Instagram is an amazing way to meet incredibly talented people from all over the world, and today I am delighted to welcome textile designer Louise Townsend from England. Louise lives in the most idyllic 18th century home in the English countryside. It was featured on the cover of the September 2017 issue of The English Home, and I love getting an additional glimpse inside via her fabulous Instagram account. (Note the lovely Bowood and Roses & Pansies chintz from Colefax & Fowler!) Let’s take a look inside and get to know more about Louise…
Q: When did your love for interior design begin, and where do you find inspiration?
A: Ever since I can remember I have noticed and enjoyed interior decoration. I am the daughter of a naval officer and we moved constantly around England, meeting many different friends with interesting houses. In the 70s these were full of colour and pattern and I particularly remember wallpaper and curtains sharing the same design which I still love. I was also inspired by my Grandmother’s house which had a beautiful garden which she brought inside to great effect, with many of the rooms revolving around flowers and colour on textiles and wallpaper.
Q: How would you define your style?
A: My style is based around my love of textiles, colour and pattern. Over time I add more layers, things I’m given or things I find, creating a room that is comfortable, hopefully interesting, inviting and not too precious. I enjoy using the same design on walls and curtains in bedrooms, enveloping the room, creating the feeling of a beautifully lined box, then adding a pretty skirted dressing tables, reminding me of party dresses. I also love to have books around me; I like the warmth and comfort they provide knowing I can dip into one or escape for hours in another. I use seagrass for its practicality, living in the country, it also provides another layering opportunity for different rugs adding additional colour and texture. I simply put together things I love.
Q: Please tell me about your beautiful textiles and love for screen printing.
A: I was introduced to screen printing whilst doing my degree in Textile Design at Chelsea School of Art in London. I have always loved putting patterns together, resulting in a collection representing my passion for not only colour but also pattern making. When designing I cannot help but visualise the designs making beautiful rooms, each design connecting to tell a visually harmonious story. I’m excited to launch my first collection in the next few weeks. My aim is to simplify the decoration of a room, making the process a joyful, pleasurable experience, providing patterns and palette’s that are easy to put together to create fresh, pretty rooms that will transform moods and enrich the experience of home.
Q: What are some of your favorite design elements to incorporate within the home? Chintzes, antiques, etc.
A: Some of my favourite design elements… incorporated into my life are blending the old and the new and being surrounded with things that have meaning. The use of great colour…pulls everything in the room together. And flowers bringing the garden in, whether on textiles or filling vases, embraces the outside, enabling me to work… with my surroundings. I also find changing furniture around is an easy way to breathe new life into a room and also allows the room to be multi purposed. I like to change… loose covers on chairs; warm colours for the winter and fresher colours in the spring; adding rugs and eiderdowns to beds in the autumn and old linen bedspreads in the summer.
Q: What is the history behind your beautiful home?
A: We have lived in this house for twenty seven years, renting happily for the first seventeen. The farmhouse has slowly evolved over this time, probably not in a conventional sense as things we might have done had it been ours were not always possible as it was a working farm. As a result our changes have been gradual and gentle keeping the fabric and essence of the place we love intact and our family memories alive.
Q: Who are your favorite interior designers?
A: When we got married in 1984 I was already a fan of The World of Interiors magazine which introduced me to many wonderful designers, I still have all my copies. Some of my favourites were Colefax and Fowler, John Stefanidis and Nina Campbell. I would now add Robert Kime, Carolina Irving, Penny Morrison and Rita Konig.
Q: How would you say English interior design differs from American?
A: English interior design for me differs from American mainly in the use of colour, due to the difference in light with our changeable cloudy skies. We are better suited to a dirtier more muted palette together with a combination of comfort, tranquility and timelessness. Certainly living in the country it doesn’t matter how old or faded anything appears to be, there is a beauty to the mellowness of wear and tear over the years and a comfort factor knowing you can kick back and relax.
Thank you, Louise, for allowing us into your beautiful and charming home! To learn more about Louise’s hand-printed textiles, please visit Louise Townsend Print at www.louisetownsendprint.com. Courses are also available. And for ongoing inspiration, you will want to follow Louise (and her darling pugs) via Instagram.