Women

As fashionable florist Kally Ellis proves, adding fresh blooms is the perfect way to decorate…

Description: The florist Kally Ellis (right)

The florist Kally Ellis (right)

Her London florist business, McQueens, supplies flowers to the likes of Christian Louboutin, Mulberry and Claridge’s, so it’s not surprising Kally Ellis lives in a house full of flowery charm and innovative ideas. She also shares the three-storey Victorian house in norht London with children’s novelist Damian Kelleher, their son Freddie, 19, and daughter Sophia, who is 17.

Description: Yellow and green displays give the living room a springtime air.

Yellow and green displays give the living room a springtime air.

Her style is shabby chic from necessity, says Kally: ‘Having children who used to break everything and a cat, Lady Gogo, who rips all our furniture to pieces, I’ve learnes not to be too precious or have anything of great value.’

Instead, she fills her home with much-loved pieces: old church chairs serve as dinning chairs; gilded icons collected on Mediterranean holidays decorate the bedroom wall; a double French window bought in an antiques shop brightens the bathroom. This is a home filled with flair, creativity and – of course – masses of flowers.

Put bare walls to work

The simple hall is transformed with the addition of convex mirros that Kally has picked up over the years, giving the entrance impact and setting the scene.

Add much-loved accents

Kally loves homespun pieces that feel welcoming, such as the one-of-a-kind tapestry cushions she uses to add layers of texture and pattern to the living room sofa and armchairs. ‘My friend Jonathan Adler is an interior designer in New York, and every year he sends me a beautiful cushion,’ she says.

Link indoor and outdoor styles

Description: Rustic window boxes look informal and cosy

Rustic window boxes look informal and cosy

Instead of traditional window boxes, Kally chose rustic woven planters that mimic her cosy indoor style. White hydrangeas and budded jasmine on the street side are complemented by some secret planting on the window side of the boxes, which only those inside the living room can see and admire. ‘After all, you look more than you look in,’ reasons Kally, ‘so why not keep the vest view for  yourself ?’. The blooms are echoed inside the living room with an arrangement in a big cooper planter.

Use repetition in your displays

If one vase looks good, a row of them will look wonderful. On one mantelpiece, Kally has arranged five white egg-shaped vases, each hoalding an egg-yolk yellow ranunculus bloom for spring. Between each is a McQueens scentes candle. The line-up will change with the season, but the letters behind them remain a constant: a golden initial each for Damian, Freddie, Sophia and Kally.

Be bold

Description: Ranunculus, dwarf daffodils and jasmine conjure up sring

Ranunculus, dwarf daffodils and jasmine conjure up sring

Like every interior designer, Kally isn’t afraid of going oversized to create an impact. On the second mantelpice in the double living room, she’s put a permanent framework of sliver birch branches from which she can hang an ever-changing disphay – currently glass test tubes filled with ranunculus blooms suspended from florist’s wire. ‘At Christmas I hang tree baubles – other times I might have white glass teardrops. It’s a display that can incorporate many different looks and colour schemes.’ On the hearth beneath it, groups of glass jars spiraea stems.

Colour block your flowers

Description: ‘It’s abour bringing the outside indoors’

‘It’s abour bringing the outside indoors’

‘At McQueens, we rarely mix flowers in one container,’ saya Kally. ‘The best way to use flowers in the home is to colour block them. Sitck to one or two shades at a time, using just one type of flowers in each container, then mix the containers, not the flowers. It’s a simple way to a big impact.’

Invest in home comforts

Kally and Damian had their osk flooring done when they first moved in. ‘I like the look of bare wood, but the original floorboards were very gappy and draughty. It was something we needed to do, and it was wosth every penny.’

Layer colour over neutral shades

To contrast with the main bedroom’s calm, pale cream décor, Kally chose a splashy linen print of bold tulips, and co-ordinates it each spring with vases of scarlet Aladdin tulips dotted around the room. A favourite Alexander McQueen dress is displayed permanently on the vintage mannequin, creating another feature that holds happy memories for Kally: ‘The original shop I bought in Shoreditch was called McQueens because it belonged to Alexander McQueen eventually became a client, too!’

Start a collection of vases

‘Every household should have a few vases in standard shapes and sizes,’ says Kally. ‘The three I would recommend are: a fishbowl, which is great for hand-tied bouquets; a tall, conical or cylindrical vase for long-stemmed flowers and branches; and a low, wide, tank vase, which is handy for hyacinths or tulips. Bud vases are useful, too, for placing down a long table with a single stem in each. When you spread them out, they look like much more than they really are.’

Brighten up plain white

Description: Purple clematis and candle

Purple clematis and candle

The all-white bathroom springs to life with the addition of dollops of vibrant colour: a trio of turquoise glass vases filled with purple anemones; turquoise Claus Porto soaps (which Kally admits she has a weakness for); an enamel jug holding a generous bunch of cut purple clematis. ‘I don’t understand why people put horrid green plants in their bathrooms rather than flowers,’ she says. ‘It’s personal thing, but I feel green plants are for outside.’

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