I often feature house tours on here for inspiration. Today, I thought you might like to step inside our new thatched home by the sea. We’re taking a look round our newly designed garden room which has become a multifunctional family entertaining space.
The whole redesign of this space centres around Divine Savages Forbidden Bloom wallpaper. It forms part of their Natural History Museum collection with inspiration taken from the archives of botanical and reptile drawings. I love that in a roundabout way, we own a little piece of history on our walls. The large blousy blooms entwined with serpents and hummingbirds add a decadent and feminine feel to this space. It’s now filled with colour and pattern and brings us joy every single day.
Our Decadent Forbidden Bloom Garden Room
The Garden Room has grown into a room that we quite simply adore and although it’s by no means finished, I thought I’d share our journey of redesigning what is essentially an open-plan space.
Our New Home – The Thatchings…
Moving to a new home poises all sorts of new challenges and I’m not just talking decor. For us, it was a completely different configuration of the layout of our new home. Our biggest challenge was to incorporate a family entertaining space that our last kitchen/diner provided for us. It was essentially the heart of our home and to be honest we were missing this space. Having inherited a much smaller kitchen and no way of extending, it was time to get my thinking cap on.
Another reason for decorating this space was to make this house feel like a little piece of it was ours. Living in a home decorated by previous owners can make it feel alien to you especially if the decor isn’t to your taste as was the case with us. By rights, the experts say you should live in a house for at least six months before deciding on how you want to decorate/reconfigure it. I say, as long as you know how a room is going to function in its entirety long term, there really isn’t anything to stop you from going for it.
Fortunately, to the side of our property, we inherited a garden room accessed internally via the lounge as well as my study. It’s a fairly large open plan space that enjoys a southerly facing garden.
The Garden Room
Forming part of the original architecture of the building, the garden room was part of what is known as a *loggia. It was essentially a covered exterior open space that forms part of the structure of the balcony above. This meant that the original beams and struts holding up the balcony are still in place. For us, they add to the character of our thatched house and I love that they have stood since 1928 when the house was built.
*Loggia is an architectural feature which is a covered exterior gallery or corridor. The outer wall is open to the elements, usually supported by a series of columns or arches.
Original Architectural Drawings…
The previous owners kindly left us the original drawings. It’s fascinating to see how the house has evolved over the years from its original construction.
Now covered, the loggia that forms part of the balcony was transformed into a garden room. It allows us to take in the beautiful flourishing garden that we inherited from our green-fingered previous owners. We can also hear the sea from here and can’t wait to be able to have the doors open and enjoy the sounds as well as the beautiful garden area.
Rather than seeing the standing struts and beams as obstacles, I decided to use them to section the garden room into three areas. The plan was to pretty much set it out as a multifunctional open-plan space. These included an area for dining, a relaxed seating area and a bar for all year round entertaining. Another cunning reason for my designing this space into a multifunctional family/friend entertaining space is that the aftermath of a party should hopefully be confined to one room of the house. It’s a pretty logical solution don’t you think?
THE DEFINING DESIGN ELEMENT
If I were to be honest, the driving force behind us even starting on the garden room had to be my receiving a wallpaper sample of Forbidden Bloom by Divine Savages. It was, love at first sight! I instantly knew that this would be the perfect backdrop to our garden room.
Forbidden Bloom comes in four colourways blush, peppermint, deep blue and black. We opted for black as I personally love how the black backdrop makes the intricate display of blousy feminine blooms and intertwining serpents pop and add more drama.
Based on the reptile and botanical archives in the basement of the museum, Forbidden Bloom alludes to the protection of the original archives and just how precious they are. The glorious blooms depicted within this design have drawn their inspiration from the original illustrations by the Bauer Brothers. It’s available in Black, Blush Pink, Peppermint and Deep Blue.DIVINE SAVAGES EXCITING COLLABORATION WITH THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM – The Interior Editor
There was quite a bit of painting to be done before the wallpaper could go up. The beams and loggia ceiling were painted black as they would have looked wrong visually with the wallpaper. And for window lower walls, I chose Fleecy Dreams by Valspar.
The Feature Wall of Forbidden Bloom
Essentially an exterior wall that had only seen paint over the years, there was some prep work that needed to be done. We ended up getting the experts in to prepare and line the wall before papering it with the Forbidden Bloom wallpaper. In fact, Bibs ‘N’ Pips Painting Company did a fabulous job working round the clock to get it finished in time for our daughters 21st birthday party. And at short notice!
The Three Zoned Areas Of Our Garden Room…
Cheers! – The Garden Room Bar
Yes, it may seem to be extravagant to have your own bar. For us, entertaining family and friends has always resulted in a bit of a party and something that we ultimately enjoy. It seemed only fitting to incorporate one into this multifunctional entertaining space. Of course, it didn’t help that we spotted this gorgeous leather and brass affair at the Brocante in Fowey, Cornwall whilst on hols.
To be honest, the purchase of our Panama bar ate up most of our existing budget. But when you fall in love with something and can’t stop thinking about it, it has to be worth every penny. The fact that I managed to track it down for a £1,000 less than what we had seen it for, helped tremendously! It’s beautifully handmade and is definitely an investment piece. It should stand the test of time (and drinking) due to the high-quality materials it has been made with. Something that we will be able to pass onto our children for them to enjoy. On a plus note, Dunelm came up trumps with these bar stools costing less than £70 each!
Relaxed Seating… Garden Room
With a restricted budget and having longed for a green velvet sofa for what seems like a lifetime, I finally came across this fabulous affordable 3 seater sofa again from Dunelm. It’s comfortable and functional and looks gorgeous against our Forbidden Bloom feature wall.
I’m a really tactile person when it comes to textures in the home. Velvet not only feels beautiful to touch but it also adds an air of luxury instantaneously to a space. It also pairs beautifully with the Forbidden Bloom wallpaper. Adding to the decadent vibe that is almost erring on Victorian in style with an Art Deco twist.
Intimate Garden Room Dining…
With space limited and wanting to make the most out of this part of the garden room, I decided to opt with a glass circular table from Next. And if you read my post on How To Choose the perfect Table, you’ll know that glass tables are great at creating the illusion of space. Your eye travels further and instantly makes a small space feel larger. This particular table with its central pedestal will allow us to squeeze in a couple of extra seats. Always handy for those unexpected guests!
It’s in the detail – Accessories
Apart from the obvious decor choices we make, accessorising your homes, is very much like choosing the clothes we wear. They’re personal choices and help bring a room together to create a unique and personalised look.
With this in mind, I thought I’d explain some of the choices I’ve made in our garden room.
Without accessories, your spaces, no matter how beautifully decorated or furnished, will be left looking and feeling incredibly unloved. Think of accessories as the icing on a cake, offering visual interest, and detail. If you source your accessories during the design process, your room/s will look complete.The Importance of Accessories & The Do’s & Don’ts – The Interior Editor
Feeling creative, I couldn’t help but want to produce a hanging wreath to hang above our table area. It adds a lovely feature above the table and accentuates and helps zone this dining space. Having recently used one of Sue Ryder’s eucalyptus wreaths for a Long Lasting Christmas Decor post, I ordered myself one for a quick and easy decorative wreath. The whole project cost less than £12.99 which was the cost of the wreath. I already had the wire and faux flowers around the house to hand. Sue Ryder currently has a sale on this wreath which is now only £9.99. It’s a fantastic way to support such an incredible charity too!
Quirky & Unique…
When it comes to accessories for your home I’m a firm believer of surrounding yourself with pieces that you not only love but also provide us with an emotional response/attachment. Quirky, unusual pieces add the unexpected into any space and can spark not only a smile or two but also provide your home with conversational pieces.
For our garden room, this happens to be our diving man (you’ll probably remember him from our bedroom redesign at our old home) and our latest edition of the acrobat hanging lady. Both are from Rockett St George who happens to be one of my ultimate all-time favourite shops for sourcing unusual decorative pieces for the home. My wish list from there is unbelievably long, I just wish my pockets were deeper!
English Garden Room Fragrance…
For me, fragrance/scent in the home is as important as to how it looks. We are naturally led by our senses and smell is as powerful as sight. Combine natural perfume with a ceramic work of art that is a Matthew Williamson candle and you’ll be winning in both looks and decadent fragrance. What’s great with candles like these are that you get to reuse the ceramic jar either by refilling with your own soya candle wax and wicks or as a posy flower vase. Either way, it’s an investment worth making.
Old & New Treasured Finds…
Mixing old with new allows you to create an individual unique look to your home. My vintage art deco lady adds to the party vibe to our bar area and compliments our latest acrobatic swinging lady perfectly. Both portray my love for the Art Deco period.
Personalising your space is a display of your own journey through life. Treasured objects old or new provide insight, a story, to those that live there.
I think you’ll agree with me that moving house can be an expensive affair. And redecorating can add to the cost. To help us stick to our budget, I tried my hand at upcycling furniture we already owned. It’s a great way to help our environment and stopped us from buying new unnecessarily. Armed with a tin of chalk furniture paint and a paintbrush, it was remarkably easy to reinvent our old sideboard and bookcase.
The glass coffee table was also another money-saving upcycled project. It was formerly part of my husband’s office furniture and became obsolete due to lack of space in his new office area. (He currently uses what was the maid’s room – see plan above). He cut down the legs and voila, a coffee table was born from a printer table no longer in use. It’s not perfect but will see us until we find something we like. To be honest, I was on the lookout for a thrifted table that I could add leftover wallpaper to and add glass but haven’t come across any that I like yet.
Still To Do…
You may have noticed that the room isn’t quite finished. Smaller details such as rugs have yet to be sourced to help define and add comfort to this room. I also made the fatal mistake of ordering a rug for the dining area. I was suffering with severe jetlag having just gotten back from New York. It turned out to be too small but as it’s washable, handmade and I like it, I’m planning to find a larger circular rug to layer underneath it. The lesson learnt here, don’t order things when you can’t even think straight!
We’ve yet to change the white led spots to a gold as well as sourcing new fan light pendants. With no heating and wanting to use this room all year round, we will at some stage install underfloor heating and change the floor tiles. The biggest and most expensive on the list is to change the white PVC doors to the room and windows to a black Crittal like version.
For now, we are thrilled with what we have achieved to set out to do. We have a space to entertain, sit back and relax in and enjoy to it’s fullest. Roll on the warmer summer months when we will be able to open the doors and let nature outside become at one with our decadent floral plant-loving garden room.
I’d love to know what you think of Our Decadent Forbidden Bloom Garden Room. It may be maximalist in style, but it’s everything that we adore and cherish.
Thanks as always for stopping by!