Keeping both sides in a relationship happy is not always easy when it comes to home design choices. For some couples, there is one party who is so passionate about what they want, that their easy-going other half just lets them get on with it. But often there are conflicting tastes: one is drawn to bold pattern and colour, while the other wants to keep things simple and neutral; one craves the character of period homes, while the other hankers after a modern new build. What should you do in such circumstances? You could please yourself at the expense of your spouse, but this can breed resentment if you don’t give them free rein over the next project. Alternatively, you can do what my husband and I resort to in such deadlock situations and go for something that you both find inoffensive – although I can’t really recommend this route as you end up with something that neither of you love, and then no one is happy.
Of course, there are the lucky ones: those matches made in interior design heaven, where two like-minded souls with complementary styles somehow manage to harmoniously combine belongings and embark on a lifetime of successful decorating collaborations. One such couple is Jo Davison and Alistair Haxton, whose Georgian apartment in South Yorkshire is finished with dark, dramatic shades and eclectic furnishings, plus a perfect mix of junk shop gems and quality antiques that give the whole scheme a sense of grandeur (page 38). There were inevitably compromises to be made, and some of their beloved possessions didn’t make the final cut, but the end result proves that when you work together, you can achieve a beautiful, happy home that you both truly love.
Elsewhere this issue, we celebrate the long heralded arrival of spring with a look at how to create a cut flower garden (page 119). Not only will growing your own blooms add interest to your outdoor space, but it will save you money on buying bouquets, attract beneficial insects, and fill your home with colour and scent. You may even discover that you have a flair for flower arranging. And where better to put your freshly picked stems than in a decorative vase? We asked Antiques Roadshow expert Marc Allum to provide a potted history of this mantelpiece staple (page 29), from its ancient roots to modern artistic interpretations. It’s a fascinating read, and will certainly make me think more carefully about the next vase I buy.
Finally, this month we take a look at the less glamorous – but crucial – subject of doors and windows. I always feel annoyed when I pass a lovely period house with chunky, gleaming white plastic frames – the originals forever lost. From page 100 we reveal some of the best new designs, then Roger Hunt provides a guide to caring for original metal windows. Enjoy! Melanie Griffiths Editor, Period Living