Everything is finally blooming and “green-ing” here in New Hampshire! Man, it took long enough! My hydrangeas aren’t out yet, and that “new,” glow-y green is still on the trees, but the birds are all a-twitter and it finally hit 70 degrees for a couple of days.
When I think flora & fauna, I immediately think of William Morris, the 19th century British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist.
In the world of interior design, he is known as a paragon of the Arts & Crafts movement and for bringing the Victorian passions for medieval Romances and the study of nature into the world of the decorative arts.
William Morris by Frederick Hollyer via source
All images via Style Library unless noted.
Upon his marriage in 1859 to Jane Burden (muse — and much more — to Dante Gabriel Rossetti), he had friend and architect Phillip Webb design a Red House for him.
Jane Burden Morris, The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti via source
Red House would become the blueprint for Arts & Crafts design & decoration and marks the first serious attempt made “to apply art throughout to the practical objects of common life.” (source)
Morris famously said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
I think it’s fabulous that this very masculine man VALUED how interior design affected and created a feeling of HOME. Tell that to your hubby when you want to put up drapes and he doesn’t see why a simple roller shade isn’t good enough.
In 1861, Morris and a few of his close friends & colleagues founded the decorative arts firm Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., a firm to design tapestries, wallpaper, fabrics, furniture, and stained glass windows. (He assumed total control of the company, which was renamed Morris & Co., in 1875.) While the company’s offerings were incredibly fashionable for decades, it eventually dissolved after World War II. Luckily, all its design archives and wallpaper stock were purchased by another household name in British design, Arthur Sanderson & Sons. Sanderson relaunched Morris & Co. as a separate entity under its umbrella in 1996.
I love ALL the brands owned by Sanderson (Zoffany, Harlequin, Scion, etc.); they are some of my favorite sources for offbeat British style.
However, Morris & Co. holds a special place in my heart, mostly due to my childhood.
I grew up in a typical, 1970s “builder new traditional” home, loosely dubbed colonial. My dad, however, LOVED both Shaker and Arts & Crafts design and would pour over catalogs of kits for building furniture. (He still has a kit for 2 “Morris” chairs, in fact, which will probably never be built. How many decades have you been waiting for those chairs, Mom?)
I was really excited when Selamat Designs, a furnishing & decor company known for offbeat bohemian offerings, announced that it had partnered with Morris & Co. to produce a line of furnishings and accents. Everything is on sale this weekend. Some of my favorites below:
I love Morris designs paired with more modern furnishings, but I feel that many of the multi-colored Morris wallpapers and fabrics do best in a house with a little “age” on it. These new furnishings and accents, along with the more tone-on-tone papers, work really well in new & transitional homes! Any favorites? I’m dying to use those green outdoor bistro chairs!
How is your Forever Home supporting you these days? Is it full of things you believe to be useful and/or beautiful? It should be! I know that my home has served as a source of joy and refuge for me and my family during these last 10 weeks of sheltering at home. Things work functionally and my spirits are lifted by the happy comfort that surrounds me. I’m so grateful for that every day — especially as the weather was ROTTEN FOR SO LONG!
See you next Saturday!