I was recently asked by DFS to create a room-set around one of my favourite trends for 2016 and of course, I chose one of their French Connection sofas and armchairs. I’m already a big fan of the French Connection range and have written about it before, so of course I jumped at the chance. And I had no problem choosing the Zinc sofa and Zinc armchair in grey. Chosen for it’s classic clean lines and sophisticated style, with its elegant splayed wooden legs and buttoned back. It also has a Scandinavian vibe going on which is one of the trends that I predict will be growing in strength in the coming year. It’s all about a lightness of touch, furniture that will transcend the fickle world of fashion, and bringing the outside in. There is also an emphasis on the hand-crafted, which the Zinc collection is (it’s hand-crafted in the UK). Small touches like animal skins, knitted cushions, plants, and well designed accessories also encapsulate this trend.
The brief was completely open, which was rather exciting, but also gave me a few moments of panic. With so many products out there to choose from, and so many trends rattling around in my head, where on earth to start? Like a kid in a sweetshop I veered from one tempting choice to another and then back again. In the end, I ‘invented’ a client. I usually design to a brief and for other people, so I needed to narrow my choices and set some parameters for myself. I also knew I wanted to design a room for all seasons. One that could be changed with just a few adjustments to the accessories, so I also kept this in mind.
So, meet Alyson.
Alyson is a city lawyer. She is a single woman who works long hours and is climbing the career ladder in a very male dominated environment. She is determined to smash the glass ceiling! As she doesn’t have much down time, when she does, she likes to relax completely. Her home is her sanctuary. It’s where she unwinds at weekends and occasionally invites friends and family.
She’s very organised and quite design literate. She likes clean lines and is drawn to mid-century furniture because it is unfussy and loves the Scandinavian homes she sees on Pinterest. She will love the zinc sofa from the French Connection range because of its simple clean design. The colour will have to be grey because she does not follow faddish fashions and will expect her choices to last for a very long time. She’s sensible that way. It’s her training in law.
However, Alyson is not without her feminine side. I’ve injected some hot pink because it’s a colour she would not choose herself necessarily. It’s not too girly. The lamp and cushions are bright splashes of colour against the grey of the sofa, and the artwork picks out the blue.
My client also likes soft textures. Her colleagues at work might be surprised to know that under her classically tailored suits she likes to wear silk lingerie. It’s an indulgence that gives her pleasure and reminds her of her femininity. For this reason I’ve introduced some soft textures into the scheme with the silk cushions, a sheepskin hide and a fluffy mohair cushion.
For other accessories I’ve selected some nordic influences. Some blond wood candlesticks and some oak and glass domes which are perfect for displaying candles and pretty succulent plants.
Finally I’ve added some gorgeous roses, simply displayed in a concrete pot. Because after all, Alyson is not the frivolous kind.
Photographs by Andrew Boyd.
Other sources: Coffee table and drum side table from Dwell. Rug, sheepskin, and fairisle cushion from Cox & Cox. Louise Mead artwork via Giftwrapped and Gorgeous. Breaking Dawn table lamp and cushions, and grey and white cushion from Anna Jacobs. Terrariums from Rose & Grey. Candlesticks and concrete pot from Skandivis. All other items, my own.