A Provincial European Air
As I contemplate this image of a homey and unassumingly charming dining area, I feel transported to a quiet, quaint spot; a place in a rural area somewhere in Europe. I can visualize verdant hillsides dotted with little cottages; I can hear birds chirping in the early morning.
The location, in fact, is southern California. The image appeared in a 2003 issue of Elle Decor. Internationally acclaimed designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, in a 2011 New York Times interview said of the “…little house that I had in West Hollywood:” “I decorated it on a shoestring, basically from the flea market.”
It’s a little room, in a little house, that basically launched the British-born designer’s career. His now acclaimed skill with color and pattern are clearly present in his early ‘digs’.
The room has a European provincial look, and the casual look of a room that has had unmatched furnishings added through the years. The painted chairs – 18th-century Spanish – (with the designer’s family crest) add to the look as does the secretary desk cabinet in the corner. The room is casual, yet skillfully composed.
The unexpected mix of fabric patterns add to the lived-in look, and also provide the color scheme of the room. Rusty red, muted blue, and creamy yellow comprise a variation of a triad scheme of the primary colors.
Since his early years in Los Angeles, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard has achieved international acclaim for his interior design. Some of the names on his clientele list: Cheryl Tiegs, Cher, and Elton John — and many more celebrity names.
The little dining area is inspiration for decorating on a budget. Flea market and other finds can be transformed with a coat of paint. Painted chairs can be especially charming. Chair seats are relatively easy to recover. For additional color, layer a patterned fabric over a long table cloth. (Get ideas for mixing fabric patterns on my post Mixing Patterns in Home Decor and Creative Pattern Mixing in Interior Schemes.) White walls can be the perfect backdrop.
The photographer of the room image: Tim Street-Porter.