Love is the air – Valentine's Day has been and gone, leaving us revved up for plenty of romantic spring gestures in the coming months.
The most wonderful event took place last week at Ashton House Design – and a first in our trading history – a marriage proposal in the showroom. It must have been the relaxed, harmonious atmosphere that prompted this most special sentiment!
If you're in love with 'staying in' and making the absolute most of home, then start with a reappraisal of sofas and armchairs. Look to create seriously cosy seating that encourages romantic afternoons and evenings spent with loved ones. Reappraise existing sofas. Replace two or three untidy seat cushions with one long mattress-style seat, and enjoy the slimming results. Do away with lumpy back cushions and introduce a delicious selection of scatter cushions instead. Larger pillow styles in behind with embroidered and silk examples to the fore – a sumptuous ensemble to sink into. Include a generously proportioned armchair that serves two – no compact sofa, just a wider-than-average chair. Swivel examples come a close second, better suited to a slender couple or adult and child!
Furnish mid-room with the ultimate romantic gesture – a love seat. Designed to encourage an intimate exchange, this sculptural piece deserves centrestage and makes for a wonderful space delineation in larger rooms, allowing one to introduce two or three seating arrangements with ease. Less-demanding solutions may be achieved by arranging a pair of sofas back to back – choose low-slung styles for seamless seating.
An open-plan kitchen-come-dining room can help build culinary relations. Don't be a Cinderella, confined to kitchen duties – enjoy a more sociable layout that encourages dual 'mise en place'. Comfortable stool perches need to reside nearby for intimate chat, with armchair-style dining seats within easy earshot. This is the hub of the home and deserves to be taken seriously. A good-looking table with chairs, served by rise-and-fall pendants, encourages plenty of romantic ambience.
Keep interiors fresh and interesting. Update tired furnishings, burn incense and candles, and fill vases galore with freshly cut stems. Enjoy the overwhelming scented pleasure that welcomes one into the home and the feeling that your loved one has made an extra-special effort.
Step outside (if you dare) and explore your garden with fresh eyes. Encourage a roam around the garden and discover hitherto-unexplored nooks and crannies, placing a love seat, a garden bench or a swing seat for two.
And for those incurable romantics, take a short hop across the channel to the city of romance, Paris. One cannot avoid the lure of love – walks along the Seine, poetry in Luxembourg Gardens and a lazy lunch. Amble the Place de Vosges and its environs to marvel at stylish shops specialising in scent, hand-made paper or roses – where else in the world?!
Caroline Palk, BIID member, runs Ashton House Design, C2 Linhay Business Park, Eastern Road, Ashburton TQ13 7UP. Showroom open weekdays 9am-5.30pm, Saturdays 10am-4pm. Telephone 01364 653563 or visit ashtonhousedesign.co.uk.