Basic Boho Part 1: Walls


The word ‘basic’ has gone up in my estimations ever since Kate Moss catapulted it to very un-basic heights not so long ago. (FYI She called an air steward who wouldn’t fulfil her hungover sandwich demands a Basic Bitch). 

Basic is now in the urban dictionary and, in case you were wondering, its definition is: An adjective used to describe any person, place, activity involving obscenely obvious behaviour, dress, action. 

So when I say let’s start with the basics of boho interior style, I’m automatically thinking of Mossy. I’m thinking of the eternally cool… effortlessly stylish… couldn’t-give-a-flying-fuck supermodel and I’m applying her celebrated style manners to the anything-but basic boho wall situation.

                                                     

Some people can live with vibrant colour on the walls. Some can’t. It doesn’t mean you can’t love the boho style if you don’t love coloured walls.

If you like your walls calm and neutral, you can add the creative atmosphere with textiles and accessories and we will give these accents more attention over the course of this mini series.

Neutral walls will need interest however and artwork (lots of) is the absolute best way to pile on the bohemian vibe.

                                        

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday - what? have I told you already? - And I pleaded with the husband to buy me this amazing screen print by London artist Rowan Newton.


I can’t tell you what impact this print has had on me and my home. Since I got it,  I’ve realised I need more art in my life and (this is the life changing bit) absurdly, I’d rather buy artwork than shoes. 

So the best way I can think of to express the importance of art in a boho home is this disturbing revelation: You must love art more than shoes. 

Now, back to basics...

When you imagine Kate Moss throwing parties at her Cotswold pad, do you imagine a new build with perfectly painted magnolia walls. Er, no. Of course not; too basic.

You imagine a crumbling pile and peeling paint… a messy kind of gaff where dogs are allowed on beds, right? Because a staple of the bohemian look is relaxed grandeur. It is a couldn’t-care-less attitude to ageing that can be hard to pull off. Unless, like Mossy, you are insanely beautiful.


But let me tell you a secret. You don’t have to live in a Georgian mansion and wait a few hundred years for the antique wallpaper to peel off in order to achieve this look. Because there is a company that specialise in elegantly distressed wallpaper and fabric - and their products are definitely worthy of a supermodel’s bohemian country crash-pad. That company is Blackpop



Duprez Petit wallpaper: £138 www.blackpop.co.uk

Designer and creator Maxine Hall is the brains behind Blackpop's exquisite range of papers and fabrics, which do luxury and grandeur, with a rock star twist.

Maxine’s design credentials are legendary in themselves. As a child she covered her walls in newspaper print, giving her bedroom an anarchic punk update that she loved for its random pattern. It’s this rebellious streak that sets her wallpaper and fabric designs apart from your standard historically referenced pattern books.

Maxine manages to evoke the rich tapestry of the past in her colour choices and distressed designs, whilst creating something uniquely modern. The designer sums up her thoroughly bohemian inspiration in a literary quote by Edweard Muybridge: "When we walk we leave one step in the past and stride the other towards the future, the gap in between is in the present.

The coolest of cool English shopping institutions, Liberty of London stocks the Blackpop range, which in itself speaks volumes of the emerging brand's style status.


Swivel chair covered in Duprez velvet fabric £120 per metre www.blackpop.co.uk

Blackpop’s latest collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery is hugely exciting. A new collection of wallpaper and fabric - inspired by the world renowned Tudor collection of paintings on display at the museum - will be officially launched at Liberty of London during London Design Week 19th-27th September & interior design trade exhibition, Decorex 20th-23rd, September 2015.



Typically of the brand, this range represents a nod to the past and a wink to the future; it’s where artistic opulence meets thoroughly modern style.

I’m looking forward to covering the seat pad of an old caned begere chair in Blackpop’s quirky Reader velvet to show you how a little bit of this luxury fabric can go a long way in making a style statement. I’ll let you know how I get on in a future post.

But before we leave the subject of wallpaper, I get that some of you may not want to spend a lot of money on designer paper only for it to look knackered. My dad would definitely not approve. Here’s another way to go about elegantly distressed or rather, rocked-up posh.


www.zoffany.com does a stunning range of classic damask papers which evoke all the grandeur of a bygone era. Mash up the style with low, squishy seating, retro furniture and graffiti’d artwork for a Buck-Palace-does-boho vibe that sticks one finger up at decorating rules. 

vanity artwork £161 www.abigailahern.com

And finally, I couldn’t leave any reference to big, hippy damask prints without kneeling down at the altar of Farrow and Ball and thanking them for their Lotus Papers. Respect.




Artistic License

Aside from wall coverings, boho can also be expressed in other artistic ways.  

You’d need to be daring (and ideally an actual artist) to throw watercolours at your walls in this example of boho-gone-bonkers… 


… but I’d be the first to shake you by the hand if you did. Of course the way you style up your textiles afterwards is all part of the masterpiece. 


Good old chalk board paint makes for an ever changing canvas in this inspiring dining space.


And remember rag rolling? A tad retro, but artistic none the less. Refresh your memory and create a Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen style room makeover with this You Tube tutorial: Rag rolling technique


The rooms below demonstrate the idea of faded grandeur using an unfinished paint finish to your walls. Essentially it’s the look you get when you strip off the wallpaper in an old house and reveal layer upon layer of emulsion. If you can bring yourself to appreciate the beauty of the patina and hold back the urge to cover it up again, you’ve got the look nailed with half the effort and none of the cost. Bonus boho points for you.





Paper and frames



Another of my favourite decorating tricks is to use empty gilt frames on pretty patterned papers. I blagged these frames (below) from a local framing shop and the owner was happy to give them away since they were only going to be skipped! 

Others I have picked up from market stalls and car boot sales but often charity shops will have rubbishy prints in fabulous frames for next to nothing. Sling the naff picture (making sure of course that it’s not a rare renaissance masterpiece) and frame your favourite wallpaper instead...



Elsewhere in my house, rich, clashing textures and up-cycled furniture help to reinforce the boho style mash-up I love so much. I'm getting comfy with finer details of this look over the next few weeks here on the blog so please do pop back in and share the love. But only if you’re a Boho Bitch of course* 

*Basic Bitches go grab a sandwich. These posts are basically not for you. xx