A Place To Unwind – Front Roe by Louise Roe
When we first saw the house, this room was in fact the dining room and felt a little cramped. There was a large dining table in the middle surrounded by 8 big chairs. It took up most of the room. I wanted to change the room into our snug – a calm, cosy place lined with books to relax, unwind, watch movies and read books in the evening.
The room is attached to the drawing room by an archway (which we widened) so it was important for the colours in the two rooms to complement each other. The drawing room is a warm terracotta colour (Sang de Boeuf) and I’d had my eye on a warm taupey-brown called ‘Mummy’ by Edward Bulmer, to go next to it. It was very important to me that each room felt unique, but when you look through from one to the next, there was a colour story that worked well as the eye travels. We added the dark blue velvet sofa from Sofa Workshop – actually from the drawing room in the old house – and I used that tone, mixed with the brown, to create the colour scheme. In fact, blue and a brown are probably my favourite combination, so the brown leather Restoration Hardware ottoman works well alongside the sofa, with the addition of my treasured cane chairs…albeit only one! They were a vintage find and I had them covered in a Lisa Fine Textiles print before we left LA. The ottoman is that one piece every household owns, that has been in every home I’ve lived in except the very first apartment I rented in LA. It’s moved five times with me, including across two continents!
One of the most exciting parts about home renovation for me, is restoring features that would have been part of the original house. The history nerd in me loves discovering how the room would have originally flowed and looked, so we added the fireplace back into this room. It’s an antique marble mantle and brand new cast iron insert. We built in bookcases and cupboards up to the ceiling, much like our old snug, and I did my lighting trick of adding Pooky sconces to the bookshelves themselves, so the room has a soft glow in the evenings.
To the artwork… The Gray Malin print used to be in our downstairs loo at the old house (and on our landing in LA before that) and the two antique architectural prints used to hang in our old drawing room. Re-jigging the location of art is honestly like acquiring completely new pieces: they look so different in another room. The blue striped scrunchie shade on the Alice Palmer pendant light is the same as the green one in the drawing room so they look like a pair…without actually matching.
Aside from my beloved Penguin Classics, my favourite thing in the snug is the handmade paper geranium from Papier Fleurs. The lady that makes them is actually an English teacher, based in the US, and she is so talented! Each leaf and flower is painted onto hand-dipped paper and you can customise your own design. I tend to kill real plants so these are great and so pretty! I put a Rachael Cocker scalloped plate next to it and some paper flowers from Reset Select. With my Johnstons of Elgin throw over the armchair and a big Nette candle, I’ve created a very cosy little reading corner.
Once all the furniture is in, I really enjoy adding extra textures and colours to a room to create a little character. The most interesting bits of a room are always on the coffee table! I’ve got a mix of heirlooms there; the glass fruit belonged to my grandmother alongside a Bordallo Pinheiro leaf bowl and a vintage Hermes ashtray, that I picked up in LA. The wooden tray is Serena & Lily, plus some coffee table design books. Nothing makes a snug more ‘snug’ than candles and I’ve dotted a few around the room. The blue and white splatter candle holder is Carolina Irving & Daughters and there’s a stunning marbled obelisk candle from By Alice Home on the side table. Next to that is a floor lamp with a rattan shade by Pooky.
There were two finishing touches. First, a flat weave Bessarabian style rug that I found on Etsy and fell in love with. I initially bought it for our bedroom but it didn’t quite work so I moved it here and I love the extra colours it brings into the space. Finally, I’ve put a fern on the ottoman. It’s real, yes, but I’ve heard they’re the most resilient houseplant so hopefully it will last a while?! I’ll let you know!