Design Notes Archive

The Importance of Layers

The Importance of Layers

Having recently completed the gut renovation of my bathroom, I have been thinking a lot about layers lately. With construction and installation finally put to rest the space looks just as I imagined it would and yet something seems to be missing. There is a sparseness I hadn’t expected and I when I spotted this shot of Andrew Cavendish’s bathroom at Chatsworth (left) it struck me – it needs another layer!

We've touted artwork in the bathroom in the past of course but this space really drives it home. The hodgepodge mix of vintage prints and photographs in mismatched frames gives it a thoughtful, collected quality along with the gathering of antique soap dishes on the vanity. Also, the chair is brilliant. A vintage piece repurposed for the bathroom with a terry slipcover. On the flipside, I have a proper polished nickel bath stool and I’m toying with the idea of swapping the terry cover for something Moroccan, but that’s another story… Designer Ben Pentreath executes another take on this look in his London flat (right). With a unifying palette and matching frames, his is more symmetrical whilst still conveying a collected quality that adds another dimension to the room.

The scariest part of hanging a series of pictures like this is the commitment that comes with driving in that first nail but I like to remind myself of the old saying, no risk, no reward. Seeing as I don’t have an actual collection of prints to get started with, it’s probably time to pop over to Portobello Road and scoop up a few. Come to think of it, with the holiday season upon us these vintage prints make great gifts to boot!

Photographs © Simon Upton, Jan Baldwin