There has never been a better year to “Fly the flag”, interior designer Jamie Hempsall explores some patriotic looks for your home.
Well, if we were ever in need of an excuse for National Pride and a display of Patriotism, 2012 is serving things up to us on a plate. The combination of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics should have the nation rallying with a fervent cry – or at the very least getting together over a beer and crisps to discuss the ridiculous state of the weather.
The interiors world is certainly not immune to the excitement that the year holds. Retailers across the land have recognised that, with the ringing of “Land of Hope and Glory” in their ears, many householders will be looking to add a bit of UK Chic to their interiors. As a result, there are an amazing array of new and unique products available sporting our national flag which always makes an eye-catching statement where ever it is used.
The colours in the Union Flag are very rich and distinctive (the blue is Pantone 280 and the red is Pantone 186). These are very strong hues indeed, so should be used carefully (and potentially sparingly). They are ideal as a focal point, seen against a neutral backdrop. Alternatively, you may want to consider embracing the trend for vintage finishes which would allow you to incorporate watered down tones.
The kitchen is a great place to inject some gusto and, potentially, humour in the home. There are a plethora of Union Jack tea cosies, napkins, mug and tea towels, which will fit the bill and allow a temporary injection of patriotism which can be brought out as and when you feel like it. I have been particularly drawn to the Sterk & Co Union Jack Tablecloth, a beautifully crafted Fairtrade item, which appears to be the next best thing to covering your table with an actual flag (www.cottonhill.co.uk; £49.95).
Sterck & Co Union Jack tablecloth, Cotton Hill £49.95
You could add a further hint with a wall-clock, the most innovative I have seen is Union Jack Clock Wall Sticker (with Mechanism). The sticker is applied to the wall and then you hang the mechanism in the middle. Definitely a trifle eccentric, but is that not what it is all about? (£40 – www.spincollective.co.uk – 01242 255244).
Union Jack clock wall sticker (with mechanism) from Spin Collective £40
The big feature in our kitchen is the radio, which allows us to tune in to what is going on in the outside world. Whilst the internet and digital TV are diminishing its importance, I still feel a radio is nice to have. You could add a spot of, albeit pricey, fun with a Roberts Revival Union Jack Digital Radio. An iconic British Brand, with a Royal Warrant to boot, so you will be flying the flag in more ways than one. (£200 – www.cotswoldtrading.com; 01386 853331).
Roberts Union Jack digital radio from Cotswold Trading £200
Children’s rooms are also a perfect area to inject a flag theme as the bright and bold designs fit well into younger schemes. You want to use pieces that can stand up to rough and tumble – making a vintage look an ideal starting point.
Many brands such as Prestigious Textiles and Wallpapered.com have introduced Union Jack fabrics and wall murals, so you do not have to worry about painting a flag the wrong way up. Alternatively, keep to a single colour and introduce your flags in key pieces.
The Calabar Union Jack 3 drawer chest is made from old boat timbers which gives a nice, historical feel to the clean, chic industrial lines. The drawer fronts are covered in fabric flags making it perfect for a design led room. (£529 – www.uniquechicfurniture.co.uk – 0115 986 9222).
Calabar Chest from UniqueChic Furniture Ltd £529
Team this with the Union Jack UK Flag Vintage Egg Chair with Washed Denim Front to create the perfect designer pad for any aspiring James or Jane Bonds out there (£499 – www.plushdeco.co.uk – 0203 286 4876).
Union Jack UK Flag vintage egg chair with washed denim front from Plushdeco UK £49
ORIGINS OF THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE
The Union Flag, often called the Union Jack (it is argued this should only be when flown on a ship), is made up of the emblems of three of the Kingdom’s countries. The current design was adopted in 1801 and is an amalgam of the red St George’s Cross, the white diagonal St Andrew’s Cross and the red diagonal St Patrick’s Cross. Wales is not represented in the flag due to its status as a Principality, rather than a Kingdom. If you are “flying the flag” the wider diagonal white stripe should be at the top on the left hand side.
Jamie Hempsall is a multi-award winning interior designer.