Designers Guild is an iconic British brand that has blazed a trail for colour and pattern in the world of interiors for more than five decades.
Right now she is embracing modernism – and true to form, she’s introducing vibrant colour to the ‘safe’ modern pallet of muted whites and greys. Her stunning, contemporary London home is a showcase for her ever-evolving style and creativity.
‘Modernity does not automatically mean a lack of colour, pattern or texture,’ says Tricia, who latest interiors book, titled In My View, is out now. ‘A vital use of colour and pattern is often seen as nostalgic, and there exists a strong view that there is no place for it in a modern space. Through my work, I have endeavoured to disprove this theory.’
Tricia’s late-Victorian townhouse in west London is, she says, ‘an urban incarnation of my creative spirit, and feels sharply experimental. It is, in some ways, my own version of a lab, a place where I will test designs and assess how colours work together.’
When she bought the corner-plot house, it had been converted from five flats back into a single home but it lacked personality, while the rooms were not sensibly sized, or necessarily in the best positions for their use.
It also needed to play a different role from that of the relaxing countryside retreat Tricia owns in Umbria, Italy. ‘Here, life revolves around work rather than relaxation,’ she says. ‘Entertaining is perhaps a little more formal, the climate is completely different, and inevitably city life feeds our creativity and souls in diverse ways, with trips to the theatre, art galleries and museums taking precedence over nature and the landscape.
‘We decided to make some important and major changes that would open up and maximise the space in order to create our own urban retreat, with a flow of three distinct areas to accommodate dining, living and resting.’
The ground floor accommodates a large, L-shaped, open-plan living area of elegant proportions, enjoying lots of natural light. The sense of space is accentuated by wide, bleached oak floorboards and a vivid palette of white, emerald green and turquoise.
‘The greens and blues are undeniably strong, but the balance with white and other neutrals in the space is carefully managed, so that the vibrant colours give the room a dynamic personality, but do not dominate,’ says Tricia.
‘Most of the walls are painted a cool white; just two accent walls are in a rich emerald green. Each of the bay windows is hung with banners of linen that gradate from turquoise to leaf green and then to white. Vintage pale-lime and soft-turquoise rugs are layered over the wooden floors to create distinct areas: one for relaxing, reading and watching television, and another for entertaining.
‘In each area, generously proportioned contemporary sofas encourage serious relaxation. The artistic symmetry of the decoration is offset by a mix of ceramics, glassware and personal pieces and by a selection of mid-century Scandinavian chairs, tables and cabinets that combine effortlessly with the contemporary and bring a touch of gravity and intelligence to the space.’
The lower-ground floor, home to the kitchen and dining room, also gives access to the terrace and garden. The simple blue and white palette is fresh, relaxed and uncomplicated. ‘In the northern end, we recreated the feel of the Italian kitchen with working base units of smooth white that appear to float above the concrete floor.
‘In the dining area, the walls are painted a fresh yet warm shade of sky blue. Sliding glass doors can be used to separate the kitchen from the dining room, and magically dissolve into the walls when not in use. And a contemporary, long, white table provides ample space for both casual dining and more formal entertaining.
‘Floating modern cabinets of varying proportions are positioned along the west wall, and offer more surfaces on which to arrange groups of ceramics, pictures, books and vases of flowers.’ At the southern end a glass door and glass walls on two sides provide views of the terrace and garden, bringing the outside in.
To counterbalance the stresses of city living, Tricia has created a tranquil haven on the top two floors for sleep and rest. On the first floor, two rooms were joined together to create the large main bedroom en suite.
Soft blue accent walls here provide an atmosphere of calm. ‘The sense of space and light is accentuated by a mix of low, white contemporary furniture and by cabinets that appear to float on the walls.
Elegant pieces of mid-century furniture including an armchair and a chaise longue serve as a stylistic counterpoint and bring warmth and depth to the space.’
On the second floor, three rooms have been transformed into two guest bedrooms, both decorated in tones of pink. ‘The first bedroom captures the strident, dynamic power of bright pink. Here the colour is coupled with cool white and stands out against a backdrop of textured wallpaper that has a modern, almost graffiti-like quality.
‘The adjacent bedroom represents a differing view of pink: tones of shell and peony mix with soft white in a romantic and graceful retreat from urban living.’
Buy Tricia Guild: In my View for £45 from Designer’s Guild.
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