Warming to Those Brown Tones

I am probably one of the most colour-loving people you’ll meet. As I type today I am wearing a bright blue summer dress with yellow and pink flowers and sipping from an orange Pantone mug! But recently I am being drawn to those earthy tones. Natural cane, terracotta hues and, dare I say it, even brown. The colour associated most with the 1970s, definitely my favourite era for music, but not necessarily for interior design!

Let’s start with a mood. I love this picture, light and dark, the shadows adding to the sense of peace.

Shadow and light with palm leaves

You can bring in those brown tones is easily, this space uses brass, warm wood and natural tiles.

Brown tones interior

Art can be a great way to introduce colour, and help with those complementary tones. The earthy brown here rests against ochre, black and pale pink.

parquet flooring, abstract art and warm wood

Gorgeous velvet brown sofa, paired with grey, black and white. Plus wood panelling is always a favourite of mine!

Lovely plush brown leather sofa

The warmth this copper pendent gives helps what could be a cold place, feel warm.

Dining area with white dowel legged chairs and copper pendent

Brown can of course be an excellent accent. These very dark walls are brought to life with a golden canvas, well-worn leather and wooden window frames.

old and metalic touches and warmth to a dark blue room

The brown leather sofa here sits alongside cacti, abstract art and a large amount of wicker!

Cacti in a living room with a brown leather sofa

Luxurious brown bedding with accents of steel. The oil painting classes-up the ramshackle space.

Bedroom with a mix of brown and grey

All that’s missing in this lovely kitchen would be some irregular-shaped wooden utensils. That perfectly toned wood brings a homely touch to the cool marble surfaces.

Lovely wooden kitchen bringing those warm, brown tones to lots of cool white marble

Boho bliss – the full spectrum of browns – woven, weaved and stitched.

Layers of lovely brown in a cool white room

This colour sits quite comfortably between brown and pink. I like the walls with the bare floor boards.

Lovely warm earthy pink/brown walls

With a distinctly tropical vibe, this bedroom uses texture expertly creating depth and a feel of luxury.

Relaxing brown toned bedroom

These brown vases contribute an array of different brown hues. Filling them like this, with sculptural pieces of nature, works well.

Brown glass vases with pampas grass

This room mixes brown and blue, I love the window frame and that leather chair.

Bright living room with brown and blue accents

What a wonderful collection of shapes. The brown leather sofa is perfectly proportioned to sit cross legged and sketch or read a magazine, something minimal and impossibly cool!

Brown leather sofa in simple shapes

The dappled light in this room adds wonderful drama.

Rattan furniture with a brown and black feel

This space brings together that freshness and warmth from another blue and brown coupling. Cool cactus too.

Restaurant design with brown and blue accents

And there you have it, converted to brown yet? I am definitely warming to it.





The Brilliant Brightness of Baumann

Wow its been a while, apologies, its manic at my day job at Pickle Design. We are moving offices and lets just say its been colourful! Speaking of colourful, I was reminiscing about the one that got away. Years ago in my lovely Lostwithiel I found a large screen print of my favourite tree, the cedar of Lebanon complete with a favourite quote of mine ‘be still and know’ in the most warming olive greens and golden yellows. Sadly this work of art was out of my reach but its beauty has stayed with me. I even know where it would sit in my house!

Woodblock print Three Pines 1925 by Gustave Baumann

Lovely blue-green trees woodcut print by Gustave Baumann

Today when combing the internet, and in particular my favourite portal for inspiration, Pinterest, I came across the woodcuts of Gustave Baumann. I had seen his work before but not really registered who it was by. Today I delved a little further and my was I rewarded! A festival of colour captured serene scenes, all of which I would gladly display in my home. Like me, Baumann has a love for trees, and although from Germany originally the artist emigrated to America in 1891 at age ten, choosing to focus on the vast and varied countryside of his new nation. He was one of the leading figures in America’s woodcut revival, famed for his graphic style – a type of art I love. To me its like nature is almost to wonderful to take in all at once – so vast and detailed – I appreciate when an artist filters that view in a more linear style. With exuberant colours capturing the light and mood.

Colourful woodcut by Gustave Baumann, Summer Breeze

Woodcut print by Gustave Bauman, Cholla and Sahuaro 1924

Grandma Battin's Garden woodblock print by Gustave Baumann

The last years of his life were spent in Santa fe where the light is even more vivid and stark. This style of art has influenced my illustrations, check out the Pickle Design poster calendar we created in 2016 with a nod to vintage travel posters. Scenes of our wonderful Cornwall.

Woodblock print by Gustave Baumann 'Pines Grand Canyon'

Colourful woodblock print by Gustave Baumann, Arroya Chamisa

Woodcut by Gustave Baumann 'Singing Woods'

Such an exhilarating way to start the day, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Gustave Baumann's woodblock print 'Morning Sun'

Shoe Gazing

Well this caught my eye, do you know Atrafloor? I came across them as I was perusing the internet. Such eye-catching flooring does make you think of retro lino, true, but this is actually quite an inventive product. They custom print vinyl that is hard wearing and can pretty much have anything on it. I really like the vibrant patterns, from the illustrative to the geometric, the kid friendly to the rather chic. Here a few of my favourites:

Geometric Vinyl Flooring from Atrafloor in blue, lilac and pink

Ombré neon yellow flooring from Atrafloor

Forest green geometric flooring

Brilliantly bright patterned vinyl floor

Marble effect floor in dreamy greys and gold

Really fun kids vinyl flooring - a town map

Triangle flooring

The benefit of vinyl is that it is durable and easy to keep clean. Plus things bounce! I have a slate floor in my kitchen, and don’t I know it. As beautiful as it is I have shattered a fair few plates and glasses in my time.

I am partial to the geometric patterns. Their website says they believe floors to be generally over looked in interior design, and I’m inclined to agree, when really the possibilities are endless..

A Room with a View

The thought of a mural can often conjure up awkwardly painted kids rooms, at least with me it can. However at the same time I love the dreamy interiors of grand houses where walking into a room is like walking into a dream. There’s a middle ground of course, glorious murals can now be purchased as wallpaper and voila, you can transport your room to another dimension.

As you may be aware by now I am slightly in love with trees, nature in general helps me breathe deeply and gives a calming sense of relief. This lush forest features some Regency ladies relaxing underneath its epic canopy of leaves.

Lush forest mural covers a wall

What a stunning room, the structure itself is noteworthy, every surface has exotic birds in flight, peppered amongst the leaves. Known as the Birdcage Room in Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire circa 1760.

Golden room filled with painted exotic birds

These pictures hold a world of wonder, oh to be a child in that room! The imagination would run wild. Boschereccia, or “Little Wood”, dates back to 1810 and is one of the finest examples of garden style trompe-l’oeil from the early 19th century.

A painted interior with a tree mural on an epic scale

Painted garden room

Equally as grand but more up to date, you can cover your walls with marble. Silvered greys and copper flecks add depth to an otherwise plain room.

Marble mural in the bedroom

Keeping it monochrome, your humble home can rival the interiors of Italian masters – well almost.

Marbled wallpaper on soft grey and white

Bringing the bright back we have this vibrant mural in the Arroyo Hotel, Buenos Aires. Local artist Eloísa Ballivian was responsible for the beautiful 10 metre hand-painted mural, it took two months to complete.

Giant painted flower mural

Forest green wafts up the walls in this watercolour mural. Brilliantly bold, I think I would team it up with deep blue wood work and golden accents.

Green watercolour mural

If in doubt follow the masters, Van Gogh‘s painting of almond branches adorns this wall. That shade of blue is mesmerising.

Blossom mural inspired by Van Gogh

Into the woods again, this painted tree brilliantly merges ceiling and walls. The dark furniture adds to the drama.

Painted tree covers wall and ceiling

So many shades of green, who could count. A tropical paradise lining the walls.

Painted trees and monkey in this grand house mural

In a totally different style, the everyday becomes wall art here. Avital Pudinsky, from Tel-Aviv, hand drew this wall with her marker pen. Nine hours with no planning or sketches, just whatever came to mind. I love the impact it makes.

Monochrome wall mural with everyday objects

A more modern take on the forest room. This paper mural brings drama and depth, perfectly paired with velvets and silk accents.

Modern take on a forest room

Wow, serious wow. This mural is based on the Dutch painter Jan Davidsz de Heem’s artwork and is pretty mind blowing.

Rubenesque floral mural in a huge scale

And there you have it, some walls to inspire. With so many modern builds lacking soul, murals can be a great way to bring the drama!

The Painted Interior

A slightly different slant today on my world of interiors. I wanted to appreciate a room through the eyes of the artist. Just as I am a lover of colour in decoration, I also enjoy vibrant art. Composition matters, drawing your eye in, appreciating a detail or being struck in awe at the whole. Here are some interiors caught on the canvas.

Lets lead with red, what a regal space. Golden walls are enriched by geometric panels of light off-setting the fiery accents in the room. ‘A London Interior’ by Herbert Davis Richter.

Richly painted room,

In a completely different style, Tom Haugomat plays with perspective. The Mid Century furniture emerges from the dark, your eye is drawn, like the lone man, to the window on the world.

Tom Haugomat illustrated interior

Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, the French designer, captures my heart with everyone of his interiors. He celebrates colour through his varying tones. Subtle, dramatic, but definitely enviable!

Peachy pink Art Deco interior of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann

Here, the room’s scale is beautifully communicated, painted in 1921 with evergreen and inky black.

French designer and illustrator Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann

The vastness of this room is evident, from the rounded ceiling your eye follows the immense chandelier to the intricate embellishment picked out in gold.  Ruhlmann’s vision for these rooms is breath-taking.

Pink Art Deco interior by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann

Even in simplified lines Ruhlmann conjures an impression of that time. Here I love the how the colours play, the silvered blue, vibrant violet (I had the exact same colour carpet as a child!) and the fresh yellow. Do seek out more of his paintings, they are glorious.

Art Deco illustration of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann interior

In a sort of unfinished frenzy of green we have this fireplace by Kathleen Melian. ‘Remains of Desire’ (2012) caught my eye with its rich greens and little interior touches.

Painting of a rich green interior by Kathleen Melian, "Remains of Desire" 2012

Peacock colours intrigue in this dramatic glimpse of the room beyond. I like this arrangement, entitled ‘Interior with Opera Cloak’, painted in the early 20th century by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell. The cloak is the subject, but all I want to know is what the rest of that royal blue room contains, yet we are kept in the dark!

Peacock coloured interor painted by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell

Who would have thought I would be happy to gaze upon a utilitarian sink, but painted by Chelsea Bentley James it becomes a thing of beauty. In cool blues the artist divides this dull spaces into a patchwork ready for us to appreciate.

Chelsea Bentley James paintings of room details

Sometimes a room exists to complement and frame a view. Here Edward Gordon paints ‘Music Room’, an inspiring space with stunning scenery wrapping round the house. With such skill the artist traces the light around the room, revealing the curve of the piano and the equally stunning Girl with a Pearl Earing by Johannes Vermeer in pride of place.

Music Room by artist Edward Gordon

To me this painting conveys one thing perfectly, jazz. My eye dances around the room struggling to settle but enjoying the ride. Painted by Anton Henning.

Anton Henning interior painting

Dark lines separate the cool colours in this series of rooms. Preston Dickinson painted this humble home in 1922, I like how the painting feels like a series of shapes rather than objects, I am rather partial to those rugs too!

Preston Dickinson (American, 1891-1930), Interior Scene, 1922. Oil on canvasboard, 20 x 16 in

Back to elegance, the wonderfully serene ‘Green Room’ by Marie-Louise Roosevelt Pierrepont. Such a happy space, a perfect reflection of the inviting garden shown through those giant windows.

The Green Room by Marie-Louise Roosevelt Pierrepont

Caro Niederer reduces her interior to its abstract essence. Citrus coloured blocks are recognisable as furniture and walls. Pink roses in the foreground remind me of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Caro Niederer


There are so many more I could show you! Its like a rabbit whole, once I started looking I couldn’t stop! Happy Friday everyone.