Chances are that you have one or two Laura Ashley pieces scattered around in your home, or that old family photographs will reveal that your mum or nan admired the brand’s hand towels or aprons. While the fashion is quite the unique taste today, you might still be a fan of the prints on cushions and candle holders or as is my case, on a notebook that I used to forever capture my school leaver’s messages some years ago.
I believe that the design inspiration holds the key to our fascination. After Laura and Bernard Ashley visited a Women’s Institute exhibition at the V&A museum, they came away inspired by the patchwork quilts that they’d seen displayed. The rural lifestyle became the key focus, with the mix of glamour and laid-back country influencing the products that have been produced ever since. If you intend to decorate in the country or free, bohemian style – or you want to inject a slice of English romanticism into your home, it’s worth taking a look for inspiration. Particularly if you’re a fan of floral!
With the brand turning 60 this year, a new collection has been launched, which resurrects and reworks four classic prints to suit the contemporary home. Titled ‘Heritage Collection’, Pelham and Ironwork Scroll are available in wallpaper and fabric, while Mr Jones is a wallpaper exclusive and Emma is reserved for fabric.
When it comes to accessories, glassware lighting brings a touch of glamour and the Marina lampshade, with a re-fillable base jar is designed with creativity in mind. Keep it empty or fill it with pebbles/ sweets for an evening snack to accompany television viewing in the bedroom.
The Emma print is already proving popular in the duck egg shade, since its press launch last month. Personally, it’s a little too dated for me but I can appreciate Laura Ashley’s advice to pair it with white wooden furniture to give it a fresh new feel.
The Ironwork Scroll is more my thing and I like the idea of teaming coral through wallpaper, bedding or wall paint with rose gold furniture for a gleaming finish. Funnily enough, the Laura Ashley team pair it with grape and dove grey tones in a nod to their Bloomsbury style of the 1950’s, yet the orange tinge on the lampshade (below right) suggests that the meeting of coral and grape would also provide an interesting combination – maybe for summer, with a return to Bloomsbury’s plum and jade green selection for autumn/winter.
The ‘Ironwork Scroll’ comes in Cranberry too so we could always swap the grey in keeping with the rose gold furniture selections this season. Interesting colour combinations would be bound to please the team, who say that Bloomsbury was ‘all about freedom of expression.’
For the kitchen, there’s the bold Pelham print of a square housing a single dot, or the ‘Mr Jones’ geometric mug in a neutral shade for those wanting to test the home styling or create a toned down version of an English country property.
Do you need a painter/decorator to help you hang wallpaper or give your walls a colour re-fresh? Post your job and up to three local tradesmen will get in touch with you.