Design Notes Archive

Spring Botanicals

Spring Botanicals

April is such a tease. The sun is shining but the air isn’t quite warm enough. Flowers are blooming but trees are slow on the uptake. It’s officially spring but signs of winter still linger. Come April we’re all absolutely gagging for sunlight and greenery. Perhaps that’s what makes Sandberg’s Botanica wallpaper so covetable right now. A single roll boasts 234 species of Swedish flowers. Pasting it up is like hitting the seasonal refresh button, it instantly breathes new life into the room.   

Sandberg’s florals aren’t unlike the framed botanical prints adorning a bathroom at Milton Hall in Cambridgeshire. In fact if you want to cheat it, cut the wallpaper up and frame the individual blooms rather than digging through the stalls of Portobello for a vintage set. Or take a cue from Milan’s storied Casa degli Atellani and go for broader strokes. The restored garden room of the 15th century palazzo is swathed in botanical frescoes by late Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi. There are so many decorative take-aways that would be divine in a bathroom: The faux-lattice effect painted over the foliage; the chalky green trim accentuating the woodwork; the framed Etruscan drawings hung right on the door; the striped upholstery (think shower curtain!) and those floor tiles… Designed by Portaluppi to reflect the entrance gate, the black and white mosaic is an unexpected addition under foot.

Today Casa degli Atellani is owned by Portaluppi’s grandson, Piero Castellini of the fabric house C&C Milano. Visitors can tour the property including the courtyard vineyards, which were once tended by Leonardo da Vinci. There’s also a bookshop and café whose menu changes weekly. Milton Hall is not open to the public, but for a further glimpse inside flip through James Fennell’s photographs of the estate in The English Country House

Photograph © Olimpia Castellini Baldissera, Sandberg, James Fennell