I always like to know people’s roots, their childhood world, it grows wth us into adulthood and shapes our interior-identity. I like my English interiors injected with a wasp twist, buzzed into sharper vibrancy, a legacy of our glamorous American neighbors, I vividly remember the mother’s jungle-green trellis and bamboo bedroom, an exotic island of Billy Baldwin fantasia in the surrounding steady waters of a country house aesthetic that framed my childhood.
Take this image (minus the wicker) and pop it into 1970’s South Kensington London, local eyebrows were raised. Well there are no such fears with Joanna Plant’s interiors – your neighbours’ eyes are more likely to be green with envy. Joanna created a garden room for the House and Garden’s summer fair, it playfully channeled delusions of Orangerie and Petit Trianon grandeur into a charming and sophisticated dining space, I didn’t want to leave, so as I reluctantly waved good bye we made a date to talk interiors, inspiration, aesthetic and ROOTS.
Fast forward to her West London home and it was similarly hard to leave, her kitchen luminous in the soft September sun while we got caught up in the passion that only collectors’ understand …
naturally over coffee in her collection of Rockingham cups …
Joanna grew up in Oxford surrounded by limestone quads and towers, her first love of houses came from books, as an only child she played in their imaginary worlds and interiors: The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goodge, Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes. She obsessively turned story-book interiors into dolls house rooms: my love of making rooms began in literature.
Upstairs the doll’s house is still there… complete with the miniature boxes she hand-made.
She works with her husband Nick a former antiques dealer whose understanding of upholstery and joinery gives their bespoke pieces a client-based focus strong on period detail and modern comfort. I told you she had a secret weapon.
Downstairs has lots of rich textiles and warming reds which as you rise through the house soften to faded pinks and lilacs all set against creamy neutrals.
Joanna and Nick’s home reflects their love of patina and pattern and …the hunt… in their spare time their straight to Kempton Park, it feeds into her passion for Georgian architecture, the order of it, the architectural layout, and austerity of the furniture, which makes it sit so well in the modern interior where the spare lines really hold their own. The working rooms of these houses, the utilities and laundries all of which modern home maker’s have come to appreciate again…so while in Kempton Joanna hunts out:
vintage linens – preferably monogrammed (that delusion of grandeur) for her dedicated laundry cupboards.
Elegant white tureensRockingham china and cabbage warevintage textiles from far and wide…
Joanna on collecting:
- My first stop is textiles.
- Stick to a colour palette and an era. My linens tend to be white, my china is Rockingham always in similar shades of grey and gilt.
- My tureen fetish continues, so I am refining it, getting stricter about what can join the home collection.
- My collecting motto is ….got to be able to use it, not save it.
- Laying a table is one of my favourite pleasures.
- Splurge on a little bit of what you love … can’t afford Fortuny curtains? do the lampshade in vintage Fortuny instead. Have something you love.
Like most decorators (with Manolos): fashion inspires me, the collections come out and I pour over colour combos, sludge pink and golden yellow, cherry coke and sulky brown …