Jane’s house displays the versatility of Korla furnishings, which can be completely personalized by customers. They take on a tribal theme with the monochrome bench, whilst retro geometric blinds provide a fun backdrop to the garden views. Meanwhile, the fiery sunset colours of the cushions warm up the cool grey living room. This myriad of easy ways to style a room is something we very much approve of here at Lumitrix. We quizzed Jane about her inspiration.
Tell us about the renovation process when you first moved in.
The house had great bones – but had been split up into a number of flats years before and then converted into one property in the 1980s. There were great 1980s touches that we kept, like ebony beading around the edge of each wooden floor, and industrial radiators…but a few things that we changed: like a kitchen hatch and a very odd standing-up bath-shower thing. We basically gutted the ground floor, and reconfigured it to suit our family life; open plan kitchen – play room – garden. We took the utility area upstairs to the top floor, and re-did the master bathroom.
If you could go back now, what would you have done differently?
I would have re-applied for planning permission to glass over the lightwell to the basement so that the playroom doors could lead directly out to the garden.
Where did you get your inspiration from for your interiors?
Inspiration for Korla fabric designs comes from all sorts of things. A lot of our fabrics have very specific global influences, referenced in the names of our prints: Alhambra Stars, Bhutan Lattice, Kerala Knot. Our ‘house’ print is a David Hicks-esque 1970s geometric print developed from our logo of intertwined Ks. Phoenix was developed from hand painted birds of paradise on a silk antique kimono I bought in Japan, and Chinese Zodiac was my answer to designing a children's print that wasn't too 'kiddy' - it is based on a 1970s series of hand cut animals from Peking celebrating the Chinese New Year. The interiors of our family home were dictated by pieces of furniture, paintings and fabric that we already had, or wanted to use. Normally, I take one or two things that I know I want to have in a certain room, and then the décor scheme grows from that. I try not to ‘match’ everything too much, but choose two or three main colours and let the design grow organically around them.
Do you have any advice on how to pull together colour schemes and patterns?
Our fabrics are all designed to ‘go' with at least three other prints. They can be used together, for example, as an upholstered chair and a cushion, or as a mix of five scatter cushions across a sofa.
My tip? Don't try to match everything too exactly... if everything is exactly the same shade of blue and all the prints are the same, then it starts to look too perfect, too hotel-like. I'm always saying that you should keep your colour palette reasonably 'tight' but play wildly with it! What I mean is that if you go ‘blue’, don't worry if the blues aren't perfect, and mix up different blue prints...it will look chic but relaxed!
Think of an old English drawing room. The carpet is an ancient reddish Persian rug, the sofas have printed cushions in different shades of red, there may be a different print on the curtains and yet another on the ottoman. It doesn't all match, but it goes together tonally because the palette is quite tight.
Do you have any advice about how to keep a busy family home looking uncluttered?
Cupboards. Loads and loads and loads.
We love the subtle Asian influences in your house. Where do you source most of your furniture from?
We lived in a number of places in Hong Kong and then Singapore for ten years so there is quite a lot of furniture that was just collected as our family grew and we needed a bigger wedding cabinet or chest of drawers. I love shopping in Bali for more contemporary pieces, and Wood Farm in Singapore would make Chinese influenced pieces to my design – using traditional proportions but with sharper edges and colours.
Tell us more about Korla. What have been the challenges in relocating the business to England, and in finding an English manufacturer?
The move to manufacturing in England has been a great surprise. I was expecting prohibitive expenses and slow lead times. In fact, as well as the quality being fantastic, the factories are innovative, fast and the costs are comparative to Asia after you factor in the shipping and tax incurred in getting stock to Europe. We now split our production between Hong Kong, Manchester, East Anglia and Thailand.
Tell us about where the inspiration came from for Korla’s new fabric collection?
The Ink collection started by wanting to use Egyptian colours: lapiz blues and metals. The purest blue I could find was a traditional Indian ink and I began exploring with pouring and dripping it onto traditional cotton watercolour paper, which was highly absorbent. The organic growth of the ink patterns across the paper led to the current collection designs.
What would be in your dream art collection?
Matisse for his use of colour, Edmund de Waal for his lack of it. Alison Watt, Calum Innes, Sean Scully, Wilhemena Barnes Graham, a Mondrian, a Ben Nicholson, Anish Kapoor, a meaty Hodgkin, and Hockney- particularly his new Yorkshire landscape stuff. Can I have a house by Luis Barragan to keep it all in too?
Are there any contemporary photographers who you particularly admire?
I just saw a release of Capa’s colour photographs from the post-war years which were remarkable. I love the humanity and humbleness of Simon Norfolk’s work and Cara Connell took a fantastic series of hydro energy construction within a Scottish landscape.
And finally, what is your favourite Lumitrix image?
Crossweave by Banoo Batliboi
Jane's home features Cuckmere Haven I, by Oliver Perrott.
For more information about Korla visit www.korlahome.com