Doing up our own home includes a number of challenges. Firstly our house is quite odd. It is just not ‘off the peg’ in any way. Neither a classic modernist design, nor a period beauty, it is a unique 1970’s house that we love, but feel was never given quite enough thought. The living room is very long and narrow. We solved this when we first moved in by placing a large room divider a third of the way down to create seperate living and dining areas.
This worked well, but I always felt the room divider was a bit too big and robbed the room of light. Doug built it for our previous home where it sat against a wall. It was designed as a storage unit and we persisted in using it as such so, inevitably, it was a bit cluttered. We never quite brought ourselves to remove the books and records and simply place beautiful objects on it, as we had not made it for that purpose.
I did manage to persuade Doug to remove it eventually and it has now found a new home in my dressing room. It is against a wall and filled with baskets of clothes and houses my shoe collection – perfect! But unfortunately our living room now feels a bit bare. The extra space is welcome and we have customised a wonderful vintage Habitat sideboard from the 1960s that Doug’s parents gave us, with twisted hazel twigs to create a lighter sense of division which has helped, but we still need to decorate to and warm it up a bit. Simple you might think. Errrr no. We both have stong ideas you see, so home decor decisions are never easy. In a lot of partnerships one person often cares a great deal and the other just leaves them to get on with it – we cannot do that… We have to think about it and discuss it for months, have huffs and go through a sort of ‘couple pain barrier’ before we can do anything. Then I had the bright idea of doing a mood board –
How sane and civilised is that? I can put all my dream living room ideas down and see how well they work together and I can feel Doug agreeing with me – I can ‘visualise’ it.
The star of our new living room would be the the ‘Gibson’ sofa from The Sofa & Chair Company. A pair would be even better. I like the chic formality of the Gibson: it is smart and contemporary. They do an amazing service, you can order an endless choice of designs, styles and seating layouts in a gorgeous range of fabrics and a variety of woods for the legs.
I would choose a heather velvet called Loriana Metallic Velvet and grey oak for the legs.
A cushion that was a gift from our friend Wendy Morrison would add a wee touch of jazzy glamour.
Our style otherwise is quite subdued, so a Berber style rug and natural wooden furniture will work well. The orange tray will be a drinks tray on the sideboard. It was a bit of a starting point really, it picks up on a James Dean poster we have already in the dining room and relates to Wendy’s Mount Orient cushion. The ‘Sareille’ wallpaper by Designers Guild was an idea we got from fashion designer, Zandra Rhodes home.
The ombre effect means you can have a hint of colour without it seeming too intense and the graduation to white at the top will help the ceiling seem higher, another challenge of an overly long room. We will get there. Despite all our challenges we have lived very happily in the house for fiteen years and together for twenty five, so don’t worry, bear with us and I will reveal all as soon as it is complete.