Vintage maximalism: “ I call her granny chic ”

“For a lot of people that would be way too much,” says interior designer Cath Beckett of her two-bedroom apartment in west London. “My mother, for example, thinks the dining room is hideous.”

Beckett is half of the interior design studio London yellow, founded with her partner Liv Wallers in 2017. Her traditional modern designs are full of bright colors and patterns, both of which are big in Beckett’s apartment; a small space furnished with antique furniture, heirlooms and flea market finds, all delivered with polish and spirit.

This is felt perhaps most in the dining room, which is covered (walls and ceiling!) In the style of the south of France. Pierre FreyFull Summer Design. Pink blinds hang from the window and a vintage dining table from Newark Antiques Fair, painted in orange, is associated with a peeling blue bench. A hanging dryer for laundry is a practical use of space; the overall effect is that of sitting on a Mediterranean terrace next to a bustling 1950s market. “It’s so awesome when you’re here at night with dim lights. It gives the impression of being global – as if you were in a room in a restaurant. “

London dining room by designer Cath Beckett, with Pierre Frey wallpaper © Matt Clayton

Pattern and color on display in Cath Beckett's hallway.  .  .

Pattern and color on display in Cath Beckett’s hallway. . . © Matt Clayton

… And in his living room, with 1950s bentwood armchairs in Hawkeswood fabric by Teyssier

… And in his living room, with 1950s bentwood armchairs in Hawkeswood fabric by Teyssier © Matt Clayton

More spectacular wallpaper, a motif of a dancing figure of WhiteworksThe Jet collection, present in the entrance hall, its luminous aquamarine background echoed by the matching woodwork. In the living room with pink walls, an Andrew Martin sofa in a similar shade and a by Le Cuona velvet (the best on the market according to Beckett), takes center stage as a rather chic woman, next to a scalloped ottoman in cream Hare loop. On either side of a fireplace, two 1950s bentwood armchairs covered with a dashing zig-zag fabric (Hawkeswood by Teyssier) contrast with the pink and red colored blinds Ottoline de Vries fan printing.

Bold fabrics are a starting point for Beckett. In her bedroom, a floral motif by Viennese modernist Josef Frank covers the headboard and creates focus. “It’s the wow factor that I love – when someone comes in and thinks it’s amazing,” she says. “When you’re a little more courageous with your interior, it usually pays off.”

‘A Little Braver’ sums up perfectly the new aesthetic of designers – and homeowners – in which carefree hodgepodge interiors blend traditional furnishings, vibrant colors and, well, lots of everything in between: wall hangings, patterned textiles. and tactile, decorative objects from different eras and countries, vintage rugs and glossy painted woodwork, all blending into a spirit of warmth and comfort. There is an intimacy in these interiors, an old-fashioned grandmother, even. “I have lamps from my grandmother, so I can see that element,” Beckett laughs. “But it’s elegant granny. “

Cath Beckett's living room

Cath Beckett’s living room © Matt Clayton

Josef Frank fabric on the headboard in his bedroom

Josef Frank fabric on the headboard in his bedroom © Matt Clayton

What the aesthetic doesn’t adhere to much are the sharp angles and neutral colors of minimalism, which have dominated the more recent era of interior design. The look is all about celebrating much-loved pieces that spark joy (don’t put them away in the hallway closet), encourage the gathering of things, and poop the matches. Often found in these homes is a return to the softness of interior design with traditional influences favored in the 1980s, with fabric-covered side tables, pretty ruffle lampshades and covered headboards. Geometric lines are discarded in favor of feminine curves, scalloped edges and shapes inspired by nature.

There is an immense amount of practicality in this way of decorating, where comfort comes first – every corner is lit by a lamp, every drink has a place to rest. “It’s very forgiving, isn’t it?” says Matilda Goad, London-based home designer and interior design consultant, who was at the forefront of this trend in 2016 when she launched her successful scalloped raffia shades. His latest product is a pleated brass shade that plays on the 1980s fabric and paper patterns that have recently taken over. “Having very understated, minimalist pieces is amazing and I respect that aesthetic, but the way I actually live – having a mix of prints and a few different chairs together – means you can disguise the mess,” she adds. . “The mess can look like part of the scene. But you can also be more confident in your choices because the boundaries are looser. “

The granny-chic aesthetic of interior designer Rita Konig…

The granny-chic aesthetic of interior designer Rita Konig… © Rodrigo Carmuega

... As seen in HTSI in March

… As seen in HTSI in March © Rodrigo Carmuega

Interior decorator Rita konig, daughter of Boss Queen Nina Campbell, has a similar casual style and held pre-pandemic design workshops at her London apartment to show others how to get the right look. As seen in HTSI last month, the thoughtful decor of her home seems effortless.

But it’s not a uniquely British aesthetic. One of the pioneers of the mismatched, love-driven look was Copenhagen gallery owner Tina Seidenfaden Busck. Former Sotheby’s employee turned art and design consultant, Busck has opened The apartment in 2011 in the 18th century building where she and her family live, with the intention of showing customers what the pieces she was selling could look like in a domestic setting. It’s a gallery but not as you know it. ‘Lived-in’ is the vibe and interiors are ever-changing, the changing walls a backdrop to a carousel of design classics – vintage Hans Wegner Flag Halyard chairs, Muller Van Severen lounge chairs and Murano glass chandeliers 1960s – alongside, say, African textiles, a Jessica Ogden quilt and an Italian manila rope doormat made by a fisherman, which Busck discovered while on vacation.

The apartment in Copenhagen

The apartment in Copenhagen ©

Le Klint table lamp, approx £ 1,100, by The Apartment

Le Klint table lamp, approx £ 1,100, from The Apartment ©

“Anything I put in the gallery or pop-up store is always something I would live with,” Busck says. “If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. When I look around there are so many things with different nationalities and dates of origin, but somehow it all comes together, so there has to be a thread between the things that attract me.

In 2019, Busck opened a drop-in drop-in store in Copenhagen that proved to be so popular that it ran for nine months instead of the planned three. A second pop-up in London is expected to arrive later this year. She says that since then the aesthetic of The Apartment has evolved. “There are so many more small items,” she adds. “I liked the privacy created in the store. It made me realize that space was too much of a gallery before. I am not a minimalist; I’m probably more of a maximalist. I love that a house tells the story of the people who live there. Covid-19, she said, only stressed how essential it is to make our homes a place “where you are surrounded by the things you love, rather than the things you put up with.”

Hanging tray from the 1940s, POA,

Hanging tray from the 1940s, POA, ©

Jonquil candle holder, £ 28,

Jonquil candle holder, £ 28,

The Copenhagen pop-up caused a stir on Instagram. A wall with Josef Frank’s clover-shaped wallpaper designed for Svenskt Tenn has appeared on countless streams. Social media platforms such as Instagram have become the showcase for a new generation of antique dealers, carpet sellers and home goods brands that offer decorative and vintage products, which are exactly the kind of items that can give a home a chic, granny look while providing a more durable way to decorate. Newcomers such as @tarnlondon and @foliechamber offers a selection of used furniture and decorative items from a mishmash of eras. Meanwhile Tat London, led by interior stylist Charlie Porter, is a bigger player with 124,000 subscribers who are keenly aware of its bi-weekly updates to its inventory – recent items on sale included a Swedish brass chandelier from the mid-1970s. century for £ 520 or a mixed lot of brown glazed ceramic bowls for £ 51. Societal, a merchant based in Morecambe, north Lancashire, is less well known, but owner Howard Byrom sells striking Victorian and Georgian antique furniture and wild decorative items such as a pair of flame-shaped fairground signs.

Fashion journalist Sophie Warburton says customers of her “affordable home goods” brand, Host Home, are eager to find pieces they won’t see anywhere else to scatter throughout their interiors. “Catching this one-time event holds a lot of currency with buyers right now,” she said. “Mixing the old with the new makes homes feel more considered and less consumerist, while purchases from different eras add layers of interest to a room. But they want items in perfect condition. These are not moth-riddled upholstery or serving dishes with chips and cracks.

In that regard, shopping at these curated antique sites certainly takes some of that pain away. Then again, after a year of being confined to our house, the prospect of hanging out in boxes at an antique fair in a muddy field, or of treasure hunting in a dusty flea market, in order to hunt down a touch of “this old thing ”Has never looked so appealing.

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