A nostalgic interior inspired by Italy with Fiona de Lys
A conversation with Fiona de Lys, North London, 2023
Fiona is a colour consultant and specialises in forming narratives within interiors. Encouraging her clients to choose colour which evokes memory and emotion over tones which simply match or contrast.
What is your stripe?
Terracotta & Blush, Cypress & Fern, Burnt Orange & Topaz and Shutters & Blue Skies. My favourite? Am I allowed 2? Cypress & Fern and Burnt Orange & Topaz.
What inspired you to choose these colours?
These colours remind me of Italy, where my family is from in Liguria. The buildings along the sea, the textures, the green landscape and the light.
Talk me through some objects in your home...
I used to run a small interiors shop in Barnet, these Casa Pupa Pomegranate lamp bases were being thrown out by a client. She hated them. I replaced the lampshades but the bases are very old and extremely rare, they are very special to me.
My Grandad's things can be found all over, I still have a lot of things he collected in his life, from traditional busts to ornate painted chest of drawers and huge kitchen credenza - a lot of this house is decorated with my Italian heirlooms.
Shells and coral collected over the years, I wanted my bathroom to remind me of my diving days and costal memories, including the green colour of the tiles which reminds me of the rich seaweed I snorkel through in Sardinia.
A beautiful brown pattern curtain, hangs over the bath which is lit at night by candles. Fiona lights all the candles around her 300 year old cottage in the evenings, so there's limited artificial light at all - she prefers the shapes and shadows that come alive at night. “My friends say it’s an evening house because of the atmosphere”
Her bedroom is a mix of traditional British art and design, like this oil painting of a landscape, with hints and tones of her Italian heritage in each corner - the colour inspired by the sky at dusk there.
In response to my recent move into a new house, "You should use Agua de Florida from Peru, it's great for for energy cleansing."
Botanical guides and images of seasides pepper the walls of her olive green bathroom.
The whole house has been designed around the light. The areas in which it is abundant and sunshine is flooding around corners. Yet the darker spaces have an equally well-considered charm.
Not forgetting Steve the Squirrel....