The Details

As you may know I live in England and we have a wonderful thing called the National Trust. They basically look after our beautiful old buildings, preserving them for future generations, our coastline too. What it means is, nosey people like me can immerse themselves in amazing architecture, and imagine, what if… Near where I live in Cornwall we have Lanhydrock House, a gorgeous Victorian home that has a perfectly preserved upstairs-downstairs lifestyle.

You can get overwhelmed  by the amount of embellishment and grandeur, but I like looking at the details. We actually have a company locally, Bromleighs, who specialise in period fixtures and fittings. The door handles, light switches, letterboxes etc. that fit a specific period. They have even supplied the National Trust. I mean imagine a Downton Abbey parlour with white glaringly plastic light switches!! The shock.

In praise of period details, here a few elements that shouldn’t be missed, the unsung heroes that make a space authentic.

The real-life Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle

The Master in Downton Abby

Period details from Downton abby

Rich dark wood of the library in Downton Abby

Dramatic scene from Downton Abby

When you are restoring a period house some people strip everything away but the bones of the place, and then fill the interior in contrast with the ultra modern. Sometimes though I think the soul can be lost. I am zoning in today on the overlooked details that can preserve the integrity of a building.

Here we have a dove grey door with a silvered handle, complementing it perfectly.

Antique style door handles

As you may well know, I am a fan of mix and match. There is quite a lot going on in this bathroom, but I think it works. What I really like is the mirror and light fittings in this dark, brassy metal.

Old brass fittings in a contemporary space

I love these old radiators, especially in sunshine yellow!

Blue walls and yellow radiator

Beautifully finished, this kind of handle would look at home on a ruggedly knotted and aged door.

Brass ribbed door handle

The handles here, in my humble opinion, make this kitchen. Lovely rich dark blue units, marble counter tops and a touch of brass.

Kitchen units in navy blue with brass metal handles

I love this light, so solid, so certain. Bolted onto the wall like it really belongs there!

Wall light in brass and white glass

Back to blue again, it just works so well! And what a lovely leathery colour.

Bathroom door in dark blue with antique style handle and lock in brass

Of course it is important to look up too. Georgian houses especially had beautiful freezes of intricate plaster. This is actually taken from another National Trust property, Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion.

Plaster work detail from a National Trust house

Another great mix. I included this bathroom because of the peg hooks, a lovely detail, and because of the sage green and zesty orange combo!

Roll top bath, peg hooks and black wire storage in a contemporary twist on a modern bathroom

My final thought goes to lighting. You can’t go wrong with a chandelier, no really. Even this rustic space is made complete with an antique-style pendant.

Brown interior with dark wood and an antique style chandelier


Screening Style

With so much of our living now in open plan spaces, ‘zoning’ is a thing. I think we naturally want to feel that we know what a space is for, its purpose. A way to create this room within a room is with screens or a dividers. What these are however, can be as varied as your imagination!

What comes to mind for me are either thick dark ebony carved partitions or elegant oriental wafer thin screens (with these I need to suppress the desire to punch a hole like in a 60s bond movie. Juvenile I know).

The options are of course endless, here are a few that have captured my imagination, welcome to the world of the screen..

A mammoth piece of furniture which feels like it would be at home alongside a palm tree and a silk dress.

Ornate dark wooden screen

The effect of this screen is rather lovely, the natural fabric is layered producing perhaps more art than furniture.

layers of textiles creating a screen

My eye is always drawn to line, I love the precision of these metallic lines, bringing some sophistication to an open space.

Rigid lines of metal create a screen

Bang on trend, bring nature in with this versatile hipster divide (it’s got geometric shapes and everything)

Hanging baskets in metal frame

I love the classic calm that rattan gives. With rounded corners this screen adds a lightness to a home.

Three panneled rattan screen

Outside spaces can benefit from a bit of screening. I love these skeleton leaf-inspired structures, and the rusty colours on this an Autumn day feel apt.

Outdoor leaf screens in rusty brown

The simplicity of a squared screen, welcome in the roasting heat.

Square screen for outdoors

More linear cool with this narrow but noticeable room divider.


Or bring nature in with a rather woody room divide.

Actual tree branches used as room screen

And for that nod to Bohemia I love this wooden carved screen in a rich sea-green

bedroom screen with ornate wood painted green

A geometric wooden slither sits happily in a serene and classic interior.

Wooden screen with geometric squares

And finally, a rustic and basic but beautiful living screen. Adding a bit of green to an urban space.

Wooden plant holder screen on coasters

Superb Sinks

I think the wonder of a bathroom is that it is a small enough area to go a little crazy, to let your creative hair down and just go for it! This week I am considering the sink. The simplest of functions really, to bathe, to splash, to hold water, but quite key to the bathroom.

In the kitchen too the sink is vital. Trust me, from living with a frustrating sink, good design is as important here as in anywhere. I have collated some truly beautiful examples o this humble interior element – from the uncompromisingly modern to the trusted and traditional, and a few more eyebrow raising finds to make us smile!


A great place to start, simple clean lines are coupled with rustic tiles and keep this bathroom feeling contemporary and well thought through.

Pattern tiles with clean white sink

For unrivalled elegance this black sink is beautiful. The water pours away to the right following the slope.

Sleek black sink

In a similar vein we have this double sink, minimal form in stylish matt black.

Sleek black double sinks

For that Deco charm and quality textures, I just love the glamour of this copper sink.

Copper, marble and matt back sink unit

To the kitchen, actually everything about this wooden kitchen I love, especially the weathered sink.

Dark metal sink

A contour sink is quite a statement! I love the fluid lines, almost as if we are viewing a landscape from a bird’s eye view.

Statement white contour sink

Ornate detailing on this sink would look striking in an exotic decorated bathroom, or alternatively in a stark monochrome space.

Detail embossed metal sink

You can’t go far wrong with the classic Belfast sink. I always wanted one of these as a child, strange thing to desire when one is so young!

Sink ideal for contemporary or traditional setting

For dramatic texture try a concrete sink, though it does remind me a little of an animal feeding trough, beautiful though!

Large concrete bathroom sink

And finally, what a great idea! A sink stand can really be made out of anything, including a bike.

Very clever up-cycled bike sink

J’adore Paris

What is it about Paris that encourages romance so? From the flaky pastries to the effortlessly chic females on the Champs-Élysées and the bijou but beau interiors – Paris has it. Here are some homes that look so inviting they have captured my heart, well a girl can dream..

These shots are from the apartment of Ramdane and Victoire, a brilliantly brought together family space with that Parisian flare.

The view in a Paris apartmentParis apartment with balcony and view of the Eiffel tower

This thoroughly modern but homely apartment belongs to architect Joseph Dirand. Lovely choices of materials and textures layer to make a home of real beauty.

Stylish galley kitchenBeautiful bedroom in ParisParis apartment lounge

For high glam and drama how about the Paris duplex of Stefano Pilati designed by architect Bruno Caron. And may I say I think that is the most glam shower I have ever seen!!

Dramatic study in Paris duplex  Very luxurious shower in Paris duplexDelightful dining room with woodland scene on the walls

Can you get more elegant than Coco Chanel’s Paris getaway?

Coco Chanel's Paris apartmentVery opulent Coco Chanel's Paris apartment

This final image pretty much captures it – ornate architectural details and soft stylish glamour make Paris life so enticing. I hope you have enjoyed the images, please click on one to see its source.

Paris interior with soft shades of pink

Four Poster Beds

Today as I am seriously sleepy I am considering beds, four poster ones to be precise. There is something quite magical about a four poster bed. Maybe it is the association with fairytales or grand houses or maybe the feeling of being protected and cocooned. Here are few of my favourites. From the antique wood of elegant and imposing furniture to the clean form of Japanese-like modern frames. Both command attention and whether dressed and draped in fabric or standing bare, tall and proud these beds would make a room.

dark wood four poster bedTraditional and elegant

Tree and nest four poster bed
So much fun, feed the imagination

Bright modern yellow four poster bedPerfectly yellow

Antique American four poster bedAntique wood

Four poster bed made with Silver Birches Look, real trees!

Elegant four poster bedModern elegance

Inlaid four poster bedExotically inlaid

Decorating with gold

Few of us live in divine Regency homes with gilded cherubs or ladened chandeliers. Never the less a little bit of glitz and glam can go a long way.

My tips for decorating with gold are..

An accent wall in gold patterned wallpaper

Gold accents in kitchen

Go for an accents:
The beauty of decorating with gold is that the room will alter as the light changes. The flickering of a fire or the cool winter light low through a window. Using accents is like embellishing an outfit with jewellery, you want to catch the eye and hold the attention.

Gold framed map

Antique gold and navy

Think antique:
An instant way to add some characterful charm is to accessorise with antique pieces. try a French scrolling bed or on a smaller scale you can pick up some great picture frames second hand.

Gold velvet sofa

Gold wallpaper in a small space adds depth

Metallics can add depth:
In a small space it can be tricky to add interest. You can get away with using quite a bold print for wallpaper when using gold that doesn’t actual over dominate a space. Or think introducing gold through soft furnishings with inviting velvet.

Famed combination of black and gold

Go opulent with black and gold

Black and gold
The classic combination speaks of sophistication. It needn’t be heavy as with any colour you can add ‘pops’. I think with this colour scheme it is the contrast in the light. Black absorbs the light in a kind of velvety way, and gold shimmers and reflects. The two together can add some jollity to a simple box room or grown-up notes to any interior.

Oriental foyer

Oriental inspired bathroom

Tones of the Orient
When I think of gold interiors the Orient with its lacquers and screens come to mind. I love in this bottom image how a very modern and minimal bathroom becomes luxurious because of a Japanese inspired mural.

Gold and green interior

Gold, blue and pink interior

Gold and colour
To embrace the softer side of gold try pairing it with pastel or powder shades. Alternatively embrace bright colours gilding with a little gold to create a happy place.

There is so much potential with metallics, all you need is to find the combination that best suits your personality. Please click on the image to find the credit.

Mix and match

The kind of Interior that I feel most comfortable in is the miss-matched slightly eclectic interesting ones that happily pair furniture and furnishings from all different decades. These are a few interiors that I would happily call home.

I love the Eastern influence in this lounge, the textures come together to make this a comfortable space. An 18th Century Korean screen creates a centre piece behind a sofa covered in French linen sheets and patchwork Japenese textile cushions all happily combine in interior stylist Peter Frank’s home.

eclectic interior

This interior for a house in Atlanta, USA has been designed by TaC Studios. What caught my eye here is the Womb chair which is featured for the month of November on the Pickle Design 2014 calendar I designed.

Not just mixing different periods of furniture but also ethnicities, this rooms works and the pops of colour brighten the dark furniture.

Interior with Womb chair

Living where we do, in Cornwall, England, you can’t escape the sea – and why would you want to! The influence of the seaside on interiors is clear as you peruse the boutique shops packed with interior temptations. This home is again from America, Westchester, New York. I like the bright white panelling providing a jolly contrast to the heavy wood of these classy pieces of furniture.

Seaside interior

A trend I quite like at the moment is grouping collections. There is something about a cluster that adds a modern twist to an antique collection, and starting small can be a great entry point to the buying of antiques. Be that blue and white ceramics, a grouping by colour of black, white and gold, vintage trays or silver boxes.

Blue and white antique ceramics

A collection of antiques arranged by colour

Antique trays displayed on a red wall

grouping antique boxes on a coffee table

The quirkier the better! We have such a wealth of history to delve into when decorating our homes, I love the idea of layering different periods with each other. To make sure your room has a sense of calm and not clutter create focal points, consider colour but really don’t take it too seriously, I think what our homes need is a sense of fun!

Post contributed by Emma Julian of Pickle Design, Wadebridge, Cornwall.