Re-imagining a room – with a little help from the hedgerows

With the hedgerows aglow and the leaves turning it proved impossible to resist these two prints when we visited Waterside Antiques in Ely a few weeks ago.

They depict two of my favourite hedgerow plants: black bryony with its heart-shaped leaves, and jewelled deadly nightshade.  Perhaps my fascination with these berry be-decked vines stems from poring over Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy illustrations as a child; after all these two Flower Fairies of the Autumn happen to be two of her drawings that I love best.  It is through her books that I learnt to recognize many common British flowers and plants.

Once framed these colourful prints will hang in a spare bedroom, where they have a special job to do.

The bedroom, at the front of the house, with its views out over rooftops to the woods on the horizon, emitted a benevolent pull when we came to view the property.   It was decorated in an old-fashioned wallpaper covered in wild strawberries, red clover, liverwort, and potentilla against a ditsy green and red background.

Although not a wallpaper I would ever have chosen, the addition of crisp white sheets, a bright red throw, red gingham curtains or green ticking stripe blinds, and white painted furniture could have made this a charming guest room . . . had we decided to leave the house as it was.

Instead, it was sacrificed as part of the building project; running a corridor through it, the only way to add to the underweight upstairs of the house.  And so the room has been reduced in size, its doorway moved (never under-estimate the difference that changing an entrance makes), and the wallpaper is gone.  Stripping away both it and the plaster beneath revealed a blocked fireplace at the far end of the room, a glimpse of a past life that will never be seen again.

With the building work over I am determined to restore some of the bedroom’s old feel.  It’s not there yet, but these two fairy fellows promise to help bring back some of that old-fashioned charm and gentle air.

2 thoughts on “Re-imagining a room – with a little help from the hedgerows

  1. Those prints are just lovely – what a nice idea to try to preserve the lovely feel of the room that so appealed to you when you first viewed the house. It looks like you’ve created a charming bedroom.

    Funnily enough, my daughter has a small set of three Flower Fairy prints with her initials on framed in her room which she was given for her christening – I can’t remember to what extent they inspired the colour scheme in there but they go perfectly.

    1. Thanks Sian – it’s funny how inspiration can strike in the most unexpected ways. I hope your daughter enjoys her Flower Fairy prints – as a Christening present, I’m sure she’ll treasure them.

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