In the final of a series of guest posts sponsored by John Lewis, interiors blogger Kate Baxter from The Fabric of my Life gives her take on one of the retailer’s key 2012 interior trends – Exotic Fusion.
For me, fusing together an eclectic mix of products in my home has been the key to creating an environment that feels warm, cosy and inviting. In my rental property, the only way I can make my mark on my (thankfully neutral) surroundings is through the layering up of treasured keepsakes from my travels with vintage bric-a-brac I’ve unearthed at car boots sales, mixed with colourful modern accent pieces.
I’ve always been inspired by Australian stylist Sibella Court’s bohemian chic portfolio and her nomadic approach to style, which has encouraged me to mix and match old and new, budget and designer. For me, the goal is to create a look that is truly reflective of who I am – which is often a bit of a conundrum! In the past, working as a styling assistant on shoots for magazines both classical and ultra-modern in style (and everything in between), I quickly learned to appreciate the value and beauty of a number of design aesthetics which I’ve drawn upon to create a fusion of mini vignettes in my own home.
I have a serious case of wanderlust and in the past two years have been overseas eight times; each trip presenting any number of new styling ideas and visual inspirations. The most provocative of those trips was my journey around Cuba, where the sights, sounds and most importantly the colours, had a far-reaching influence on me. Santiago de Cuba in the south provided significant inspiration; the azure blue ocean, the golden sands, the distressed building facades revitalised with a fresh lick of vibrant paint – all inspired me to pep up my décor scheme with bright colour pops that now instantly lift my spirits whenever I get home.
Get the look
The key to this look is to keep the base tone neutral and layer up gradually, before finishing with a final flourish of colour, even if that just means adding a throw and a few bright and bold scatter cushions to your sofa bed. There are no hard and fast rules and I’m a big fan of going for an unanticipated hue or a clash of mismatched patterns to add intrigue; the retro Flower Power print of the bedroom chair above works unexpectedly well with the natural colour patterns in the cow hide rug, while the sunflower yellow in the artwork is bold enough to add a complimentary accent without being overpowering. Clashing patterned wallpapers can also add an element of exotic influence if you choose tropical botanical prints and natural patterns such as wood-effect papers.
The ‘fusion’ look is all about the exoticism of the accent pieces in a room and their background story, whether they have been brought home from lands afar, imprinted with enchanting memories, or are simply pieces you fell head over heels for in a department store which conjure up their own story in your imagination. I love living with products that hold the promise of adventure and distil the exotic allure of travel into a beautifully decorative piece. They help to keep my wanderlust alive.
Photos courtesy of Kate Baxter, John Lewis
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