Thursday, June 26, 2008


Hubby and I were married back in 1985. Around that time I bought myself this book, which was printed in the same year. I had been drawn to one of the bedrooms featured inside, which belonged to the beautiful actress Virginia Wetherell (who was married to actor Ralph Bates at the time)
I was looking to create a romantic bedroom for my new husband and I and this proved to be the inspiration that I needed all those years ago. Despite the title of the book being 'The Englishwoman's Bedroom', Virginia's room certainly had a 'French boudoir' look about it. I loved all the old lace, the big brass bed and the antiquey, orangey glow that seemed to engulf the room.
Understandably, having just got married, our funds were tight, but we managed to pick up an old Deco walnut veneer bedroom suite, which included a bed, wardrobe and mirrored dressing table from a local junk shop for a reasonable price - I loved it. The rest of the room was added to over the years and slowly developed a more boudoir aura!
In 2006 I believe it was, Virginia Wetherell appeared on a BBC2 TV programme called 'Home' - you may remember it - the voice-over man seemed to do all of the commentary with his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek! There were some cringe-worthy moments that appeared on it, but when I saw Virginia's bedroom being featured, I grabbed a video cassette to record it.
(Sadly my video has been accidentally taped over; I would have loved to have kept it, but having said that, the romantic images of the inspirational room are still lodged in my brain)
Since the sad passing of Ralph Bates in 1991, Virginia had surrounded herself with even more sumptuous objects and textiles. She has an amazing eye - a female statue that once stood in the 'Biba' shop in the 1960's had pride of place - just fabulous. I've tried to find an image on Google, but no luck so far....

Anyway, the last three photos show my take on the French boudoir look. (You may have seen some of the objects appear in past blog posts) I think it just goes to show, that the charm of old things will never look out of style. I realise that they aren't to every one's taste, but contemporary interiors aren't for me - they are only contemporary for those few moments while they are being created....Its funny to look through the rest of the old book from the 80's, as I'm sure some of the rooms were considered very modern for their time (Zandra Rhodes's for example, as seen on the front cover), but now look very dated.
I've actually not had to redecorate our current master bedroom for around 10 years. The pale blue painted walls have a restful air and by adding small accessories now-and-then the look has evolved at very little cost.
Update: Just found this photo of the old Biba store - does that really say 'Sparkly Wellies 85p' ?!! I want some!


  1. Hi...I love what you've done with your bedroom...It's great to get inspired...I just finished painting and re-decorating my bedroom...It's my most recent post, if you'd care to stop by my blog and visit...Take care, Katie

  2. Thank you for sharing your "boudoir" with us! I love it!

    Victoria xx

  3. I can tell you I have several books on English decorating and I LOVE them all. I haven't quite achieved the look but I am frou-frou-y in my decorating. I love her bedroom though. If you'd like, have a look at the lamps I've just redone from flea market finds! I think you'll enjoy them, my little English rose!!
    Smoochies from Idaho,

  4. NIki you are a wonder! I love the idea of your new hubbie being initiated into flea market treasures so quickly! Our bedroom is positively austere by comparison! I have no idea how you keep up with the dusting but it all looks beautiful! We have a very similar blue! It is very restful - doesn't jump at you as you wake up! Our last room was brilliant white and it was awful if you had a hangover! Lovely pictures as always! t.xx

  5. Each piece is unique and the overall look is amazing.

  6. I LOVE your boudoir, Niki! It is timeless!

  7. Anonymous2:51 am

    You've surpased the beauty any book could have with your own wonderful boudoir anyone would die for!!

    You should have your OWN BOOK : ) I'd buy it in a minute.

  8. I agree with everything you said NikiI I love your boudoir and can see how it would not "date" at all over the years - it's beautiful

  9. I loved that book and used to get it out of the library for weeks at a time when I was newly wed. We were skint and I couldn't justify buying a copy, I wish I had. My fav was the Dutchess of Devonshire's room or was that in another in the series? Oh dear my mind is slipping it's all soo long ago now!

  10. Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for your comment.
    The Duchess of Devonshire may have been included in another book. This edition has the Duchess of Beaufort's room.
    Also The Countess of Lichfield, Lady Sarah Aspinall and Princess Nicholas von Preussen, to name but a few! If I was to choose a favourite room today, I think I would go for Diana Potter's - its in an C18th Gatehouse, with very simple furnishings, where the architecture of the building shines through.

    Niki x

  11. Hi Niki, I remember seeing that bedroom in a magazine in the 80s and I loved it. I kept the cutting but lost it somewhere along the way. How lovely to see it on your blog, I still think it's amazing. Your boudoir is pretty special too!
    Lucy x

  12. Fireplaces in the bedroom, brass bedsteads and lace - the look that I'm aiming for in one of my bedrooms. Thanks for the post it was very inspiring.

  13. so pretty! I love english elegance style decorating~

  14. Niki I remember tearing out the pages of the mag of V's house, I loved it then and tried the same effect, I loved her grape lights:o)

    thanks for sharing especially the biba store lol - all those wellies :0)

  15. Anonymous2:26 pm

    Don't mind me as I try to distract you and make off with a few goodies! My taste, for sure!!! Beautiful!!

  16. Oooo, beautiful and timeless! I love rooms that evolve.

  17. As soon as I saw the photo in your book of Virginia Wetherall's boudoir .. I remembered the programme and the wonderful opulence of her room..
    It also reminded me of my trip to Biba with my mother in the 1960's.. oh it was heaven on earth to a young impressionable young girl.
    My mother had the first 'HOUSE' book by Terence Conran that I loved to flick through and dream of the home I would like to own... I am still dreaming!
    You have the most beautiful rooms in your home full of vintage charm and curios.

  18. Anonymous2:10 pm

    Just found your photo of Biba....wonderful. I went there once, when I was 14. What a brilliant experience it was. The shop was amazing. And yes, the sparkly wellies were on sale then!


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx