There’s something decidedly French Provence about crisp blue and yellow blended with mellow woods and pale creams.
But take away the yellow, add a few more touches of blue and white and you can really play up the English country cottage feel of a space. So we discovered when we removed a set of china from the dresser in the dining room of our workers’ cottage, added a beautiful linen tablecloth and blue tieback tassels at the window, and a few other country-inspired accessories. The blue of Provence became the blue of country England.
In the original dining room set, the turn-of-the-century pine table with cedar legs was left undressed, save for a vase of bright yellow lilies. Bentwood chairs were softened with pale blue chair pads and windows were dressed with a set of short cotton canvas drops with neutral rope tiebacks. Above the table, a forged-steel eight-arm candelabra was hung to provide soft, moody light in the room.
The tongue-and-groove timber dresser — another turn-of-the-century pine piece — was arrayed with a combination of yellow and pale blue dinnerware and a Crabtree and Evelyn setting by Mason’s Ironstone of England. The theme was carried through on the delightful pine curio box on the adjoining wall. Made from recycled packing crates, the unit displayed simple Spode and Asian ceramic pieces collected on overseas adventures.
To exchange country France for homespun England was a fairly easy task. First the table was dressed with an exquisite cream and blue Irish linen tablecloth. Cream tiebacks were replaced with cotton Tudor tiebacks in a vivid blue and the colourful setting went into the cupboard, to be replaced with a wonderful old antique setting called ‘Tams Ware’ of Longton, England.
To play up the old-fashioned traditional farmhouse kitchen mood, antique enamelware canisters were lined up along the mantelshelf on a back wall of the room — replacing blue and white china and sponge ware — and ceramic wares were moved around on the wall-mounted curio cabinet, an old cookbook and handpainted stoneware plate the new additions to further enhance the old-fashioned country flavour of the décor.