One of the greatest pleasures of writing these articles each week is hearing feedback from you, the readers. We love hearing your thoughts and seeing your own takes on things.
We were recently contacted by Anna on Instagram, asking if we might have any tips and tricks for jazzing up the outside of a home. Of course, we can talk to you about interiors till the cows come home, but this time we have put our heads together to come up with some top tips on how to liven up the exterior of your home. As always, it’s the little things that make a big difference…
The front door
It’s simple and easy, yet powerful and creates a statement. After all, the front door is the first and last thing you see as you leave home, so why not have fun with it?
Try out a bold paint colour that really makes your heart leap. At this residential project near Hyde Park, I used Invisible Green from Edward Bulmer on the front door, and Tuscan Olive, a paint by Designers Guild on the exterior windows. The two together give a really beautiful depth.
The window box
City homes are notorious for having limited outdoor space, but that doesn’t have to stop you from getting green fingered. Window boxes are the most beautiful addition to brighten up your home. Try soothing sways of greens and whites for a more traditional feel, or punchy fuchsia pinks.
This easily leads us onto point three, plant life. Home just isn’t the same without plants, and we try to use them wherever possible. At any of our hotels, you will find there is foliage greeting you as you enter the building. It immediately evokes a sense of calm, especially after a long journey or pounding the city streets.
Olive trees look fantastic in large pots surrounded by smaller bushes or rosemary. For something more structured, we used Buxus bushes which take a little more tending and shaping, yet entirely worth it due to their outcome and yearlong greenery.
Easily missed but entirely important, beautiful ironmongery is such an important upgrade for any exterior. There are some truly fabulous door knockers out there. Ensuring there is cohesion and symmetry between the metals is important too, with the door handle, bell, letter box and even boot scrubber all being the same thread – It creates a lovely uniform feel.
This driftwood wreath was hung on our front door in the New Forest some years ago. It was made by my daughter, Willow and I love how beautifully abstract it is with its cascading shape.
Whether interior or exterior, window shutters can add instant character to your home. These do not necessarily have to be fully working, but if you feel there is a lot of dead space on the walls of your home, shutters are a brilliant design feature.
From Tony Cragg to Botero, we have some very striking sculptures at our larger hotels. Understandably, one might not be able to fit such a large scale in your front garden, but smaller features are such a lovely welcome home, like these stone dogs which guarded our Bergdorf Goodman pop up in New York. We gave them both a garland for being such good boys.
The welcoming seating area
If the area in front of your house has the space for it, create a welcoming seating area. In such times we cannot be welcoming in guests with open arms to our homes like we used to, so creating a little area, however small, is such a brilliant use of space and can easily be done with a garden bench decorated with cushions and throws you can bring inside.
If you have an old shed, now’s the time for a revamp. At The Soho Hotel in London, colourful silk parasols welcome you to the new covered terrace.
Cover over empty areas
With winter here, our gardens are retreating for the colder months into hibernation, and large patches of earth are starting to show. The courtyard at Ham Yard Hotel is filled with beautiful oak trees, at the bottom of each we have dressed the ground with large white pebbles. These don’t just hide the brown earth, but really create a statement. Add solar panelled lighting and little Buxus bushes for that extra special touch.
The curtain lining
Something that can be done inside for outside is to swap the lining of your curtains for a bold pattern. You can see the curtain lining from outside, so why not add a touch of fun. In Brasserie Max, we have lined the curtains with a favourite of ours, Molly Mahon’s gorgeous ‘Magru’ cotton in a deep navy. The main curtain fabric here is a beautiful rich print by Robert Kime, and the two work together so beautifully.
We might not have Halloween out the way yet, but we are already getting excited for Christmas. Our favourite addition to the front door is a beautiful wreath. Each year our design team gets together to fashion something fantastic, and this year is no exception. We have collaborated with Fine Cell Work to create ‘Christmas Quacker’, a huge 70cm wreath made from woven wicker, decorated with enchanting figures from the Fine Cell Work Christmas collection. Front and centre is Phyliss, the design team duck, created by the wonderful Mimi Chanard.
You can get your bids in for this ‘Christmas Quacker’ where all proceeds will be donated to Place2Be, an amazing charity that provides mental health counselling support and training to schools to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and staff. We are proud to be working with them on this.