Ever wondered what an interior designer’s own home looks like? Wonder no more! Here at Decology we love catching up with our designers and hearing about their inspirations, their favourite brands and – most importantly – what their design superpower would be. This month, we caught up with one of our founding Decologists, Rosie Browne-Clayton, and were given an exclusive sneak peek into life at her rural French country retreat. If only we were sat under our own Mulberry bush, with a glass of Bordeaux in hand…
We bought it when my son Esmond was born so I guess nearly 8 years ago now – wow! Doesn’t feel like it.
Can you describe your home’s style?
It is paired down and simple and quite Gustavian.
What was your vision for your home? What inspired you?
I guess the house itself inspired me as it’s very classic, symmetrical French Maison de Maitre. Having said that, it has a lovely first floor roof terrace where the pool is set into the barn, which has more of a feel of a Moroccan roof terrace. The top floor of the house is much more rustic and farm-like. So I followed the architecture.
I didn’t want it to look like a pastiche of Provencal but also didn’t want it to look out of place. The muted (sun-bleached) colours of the original shutters and some lovely original worn paint colours like the pink bathroom door on the top floor also inspired me. The façade was very classical, however apart from the original encaustic floor tiles much of the period details had been ripped out so it was more a matter of putting things back in!
What particular aspects of your house do you particularly love?
I love the space and airiness and I love the roll top baths, which are old and really big, and a very comfortable shape. It is such a luxury to read in the bath. The roof terrace where the pool is situated is also lovely as you are totally secluded and can always find the sun or the shade, or retire to the shade under the Mulberry tree in the garden.
Where do you shop for your home? What are your favourite brands?
Anywhere and everywhere! I like Allegra Hicks fabrics as they are unusual and painterly and used a lot in the house in France for terrace cushions and upholstery. I also use Ebay as you can really find anything on it from prime antiques downwards. There were a few ‘shops’ on Ebay I used frequently for wardrobes and large Gustavian chest of drawers (probably from eastern Europe) called PC Pirates, which was really reasonably priced. I use Holloways of Ludlow for lighting and also Tinsmiths who have a lot of nice stuff and a good range of fabrics and Porta Romana too. Chelsea textiles has a good range of mid-century furniture in a calming palette and I love the opulence of Ochre. I also just found Bert and May, which has lovely tiles a bit like Emmery and Cie, which I also really like.
What’s your dream item for your home?
Lovely sandalwood smelling drawers in a dressing room with a home for every item of clothes and strangely I have a hankering for a garden swing seat from the Odd Limited, which is quite eccentric – probably because of living in the country now.
Which is your favourite room/part of your home?
In our French house I really like what we call the ‘owl bathroom’ (as an owl used to live there), which is very rustic. The basins are on an old carpenter’s bench, which is thick with sloshed paint. We kept the original terracotta tiles but lifted them in one corner to tank it for a shower, then replaced them all just as they were. There are sort of nautical lights along the walls and rough painted beams so it feels like showering in a rustic barn!
If you had one design super power what would it be?
To be more disciplined about projects so that I don’t start dreaming them.
Photography credit: Nathalie Priem