Colour and texture with a splash of Nigerian and Jamaican heritage best describe Kemi’s home style.
In Kemi's own words, Cottage Noir sums up her interior’s identity. The Cottage part is because she lives in a 1750s cottage replete with all the original features she could ask for – beams, working fireplaces, nooks and crannies. The Noir part is because she is so proud of her identity as a Black British woman, with both African and Caribbean heritage. This pride and heritage come clearly through in all her interiors choices for the cottage.
Kemi is also a co-founder of the brilliant lifestyle online store called The Cornrow, offering affordable and vibrant design that puts the modern black aesthetic on the front row. The Cornrow is a business that is really a passion project come to life as it enables her to share all the beautiful home products that she has created or sourced on her interiors journey on Cottage Noir. It features modern, affordable products, all tailored to a modern Black aesthetic, for everyone to enjoy.
"One of my mantra’s is to be as joyful as possible, so if I like a print or a pattern I try and make it work without thinking first, does it go or will it clash!! It always works out!"
Kemi pulls inspiration for her interior from so many different sources. From hotels she has visited (in particular those designed by Kit Kemp who is a great source of inspiration for her), magazines, TV shows, but mostly from her heritage, finding colours, textures, art and textiles that remind her of Nigerian and Jamacian spaces.
When it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, Kemi finds them incredibly helpful! As she states, you can see “real-life” examples which is always more helpful that seeing them in showrooms. You can also see things you wouldn’t have considered before but realise you love.
When it came to choosing flooring for her home, Kemi had to take into consideration that it’s an old house. To complement this, she felt it would be in keeping to use natural floor coverings, resulting in the house having a mixture of stained wooden floorboards, wool and sisal. And she loves all three.
The cottage has two sets of staircases (as it is actually 2 cottages knocked into one) and when Kemi sees staircases, she sees stripes. This meant that she just couldnt resist the vibrant, joyful yellow tone of our Margo Selby Stripe Sun Seasalter on both staircases and the adjoining hallway - it really lifts the space and you just cannot help but smile as soon as you walk in.
For the bedrooms, Kemi chose varying colours from our Wool Milkshake collection. Her daughters just loved choosing their own 'flavour' Milkshake for their spaces, ending up with one having Wool Milkshake Marshmallow and the other Wool Milkshake Raspberry. However, her favourite room in the cottage is currently her own bedroom; it has a blue cloud mural wallpaper, and is complemented by her Wool Milkshake Blueberry carpet.
"Who wouldn’t want to step on a Wool Milkshake carpet?"
So is Kemi now feeling braver with pattern and colour? Right now, she feel's people feel safest with pops of colours, like on a rug or a cushion. However, she hopes to change all that! In her own opinion, colour really lifts the spirits and it’s a missed opportunity not to use it as liberally as possible!
Read Kemi's blog here or see her Q&A with us below.
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