Blasts from the past
HOUSE STYLE The revival of seaside-landlady chic
Saturday 17 August 1996
But the design world is re-discovering its roots, and finding them in the everyday objects that surrounded their childhood homes. Such humble items are now being given a modern twist, and turned into the must-have accessories of the Nineties. Designer Natalie Hambro's table lights, pan scourers, inset with a night-light and finished with red leather ties, are gracing some of the smartest dinner tables in town. They can be partnered with her upholstery scrim napkins, hand-crumpled for a fashionable look. Top interior designer Kelly Hoppen also uses scrim decoratively, albeit beautifully ironed, in strips as wall hangings. (Scrim, for the uninitiated, is the hessian-like fabric which keeps sofas sofa-shaped before being upholstered with the fabric of your choice.)
And raffia, once a socks-and-sandals material, is now so modish you can pay pounds 84 plus VAT per square metre for raffia wallpaper from wallpaper company Donghia. Top florist Jane Packer uses raffia in Fifties citrus colours, such as lime green, lemon and orange. "If you can't find the shades you want in a craft shop, buy natural raffia and dye it yourself," she advises.
Former interior designer Cath Kidston has shot to prominence on the pages of design magazines, almost purely on the strength of this nostalgic return to the past. Quilted bath mats, Fifties rosy wallpaper, Formica tabletops and shiny white paint are key items in Kidston's eponymous shop. "As the millennium approaches, I think people want to be surrounded by comforting, homey objects rather than grandeur," she says.
Denim, too, is being given a designer twist by Ralph Lauren. Moving away from his English country house look, Lauren's home-on-the-range theme is going big with denim-jeaned upholstered chairs, washed denim sheets, and denim cushion covers with jeans buttons.
Cork tiles are taking slightly longer to return to centre stage, but as Fernando Nogueria of Wicanders Flooring points out: "It's a natural material, absorbs noise and pressure and is so insulating that it protects space shuttles from the heat during re-entry." With such qualities, it can only be a matter of time before it ousts sisal from the floors of the fashion-conscious.
And not just for floors - Marcel Proust, a noise-sensitive asthmatic, had a classical blue cork-walled study to protect him from disturbance and allergens, and this has been re-created by Wicanders to show how versatile and creative cork can be.
A line must be drawn somewhere, however, and Cath Kidston would put candlewick bedspreads, which she does sell (albeit with some difficulty), on the cusp of it. "Most people run a mile from a primrose-yellow candlewick bedspread we've got in the shop, but it's part of that whole look that reminds you of an old peoples' home - shiny green paint on the walls, and so on - which is now very hip. So I'm sure its time will come." And who said the British had no style?
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio from department stores nationwide. Nathalie Hambro, 0171-834 1021; Jane Packer 0171-935 2673; Cath Kidston 0171-221 4000; Donghia 0171-823 3456 for stockists; Sinclair Till 0171-720 0031; for stockists of Wicanders Flooring, call 01403 710001, Ralph Lauren Home available at Harvey Nichols, 0171-235 5000
Life & Style blogs
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Boxing Day sales: From Asos to Harrods, the best fashion deals
Victoria Beckham's clothing sales double to £30 million in one year
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...