Let's face it, I will never manage to live in a Modernist home. Or, indeed, according to Edith Wharton's rules of decoration: she disapproved of wallpaper, thinking it unhygienic - which simply won't work for me because when I drift off into happy reveries, fantasy decorating houses that I don't own (but might, one day) there's wallpaper in every single room. My love of it is so great that when I lived in Chelsea I used to have to leave for work five minutes early every day, just to allow for time spent staring through the windows of De Gournay (which, incidentally, is an activity I can recommend as a guaranteed mood improver):
But while De Gournay does hand painted exquisite one off-ness, I'm also a big fan of the all over look. I have a very strong memory of my first fully appreciative moment of interior design: my friend Alice's mother completely re-did her bedroom in Laura Ashley. The curtains (and pelmet), dressing table skirt (it was one of those kidney shaped ones), bedspread, cushions, valance and lampshade all matched. I'm convinced that there was even one of those things that covered the box of tissues. I was six or seven, it was the eighties (obviously) and the impression that Alice's childhood bedroom left has been lasting. (I sometimes reminisce, even now, with the help of the Laura Ashley Home Furnishings book.)
My very stylish friend, the jeweller Christopher Thompson-Royds, recently gave his bedroom a similar treatment, only he went to Zoffany rather than Laura Ashley:
And one of my eternal references when it comes to decoration is Diana Vreeland, and her drawing room, which she wanted 'red, like a garden in hell':
(Both these rooms are guilty of another crime, at least according to the mighty Wharton: she didn't like pictures hanging on patterned wallpaper. I can DEFINITELY never live in a house ruled by her principles.)
But even trying to follow Christopher's example is going to be tricky for me, as I can never commit to a single pattern or design, and I have an obsession, and I mean OBSESSION, with cushions. We have so many that one has to physically move them out of the way to be able to sit on some chairs, and still I fantasise about more. But since Rifat Ozbek started designing them, how could one not?
And actually, that image just proves that a huge pile of mismatching cushions can look marvelous. And just look at how many Diana Vreeland has got on her sofa!
Unfortunately, my husband has threatened to divorce me if anything else from Chelsea Textiles or Missoni Home or Yastik finds it's way into our home this year (though when I pointed out the apparent clause in his phrasing, he sighed and said "Cushions don't have a best before date, you know," - which is my point exactly, they last forever, how good an investment is that?!) Anyway, the point is, I've started making them. I'm so tired after a day of hanging out with the children that all I can do in the evenings is lie in bed and watch Covert Affairs and wonder what my life might have been like if MI5 had actually wanted me, so I might as well sew at the same time. And it stops me going downstairs to spoon Nutella directly out of the pot and into my mouth.
Sholto has specifically requested cushions to match his tent (and quilt, and lampshade) which are all in the Nursery Window's Black Foot Star fabric. I've trimmed it with some pom poms that I had left over from a chair I reupholstered:
I've still got several to make as he has suggested that a heap of them would look nice (I agree.) And then he'd like me to make some for his best friend Orson, who does actually live in a very chic Modernist house with bright red poured concrete stairs . . . I fear that Sholto may be about to discover aesthetic differences at a very early age. (I only hope that the friendship survives.)