So, fantasising about a bigger house, I started browsing Prime Location. Tragically, it transpires that I can't yet quite afford a white stuccoed number in Maida Vale. In fact, it seems I can't afford an actual house anywhere I think I want to live (remembering I am spoilt from years of living in Kensington followed by Chelsea followed by Notting Hill) and so we are destined to remain in our tiny flat forever.
No matter. I discovered The Great Interior Design Challenge, and have convinced myself that, given three days, I could totally transform our house. I have become obsessed with wallpaper, you see, and figure that if we're going to be here for a while (or at least until I've made enough for a little mews house nearby, a snip at around £3million) I may as well carry out my design dreams within our present abode - there's no point in mood boards featuring Hermes wallpaper for a dining room that I might never have. (Although I will have it, one day. It is as certain as eggs are eggs.)
First up, my bedroom. It's currently painted pale pink, with a pink and green quilt and a vintage pink and yellow and white Welsh blanket, the curtains are blue and pink with ornamental pheasants (I love them, my mother just produced them from a box when I explained I needed some) and there's something of a wealth of cushions: Chelsea Textiles, Yastik pink and green ikat spots, Neisha Crosland pineapples on a lemon curd background, not to mention the most beautiful bedside lamp in the world by Cressida Bell. This is a very longwinded way of explaining that there is already quite a lot of pattern - but there are two plain cream jacquard bedroom armchairs should one's eye need a rest, and anyway it's me who spends the most amount of time in my bedroom and I love pattern, so I'm tossing up between the following:
Colefax & Fowler, Alderney. I love it. Love it.
Barneby Gates, Honey Bees. I also love this, but the more I think about it the more I think I'll save it for a spare bedroom in a future house - there's a fabric that matches, so I could do curtains and valances in the same, and even, maybe, explore the possibility of a tented room? (I've always wanted a tented room.)
But back to my house: the children's bedroom is simple, and actually there isn't too much pattern going on in there, except for their own Chelsea Textiles cushions of course, and a blue and white dhurrie and the tent I made Sholto that matches his quilt and some other cushions (positively restrained, see?!), and would potentially come down to budget:
Either Celia Birtwell, Beasties
Or Brunschwig et Fils, Bengali, in Periwinkle (I've got a feeling Celia might be cheaper . . . But oh my goodness I love it. It's definitely got to find somewhere to live in the next house.)
The bathroom is more complex, because we half got around to doing it up last year in shades of grey, pink and white, with an amazing Neisha Crosland floor - seriously, if anyone is looking for tiling, stop spending hours going backwards and forwards from Fired Earth with different samples, and go to John Lewis and buy these:
They're both insanely practical, and genuinely not even a bit bankrupting.
But the walls are still just painted (except the ones that are tiled in totally plain white matt tiles from the aforementioned Fired Earth), and now I either want to give it the Hermes treatment (in the absence of a dining room) or this:
Brunschwig et Fils, Shell Toile, blue on pineapple. But it's just not going to go with anything else. Except perhaps monogrammed towels that I've thus far only ordered in my head.
Barneby Gates, English Robin. My friend Kitty's bathroom is done in this. And, get this, her husband did it for her as a surprise! I can't think of anything more romantic.
Or of course my original Hermes obsession. Which actually wouldn't screw up the colour scheme too much, I don't think. Seriously. Oh I love it so much.
Downstairs is more problematic. It's currently painted pale grey, i.e Farrow & Ball Cornforth White. But suddenly nearly every house I go into is pale grey. It's become the new Magnolia. And I long for something - oh I don't know - I do actually really like the colour of our walls downstairs. But there is a bit of me that wants this:
Barneby Gates, Horse Trellis, acid on grey - but it totally wouldn't go with my Chelsea Textiles blinds, which are one of my greatest loves.
Then there's this:
Manuel Canovas, Bengale. Like, seriously, how amazing?! How amazing?! Obviously it's not going to go with the Chelsea Textiles blinds either - or indeed anything else in the whole room, except perhaps for the Psalt Design bench which I've also thus far only ordered in my head, but one day, in one house, I will have this . . .
This, however, would kind of go: Jane Churchill, Bruton Damask. I like the fact that it's quite subdued, too - it wouldn't overwhelm the room at all. I've still got to sort out the accidental tie-dye sofa, I thinking of undying it, and then redying it a sort of old rose, which would look quite pretty with this, I feel. But it might look too pretty pretty.
What's certain is that there's lots to think about. And I'm probably going to have a while to mull it over, as when I suggested to Andrew that he took the children to visit his parents for a few days over half-term, thus enabling me to 'do a little work on the house' in his absence (I'd like to paint the floors, too, and a couple of bookcases) he basically refused to leave. So I'm going to have to wait until he's not expecting it, and re-suggest it, this time without mentioning wallpaper. It'll also give me time to save up: On The Great Interior Design Challenge they get £1000 each for the house transformation, and I've got a feeling that I'm rather seriously over budget . . ..
www.colefax.com - they stock their own line, plus Jane Churchill and Manuel Canovas
www.barnebygates.com - their papers are going to be stocked on www.englishabode.com seriously soon - and I mean seriously, we are days away from going live