Flowers bring life, colour, and a fresh energy into the home that cannot be replicated in any other way. They immediately lift your spirits – nothing is more cheering than a big bunch of fresh blooms on the kitchen table. I cannot advocate enough the importance of having flowers in the home, so much so, I actually wrote a book about it, Living with Flowers. And not only do they visually enhance your home, they also scent, it in a completely unique way.
To ensure blooms all year round and to spark joy and hope during the bleaker winter months when fresh flowers are less readily available, I rely on having floral fabric throughout the home to give a similar feeling of bringing the outdoors in. I love to contrast big blousy chintzy florals with delicate ditsy prints.
How did you get into floral styling?
I have always adored flowers and for me they are an essential part of life – I think it stems from growing up in the Cotswolds where my sisters and I were encouraged to roam around wildflower fields and spend as much time in nature as possible. I studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, which was integral to teaching my eye to appreciate and value form, line, and colour, which are key when creating clever floral arrangements. My early career working for designer Matthew Williamson was an immersion in a beautiful kaleidoscopic world of print, texture, and pattern, which are also vital when it comes to styling. The combination of the two synergised in my mid-twenties, when I had a lightning bolt moment of realisation that what I really wanted to do was pursue my love of flowers. I took a basic floristry course to learn the fundamentals, set up shop, (literally, a tiny pop-up shop is where it all began) followed by a bigger studio split between Notting Hill and Cotswolds. The business has flourished organically, and I am incredibly lucky to work on the most inspiring projects, both big and small – from curating a tablescape for an intimate supper party, to a huge showstopper of an event for a global brand – and everything in between. I count my lucky stars that I get to do this for work.
Do you have any tips for bringing florals into home styling?
In a purely aesthetic sense, I love how transformative florals can be to an interior – you can use colours and seasonal blooms to either compliment or contrast your design schemes – which I find endlessly inspiring. So, one tip would be to consider where your florals are going to be positioned and whether you want them to work harmoniously with the prints/colours/textures at play or juxtapose. The fantastic thing about florals is their ephemeral quality, so you can take risks with colour and form that are fleeting rather than permanent. This image (Belleville, Louis from Linwood Fabric) for me is petalled perfection. Not only is green and pink one of my all-time favourite colour combinations, is just a wonderful example of how choosing fabric, flowers, and styling to work sympathetically with one another invites such a calming feel. Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a cuppa and good book in this chic nook!
Another tip would be to spread the flowery joy, as whilst I am a maximalist at heart, even I must admit that it’s not always about ‘bigger is better’. Sometimes quiet little touches around the home, perhaps a single stem on a bookshelf or little posy on a side table can have a far greater impact than a ginormous urn arrangement in the hallway. I love the bold drama and scale of this pure linen floral fabric (The English Garden, Vita) and think the striking monochrome palette affords it with a slightly more masculine feel – it’s a refreshing, modern and cool interpretation of a classic.
And without a doubt, the easiest way to bring florals into your home styling is with a tablescape. Even if it is the simplest Monday night supper, a few fresh blooms on the table will instantly elevate the mood and bring joy to an otherwise mundane moment.
Which designs of The English Garden stand out to you and why?
The standout floral fabric for me has got to be Albertine, Classic Rose, as it is just so unabashed in all its big blousy bloomy fabulousness. Not only does it so gorgeously depict my favourite British garden flowers – I spy rambling cottage roses, frilly parrot tulips and anemones – but it also comes in my ultimate dream colour palette of reds, pinks, and greens. It is both nostalgic and charming but still retains a cool vibe, perfect for modern living. It really is just the most joyful celebration of everything I love.
How would you bring the collection into your home?
I've just had my first baby, so my husband Johnny and I have been busily getting our little cottage in the Cotswolds ready. I somehow convinced Johnny to let me indulge my ultimate pink bedroom fantasy, so Albertine, Classic Rose is going to be the feature fabric on curtains in there. And very excitingly I am in the process of having an Edwardian daybed (originally from the magnificent Cholderton House), reupholstered in the Hester, Classic Blue. The English oakleaf motif really spoke to me, and I thought it looked so cool contrasted with the decorative scalloped edging. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.
Your use of colour and pattern is fantastic, how to you make different prints and colours work?
Thank you, you are very kind to say so. I think ultimately, if you are choosing prints, patterns and colour that really makes your heart sing, you can’t go wrong. It is all about having the confidence to trust your instincts and not be led by trends, or images you might have seen in print or Instagram. Having a specific colour palette in mind for a project always helps with this, and then pick prints that bring you joy. For me, this means a lot of pinks, reds and blues rooted with earthier greens and golds. And then my classics go-tos when it comes to patterns and prints are always florals, stripes, and a touch of leopard print (both for personal style and the home), which I love to play around with in terms of scale and colourway - they just work for me.
It's been such a pleasure discovering the floral joys of The English Garden collection. I cannot wait for Spring and Summer to roll around again, when the garden will be bountiful and I can create some beautiful floral arrangements inspired by the designs, but until then I will thoroughly enjoy my Albertine linen curtains and daybed covered in Hester to motivate me through the Winter months.
Follow Rowan Blossom @rowan_blossom. She will be posting pictures of her house, replete with Albertine curtains and daybed covered in Hester over the coming weeks.