Bunny Turner is one half of leading London interior design duo Turner Pocock. Founded in 2007 from her business partner Emma Pocock’s kitchen table, they have become renowned for their love of colour, pattern and the way they create easy but elegant everyday residential interiors in the UK and around Europe. Here, Bunny shares her insights into working with pattern…
WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE OF PATTERN COME FROM?
Having first worked in the art world, studying at The Courtauld Institute of Art, it’s where I learned my appreciation of the power of colour and scale. Since going into interior design, Emma and I consider ourselves ‘colourists’ – we use pattern to develop spaces that feel authentic and personal as well as cosy and welcoming.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE PATTERN?
Our starting point is always a pattern with at least three colours in it. It can be a floral, geometric, ikat or stripe and it can come from something as small as a cushion or a large-scale fabric for a sofa, but it will form the basis of our decorating scheme. We often then carry this theme throughout a house for consistency – we would never do a different colour scheme for each room. We don’t want to create a rainbow! Recently, for example, we used A Rum Fellow’s Coyolate bolster cushion, with more than 20 colours in the mix, to inspire a large open-plan living room scheme, which then helped with schemes to follow through the rest of the house.
HOW DO YOU COMPLEMENT THE COLOUR PALETTE?
We work with architectural paint ranges by Farrow & Ball or Paint & Paper Library for skirting boards, ceilings and cornicing to lend a degree of consistency from one room to the next, whether it’s light and bright or dark and moody. This provides a backdrop for pattern and lets the colours really pop.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PATTERN WORK IN A ROOM?
We like to layer different patterns, big and small, in a room so that it creates enough interest without the eye settling on one thing for too long. Working with different scales – like a large floral with a smaller geometric – allows each one to stand out. Working with two different patterns in the same scale means neither will be strong enough for one to bounce off the other.
DO YOU HAVE FAVOURITE SOURCES?
Wool is a fabulous material for patterned upholstery – Clementine Oliver’s saturated colours really pop in a room. For gorgeous but good-value textured linens in a faded palette, we use Shelia Coombes. Ottoline Devrie’s wallpapers are vivid and bold; US textile designer Kate Loudon Shand is great for fun original prints.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT IT ALL TOGETHER?
Layers of detailing draw a scheme together – we use lots of braiding to help connect back to our three-colour starting point. It also keeps things feeling fresh. Even something as simple as a striped border, like the graphic No 9 trims by Jim Thompson, around the perimeter of a room makes a statement without costing a fortune.
HOW DOES IT HELP TO MAKE A ROOM FEEL UNIQUE?
We often use vintage textiles to upholster an ottoman, or we turn a textile into a wall hanging by stretching it across a canvas. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of injecting pattern into a room. For one-off rugs and dhurries, we work with Vanderhurd to create our own designs.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO MIX INTO THE REST OF A SCHEME?
We like grounding a colourful scheme with found pieces like vintage furniture or lamps and antique rugs; or we use something like Kartell’s Comback chair to help pick out a particular shade in the scheme (or we paint it ourselves to match) for a bold finishing touch.
WHERE CAN YOU PLAY UNEXPECTEDLY WITH PATTERN?
Wallpapering between the eves of a loft room disguises the strange angles of the space and makes it feel bigger. We play around with pattern on the backs of shelves in alcoves when the rest of the room has painted walls, on the insides of cupboard doors or across wardrobe doors.
HOW DO YOU FIND A PATTERN THAT’S RIGHT?
Ask a favourite supplier for large-scale pieces you can borrow and live with them for a while. Drape fabric over a sofa or hang it like a curtain, tape a piece of wallpaper to a wall, take a rug out on loan. After all, you have to really love it – it’s not just for the moment.
For more of Bunny’s designs, check out turnerpocock.co.uk