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


Homes by the sea

We live in Cornwall, England which really is like being on holiday all of the time. Today is a bitter cold February Friday and the sunlight streaming through the studio is just stunning. The trees and buildings are lit with a warm lime coloured light. It makes me really quite content with the world.

I live and work a few minutes by car from the sea but I am always quite envious of those who can stroll down of a morning and feel the sand between their toes. 

When it comes to seaside architecture I am torn between the cosy traditional Cornish cottage who’s thick stone walls surround you in a warm embrace, and cutting-edge glass buildings that exert their mark on the landscape. 

Cornish cottages by the sea

One of my clients at work, I am a graphic designer at Pickle Design, has holiday cottages on the Lizard and they just look so inviting. She has a small collection of Cornish homes which really do entice memories of Famous Five adventures and family picnics with epic sandcastles. 

Cosy interiors and panoramic views

Holidays by the sea

The Lizard is just the most beautiful holiday destination, I have been there only once for a holiday and wondered around Coverack, where the most of The Lizard Holiday Cottages are nestled. She also has one on the Helford River. Helford, in my opinion, is a real hidden gem. The creek carves its way through the countryside creating an atmosphere of pure holiday magic. 

Sea views of the Lizard

On a day like today it really would be beautiful. I would love to have the opportunity to design the interior of a home like these. Having the correct balance of sea side charm, modern convince and a nod to traditional Cornwall, would be important. I would say a log fire is a must and some where cosy to read a good paperback. The icing on the cake would be a view that drew the eye, always changing and inspiring. 

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.

Jo Downs 13 Piece Reef Shoal

13 Piece Reef Shoal from Jo Downs

This Whitweek Jo Downs Handmade Glass offer customers the chance to WIN a designer Reef Shoal worth £395.

13 Piece Reef Shoal from Jo Downs New Shoaling Fish collection : ‘Bring The Ocean Home’

Jo Downs Handmade Glass announce the launch of their new Shoaling Fish range, a brand new collection of handmade fused glass pieces for the 2014 season.

To celebrating the launch of Shoaling Fish, Jo is offering customers the chance to WIN a Reef Shoal worth £395! You can enter the FREE draw when you buy any Jo Downs item at their St Ives, Padstow, Fowey or Launceston galleries during Whitweek from Saturday 24th May to Sunday 1st June. The winner will be drawn on Monday 2nd June and notified by e mail.

Available in three mix and match colourways, Jo Downs Shoaling Fish are available in either their six piece ‘Mini Shoal’ or larger ‘Reef Shoal’ and ‘Ocean Shoal’ boxed collections. Simple to wall mount in whatever combination suits your living space, these unique and beautifully made shoals of individually crafted glass fish will bring a splash of ocean inspired elegance to your life.

For sales please contact Jo Downs Handmade Glass, Unit 27, Penygillam Way, Launceston, PL15 7ED / 01566 779779 /

You can also see and buy Jo’s work online at