Creative Journeys – bring design inspiration back from your travels
Some of the loveliest houses are ones that evolve over time and tell the story of where the owners have been. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot this summer, both for business and pleasure. Trips abroad always bring me home buzzing with ideas, whether it’s new colour combinations, local artwork, quirky details or a favourite iconic view that can be translated into a clever and unique fabric pattern. Much to the annoyance of my family and travel companions, I’m forever capturing these on film to use in future designs. When the UK is so grey, it’s a real pleasure to curl up at home against the shrinking daylight and hark back to days of summer when you were happiest with sand between your toes and a sunburnt nose.
So, this post is a roam around the different ways you can use your travels to inspire your home and revisit some fabulous moments in the process. If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with great photography skills and large white walls, why not transpose your finest images onto canvases for a guaranteed feelgood boost every time you pass them?
Or take colour ingenuity from stunning landscapes. Nature offers up irresistible colour schemes. A sunset over the sea inspires smoky rose and grey base colours with accents of amber, yellow and Wedgewood blues. No need to be too literal with your interpretation. Take what works for you and go easy on what doesn’t. Sunset yellows can be tricky to incorporate successfully into room schemes, so maybe these are best kept for reminiscing.
Pick and choose what works for you. It’s not the intensity of contrasts between sky and sand that intrigued me here… but the subtler resonances of the sea’s glassy greens against the ochre, which gave me some great palettes to experiment with in these fabric swatches.
When we travel we get a child’s sense of fun back.
I came across these old photos in a basement gym in Tuscany. The theme of women playing sport gives a brilliant and witty twist linking the antique eclectic to the contemporary setting.
In the same hotel, these turn-of-the-century fashion sketches were artfully displayed using the dark teal wall instead of a mount to make them stand out. The uniform frames pull together the motley shapes of the cut-outs. There’s no glass – that’s just a reflection from the nearby window. Super effective and different.
Travel stimulates wonder and curiosity.
So do great interiors. I loved this lady presiding over the reception desk in a Portuguese hotel and was intrigued to find out who she was, but no one seemed to know. Artwork with the hint of a story behind it injects energy into the overall design.
On your voyages, let your magpie mind roam free and pick up ideas worth reproducing back home. For anyone planning restrooms in a public place, this one is a must. A fun beachside lunch spot used Barbie and Ken dolls in swimwear to illustrate His and Hers. (Ken was in Speedos, but unfortunately, I overexposed his photo. Spare me the puns!)
From the ridiculous back to the sublime. Iconic views will never fail to inspire. Many will know this view taken from the top floor of the Paris Musée D’Orsay with the white hill of Montmartre in the background. And here it is translated into a fabric design by one of my favourite fabric houses, Manuel Canovas.
And finally, if you simply can’t resist bringing something back from abroad more three-dimensional than inspiration alone, enjoy a virtual wander through two recent discoveries in Portugal, the gorgeous home stores of Avida Portuguesa and Tine K Home – they both ship to the UK.