To Shine or not to Shine?

Zebra Grass – Iced Cappuccino wall covering by Phillip Jeffries installed in the hallway of an apartment in Belgravia refurbished by FifteenFifteen.  Photographer: Graham Atkins-Hughes

Leafing through the Bricks & Mortar supplement in The Times, I came across an article Forget the grey paint, it’s time to sparkle by Laura Whateley.  She argues the case of the growing trend to forego painting in favour of more fashion-forward wall coverings such as foil, leather or lacquer. These recent newcomers to the wall covering market add glitz and glamour to the more traditional choices of herringbones, sea grasses and flock.

Lattice System LED Wallpaper Chandelier, Meystyle

Agreed, I thought to myself as Mouse’s Back by Farrow & Ball may not be the most thrilling choice on the market at the moment, but what is the purpose of interior design: to be fashionable or functional? Do not think that I am against walls making a statement (not a statement wall, mind you!) yet the prospect of installing the latest light-up OLED wallpaper as a ‘wow’ factor needs to be considered with caution. So, what are the optimal ways of creating beautiful, distinguished and memorable homes?
 
Mandy & Mike Munro, who manage Tractor Home in Melbourne and were interviewed for It’s Beautiful Here by Megan Morton, played the long game with their home.  It has been their family home for twenty-five years and ‘it has staying power’ as they put it.  The was featured on the cover of House & Garden over sixty years ago but its aesthetic is as relevant today. The couple’s ethos is to buy only the pieces they love and have a unique narrative.  They are avid travellers and you would be forgiven in thinking that their time-honoured home is drowning in souvenirs and mementos.  On the contrary, the adage that keeps the house evolving through the years is ‘The less fashion the house wears, the more beautiful it can be.’

Tu Tu' Tun Lodge, Golden Beach, United States, Photographer: Joshua Ness

Having said that, however, this deceptively simple tactic works well when the aesthetics of all house occupants are more or less complementary.  Not all households are blessed with design sensibilities that chime in unison.  In tricky situations when decision-makers are almost polar opposites in their tastes, the path to creating a distinguished environment is to find a converging point in the disparity and drama.  The end result of the two worlds colliding is a progressive and sophisticated look.

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Kings Road, London, Photographer: Toa Heftiba

Drama and discord aside, the philosophy that works without fail for any dweller is to create living environment that allows you to experience beauty. And hence it is in the eye of the beholder, who is to judge whether Dimity is out and Swarovski encrusted wallpaper is in?

References: 

Morgan, Megan, It’s beautiful here, Thames & Hudson, 2017

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