finding your bliss
I have just finished an article on cushions for another magazine. Strange thing to write about I know, but their restorative powers (in an interior setting) are quite unparalleled. You can take an unexciting bland space and make it something truly interesting with a few well chosen cushions. But it got me thinking about my own particular obsession with cushions. I really can’t quite live with out them. I am blessed with a very understanding Husband and children that are quite comfortable nestling into a chair where the cushions take up more space than they do! My very dear friend Erin O’Malley (from Madder & Rouge) has a theory. She maintains (and rightly so) that we need to work out what it is that truly makes our hearts sing about an interior space. That is, the thing that we really can’t do without. For her it is artwork. She could have barren, badly painted and colored walls, and no furniture, but if she had artwork – she would be happy. While I have been renovating our house, I have been pondering this question for myself. This house is not one to flick on in a year or two, not a d0-up at all. We bought it with the intent of staying here til the children are grown, and have left, only to come back again with their own children. We wanted long-term. So it has meant that we have had to be particularly careful with all our decision-making. We have made sure the hard architecture will be able to cope with the changing face of our family (more teenagers than not) – and soon to be grown ups, and then a house for grandchildren (in the distant future please). It has made me REALLY think about what it is that makes me happy. I am, of course, long past the point of caring what other people think. If I did care I wouldn’t have painted my entire staircase glossy apple green and bought a bright orange SMEG fridge. Or painted my Daughter’s room bright Jaffa orange with a fuchsia pink door and purple wardrobe. I have realized I can’t live without two things, strong colored paint on the walls and beautiful fabrics. I don’t really care how the fabrics find their way into my house – but my favorite way, and cheapest way is cushions. I would love to have some amazingly patterned curtains, couch or wallpaper – but when I can’t quite justify those costs – cushions are a good way to do it instead.
One of my favorite fabrics is by the Swedish design company Svenskt Tenn. The fabric is called Brazil and was designed by Josef Frank (1885-1967). I have little or no chance of ever owning it as I have yet to track down a supplier in the southern hemisphere, but it doesn’t stop me for just looking at it longly and imaging a cushion of two (at $200 a cushion before it is even couriered from Sweden I think looking is all I will ever do!) Brazil is the fabric you see in the curtains at the back of the shot.
Designers Guild has been a favorite of mine for the last 20 years. It was the first place I was ever introduced to brightly colored/patterned fabrics when I first moved to the UK 20 years ago. I only ever bought a duvet and pillow cases in bright yellow and white checks while I lived there (we had a limited budget), but have added to my pieces slowly over the years where I can. I have just recently bought some of the divine fabric from Designers Guild called Amarapali Peonies in the first picture. I have bought enough to make two large pillows for a guest bed, and a small lumber cushion for the lounge. I will just have to wait until the room they are meant to go in is actually finished! The fabric is available in New Zealand through icon textiles.co.nz
Lastly I just wanted to include this little ray-of-sunshine-of-a-cushion. It is called the Splash cushion, from Swedish company Little Fine Day. I love it’s very modern vibe mixed with a handcrafted feel – all with a double dose of color which of course I am going to love! It is available from douglasandbec.co.nz either from their shop in St Mary’s Bay in Auckland or their on-line store. It retails for $115 and is definitely a keeper.
Don’t be afraid to really work out what it is that makes you happy – what really makes an interior work for you – whether it be rich caramels, exposed wood (I had one client who just adored wooden benches), painted floors (me), bare or painted walls, loads of artwork, handmade objects, vintage furniture or just a clear and clean space. What ever it is – work with it and make it truly your own.