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Nostalgic Design – Traditional and Timeless Bedroom Schemes


When redecorating, we usually opt for a contemporary scheme to keep things looking fresh and modern. However, occasionally we like to go down a more traditional route. There is something utterly enchanting about nostalgic interiors, it is a look that manages to be timeless and liveable, grand but comfortable.

This week, we are taking a look at our more traditional bedrooms with florals, chintz and the softest furnishings – all reminders of the good old days.

In a recent residential refurbishment in London, the master bedroom has been designed to be timeless and romantic, with pink and blue tones, embroidered fabric, raspberry pink washed linen walls, and a pleated half tester. The tester has been made up using a Borderline textile called ‘Canterbury’ which is a charming block print which dates back to the 1680s.

The headboard fabric is our design for Chelsea Textiles called ‘Ashenwood’ and has been repeated on the bedspread and bed cushions. This beautiful fabric is embroidered by hand with English wool and goes wonderfully with the printed linen on the tester. The pink stonewashed linen walling, the antique chest of drawers and the decorative gold mirrors on either side of the bed come together to create a bedroom which resembles a classic English countryside home, despite being in the heart of London.

Next on our nostalgic list is Room 407 at The Soho Hotel. This hotel is one of our more contemporary hotels which has an eclectic collection of bold designs. However, in Room 407 we wanted to create a calm space with a combination of traditional fabrics.

The dramatic statement headboard is upholstered in Jean Monro’s ‘Rose and Fern’ fabric. This is an English hand-block printed chintz which dates back to 1859, featuring a charming and flamboyant design of roses, lilacs and ferns on a vibrant blue ground.

On the depth of the headboard is a dusty rose pink wool. This draws out the pink tones within Monro’s floral fabric and makes the headboard pop against the soft blue linen walling. The headboard is lifted with the large nickel studding around the border. For the bed cushions we have used Peter Dunham’s fabric design called ‘Rajmata’. The raspberry pink and indigo hues again pick out the strongest colours from the headboard fabric. To read about the rest of this room, click here.

Covent Garden Hotel is without a doubt one of our most romantic hotels and a four posted bed is a must in a traditional scheme. The Bergere cane chair is lifted up and celebrated by using a bold and joyful hot pink fabric.

To balance the room we have introduced some unexpected elements such as the mother of pearl pink chest of drawers from one of our sourcing trips to India and a contemporary coffee table which we designed here at the Kit Kemp Design Studio. Once an old French hospital, this hotel has a more traditional aesthetic with heritage ‘treasures’ hidden within our rooms.

Another incredibly evocative and sentimental room is the suite 1007 at Crosby Street Hotel. The Salina brick-red walling is a sophisticated statement in itself, perfect for a bedroom or a drawing room. This room just sings with the combination of this classic red with the floral pattern on the headboard fabric by Brunschwig and Fils. The white linen curtains make the room lighter, with our ‘Ashenwood’ embroidered border down the leading edge, which creates a bespoke feeling. When designing traditional schemes, it is important to mix patterns and bring in layers.

The scheme continues into the drawing room creating a wonderful flow. We have used a timeless plinth sofa which has been upholstered in a woollen stripe by George Spencer. The focal point of the room is the fireplace with its neoclassical mantelpiece, reminding us of an old English countryside drawing room, even though we are in the middle of New York City! Flanking the fireplace are two antique commodes and on the left hand side is a classical writing desk – all rich with history and nostalgia.

There is something so romantic, timeless and comfortable about traditional schemes. When decorating with nostalgic designs – the key thing to remember is to have balance and harmony. If you have heavy pieces of furniture, balance it out with a clean cut mirror. Also layer with varying materials such as linens and wools, and mix striped patterns with floral designs. Invest in antiques and gilded picture frames and mirrors… All these elements make an interior last for eternity.

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