I’m always alert for inspiration of spaces that embrace their heritage and make them work for contemporary living. In the last 12 months or so a number have turned up in the monthly publication The World of Interiors.
The articles generally are compellingly written, possibly due to their story-like quality. When a case study of an interior de rigueur nestles within the envelope of a more aged fabric a descriptive narrative really brings to the fore the relevance of social history to a building. An understanding of the cascade of previous generations and their context to which spaces evolve is really the only story to relay: carefully crafted interiors can then become anchored to their setting, yet free-spirited in nature, creating an intriguingly dichotomous experience.
The lives of those who have gone before may be found literally etched on a building. For me touching the same walls as others have done is close to time travel! Seeking to engage with these bygone people, whether as individuals or as a society, can often be overlooked in favour of the tangible architecture – but their appreciation is essential to respectfully move a property on to its next incarnation.
Schemes featured in The World of Interiors tend to be beautifully elegant, but even more pleasing is that rustic charm is regularly highlighted – simply dressed spaces which tend to use natural materials. Many of the articles I have found inspirational are those which celebrate ‘under’ restoration. Within the pages of an international glossy base instincts are validated alongside the highly polished and aspirational.
In these features I find the positives of uneven walls – and even peeling paint – as a reminder we are moving within such spaces merely as part of a building’s timeline. If respected and treated with care these buildings should plod along without us into the future. It poses questions of whether a building should be stripped of its essence to its shell and re-finished again, all but new, or can we embrace unique qualities and still lead our contemporary, fashionable and comfortable lives within a heritage setting?
I applaud The World of Interiors for celebrating a breadth of heritage backdrops and narrating unique stories.