Matthew Williamson x Vinterior: Summer Living
Matthew’s second edit of one-of-a-kind picks from vintage and antiques online marketplace Vinterior launches today. This instalment harks back to memories of holiday travels and summers outdoors. Read on for our interview with him of styling tips and design ideas for home and garden.
Why did you decide on the Summer Living theme for your second Edit with Vinterior?
I love the freshness of clean, simple and nostalgic 1960s and 70s design. I believe this aesthetic movement is most wonderfully epitomised in the Mediterranean homes and beach towns of the era, where sun-faded restaurants that sprawl out onto the beaches serving ice-cold cocktails. Think of a holiday destination you love. Bringing touches reminiscent of your trip to a room will increase the summer living feel and make it more personal to you. The fragrance of bougainvillaea amongst the whitewashed fincas, the Klein blue of the endless sky and the golden light of the sun are some of my most prized inspirations. Summer, as a season and for all its glorious connotations, has been something of an association for my designs throughout my career, so this Edit resonates with me most intensely. If you buy one thing for your home this season make it an antique. Full of history, unique to you and sustainable.
Are there any design principles you employ for summertime?
Summer offers the chance to freshen things up. Look for unique lamps and decorative objects and sit on book piles and dot around your home in overlooked corners. I love to create interior schemes that encapsulate summer, bringing a suggestion of the unique slant of light of the setting august sun. This can involve paring back your interiors of throws and cushions and starting fresh with a less populated space.
“The adage of less is more often works best in the summer, and I certainly tend to adhere to a crisper, fresher approach to the decoration of my home in the summer.”
This doesn’t mean you should avoid heavier, decorative pieces of furniture, though. You can create a beautiful, fresh and compelling scheme by contrasting rich woods and textiles with empty space, allowing individual pieces to be framed by a bare wall.
How do you create a space that feels undeniably like summer if you don’t have a garden?
Many pieces that I’ve chosen for the Summer Living edit have a nod to nature and the outdoors. They would work equally well in vine-laden pergolas, orangeries or living rooms. The trick to creating a refreshing, cool summer scheme is to fuse the indoors with the outdoors. A selection of confit pots placed artfully on a table brings instant rustic style, while bright, floral textiles can be great substitutes for real flowerbeds and will evoke a feeling of alfresco living.
“The most successful summery schemes include furniture and accessories that borrow from the indoors and the outdoors respectively, blurring the concept of traditional design for an interior space.”
From a layout perspective, if you have the luxury of a window, ensure the furniture is positioned to allow you to make the most of the view. A beautiful iron filigree bistro set placed in a pool of natural light by a bay window will bring the feeling of the outdoors to your living room, creating the illusion of outdoor space.
Why does vintage work for summery schemes? Is there something more laid-back and eclectic that you can achieve by incorporating vintage? And how does this stand in contrast to more formal schemes with antiques etc?
Antiques and vintage furniture aren’t the preserve of fuddy-duddy stately homes and museums. The beauty of shopping this way is in using sites like Vinterior to source pieces for your contemporary home. Shopping like this shows the breadth and versatility of vintage design. I want to break down this misconception about antiques and vintage in this Edit, highlighting strong pieces and great design that can work in modern and fresh schemes.
Why is lighting still important in the summer?
Lamps and lighting are intrinsic to the success of a space. In my own home, each room has a diverse collection of lamps at different levels to ensure the space can be lit for any mood or occasion. Shopping for great lamps, be they floor lamps, table lamps or dramatic pendant lights, shouldn’t be confined to your autumn winter design radar. Instead, look for great pieces all year round that look just as good turned off as they do turned on. Think of these little design pieces like sculptures in their own right.
What are the top things to look for when sourcing outdoor furniture?
Temperamental weather in many parts of the world often means outdoor furniture has to be durable. However, this doesn’t mean it needs to be an eyesore. Natural materials like iron and wood make great durable outdoor pieces with the benefit of beautiful patination. In the summer, upholstery is an incredibly important factor for me when choosing furniture for use in the garden. The right outdoor furniture also looks brilliant inside. For example, a garden bench in the hallway or bootroom looks both considered and unfussy, or perhaps a decorative filigree iron garden chair in the bathrooms for a stack of towels.
Summer means being outside in the garden more. How do you feel about taking your best-loved ceramics/plates and candlesticks outside for use in the garden?
Saving your ‘Sunday Best’ homeware for special occasions is such an outdated concept. We live in a time where the outdoors and the indoors borrow from each other in a really fluid, relaxed way, and these traditionally distinct places are merging to create a home that feels much more in touch with its surroundings.
“I am a firm believer in taking your best ceramicware, candlesticks, cushions and throws outside for summertime dining. There’s no point having beautiful pieces that never get used!”
Lots of vases and pots in your edit – does this point to the importance of bringing florals and foliage into the home in the summer?
Vases are absolutely some of the most important home accessories. Seek out unique, sculptural and colourful vases. With or without garden blooms they’ll look good all year round. At my home, they’re mostly unfilled, as their shapes and styles are beautiful without greenery or floral arrangements. However, having lots of vases dotted around the home does give you many opportunities to bring the outside in with foraged leaves. Cow parsley is particularly prevalent at the moment in the UK, and its long stems allow you to create displays with striking height for a dynamic arrangement. I like to stack vases and jugs on piles of books to create something of an alter to the flowers. Again, it’s about thinking of these pieces as little works of art in their own right.
Discover Matthew’s latest edit for Vinterior here.
For more information and PR enquiries:
Anya Cooklin-Lofting at PuRe PR
+44 (0) 20 7580 0444