Travel through Interiors
“Oh, the places you’ll go!” - Dr Seuss
It’s official: travel is back on the menu. After a couple of years of either no travel at all, or travel marred by tedious PCRs and pre-departure forms, getting abroad is now easier, more accessible and – quite frankly – less stressful.
What a total joy it is to explore new places and revisit those that we already held dear. I was lucky enough to spend last week working from the mountains in France with a work trip to Paris tagged-on at the end for some aesthetic and culinary inspiration, bien sûr! As my favourite quote often attributed to Audrey Hepburn goes, “Paris is always a good idea”. I couldn’t agree more.
Often while I’m away, I end up being nostalgic and appreciative for what I have back at home. Travel can be food for the soul but, as we all discovered during lockdown, our homes need to be havens that we can happily retreat into as well. The home took on a new significance after months of not being able to explore the outside world, and the way we decorated and curated items became an essential expression of life beyond our own four walls. We saw clients being braver with colour and texture as they sought to experience a sense of adventure at home.
For centuries people have traveled the world and brought back items that delight them, and for good reason; taking inspiration from our travels – be it through objects, art, colour or architecture – brings richness and character into the home – not to mention uniqueness. A home that is a tapestry of memories and travels is always interesting to look at and will spark stories and conversation for years to come.
Of course, there is such a thing as overkill. We all remember the house where a trip to a Moroccan souk in the ‘90s has been faithfully re-enacted complete with ethnic wall hangings, floor cushions and sultry lighting. Balancing new and antique items from home and abroad will stop your house from feeling gimmicky or OTT. There’s nothing wrong with some good quality flat-pack furniture, if it’s interspersed with a few precious items that mean something to you.
Here are our tips on how to bring your own travels into your home:
Whether you collect pretty shells from a Cornish beach, or bring home a statement sculpture from a gallery, if something speaks to you on your travels, there will be a space for it in your home. I have an exquisite papier-mache box that I use for jewellery and hand-painted candle-sticks from Kashmir that take pride of place on my dressing table and some beautiful wooden benches in the garden from Qatar that remind me of my adventures every time I use them.
Let colours change your mind
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the colours we use at home but allowing ourselves to be inspired by the colours we see abroad always shakes things up a little. Whether it’s the rainbow colours of the favelas in Brazil or the clean, bright whites of the trulli in Puglia, think about how you could incorporate new ideas into your decorating. And remember paint doesn’t have to be permanent! Highlight woodwork in a bright new hue or go the whole hog; a new wall colour is a quick, easy and relatively cost-effective way to update your scheme.
Visit local art galleries
We often hit the ‘big ticket’ museums when we travel, but forget to visit the smaller galleries where local artists are selling their work or crafts. Picking up a piece of art with a connection to a place is a wonderful way to bring back the feeling of your trip whilst supporting the local community. Coffee table books are another fabulous way to remind you of your travels and the things you have experienced.
Don’t be afraid of creating a ‘mish-mash’ scheme
The most beautiful spaces always have something surprising in them. Often, the item that you think is a mismatch will make a room and add a layer of intrigue. Whether it’s a bright tropical wallpaper* or a huge cut-glass vase***, be bold and let idiosyncratic ideas creep in if they make you happy!
Dress like you’re on holiday
Why should an outfit be kept just for holidays? If the weather’s warm enough, you’ll catch us wafting around the garden in our blockprinted kimonos and shades channelling a spa-hotel in the South of France vibe. And don’t forget your outdoor tablescapes; transport your guests back to exotic locations by layering bright, block-printed tablecloths with zingy table mats** and colourful glassware.
Whether you’re travelling far or near this month, we wish you all a safe journey.
With love and wanderlust,
De Gournay ‘Island Garden’ wallpaper in collaboration with Anna Spiro.
Montes & Clarke – table mats.Beautiful, colourful items for the home with a focus on Mexican otomi embroidery.
The Boule-in – unique glass vase from Suffolk-based French decorative antiques dealer
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