What do you buy on your holidays? Integrating holiday mementos into your decor can be a challenge. That tribal death mask doesn’t look as hip as it did after a few cocktails. And are you seriously going to play the ear flute you bought can’t-remember-where? It’s a problem that crosses frontiers. “My son has just shot a wildebeest in Botswana,” remarks London lawyer, Mark Bucknill. “The stuffed head is being shipped over. Not sure where to put it.” Mark’s house has been meticulously interior designed and what’s more, he hasn’t told his wife. The moral of the tale is that space and style can, and should, constrain what you acquire on vacation.
Whetting the appetite
But everybody needs tableware. So wherever you globe-trot, bring back a cup or a plate for your collection. To stop the set from looking psychedelic, unify your purchases through a single colour scheme. Choose your favourite colour – any one will do. For me blue is brilliant. Hermes certainly thinks so as this is the focus of its stunning Bleus d’ailleurs porcelain dinner service, available at www.hermes.com Picasso was fascinated by it and went through his Period Azul period, a phase of painting solely with blue. And we all want to bring back our memories of azure seas and cerulean skies. Another advantage of blue is that provides a sharp contrast to any gourmet delicacies you whip up, as it is the colour that food is not – although check out http://wp.me/p1CXmh-vg
Cooking up a feast
While there is no need for the set to match, neither should it turn into a mish-mash. Here are a few tips to keep it stylish.
- Using a range of tones energies a collection – canter through the spectrum from light tints to dark, inky ones.
- Intersperse your set with plenty of white items to provide visual relief from the coloured shades.
- Aim for 40 % white, 40% colour and 20% patterned.
- Play with scale and pattern. The most beautiful tableware in my view is available from www.royalcopenhagen.com
- Consider the impact of texture contrast. The delicate translucency of glazed china is enhanced when placed next to the organic form of a ribbed white plate. Try www.kirstyadams.com
- Think global but don’t forget to add local. After all one of the benefits of a holiday is seeing the familiar in a new light.
- Punctuate with flashes of humour – put your kids’ pottery out alongside design classics or buy something kitsch. Dinner parties without wit are plain ghastly so why insist on tableware that is deadly serious?
“Show off your stunning collection by accessorising,” advises William Yeoward, interior designer to the stars and author of Perfect Tables. For ladies who lunch with blue, add pink napkins in a rough texture such linen to cut through the candy-sweet colour. In the evening roll a runner of Seville-orange silk down the centre of the table.
Breaking the mould
Breaking isn’t just figurative; it can get all too literal. Inevitably a butter-fingers friend or a guest who just couldn’t call time on the port will smash something to smithereens. Smile graciously because you know you can grab something when you next hop off on holiday and you’ll pick up a party yarn into the bargain. Like travel and life, your tableware collection will be an ever-changing work in progress.
Take heart, Hard Luxe Living