Anne Ashworth - Cactus

How to live well

Health, wealth and happiness on our stretch of the Thames

The British passion for property has always extended to a similar interest in interior style.

Never before has there been such an obsession with the latest home improvement looks:

what’s out, what’s in, keeps on changing.

There is a multiplicity of trends, all vying for dominance this spring, but at RiverTribe,

we have picked the four key style movements.

Don’t pick up the paint brush until you’ve read this guide by Anne Ashworth.

Seldom this century have the words ‘cactus’ and fashionable’ appeared in the same sentence, but house plants tastes have changed and the cactus is the indoor vegetation of choice. If you feel unable to tend a cactus (succulents with spines need tender care) then you can opt for cactus-pattern wallpaper and cactus-shaped chairs. The comeback of the cactus is said to be linked to the choice of ‘greenery’ (a vibrant shade of mid-green) as the shade of 2017 by Pantone, the arbiter of colour style. In 2016, the elegant grey sofa was adorned with ochre cushions. ‘Greenery’ is now bidding to supplant ochre on a chair or sofa near you. Maybe mix the two?

The key decor trends of our era have their beginnings in the hospitality industry. Metro tiles, grey and parquet were first used in bars, hotels and restaurants and then spread to domestic interiors. Now black paint is following this trajectory, moving from smart eating places into chic suburban spaces. You can expect to see people who like their property to be cutting edge to choose matt black paint for even small rooms. If the very idea of black paint fills you with foreboding, then remember that grey was, at first, surrounded by suspicion, before becoming the key neutral of our age. It is unlikely that black will ever rival the reign of grey but you will see more black doors, or black accessories. Navy will be the compromise shade - as so in women’s wardrobes.

Industrial chic is another style that burst onto the world in bars and then made its debut in homes. By now there should be a certain weariness with exposed bricks and the kind of enamel lamps that hung in Thirties factories but quite the reverse. This trend is particularly strong in kitchens, where there is a growing obsession with ‘depth’ and ‘texture’, facilitated by the arrival of ceramic work surfaces that look like stone or wood, but are non-porous and easy to maintain. The aesthetic of yesteryear hides innovation in the kitchen: we are likely to see more ‘smart’ (wi-fi connected) appliances, such as fridges, with screens on their doors on which you will tap out your shopping list.

If you hear people talking about ‘broken spaces’ or ‘zoning’, you can be sure that they are talking about their kitchen extension. The vast, white space that used to be created in such a renovation has proven to be, in some cases, a noisy area, full of cooking smells and inimical to quiet conversation, or concentration on homework. As a result, these rooms are being ‘zoned’ with the split between the kitchen and dining and sitting ‘zones’ being demarcated by a breakfast bar, a bookcase or a fireplace. In some cases, a section of wall with metal-framed Crittall windows marks the dividing line, possibly adorned with one or two soon to be iconic cacti.

©RiverTribe Magazine 2017