Thursday, 26 May 2016

Studio projects: sitting room

Last summer I was lucky enough to get involved with a really lovely new project right here in Cambridge. The client was young, fun and focused, with the great good fortune of living on one of the most beautiful streets in the city. She needed help with her entrance hall and stairs, sitting room, and main bedroom.

I could see from the rooms she had already completed (a rich Farrow & Ball yellow in the dining room; a graphic Fornasetti wallpaper in the cloakroom) that she was confident with colour and pattern, which – as a designer – was so exciting.

The sitting room, at the back of the house, faces north but has lovely views of a pretty walled garden. It is an elegantly proportioned room and the client had already had a wall of shelving installed. Apart from that, there was just one chair that had to stay – everything else could be either reupholstered or replaced. Oh, and no red and nothing flowery. No worries there...

The concept I presented drew on the deep blue velvet of the chair and was based around rich jewel tones (which I thought would work beautifully with the greenery beyond) against a warm grey backdrop – Little Greene's Rubine Ashes.

Pretty, no?

We also worked on the room layout, tweaked the bones a little by flipping the door (so it opened into rather than against the space), which immediately made it seem larger and more welcoming, and installed a radiator cover, to be painted the same colour as the walls. All very simple design solutions that made a huge difference to how the room felt.

I showed these beautiful, textural fabrics to the client – a high-low mix of plains, prints and weaves from Malabar, Kirkby Design, Harlequin and Schumacher – and fortunately, she loved them!:

The chair (the one that had to stay) in the above image is an elegant design from West Elm, and the floor lamp (from Heal's) is one of a pair that we chose for the space – it's slick and stylish but the gentle curve in the neck and the flash of metal stops it from feeling too austere. I wanted the space to retain a sense of femininity and comfort without resorting to any floral motifs.

I'm returning soon to have some proper photographs taken of the finished space: I can't wait to reveal them!