The bright stuff: Designer Jane Foster's multi-coloured wonderland
Sunday 16 November 2008
Children love coming to my house in Brighton. It's a really stimulating, happy environment. I was born in the 1970s so I grew up with bold, bright prints and I think that's why they have so much appeal for me now. I often find myself in shops buying things second-hand that my parents used to have.
I love colour; a cream and beige house would be my nightmare. In my last house I used to paint absolutely everything – skirting boards, doors – I even had turquoise stairs. But here I've kept all the walls, and a lot of the furniture white so it's a blank canvas – it's a better way of showing off everything else.
We never had a television in the house when I was a child so we were encouraged to entertain ourselves by making things. I never buy ready-made cushions – I just buy great fabrics and run them up myself. The fish design on the sofa is one of my own screen prints and the rocking-horse pattern is a rare early Terence Conran from the 1960s. I've probably got about 50 cushions altogether, so I alternate them to keep things interesting.
I source fabrics from all round the world, mainly from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I find a lot on eBay, though they can be as much as £200 for an unusual piece these days. There are quite a few collectors who often bid on the same things, but it's a nice little community and sometimes if I miss out on an item I'll email the buyer and ask them if they will sell me half.
One of my favourite pieces in this room is the Scandinavian sewing-box tree on the floor. I found it in the Netherlands and paid a couple of hundred pounds for it, which was one of my most expensive buys, although it's probably worth a lot more. I'm a big fan of Scandinavian design – especially ceramics. People tend to think of it as very clean and neutral, but you find wonderful colourful, mid-century pieces.
The coffee table is 1950s Formica – another of my passions. You can get lovely, colourful pieces and of course it's very hard-wearing. I think it's by the Czech designer Jacqueline Groag, but it's unmarked. I've been buying up 1950s pieces for years now and you learn a lot very quickly. Some people might just see an old plate or curtain, but I can often spot if it's a great rare find.
The poster behind me is from Denmark. She looks like she is playing her hair with a bow – appropriate as I used to be a violinist. The other is a 1960s print by the Cuban artist Munoz Bachs that I bought in a mid-century modern sale. They go really well together but that was pot luck more than anything else. Now and again I take them down and put up pieces of fabric I've had framed. My partner loves tin toys, so the robots and spinning top on the shelf below belong to him. Often when I go to the boot sales and buy lots of junk I try to get him a new one to ease my guilt.
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