June 14, 2019
I like EVERYTHING. Want to get together and do something. Fabulous. Go on a hill hike, slob around in PJs watching Friends reruns, expand our brains with a lecture on sociology, go window shopping for things we can’t afford, hit the clubs, take a boxing class, whatever you want to do, I’m on board. Same with music. I can happily listen to the grungy stylings of my first love, Pearl Jam, or the soulful swoops of Bach’s Cello Suite No.1, the ditzy vocals of Dolly Parton, the super quiet and melancholic Lucy Rose and then jump straight into a hot Zumba track. If you want to try it I have a Spotify playlist here. I like EVERYTHING.
Which is handy – I’m unlikely to be disappointed with your choice in pretty much anything – but not so handy when you’re trying to actually make a decision on something like buying a sofa or decorating a whole room. There’s just too much choice, too many colours, so many gorgeous things and I was paralysed by indecision. It led to us being seduced by one gorgeous spread in Elle Decoration and painting the whole house white. No choice necessary between wall and ceiling (and no tricky edges) and it kind of worked but was not exactly deeply soul-satisfying and when we started playing with more colourful elements and added a bit of wallpaper here and there or committed to one actual rug (it took me weeks) it all just started to jar and I didn’t know why or how to fix it. Plus… kids, animals, white walls…
A quick side note about the venue – holy moly it was perfect. This amazing townhouse is mid-renovation and you can see the bare bones of the house in some areas – just plastered walls – and completely finished gorgeous original detailing in other areas – windows, painted coving and cornicing. Staged with some of the most colourful vases full of fresh flowers I’ve ever seen from Kate Langdale florists.
I’m not a colour virgin. I know what colours look great together on an art print – I kinda built a business around that! Beyond the colour wheel though I’m not sure why they work and why certain colours speak to me and why others don’t. (Apparently blue speaks to me a lot – which I discovered when I tried to find something colourful in my wardrobe before getting to Brighton – just a sea of blue with the odd bit of orange – complimentary colours on the wheel incidentally!) It was a joy to hear all about colour psychology beyond the basics of blue is calming and red is energising and really start to understand how colours in your environment make you feel, how colour families go together and the colour seasons.
We had a field day on the THREE WHOLE TABLES of colour swatches, fabric samples, magazine tear sheets, ribbons, washi tapes, buttons – a literal sea of colourspiration. You’ve never seen 16 grown-ups looking happier with a glue stick in hand and permission to just play! By the time we’d all done our three versions of mood boards of course it looked like a bomb site and I have visions of the lovely Luisa sitting and sorting through it all today (sorry!)
It’s clearly why I have a bloody massive bright turquoise velvet sofa covered in mustard, orange and pink cushions. I’m so pleased it’s one of our big purchases that I didn’t get wrong. I admitted in the group that I definitely would’ve been one of those people in the Seventies that bought an avocado bathroom suite as I know how swayed I can be by certain trends and images and the sofa purchase was absolutely a result of some excellent marketing by Loaf.
There was lunch – of course, there was lunch – and you don’t need a litany of the deliciousness but let’s just agree it was delicious and, of course, full of colour. There were edible flowers. Enough said.
Post-lunch our mission was to start pulling together a room board, having already found our true colour joy roots and created a vision board bouncing from that. And that’s where I hit a bit of a wall. I found myself back in the “but I like it ALLLLL” camp. Then Silva on our table turned to a double page spread that was all creams and washed out linens and off-white walls and hanging chairs and my heart leapt. If I could wiggle my nose and magic that room into my front room and be done with it, I would. In a heartbeat. Which was even more confusing. Those colours are absolutely what I would say fit into the summer theme, not Autumn. I went and pouted in a corner with a stack of magazines and a confused look on my face which was probably what drew Antonia - a seasoned stylist and official helper - to me. We talked over my earlier vision board and she gently reminded me that this whole process should be, and had that morning been, fun! And not to get too bogged down in the detail and logistics and maybe go and look at some fabric samples whilst she pulled a few more images from some magazines. It definitely helped.
And just like that, the day was done. With a glass of fizz in hand and new confidence in our heads, we thought about what we’d most loved about the day. For me, it was just the chance to be a bit self-indulgent and take a whole day to throw yourself into a skill set and really experiment and question and think. Because, really, how often do we get time to do that without our attention being pulled from one issue to another? (Seriously, this is the fifth time today I’ve sat down to finish this blog post!) I can’t wait to get started on my plans for my little room – stay tuned for a before and after at some point.
In the meantime, here are a couple of my favourite products that have an obvious root in the autumn palette and I never knew why I made them but now I do.
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