Coverings to make your home a castle

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 May, 2010, 12:00am

Owning a palace, or a home the size of one, is something most of us can only dream of. But if that's beyond your means, then a design inspired by the most famous royal family in the world could be the answer. The exterior of Buckingham Palace may be familiar to most of us, but the London-based Designers Guild gives us the low-down on recreating the look on the inside.

The Designers Guild regal range is a largely textile-based collection culled from the Windsor drawing rooms. However, instead of copying the furnishings of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, Royal College of Art-trained designer Tricia Guild has used royal taste over the years as her starting point.

A petrol-blue, jacquard-cut velvet inspired by a 19th-century baroque pattern in the state dining room (HK$1,370 per metre) at Windsor Castle will give a standard sofa a stately covering. The intricate Gothic pattern has also been reworked into other colours such as a dark bold crimson and deep forest green.

Plusher still is the jacquard silk velvet (HK$1,135 per metre), available in black and crimson. The fabric was inspired by a satin originally found in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle and later discovered in the archive. These are the rich, luxurious fabrics you might think - after years of almost clinical minimalism - would be suitable only for drawing rooms and libraries full of leather-bound classics. But slimming them down and using them in curtains, drapes and cushions works just as well in more modern rooms.

If you'd rather skip the measuring and sewing, you could easily go regal just by plumping up with a cushion. Starting at about HK$527, they're also one of the most inexpensive items in the range. And something like the silk rectangular magenta cushion with gold medallions (HK$527) is about as imperial as it gets - the royal crest embroidered on the reverse is the defining touch. It's also available in black but if these strong colours seem too heavy, the cream and flowery and duck blue embroidered silk square cushions (both HK$819) are less so.

Much of the collection's appeal lies in the fact that it's almost like inheriting an heirloom.

'We wanted to create something that would have relevance to how we live today but also reflective of the sense of history and classicism that the collection is influenced by,' says Guild.

As well as soft, sensuous fabrics, there is also a wallpaper range so robust and motif-heavy it could almost be brocade. The swirly black design on crimson found on the flock printed wall covering is hauntingly old-fashioned. Inspired by a 19th-century silk damask curtain found in the archive at Windsor, it's just the thing for shutting out the utilitarian world outside. It's second only to the 1940s green floral damask wallpaper for boudoir-style decadence. This is how wallpaper should be - not shy or apologetic - but loud and proud.

Designers Guild fabrics are carried by Avant Garde in Pacific Place; tel 2526 0104