Many of us are fortunate enough to travel regularly and much more than ever before. The world is indeed getting smaller. Whether you’re headed to Cornwall or Croatia, Kyoto or Cape Town – family holidays and downtime with your loved ones are the absolute Holy Grail. They are the reason for your Monday-to-Friday, your nine-to-five. And if you’re anything like us, travel isn’t just about relaxation and resort time. It’s about adventure and exploration. Getting under the skin of your chosen destination. Showing your kids there’s a whole world out there to be fascinated and enthralled by. Life is about making and bottling memories. Whether you’re on safari, exploring a bustling market place, traversing a canyon or doing a city skyline tour. There is always architecture to appreciate, a landscape that takes your breath away and colours, crafts and cultural aesthetics so distinct and diverse as to capture imaginations both big and ‘small’…
Maybe you have a family connection to Scotland. Perhaps you spent a fabulous year out in Sydney. You might even have got engaged in India. Or you’ve just returned from an amazing month in Thailand. For interior design fans keen to capture, showcase and celebrate these life experiences, Telescope Style offers a range of grown-up, elegant and well-made homewares and lifestyle accessories redolent of places travelled, lived and loved. You can’t fit everything in your suitcase. Market style steals don’t always cut the mustard in terms of quality. And you probably didn’t have the budget (or space!) as a backpacking student for that glorious lamp or ceramic pot. Our carefully curated and ever-expanding edit brings the colours, patterns and styles of a country or region into your home. A permanent reminder of fabulous trips to far-flung shores and places closer much to home.
By the same token we guide and inspire with regular features and articles on the how-to! You may know exactly what you like but teaming your exotic find with your existing décor can be a challenge. We show you how to bring global colours, patterns and styles into your own home, be that a country cottage, Victorian semi, seventies build, or city loft. It’s ‘eclectic’ without the ‘boho’ connotations. Global style doesn’t have to mean a riot of colour, pattern, baskets, tassels and pom-poms. That’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. ‘New eclectic’ is about stylishly combining individual elements – travel-inspired statement pieces – with modern furniture and accessories, more often than not against a chic, contemporary backdrop. Not to mention total avoidance of the dreaded ‘themed’ room. Less is most definitely more. And did we mention that all this makes your home a unique and personal space with bags of personality? Who wants to live in a grey-on-grey, identikit show home?!?!
Six Design Takeaways:
Here are six key pointers for successfully and stylishly incorporating ‘destination-inspired design’ within your own home…
From left: typical Thai motifs adorn a unique piece of pottery sourced in Chiangmai (click the pic to shop the look); we came across this fabulous modern artwork that captures all the bustle of the Bangkok streets; a bold, Aztec inspired flatweave rug (click pic to shop the look); and striking Aboriginal canvases available through Bay Gallery Home.
1. Only buy what you absolutely love.
Think of homewares in terms of fashion. Like a dress that just screams at you from across the shop floor that you simply have to have. Perhaps a beautiful wood carving that makes your gasp. A pretty pot you can’t help but pick up. You’ll love them forever and they will always take you right back to the place they represent. And don’t worry about whether an item will fit with your existing room scheme. You can be flexible here and think out of the box a little. It will find a home somewhere because you’ll invariably be drawn to similar colours be they chic neutrals or bold, vibrant hues. Styling your fabulous foreign find is half the fun – check out our ‘TS Styles’ travel & design blog for top tips or sign up to our newsletter for regular styling and decorating ideas for global finds.
From top: a collection of Thai textiles sourced from the famous Jatuchak market in Bangkok; framed Thai textiles from Chiangmai (click the pic to shop the look); a Japanese silkscreen print depicting the famous Gion festival (click the pic to shop the look) and a crewelwork embroidery stretched across a canvas for a tactile, textural, 3D addition to any wall.
2. Think of textiles as potential wall art.
Textiles are hugely representative of countries and cultures and easily transported back home. Whether you’ve sourced a decorative remnant of Guatemalan embroidery, a bolt of Chinese silk or bought a vintage Thai hill tribe costume – these can be turned into stylish and unique art for your walls both as a statement piece or as part of an eclectic, gallery wall. It’s all in the framing and we’d advise going to a specialist framer, well versed in conservation framing of delicate textiles. Consider the type of mount – perhaps box-mounted; the frame style; the type of glass and the mounting materials used to showcase a textile to its best advantage and preserve its life and vibrant colour for many years to come.
Contrast modern materials with heritage textiles in a colour-pop pastel palette (click pic to shop the look); velvet floral upholstery, redolent of English country gardens, makes a great pairing with a Thai motif skirted side table in monochrome; and, colourful Asian ceramics are a decorative addition to a still life display and an unexpected but stylish juxtaposition in a sleek, contemportary bathing space.
3. Clash, contrast & mix it up.
Another pointer is to always mix it up: old with new, curves with clean lines, styles through the ages and across continents. This is brilliant generic interior design advice too. I have always thought that items with a bit of age lend soul and weight to any design scheme. And I’m not talking ‘shabby chic’ or newly-made, ‘repro’ buys. I’m talking authentic antique or vintage furniture and accessories. Not just things that have been manufactured to look old. And then remember to contrast shapes and profiles, looks and styles. A vintage Italian bombé chest inherited from a family member teamed with a super modern mirror from the likes of Heals, Conran or Ligne Roset. A turn-of-the-century French bed frame upholstered in a bold and colourful linen print from Christopher Farr, Manuel Canovas or Scion Fabrics. A decorative Swedish mirror against monochrome geometric wallpaper from Cole & Son or Ferm Living. A pleated silk lampshade made from vintage Indian saree fabric sat atop a lacquered, modern dressing table from BoConcept, Made.com or Calligaris. Don’t be afraid to clash centuries and styles, cultures and silhouettes.
From top: bold West African cushions teamed with a faux fur throw is an unexpected and eclectic mix (click the pic to shop the look); stitched Indian throws add quilted texture; authentic Harris tweed lampshades (click the pic to shop the look); and a cushion made using a panel of Thai motif fabric adds comfort and interest to a contemporary red side chair.
4. Textural layering.
And this leads me directly on to the next point. Textural layering. An essential component of every design scheme that I’m sure you’ve heard many times before. But it really does give a room scheme depth and interest. In terms of destination-inspired design you might wish to channel a ski chalet vibe with some good quality faux fur throws across the back of your contemporary sofa. Or you might opt for giant chunky knit cushions to create a modern country look that takes you right back to your Donegal roots. Or perhaps artisan-made, colourful Mexican textiles find a place in your sleek, modern dining room. Mix rough with smooth, shiny with matt, soft with hard, natural or artisan-made materials with industrial or manmade and always, always add a little sparkle!
From left: decorative Indian mirror work; a collection of vintage, French handmirrors adorning fabric-walling provide great textural contrast; a mirror-mosaic, carved, wood, wall mirror from northern Thailand adds atmospheric sparkle when lit by candlelight; and Notre Monde‘s Morrocan-patterned, mirrored, coffee table trays are an elegant addition to any conversational seating area.
5. Mirrors, glass & sparkle.
Now I’ve never been a fan of shiny fabrics – they can easily cheapen a scheme if they’re not used carefully – and I’m not advocating glitter or crystal. Do consider, however, the light reflective qualities of mirrors, clear, coloured glass or mirrored lamp bases as well as silvered decorative accessories, candle holders or trays, for example. All of the above add movement and bounce light around a space, drawing the eye of the onlooker and adding a touch of glamour.
From left: The fabulous ‘Inkat’ print – a scaled-up twist on Ikat design inspired by ink blots from Korla Home – packs a punch on this Pooky glass lampbase; a giant A1 print is striking atop this sleek, low-level sideboard (click the pic to shop the look); use pots, pictures and blooms to play with scale on a sideboard still life display; and zingy, re-coloured, Persian-inspired rug style upholstery is a bold choice for this floor cushion at Anthropologie.
6. And finally, play with scale!
Similarly juxtaposing or playing with scale is fun to do, feels fresh and modern and adds even more personality to your room. An oversized Chinese pot can be a showstopper in a narrow hallway. Remember that evocative architectural shot you took on your recent trip to Venice or Amsterdam? Blow it up huge and hang it – with a narrow frame and without a mount for a clean, modern look – above your sitting room fireplace. Go bold with your upholstery too. If a sofa is too much of a gamble, cover your fireside chair with a large scale Ikat that reminds you of Istanbul and the Topkapi Palace or choose an up-scaled Indian block print that transports you straight back to Rajasthan. Still life displays are also a great way of playing with scale. Juxtapose ornaments and unusual foreign finds from your travels in a variety of sizes and materials for a unique, quirky display that will invariably become a conversation-starter for guests!