So. Pastels.

It’s clear that pastels are a thing at the moment – Pantone has named not one but two as ‘colour of the year’ and when we talked to Rebecca from Georgia Victoria a couple of weeks ago, pastels were one of her tips for the coming year. But you know what? We’re kind of on the fence for this one.

For the first year ever Pantone has chosen a blending of two colours as ‘colour of the year’ – Rose Quartz (described as an ’embracing rose tone’) and Serenity, a ‘tranquil blue’.


They are described as ‘a harmonious pairing of inviting shades that embody a mindset of tranquility and inner peace’ and, according to Pantone, reflect a yearning for reassurance and security in response to the stress of modern living.

Well, they are certainly pretty colours. And can be very useful for decorating – either pair well with greys, greens, plums and beige-y neutrals. Neither of them is difficult in the sense of demanding attention or draining life from other colours. Few people will have a passionate dislike of either.

And that’s the problem really. They are a bit safe. Now usually we are all for safety (and please watch that coffee pot, it’s hot!). Safety is good. A healthy respect for safety is how our ancestors didn’t get eaten by sabre toothed tigers. And our homes should definitely be safe places. But we can’t help feeling that our homes should be safe so that our imaginations can take some risks. It’s OK to pick a bright colour; choose a dramatic fabric;  surround yourself with unusual objects you love!

So that’s what it comes down to really. There’s always a place for pastels, but we think you should use those safe colours with caution!


An Interview with Rebecca from Georgia Victoria

Just before Christmas we went to a party and were lucky enough to meet Rebecca, the interior designer behind Georgia Victoria. Not only was it great to meet her but she agreed to do an interview with us – our first ever! So earlier this week we finally got together for a chat.

Because we are nosy, we had to ask Rebecca what her favourite decorative item in her house is and she told us all about this lovely rocking horse*.



It belonged to her grandmother who bought it in the 1920s, although it probably wasn’t new then. It lived in a huge attic with a billiard table, a table tennis table and other toys for the grandchildren to play with and the rocking horse became a place to wait for a turn with the most popular toys. In due course he was renovated and Rebecca eventually inherited him from her grandmother. He now lives in her hallway and although he definitely counts as a decorative object, children – both Rebecca’s own and visiting ones – are encouraged to play on him. So what makes him special? “There are stories to tell about it – stories and memories”.

This is a key point for Rebecca’s work. She has a key piece of advice for anyone starting a design project: “have talking points to enrich the interior for you and your guests”. Rebecca thinks many interiors are ‘safe’ rather than a reflection of the people who live there and she takes pride in working with great upholsters, furniture makers and other craftsmen to create bespoke items. She recommends having confidence – chose things you love rather than things you think will work. (A case in point is that picture of the rocking horse – it’s placed next to an antique settle but look how well they work with the modern painting on the wall!) If you pick things you love then there will always be a common theme that links them and objects you love will stop an interior being bland. A house is to be lived in and should look lived in rather than permanently styled as if for a photoshoot.

Following on from that, Rebecca believes it’s important to be flexible because interior design is an organic process. For example ‘you might plan a new carpet and then find beautiful floor boards under the old one – don’t be afraid to polish the boards, buy a rug and change the plan!” There is a great example of this on the Georgia Victoria website – a client renovating a Victorian bathroom grew to love their original figured rolled glass window par and decided to keep it rather than replace it with modern frosted glass.



Rebecca herself loves Victorian interiors, because there is always something to look at, and one dream project would be to renovate a complete Victorian townhouse from top to bottom for a client who wants an interior ‘full of silk and drama”. But what about her own dream? A bothy! It would be a retreat away from modern city life and electricity; a calm, serene space to connect with nature. And it’s not surprising that she dreams of something simple – the last year has been very busy for Georgia Victoria. The client list is growing (both private and corporate clients) and exciting projects for the future include fitting out a horse-drawn carriage!

So what interior design trends should we all be looking out for in the coming year? The three Ps – pastels, patterns and plants. Rebecca thinks that all the grey interiors that were so popular a few years ago will now need a refresh and that pastels are the perfect way to achieve this. In a similar vein, as we get bored with blocks of colour we will turn towards bold, patterned fabrics (check out the Georgia Victoria Facebook page for ‘Fabric of the Week’ recommendations). And plants, because as Rebecca says “Everybody needs more plants!”

If you have a design project you would like Rebecca to help with, you will find contact details on her web page.



*You’ll have guessed we didn’t take these photos, right? Copyright in all photos owned by Georgia Victoria.

A Morris Moment

Embed from Getty Images

We’ve recently noticed that William Morris, iconic designer of prints like those above and associate of the Pre-Raphaelites,  is having a bit of a moment – a minor Morris moment, if you will! He is the man who said ‘have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ – which is a fine principle to follow.

You know how we firmly believe House of Hackney prints to be beautiful? Well, they have brought out a range of prints in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery, taking three original patterns (Peacock and Dragon, Hyacinth and Blackthorn) and developing an entirely new one: Artemis.  This is the lovely Hyacinth wallpaper in teal (it come in a range of colours):


And this is the stunning Artemis wallpaper in grape (also comes in a range of other colours):


As well as wallpapers, the prints are also featured in House of Hackney’s soft furnishing and clothing ranges. (Please note that House of Hackney own all copyright in the two pictures of its wallpaper above).

But it’s not just House of Hackney. Barbour have just brought out a range of jackets lined with Morris prints! Here is the Ruskin jacket, lined with the Acanthus print (one of the original working drawings for Acanthus is shown on the left in the picture at the top of this post):


We love the way the lining is also let into the sleeve:


Useful and beautiful indeed!

That time of year again…

Yes, it’s late spring/early summer and that means that our favourite flowers, peonies, are in season again. We bought these amazing single ones the other day: P1030824 Apparently, peonies were introduced to northern Europe by Benedictine monks which is why they are sometimes referred to as ‘Benedictine roses’. This one is a candle: P1030827 But that’s a problem – should we actually burn it? ‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone’ as Granny used to say. On  the other hand it won’t look very pretty if it gets all dusty… maybe we just need to find a really special occasion and use it then. Any excuse! Maybe the beginning of summer is a good enough excuse anyway?

Why not smile at a crocodile?

OK, so received wisdom is against it but why not? At least when we are talking about mock-croc effect!

We got new bedroom curtains recently – well, actually before Christmas but we’ve just been too busy to talk about them until now. Here they are:

From the photo, they look like they are a plain pinky-cream fabric (it’s a combination of lighting, less than professional photography) so here is a close up which shows the pattern and the colour more accurately:
The fabric is made by a company called Fibre Naturelle Ltd. It’s called ‘Marble’ (although it is clearly a reptile skin print) from their Milano range and It comes in a range of colours – this one is ‘almondie’. 
The curtains themselves were made by a company called Cotton and Chintz and the service from them was excellent. Julie brought round loads of samples, measured the windows and then came back to fit them when the curtains were made. It was all very friendly and efficient – and the price was highly competitive too!
We like them so much that we’re beginning to regret not having these tiles in the bathroom:
They are Crocodile in white, from Topps Tiles
So we are definitely smiling at a crocodile at the moment – is it just us or is this going to be a bit of a thing this year?

Handsome beasts

This handsome gentleman arrived yesterday:

He doesn’t look too happy, but he seems to have made himself at home on the sofa and we are delighted to have him. He’ll make several friends here, including this foxy naval officer whose hanging around:

What is it about pictures of creatures with animal heads and human bodies, often in uniform? They are undoubtedly charming and very popular at the moment – but why? Because when you think about it, it is a little curious…

We think it can all be traced back to Charlotte Cory, who is now the Artist in Residence at the Gilbert Scott Bar at the gothic St Pancras hotel. In 2007, she held an exhibition in London called ‘Charlotte Cory’s Cabinet of Curiosities’. The idea behind it was to create photographs using Victorian photographic visiting cards and stuffed animals, which she calls ‘visititorians’, so as to avoid describing them as people or animals. This led to a book ‘The Visitors’ and subsequent projects such as an exhibition at the Globe Theatre and an installation at Haworth Parsonage (home of the Brontës). She also produces furniture with some of her designs – have a look on our Pinterest board. You can see Charlotte’s work on her web site. We don’t like to gossip but apparently the Queen has two of her pictures…

In the last few years, creatures bearing the clear influence of her work have started appearing on cushions and prints all over the place, making visitorian charm available to a wider market. Evans Lichfield have some lovely cushions and our fine naval man came from Fab Funky, where there is an amazing selection of prints (and great customer service).


Peonies are one of the great things about summer – grand and fragile at the same time and with a beautiful, delicate scent. (Have you smelt Jo Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede Cologne? Gorgeous.) They start appearing in the florists in June so they are a real sign that summer is here.

But for interiors, peony-inspired designs are for all year round! Fabrics, wallpaper…. Check out House of Hackney’s Peoneden available in 5 colours. If that all seems like too much commitment to the theme, try a cushion. This one came from The Range: