Evolved Interiors

A button back chair in white against a pale green wall with pink floral curtains

I am a big fan of Evolved Interiors. It’s a phrase a few interior designs like Ben Pentreath are using at the moment. ( I adore his work, if you aren’t aware of him, check him out here.)

Basically the concept is rather than trying to finish a room in one burst, you take your time – to find things you really love and treasure to fill that space.

I am and have always been a big believer in this. Even before we owned our own home and were renting, Mr Rhubarb & I always collected furniture and homewares along the way- things we fell in love with - and because they are always to our taste, we have found they all work together in our home.

To give you an example, here’s a little corner of our living room.

When we moved in we painted the walls in Little Greene’s Salix – it’s a beautiful soft, calming greeny/blue colour and works beautifully with the light in this room which pours in from the windows on both sides – and compliments all the greens outside the front windows as they face the village green.

A year after moving in I finally decided on the curtain fabric and had these Cabbages & Roses ones made for us. I really love the soft pink against the wall colour and the floral fabric suits the look and feel of our cottage windows.  Initially I had wanted a different C&R fabric but once we got the samples in we realised we needed the pattern to be repeated more or the pinkness wouldn't be visible enough. 

The chair was bought from Laura Ashley about four years before we moved into Rhubarb Cottage. We had just moved out of our rented two bed flat in South West London into a four bedroomed thatched cottage in the middle of the countryside and essentially had no furniture. The kitchen had a snug area which looked out over the garden so for my birthday Mr Rhubarb bought me this button back chair so I could sit and enjoy a cup of tea looking over the garden and into the fields beyond. Once we moved to Rhubarb Cottage we knew it would be the perfect chair to place in this corner of the room. I have spent many an early hour feeding small babies their milk in this chair looking out over our cottage garden so it holds many happy memories for me.

The cushions on the chair are two of my favourites – as you will know I am a massive cushion addict - but now both cushion fabrics are discontinued so they hold a very special place in my heart. When the littles start throwing them about or using them as ‘bouncy castles’ I always start to panic! The one at the back I bought about eight years ago when I was having a stressful work week and wanted to treat myself to something. I adore Emily Burningham’s fabrics and popped on for a cheeky look and this sail boat cushion just spoke to me! The dog one in front is from Plum & Ashby when they were still creating homewares. I have several other of their cushions around the cottage and I love them – it’s a shame they stopped. I’d never thought of pairing them but somehow in the cottage we did and since then I just can’t imagine one without the other!

The round table is a repro of an older style. We needed a table between this chair and the sofa next to it but I didn’t want anything heavy or brown as we already have an antique wooden sideboard in the room. We used another small antique table we already had in the interim but one day I spotted this glass round table in the window of an interiors store. It fits perfectly and is exactly what this space needed.

And just in front of it you can spy a small milking stool – we picked this one up in Norfolk about ten years ago. I just fell in love with its thin splayed legs and it has infinite uses around the cottage. In fact we have several now as they are so handy – they can be extra tables or seats when we have guests and can be moved around so easily. Our stool next to the bath has a big pile of magazines on it if you need a read whilst having a leisurely soak!

The painting is our most recent purchase. We love Emma Perring’s work and already have another of her paintings in our snug. This one I had spied a while ago and fallen in love with and the very lovely Mr Rhubarb kindly bought it for me as a present as part of Emma’s #supportartistspledge during lockdown. It’s a painting of boats in Blakeney, North Norfolk which is one of our happy places so it’s such a joy to have in the house. We had it framed and now it’s up, the colours work so well in the room it looks like it was painted for that corner!

We do still need a standing lamp beside the armchair, but we haven’t yet found the right one. I love a quest like this and am never in a hurry as I find on the occasions when we have bought in a rush, it’s never right and we’ve always ended up regretting and replacing at a later date so I’d rather wait for the perfect item. Then I know wherever we go, or however we change the design, if it's something we love it will go with whatever we create in the future.

How do you design your home? Do you always rush to get it all done or are you happy to let it evolve gently?