or perhaps just to the most inviting corners of your own home. For those of us staying put this month, a bit of interior sprucing can satisfy the urge for escapism and will prolong the relaxed mood that the amazing weather has brought.

But resist the temptation to load up on seaside-themed quick fixes, say the experts. If you go too far with ticking stripes, anchor motifs and driftwood, you end up in pastiche territory – it’s the opposite of that laid-back, warm-breeze atmosphere we’re after, and will soon look as lacklustre as tinsel in February.

“You know you’ve really nailed an interior when people walk in and want to flop down on a chair,” says Abigail Ahern, an interior designer and author of Decorating with Style. “If you’re too literal, it has the opposite effect – it feels artificial, and people don’t relax. It’s possible to create that holiday atmosphere in a more sophisticated way.”

Lisa Hecht, the interiors buyer at Achica, the members-only lifestyle luxury shop, agrees, and advises concentrating on the foundations. “The key to this look is moderation,” she says. “Think of looking out over a sea harbour. For a light and breezy space, natural hues such as blue, grey, white, turquoise and silver are a good base, while for smaller details you can use darker, bolder shades of those hues.”

Design experts at the website DecorateNow.co.uk also recommend a restful palette that brings to mind a remote holiday cottage: their Dulux Light and Space paint range (from £24.98 for 2.5 litres) is full of muted colours, from soft corals to serene blues, that make a room feel brighter and more spacious by reflecting light. “Keep it simple, and interject your chosen colours with white to keep the ambience light,” says Nicky Pysden at DecorateNow. For an instant thrifty ‘lift’ she suggests painting tired wicker furniture in a crisp white. Habitat’s linen-cream, woven rattan-seated Jak chair (£60; habitat.co.uk), inspired by Van Gogh’s chair painting, has similar appeal.

The Dulux Light and Space paint range reflects light, creating a serene ambience (from www.decoratenow.co.uk)

Of course, white all over is instantly refreshing. Take Loaf’s Bobbin bed (£695, loaf.com) – it looks like an old brass one, but is solid-wood finished in calm off-white heritage paint, buffed with wax – and dress it with cool linens (Cologne and Cotton’s jacquard stripe Capri and white seersucker styles are five-star hotel quality, and on sale; cologneandcotton.com).

Then introduce one or two vibrant accessories. For deep ocean tones, go for Habitat’s two-toned cotton Leni throw, below (£35, habitat.co.uk) or John Lewis of Hungerford’s painted artisan stool in coastal blue (£210, john-lewis.co.uk). If you prefer a smarter, nautical feel, there are deep cobalts and inky, French navy blues about: the handwoven indigo Paris pendant lightshade, £65, from Habitat (as before) or a vibrant tie-dyed rug from the Savine range by Designers Guild (designersguild.com).

“Blue in nearly all its tones has such an uplifting quality,” says the colour guru Tricia Guild, founder and director of Designers Guild, whose new book, Colour Deconstructed, will be published in September. “My favourite at the moment is cobalt. Its dynamic strength and joyous optimism are infectious. Using it with white creates a feeling that is crisp and timeless; it says summer without being twee.”

Abigail Ahern’s approach to the holiday mood is to emphasise the unexpected, using rich colours. “Even at the coast I don’t use pastels,” she says. “I use dark colours on the walls, because they look amazing when there’s more light; summery accessories like woven baskets and reed grass matting, which look beautiful against dark colours; and maybe a vase in yellow or aqua, which, along with flowers, will instantly lift a room.”

The factor that really makes this look work, the “game changer”, is texture. “The more texture you add to a room, the more friction you create, the more compelling it is,” she says. “Do this with soft textiles and natural weathered surfaces, a bit of metal and shine, some rough some smooth.”

You could also turn one corner into a restful retreat, she says, referring to the interior above, making a feature of ‘downtime’ furniture – a daybed, window seat or rocking chair. Imitate the weathered panelling with Piet Hein Eek’s Scrapwood wallpaper (£199, bodieandfou.com).

‘Scrapwood’ wallpaper, by Piet Hein Eek, £199 from www.bodieandfou.com

A dreamy book, Homes from Home by Vinny Lee, also coming out soon, provides escapist inspiration for small spaces. Devoted to decorating the places that can be enjoyed “without the responsibilities or obligations of a full-time home”, from beach huts to woodland cabins, it encourages a romantic, fuss-free style that could equally be introduced in your living room.

A tasteful way to introduce a bit of shells-and-seaweed spirit to your scheme is to use Abigail Ahern’s principle of “decorative clustering”. “Displays on walls and surfaces make your home seem more lived-in and loved; anything that tells a story engages people,” she says. “It’s a good way to use vintage postcards, mementos or photos; group them together, along with found items, in a spontaneous way, never in rows.” If you haven’t had the chance to collect pebbles for your displays, Sainsbury’s has wire-netted glass bottles that have a hint of the harbour (£14, sainsburys.co.uk) – or choose just one graphic, unfussy boat ornament (the boat model from Liberty, £145; liberty.co.uk), then give all other coastal references a wide berth.

‘Decorating with Style’ by Abigail Ahern (Quadrille, £16.99) is £14.99 + £1.35 p&p. Call 0844 71 1514 or see books.telegraph.co.uk.

‘Homes from Home: Inventive Small Spaces, From Chic Shacks to Cabins and Caravans’ by Vinny Lee (Jacqui Small, £30) is £26 + £1.35 p&p from Telegraph Books. Call 0844 71 1514 or see books.telegraph.co.uk.

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