Most of my recent posts have had some mention of Julie, my detective heroine, and in many respects, although by no means all, she is like me, so I find it easy to relate to her.
This morning, however, I thought I would try to get inside the world of her friend Isobel. Isobel is an interior designer. I’ve no idea why, except that perhaps these things were uppermost in my mind as her invention coincided with the completion of my National Design Academy course. Now I wouldn’t for one moment presume to put myself in the same class as Isobel when it comes to matters of good taste and elegance, but I decided that I wasn’t going to ignore my invitation to the Focus/14 event at Chelsea’s Design Centre, where it’s possible to view the ultimate in soft furnishings and interior decor.
Within minutes, nay, seconds, of my arrival I was taking advantage of the free massage, the free coffee, and last, but not least, the free prosecco, and I thought that some of this would be right up Julie’s street, too. Moreover, she would have also been interested in the simple, but highly effective flower arrangements: bright blue hydrangeas set in glass vases lined with large leaves.
But I was still wondering what would appeal to Isobel. In fact, we know very little about Isobel’s tastes, largely because I tend to focus on plot rather than description. So far as I remember, Isobel’s London house is late Georgian and features a lot of oak panelling, while her kitchen is distinctly modern with a central island and marble tops. Yet she much prefers the kitchen in her country farmhouse, which reminds her of Julie’s. Now Julie’s kitchen is quite plain, and the main feature is the distressed pine table where she does most of her work, and neither Julie nor I would have thought that there was much to envy in that.
The only other thing I had to go on so far as Isobel was concerned was the fact that she is working on designs for a traditional production of Verdi’s Aida, and this just has to mean that she is going to include elephants in some form or other. Eventually I found some colourful elephant curtain fabric, but the only problem was that the elephants were clearly from the wrong continent! Nevertheless, I have selected it as an item she might possibly go for.
Then I saw some deeply coloured and textured floral fabric displayed on an artist’s easel, and I decided that this would remind her of the Italian holiday which she is about to take in my next book … although, now I pause to consider the matter, there are many reasons why she may want to forget it!
Finally, there is this chair. It has a country feel to it, although its “distress” is obviously manufactured, and the old books add to the homely look. Actually, it’s probably a more sophisticated version of the sort of furniture in Julie’s house.