Occasionally I remark how it seems to me there are not many modern decorators who know how to use color and in many ways it is the pot calling the kettle black.
Our flat is pretty low-key in color and tone. The bedroom is gray - gray suede upholstered wall behind the bed, gray silk curtains and Farrow and Ball Cornforth White on the other walls - with an accent or two of orange. What I name an accent is a large, orange-lacquered six-drawer chest that stands opposite the dressed-in-gray-and-white bed, and under a silver-framed Hermès scarf in shades of orange. The only other color in the room comes from two gray-green celadon lamps, an ancient gray-green linen velvet armchair, and two pillows made from slices of kimonos - one, blues and greens, that prefers my side of the bed and the other, oranges and purples, his. The gray/celadon combination is mine and the orange/purple is his and after the compromise all couples have to reach for their place to be personal and loved, all is ours. Purely and unequivocally ours.
The living room is really an exercise in tints and tones that wander between uninflected whites, blancs de chine, creams, beiges, lavenders, stones, silvers, blues and purples. There's woodiness, the off-black of old japanning, the crew-cut warmth of dark mohair, soft graphite-flecked paper, mushroomy hard-nosed lacquer, dusty ormolu, green-edged glass, the swank of crystal, and a small flaunt of orange silk velvet.
Two days ago what must be the last hyacinths were brought home and quickly opened into the most glorious of pinks, a color as intense and transitory as the scent filling the room. The kind of beauty that is heartbreaking.
This resplendent room behind its equally triumphant facade is something I'd forgotten but when I turned the page after reading an essay about the Folies Bergère the force of it hit me. I wonder now how I forgot this room, this masterpiece of brilliant color. When first I saw it seventeen years ago I think I might have been intimidated and probably thought I couldn't have lived in it. Now, I really rather think I could. I have grown more accepting of my role of recessive background to a loving partner whose personality could quite clearly be expressed in such an interior as this. It's pretty much as he tried to leave the house this morning though the removal of a madras-of-many-colors bow tie toned it down a notch or two - just.
Photos by Tim Street-Porter from an article written in 1993 for The World of Interiors by Ann Barr about Michael Davis and Andrew Logan's Bermondsey house