It’s impossible to talk about the work of Kaffe Fassett, the godfather of the fabric and quilting world, without referring to his love of colour. He has written books about it, curated exhibitions of colour and made a TV programme about it: Glorious Colour. His passion for it stretches to his home in Hastings too, an early Victorian property shared with his partner Brandon, Brandon’s sister Belinda and mother Yvonne. Few would be brave enough to paint their breakfast room with lime green stripes, or to team pink walls with a blue door frame, but Kaffe has made it work.
‘Nothing breaks the spell in this room,’ says Kaffe of the living room. The ornate chairs in the window are antique bergères, which have been covered in Designers Guild fabric, designed by Kaffe himself. The opulent mirror above the fireplace came from Indonesia and Kaffe has since painted it by hand to give it a distressed appearance. The needlepoint wingback armchair was painstakingly reupholstered by hand, and is Kaffe’s favourite piece in the whole house.
‘Colour is a mood changer,’ says Kaffe, explaining his approach to decorating. ‘Many people live in white boxes and that’s fine because it does maximise the light, but you shouldn’t be afraid of introducing lovely soft colours, too. Even richer colours – they lift the soul’.
The Murano chandelier in the dining room was bought in Venice, where Kaffe hand-picked the colours of the flowers to ensure that they toned with the soft pastel colour scheme of the house. The ceramics, including the striking Dutch tulip vase, were bought from various places such as Camden and Portobello Road markets. Kaffe also hand-painted the chinoiserie-style pattern on the dining room wall (a more affordable alternative to the Chinese wallpaper he initially had his heart set on!).
Contemporary, mass-produced furniture wouldn’t sit well in this creative hub. Kaffe designed and painted the kitchen tiles at Highland Stoneware in Scotland and the painterly blue cushion was inspired by the Carlton Ware pot that you can just see on the kitchen table (peeking out from behind the flowers).
This home is full of worldy treasures. The Chinese cabinet was bought at Camden market, whereas the ship (which is actually a kite) was brought back from a trip to Bali. Kaffe stitched the quilt on the bed from men’s suiting. ‘It’s very sombre, quiet and nice to live with,’ he says.
Kaffe’s challenge for the bathroom was finding tiles in soft pastel colours to match the rest of the house. Displayed on the shelf are also some of the pretty toiletries that he designed for Heathcote & Ivory.
Images: Jan Baldwin