Creating an autumn home is about adding warmth. All around us, nature has generously hinted the colour palette at our disposal. From the russet of fading leaves to the gold of the cornfields and the bright orange vibrancy of pumpkins, autumn shows us how to welcome this abundant season into our homes. For some, the use of vibrant or bold colours can be daunting, but as all colour is taken from nature, you only have to look around you to see that colour is nothing more than a sympathetic reflection of the world outside your windows.
And the new window display at Love Restored has recreated such a scene. Standing majestically in the centre is a cabinet painted in Annie Sloan’s newest Chalk Paint colour, Tilton. This deep, bright mustard colour is subtly reminiscent of walks through golden fields, those late summer strolls that may have a slight chill in the air. The cabinet is backed with art deco styled botanical wallpaper from Angel Strawbridge's fabric range and stands nestled amongst a lamp and bunches of dried flowers. Inside is a collection of pottery, the deep earthy tones reminding us of the ploughed fields will soon be barren and resting again.
Tilton is one of three new colours that Annie Sloan has created as part of a collaboration with the Charleston Trust, the registered charity that manages and conserves Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex. This eclectic country retreat was a popular meeting place for the Bloomsbury Set. This group of English writers, painters and philosophers were united in their fundamental belief in the importance of the arts. The house itself was the home of painter Vanessa Bell and her husband, the designer Duncan Grant. The house is bountiful in its use of colour and decoration. Vanessa and Duncan were greatly inspired by the frescos of Italy and the paintings of the Post-Impressionist painters. This influence can be seen clearly with bold colours being layered over one another to give each room structure and form. Painted door panels depicting notes from nature adorn the doorways. In fact, the Tilton colour itself was inspired by the painted circle motif on Vanessa Bell’s wardrobe.
Quentin Bell, the son of Vanessa and Duncan described his parents as being unsentimental about preservation. He wrote, ‘Restoration or conservation seemed to dull a solution, it was much more fun to invent something new and change the entire aspect of a room’.
And so it is easy to see why Annie Sloan has had a lifelong fascination with this quirky and flamboyant farmhouse. Whilst the vividly decorated home has faded slightly with the passing years, you can still see clearly the home that it was. A home curated with love and passion, without fear of making mistakes or flouting the conventions of taste. Because our homes should be a reflection of who we really are and not what we think our visitors expect to see. By keeping our homes in accord with society’s perception of taste, we may indeed reduce the possibility of being conspicuous but then we miss out on that glorious moment when a friend walks into our room, is drawn towards the bright yellow cabinet creatively styled in the corner and wants to know all about it.