From the monthly archives: October 2011

Having placed ideas together on mood boards for each bedroom I put them to the family panel. The initial ideas were passed, besides bathroom 1 which at that point I had found a coral reef theme; I was clearly envisaging lying in ones’ bath, snorkel bound and ready to spot the tropical fish darting around the walls. So I adjusted my mind spec and found the most beautiful blue print wall paper which suits fabulously as an original bedroom when the house was last in use, some 55 years ago was called the Print room and is clearly marked on the old servants bells! For the curtains a burst of colour and a speckled armchair fabric from Claremont, with brass reeded antique poles, mirror lights and a gilt framed mirror. It is going to look spectacular although the description sounds extraordinary, but I wish to create excitement and adventure within a room!

The panelled bathroom

By mid-October all the fabric was ordered. Due to a serious worldwide cotton shortage the Chinese Toile which is going in the Victorian bedroom was delayed until February. I was not prepared for the abrupt response when I mindlessly queried why the fabric was delayed. The voice down the telephone started;’this is the second year that cotton yields have been in decline, because of this, mills in the midlands closed, moved to Thailand where there were then floods and all looms were destroyed plus lives lost.’

Chinese Toile mood board

Wow… shocking news and a completely unexpected response having queried the delivery date of the Chinese men swinging on the walls and matching curtains for the Victorian boudoir, dressing room and adjoining bathroom.
Click here to read an article on what has happened in the cotton industry


Bedroom 2 mood board

Wall paper and fabrics were needed for 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Curtains, headboards, bed valances, stools, chairs and in one room material up on the walls!

Hitting Chelsea harbour I met Nick Defty of Taylor & Marr, when discovering the fabric house, Pierre Frey. He is the Grandson of the famous Cornish author, Daphne du Maurier. Therefore no better person to be working with on Boconnoc House, neighbours to where Du Maurier lived in Fowey! A film dedicated to Daphne de Maurier was filmed at Boconnoc in 2007.


I had been introduced to my haven of prints, colours and the most beautiful and unique patterning on fabric. The excitement was unbearable and it was not long until we had found the toile de jouy for the material walling of bedroom 1, and the braid from Turnell & Gigon. The material for bedroom 2 leapt at me from the array of exquisite designs which a few weeks later I managed to find as a printed version rather than the embroidered at a healthy drop in cost and a much warmer and more vibrant feel. The blind and wall paper in bathroom 2 were also discovered then, which I am so eager to see up and the waiting is unbearable! It’s a bird print. Not just any bird though; a mix of the finest parrot, pheasant and peacock bound in gold, saluting a world of red flowers winding their way up the wall.

Bathroom 2 mood board

Very appropriate as the surrounding countryside flutters with pheasants, and a couple of peacock on a nearby farm, although minus the parrots at present. It is questionable however as to when the parrots in Hyde Park will grow sick of the pollution and migrate to the south west?

Finally with all the samples sourced it was now time to put them together to present to the panel.


Boconnoc has a magic felt by all who visit, whatever the season. If you view the colours in nature you will see where every colour in our palate comes from. Looking over the naturesque landscape of the park at Boconnoc throughout the year, one is continuously in awe of the surroundings. The pink sunrises in the winter and sun that makes the frosty grasses, stand to attention and glisten in the early light in Winter.

Boconnoc nestled in the snow

The 500 year old oak trees in the park, in position like wise old men having seen a lifetime of those who have come and gone from Boconnoc, as they remain, stark and tall, coated in a light frosting from the cold night before. In the spring the colours erupt in response to the warming sun and the park is abundant with the most beautiful flowers. In the summer the trees dance as if reaching as far up and out as they can, green and full with the long light days. Boconnoc in autumn is breathtaking too. The palate of rich reds and yellow leaves scattered along the tracks and hedgerows and the rich brown bark of the vast trees reaching up out of the valleys is the greatest spectacle.

Autumnal view of Boconnoc House

There is such a richness of colour detected all year round looking across the park which inspired me to draw them into the bedroom interiors. Out of the window, surveying the parkland your attention is drawn to the vertical, horizontal and linear formations, the irregularity of nature and the abundance of colours that inspired me to create a unique interior to parallel the outdoors. Colours that enrich each other can also appear satisfactorily neutral within an interior.

I have always loved colour and for me the greatest excitement is to walk into a room and feel enthused by the energy it throws out at you. The same one senses as walking in the informal landscape of Boconnoc. Doing up the house gave me the chance to go for it and with this in mind I pulled together ideas of really quirky and different looking styles to get my eye onto what I was eventually going to go for.

Spring views across the rhododendrons to the lake & park

I studied interior design books, looked through interior magazines and then rediscovered Chelsea harbour, which I have visited numerous times over the last four months. I wanted to keep things traditional but freshen the feel up a little. Like a little lemon juice to a 1980′s mousse recipe to zest and spice it up a jot. Boconnoc house is exciting, therefore the rooms have got to radiate the life within it.


It was the beginning of the interior design project, the ball needed to be pushed and then we would be rolling. The first stages were to complete the electrics, plumbing and carpentry in order to move onto the painting and wall papering of each room on the first floor. Once this was complete then the laying of carpets and all the rest would follow.

Wiring work for TC Electrics to battle with!

Trevor and Terry, TC Electrics are just brilliant. There was endless work for them to do in October; adjusting light circuits, wiring up for mirror lights in all the bathrooms, placing the shaver sockets in, wiring lights in towel cupboards and having extreme patience when a wire needed to be readjusted setting back a mornings work. But the key is getting it right the first time and in theory it should then remain in place forever!

Trevor introduced me to Peter Vernalls who we brought in to do the wall papering, touching up and plastering over the scarring once the wiring was in place readying the rooms for the wall paper preparations. City & Guilds trained, once he began work it was clear that a lot more work would be required to get each wall, skirting, shutter doors, sash windows, window frames, fire places and ceilings fine-tuned and exact for the wall paper to be put up. A detailed and time consuming job lay ahead but every inch brought to perfection is another great achievement and step forward.

One of the many pieces of furniture to be upholstered

I also needed to locate those who were going to be working on the soft furnishings in the house. The team required consisted of a curtain and valance maker, upholsterer, in house carpenter for cupboards, floor boards, basin units and a four poster bed, a headboard maker, a stone mason for the marble basin tops, the welder for the bespoke bath taps and someone to put the material up on the walls. The team discovered were all based locally in Cornwall besides the one Frenchman, Henry Berthier who specialises in placing fabric on walls and was to place the Toile de Jouy up in bedroom 1.