Kya deLongchamps tires of sophisticated mid-century faking, and throws her sombrero at a rich ethnic interiors fiesta with some playful results.
You know the house I’m thinking of.
You skip from foot to foot, take a halting look around the tightly managed environment, and finally squeak: “is it alright to sit here?”.
There are Eames, Eiffel style chairs in McDonalds, and we have to fight our way through jauntily composed copper-pendanted cages in every lifestyle outlet in the country.
It all advertises the fact that heavily over-interpreted, Mad Men and even Studio 51 rock-glam set dressing is about to go straight out the window with Don Draper’s Fase lamp.
Trends, seasonal fashions and even vintage fetishes are a trap for any domestic decorator.
Invoked comprehensively, they suppress the personal, impulse buy, that response to a colour, a subject, a material, that comes straight from the visual playroom of the heart.
A great ’70s dining set in the manner of the Merrow Associates — gorgeous. An Anglepoise playing the dandy with an old Biedermeier side table — inspired.
However, a room finished in wall-to-wall kick-out legs, knock off or even real Panton, Wegner, and Breuer dotted with the right Alessi pop culture plastics (to simper out some humour), is downright oppressive.
Comfortable, handmade folksy themes light us up from summer through autumn interiors every year in one way or another. Put together with a light hand, their colour, fascination and flair (combined with what you already have) are a refreshing drench to our imagination.
This year, spicy affordable invigorating Mexican flavours take us such a world away from polite grey neutrals and flat Scandinavian weaves you’ll laugh out loud.
Try a touch in a bathroom, hall, and playroom or let it out to play in accessorising all over the house with other exotics.
Dial the colours up or down, and kick up some texture against those wipe-clean surfaces and hard flooring with tapestry and embroidered hangings, brocade soft furnishings, patchwork, earthenware and more.
In the US, the South-West or hacienda look favoured right up to LA, is enriched by an open creative border inviting in the colour, touch and brilliance of Mexican art, culture and design.
At high end of the market, the opulent output of the Central, South American and Mexican late 20th century designer-architects including Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, are taking the vintage market by storm.
Marks & Spencer and Penneys have both signalled the fiesta season is on in their global style village, with atypical Mexican look accessorising and sumptuously-embroidered bed linens.
Travelled creators including Mathew Williamson, the darling of Debenhams, have long had their pom-pom fringes and searing pink and blue brights on show.
Look for abstract woven rugs in large-scale unfussed designs, and re-use those hippy-dippy Ikats in throws, bedspreads, cushions and bold ornaments from seasons past.
Stunning clashes of bohemian pigment colour in individual pieces set against white walls is less frightening for most, but there’s nothing to stop you from really going south of the border in turquoise blue walls and burnt-red.
Textured plaster recalls authentic adobe, which makes this look a real winner outside if you want to go further with a dedicated sand-heavy render.
Naive crewel-style embroidery in wool rather than thread, including geometrics, primitive forms of animals and simple flowers and vines can be found across the world.
If you fell for a crafted shawl in the heat of the moment in Bombay or Santa Fe, wake it from its siesta at the top of the wardrobe and decorate the back of a chair in the conservatory.
Mexican textiles reflect pre-Columbian Mayan and Aztec traditions as much as their Hispanic roots.
Traditional colours are very cool, with a blue undertone that sits confidently in well-lit rooms, making them ideal for indoor/outdoor spaces on the south west of a home.
More upmarket interpretations taken from colonial estate manors, warm these colours and mute them out to softer organics.
Try composing a corner of tiled planters and brush-painted pots in rich primaries and baked terracotta cradling desert plants in stiff, sappy succulents, cacti and aloe.
When that chimenea with the wrought-iron base falls out of use, it can act as an eye-catching staging point for a Mexican arrangement of plants and ornaments indoors.
Hefty, rustic pine and oak dining sets with over-stated wrought iron supports and corner hinge details, rush woven seats and simple lines — these family favourites sing with chunky weaves, blown recycled glass, and hand-thrown and painted ceramics in searing colours.
Individual Mexican tiles make beautiful coasters if you can’t run to a splash-back. Weighty wrought iron chandeliers are easy second-hand pub decor finds. Paint them black and hang them low over your dining area.
Two popular symbols appearing all over the market, are the cactus, and a happy human skull taken from the parade ground during Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead, a national holiday in Mexico celebrated every November.
Keep in mind that these are cheerful, loose impressions. We’re not kitting out a Mexican restaurant.
Look what an over-heated Spanish holiday in the 1970s did to the architecture of a perfectly good Irish bungalow.
Irish sponge wear pottery by Mosse, Indian rag rugs from the Tiger Store, Carolyn Donnelly’s North African and other eclectic ranges, and provincial Italian majolica bring cultures together in relaxed collections you might have trawled from world travels (who cares if you just adventured down St Patrick’s Street or climbed up to hit Mother Jones’s Flea Market). Above all, don’t take this too seriously, or you’ll end up performing a frenetic interiors Mexican Hat Dance. Olé!
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