40 years in your home

homeinterior011980: the year The Wychwood was born – and also, coincidentally, the year I was born. Anyone who experienced the ‘80s would tell you that it was a different world to the one we know today. Our hair was bigger than ever, neon lycra and leg warmers took us by storm, and the more ripped and ruined our jeans were the better. However, one of the most noticeable changes, forty years on, is the way we choose to decorate our homes.

From masses of Laura Ashley floral chintz to glass brick walls, the ’80s saw many interior design trends that are now nothing but a distant and, perhaps, nostalgic memory. Warm oak kitchen cabinets were all the rage, creating that country look that so many of us aspired to, regardless of whether we lived in the country or not.

Only recently did I renovate the kitchen of my home in Sinnels Field, Shipton-Under-Wychwood, which contained one of these kitchens so typical of the era –  a top of the range (at the time) “honey” oak kitchen, which had seen 40 years of family life before being recycled to a new home. My kitchen has now joined the modern world with a sleek and contemporary, open-plan update with no wall cupboards or even handles; unheard of in the 80s!

My home, and the majority of the estate, was constructed in 1979, making it a brand new house the same year The Wychwood magazine was born. This new development significantly increased the population in the area, bringing in new faces, excited to be moving into a beautiful, shiny new home in the heart of the British countryside. The floors were all carpeted (even the kitchen and bathrooms), and the bathroom suites were all pastel shades of avocado, peach and terracotta. Although a far cry from modern day aspirations, I grew to love my floor-to-ceiling avocado bathroom before it was stripped back to make way for the new. Literally everything was green: the carpet, the skirting boards, the radiator, the tiled walls and the doors. It was a talking point, and I made the most of that. Good interior design is often about thoughtfully editing, arranging and adapting what you already have. It is not always about ripping it all out and starting again – that’s not realistic from a financial point of view for most people, or necessary.

It was commonplace at the time to have textured ceilings – I do often wonder what the appeal was. The trend for artex and woodchip left no room untouched in my home, and is something I’m gradually smoothing over. Florals and frills also ran riot, covering our houses from top to bottom, on walls, window dressings, lampshades, bedding with matching valances, cushions and upholstery, in a frenzy of chintz. Our windows were dressed with busy-looking nets and pelmets, and curtains were held back with grand-looking tie backs. Of course, there will always be a place for florals in our homes, but perhaps now used with a lighter touch…

If I was to keep one trend from the 80s, I’d go with the abundance of house plants. The fashion for succulents, spider and Swiss Cheese plants has come back into the interiors world by storm over the last few years, and, in my opinion, should be here to stay.

I wonder what your house will look like in another 40 years’ time?

Cathy Cumberlidge Interiors
07789 224122

June – July 2020