By Penny Morrison
Every house needs to be inviting, inspiring and incredibly comfortable. Our homes need to enhance the way we live, and life should be fun, full of colour, pattern and texture. Using fabrics, furniture and accessories sourced from around the world, our approach is to develop richly textured schemes.
By combining contemporary flourishes with antiques, we bring a fresh complexion to a location's heritage and traditional fixtures. Textiles in particular can soften the structure of a property as well as adding colour and pattern.
With nice high ceilings, this five-bedroom house in Los Angeles, priced at $4m, caught my eye as it is an example of a property with good foundations to work from but is a blank canvas to add interest and personality, spontaneity and sophistication.
Build a backdrop
What this sitting room is missing is character. An easy way to inject this would be by adding a light colour wash on the walls. We are real advocates for Edward Bulmer’s natural paints, which are not only better for the planet but come in a large selection of fantastic colours. Invisible Green is a particular favourite (£41 for one litre).
Against the backdrop of a painted wall in a colour wash, bright and patterned textiles really come into their own, adding contrast and interest.
Another easy way to create character in a room is by using colourful accessories, such as rugs and cushions. Robert Stephenson has a curated collection of exquisite rugs, both traditional and contemporary. The 3.68m x 2.55m handmade Borneo Flatweave 5 (£6,600) is bright and bold, and makes the floor another focal point of the room.
All textiles, but rugs in particular, are useful for softening a room’s acoustics. Rugs should be as large as possible and fill most of the floorspace, with just a foot gap around the edges, unifying the room as a complete space.
Play with lighting
Table lamps throughout the house would not only add atmospheric lighting but, with colourful antique sari silk shades, would also build interest through texture. Guinevere Antiques is a treasure-trove and a reliable source for unique silk sari lampshades.
The delicate silk and unique pattern of this pair of pale green floral shades (£840) introduces a sophisticated yet jolly feel. Lampshades are a great opportunity for adding colour, pattern and fun to the accessories in a room.
Keep it soft
All rooms benefit from a layer of softness and in this sitting room adding textiles to the windows would do this. There is something quite ethereal about floaty linen curtains, especially in warmer climates, and simple unlined curtains would be ideal in this Spanish-style property.
Volga Linen has a beautiful collection of high quality linens in a multitude of colours. For this room, I would recommend keeping it simple with white sheer linen (from £33.60 per metre).
Upholstery provides another opportunity to amplify colour, pattern and texture in interior decoration. Loose covers add a relaxed dimension and with a patterned fabric simultaneously bring more jollity to a scheme. They are also practical as they can be removed and cleaned or replaced.
Lisa Fine has a lively range of patterned fabrics suitable for domestic upholstery including the Mughal Flower linen in monsoon (£333.60 per metre from Tissus d'Helene). The pretty floral pattern and light tones of contrasting blue and green complete the scheme.
Photography: Mike Garlick; Nate Williams for Sotheby’s International Realty