Directorio Deco by Gloria Gonzalez

Directorio Deco

In the Mood for Mustard

Autumn seems to have suddenly arrived in the UK – and I must confess I’m quite happy about it! I’m all about seasonal updates at home – those that you can do with cushions, fabrics, throws and that will instantly change the mood of the room. If there’s one colour that describes autumn for me, that’s mustard. I particularly love it when combined with burgundy or reddish tones. But it also works great with blue, green and even pink. Below I’m sharing some of the images that I’ve been saving on this season moodboard and ,hopefully, you’ll find inspiring too.

Bathroom by Beata HeumanBathroom by Beata Heuman. Simon Brown photography

Parisian Flat by Fabrizio CasiraghiParisian Flat by Fabrizio Casiraghi. Cerruti Draime photography. Architectural Digest.

Sister ParishThe home of Mieke ten Have. Mustard dresser and Sister Parish fabric.

Hannah Cecil Gurney's west London home, decorated with the help of Tara Craig and featured in House and Garden. Simon Brown Photography.Hannah Cecil Gurney’s west London home, decorated with the help of Tara Craig and featured in House and Garden. Simon Brown Photography.

Nicolo Castellini BaldisseraNicolo Castellini BaldisseraNicolo Castellini Baldissera

jessica buckley interior designJessica Buckley. ZAC and ZAC photography.

Bathroom at Hotel Les Deux Gares decorated by Luke Edward Hall.

Luke Edward HallLuke Edward Hall

Camilla Guinness

Devol kitchens mustard coloured kitchenDevol Kitchens

Robert Kime LampshadeRobert Kime

sean anthony pritchardSean Anthony Pritchard

summer to summer vendome

From the pages of Summer to Summer: Houses by the Sea by Jennifer Ash Rudick, photography by Tria Giovan. Published by Vendome.

Paris Apartment by Lorenzo Castillo. Ricardo Labougle photogrpahyParisian Apartment by Lorenzo Castillo. Ricardo Labougle photography. Elle Decor.

jacquetta wheeler tangier villa dar sinclairJacquetta Wheeler Tangier villa, ‘Dar Sinclair‘. Love the mix of pink and mustard.

Kips Bay Dallas room by Diana Bandman with De Gournay wallpaperKips Bay Dallas room by Dina Bandman. De Gournay wallpaper

Daniel SlowikMicky Raymond’s Tangier house via Daniel SlowikDetail of a kitchen by Susan DelissDetail of a kitchen designed by Susan Deliss

Bedroom by Jaime Parlade. Ricardo Labougle photographyBedroom by Jaime Parlade outside Seville. Ricardo Labougle photography.

penny morrisonPenny Morrison

Maine Home by Katie RosenfeldMaine Home by Katie Rosenfeld

Lorenzo CastilloLorenzo Castillo

mustard yellow wall house and gardenWest London home featured in House & Garden. Simon Brown photography.

rita konig country farm durhamNorth Farm Durham, Rita Konig’s country home (available to rent short-term!)

T O    B U Y   N O W

Farao Stripe Beata HeumanFarao Stripe Fabric by Beata Heuman

issimo x rivolta camignani bed linenIssimo x Rivolta Camignani bed linen

wicklewood osborne cushion

Wicklewood ‘Osborne’ Cushion

il pellicano towel

Il Pellicano towel via Issimo

Balineum S series tiles

Balineum handpainted tiles from their ‘S Series’

rita konig lacquer company trayRita Konig x Lacquer Company Tray

Hisa Mostaza Gaston y DanielaHisa Mostaza by Gaston y Daniela



rosi de ruig lampshade

Rosi de Ruig


Soane Britain Trianon StripeSoane Britain Trianon Stripe



Primula Auricula

A couple weeks ago I found myself going down the Pinterest rabbit hole again. This time was with flowers, more specifically with Auriculas. I have always found these flowers mesmerising: their symmetry, colours, shape…they almost look too perfect to be natural! Like many of the things that catch my eye, I decided to delve into these fascinating flowers.

Georg Dionysius Ehret Auricula with butterflyGeorg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770), A Blue auricula and Butterfly

Auriculas first appeared in European and English gardens around the mid-sixteenth century.  There are two schools of thought as to how auriculas reached England. One is that they were introduced by Huguenot Flemish weavers fleeing religious persecution in the 1570s. However, at that time, these plants were still novelties and were grown only by the rich. The second school of thought which seems more plausible is that they arrived, as did most other flowers, by the interchange between leading Continental and English plantsmen. Whichever it was, the auricula became a major craze and was grown by the rich and famous, as well as humbler folk, in great numbers and varieties during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries becoming also popular with artists.

Coloured engraved plate depicting Auriculas from the 1820 publication 'The Beauties of Flora' by Samuel Curtis (1779-1860).Coloured engraved plate depicting Auriculas from the 1820 publication ‘The Beauties of Flora’ by Samuel Curtis (1779-1860). 

The auricula was one of the great Florist’s flowers, some of the others being anemone, ranunculi, tulips and carnations. The term ˜Florist” was originally applied in the 1600s to a person who grew plants for the sake of their decorative flowers rather than for any useful property the plant might have. The modern meaning of florist only came into being towards the end of the 19th century. The florists formed groups with like-minded people to meet and hold ‘feasts’.

By the 19th century the florists groups were very popular with working-class people in the industrial North and Midlands of England. They met in public houses to show off their tulips, auriculas, primulas and carnations and to weigh their giant gooseberries. Prizes at their shows were frequently copper kettles & the public houses would often hang a copper kettle outside on show days.

Towards the end of the 19th century, a movement developed against what were termed “artificial flowers” and florists flowers lost popularity, some disappearing completely. The auricula, however, retained a loyal following especially in the north of England, although Stripes vanished and Doubles became rare. Then a further blow was struck with the advent of the First World War when many of the named varieties vanished. Between the wars, the auricula was kept in being by the auricula societies, and then after the second world war a recovery began that continues to this day. A large number of new varieties of both edged and self-coloured auriculas have been raised by the modern successors to the old florists. Striped auriculas have been re-introduced and more new doubles are exhibited each year, their current magnificence owes much to the dedicated breeders in the United Kingdom (this information was found on The National Auricula and Primula Society (Kent Group) website)

Augusta Innes Withers 1793-1864 An Auricula in a PotAugusta Innes Withers (1793-1864) An Auricula in a Pot

Reading about these fascinating flowers I’ve learnt that they require very particular care and growing conditions. For the flowers to be at their best, it’s important that the plants are kept in a sheltered spot, away from wet and windy weather. Rain will ruin the perfection of the flowers, washing away the farina. What’s more, they need to be shaded in hot, summer weather, as strong sun will scorch them. So, auricula growers keep their plants under glass over winter, and only display them when they begin flowering in spring, in an auricula theatre. (This information came from The Small Gardner Blog where I found   a brilliant article about how to make an Auricula theatre. I had seen these displays of Auriculas before here in the UK but I didn’t know they were called theatres!

Auricula Theatre illustration by John FarleighAuricula Theatre illustration by John Farleigh. Image found on Janet Haigh Blog.

 auricula theathre calke abbey  auricula theathre calke abbey

In large country houses, it was the fad in the 18th century to have auricula theatres to display these flowers at their best. As tastes changed they fell out of fashion and houses removed the theatres. Calke Abbey has the only original auricula theatre in England.

Calke Abbey Auricula Calke Abbey Auricula@carmypeach

Auriculas Bunny WilliamsBunny Williams

Auricula garden Auricula garden Auricula garden


auricula theatre@ewgardens

Auricula Theatre@flowersonlawn

One of my favourite discoveries while researching for this blog post was finding the work of Corinne Young and her fantastic embroidered Auriculas.

corinne-young embroidered auricula

corinne-young embroidered auricula

And this blog post by Janet Haigh en the making of her divine embroidered Auricula Theatre!

jane haigh embroidered auricula theatre

jane haigh embroidered auricula theatre

The Art of Window Dressing Part II

The second part of this blog post is all about fabrics and trimmings – two of my favourite things! I’m sharing the rest of the very helpful information that Emma Stewart has shared with me. I hope you have enjoyed this little curtain masterclass – I certainly did!

Finding the right fabric for your curtains

I would be hard pushed to think of a material I don’t love – they nearly all have a place. My favourite part of selecting fabrics is feasting on the amazing array of fabric houses producing exquisitely produced fabrics. Doyennes of this industry Sybil Colefax and Jean Monro are synonymous with crisp 100% cotton chintz prints that can take up to 180 separate hand blocks per pattern repeat. The cotton chintz holds the dyes well and also its shape making for intricate valances or just a simple long drop to show the incredible designs and how the same pattern printed on a linen backcloth can seem so different is testament to different fabric’s qualities.

Penny Morrison Welsh Country HousePenny Morrison bathroom in her Welsh Country House with Colefax and Fowler curtains. Elle Decor. Photography by Miguel Flores Vianna.

How a fabric will fall and drape is the most important part …. will it do what you want?! Discovering this is a huge part of the selection process and most companies will offer a large returnable sample that you can manipulate into folds showing how it will react.

Asides from the fun aspect of choosing the colour and style there are important things to consider for practicality; will it withstand the UV rays? (avoid silk in direct sunlight unless using a good UV filter film), moisture within a room? (natural fabrics will expand and contract throughout the year with central heating and atmospheric humidity).

Curtain makers worth their salt will be able to wrangle a half drop pattern repeat and also match up the pattern on seams so they are almost undetectable but this can be a bit of a problem with some hand-blocked designs that can run out across the width, making the match impossible. The only fabric I would never recommend is one that isn’t fire retardant for upholstery or a commercial situation. The rest I can’t wait to work with!I

kensington home by Robert KimeKensington home by Robert Kime

It’s what look and feel you want … that’s all. For a light and breezy, relaxed but beautiful style evoking a natural impression I would head to Inchyra who have a wonderful aged linen collection. I have also used textiles that I have bought directly from India which can be an inexpensive option. The fine muslin print and kantha quilts make wonderful curtains but beware that they do tend to fade in sunlight but I have been known to try to give fabrics some ‘age’ by facing UV lights on them or washing them with pebbles with varying effects.

inchyra textilesBeauclerc Stripe linen by Inchyra textiles

There are companies offering extremely low priced fabrics online which are tempting if budget is key. I would suggest checking the fabric thoroughly (with a light behind where possible) as the quality control may be lacking at the site of origin. They may have different levels of acceptability ‘tolerance’ so do check the terms and conditions regarding returns and don’t cut the fabric until you have checked it!

For drama and statement then a large scale pattern such as Soane “Tendril Vine” which can be printed on different backcloths or Hawkeswood by Teyssier which is inspired by an 18th-century flamestitch and is simply wonderful used as curtains and upholstery. Flora Soames prints are a go too for clever colour pairings and thoughtful patterns inspired by her collections of antique textiles.

Flora Soames fabric Flora Soames’s Enid Garland fabric

For an uplifting boost to any home Molly Mahon’s designs are essential. All of the cloths used are super quality and a delight to work with.

It is so hard to choose a favourite as we are extremely lucky to have so many homegrown talents producing heavenly fabrics so it is rather an open book …. you just need to be mindful that the fabric you select will drape or sit in the way you want so grab a sample and give it a work out!

Tips to choose the perfect trim

The trim is my favourite part! You can completely transform your fabric and curtains with a passementerie – the story can be changed entirely with a just a few inches of exquisite embroidery, tassels, braids fringes or frogging – it’s quite  magical!

My tip is to be bold … but certain … there is a balance that you need to get … the trim maybe the hero element – so naturally your fabric needs to be quieter or if you want to ‘finish’ the edges – then look for a trim that compliments the colour and texture and won’t fight with it.

I like to play with the trim samples – I’ll tack my  choices on to a  fabric sample … walk away for a moment or two … and then make my decision when I walk back into the room … often my first choice goes out the window – if you’ll pardon the pun!  The weight of a trimming can be quite something so ensure the fabric can cope with it and will not pull or pucker under the strain.

I always like to hand sew the trimmings on rather than using a machine as you can adjust the tension in the thread avoiding snags and dimples along the way. Samuel and Son’s range is quite extraordinary and I am yet to be disappointed however if you want to get just the right shade Heritage trimmings will match yarns to your fabric and advise on best designs – an incredible service!

Kirill Istomin Window TreatmentKirill Istomin

Alidad Ltd. You can read my article about ‘The Best Decorating Lessons by Alidad’ here.

Bennet Weinstock window treatment Bennet Weinstock window treatment Bennet Weinstock window treatment

Window treatmens in different projects Bennet Weinstock. Images from the book ‘Window Dressings: Beautiful Draperies & Curtains for the Home’  by Brian D. Coleman.

chateau versaillesPassementerie at Chateau de Versailles

bunny williamsBunny Williams Home

Madelaine Castaing inspired suite at the St James hotel designed by Bambi SloanMadeleine Castaing-inspired suite at the St James hotel designed by Bambi Sloan

Alex Papachristidis New York ApartmentAlex Papachristidis NY living room