Sunday, 26 April 2009

Lovely Laura....

I'm afraid this may be a long post - please forgive.

For as long as I have had a home to decorate I have been a fan of Laura Ashley. Having always lived in older properties, where the walls of the rooms were rarely smooth enough for painting, I have virtually always purchased my wallpaper from Laura Ashley (cheaper than replastering every room). My first ever purchases were made from the branch that used to live at the top of Byres Road in the west end of Glasgow (for those of you old enough to remember!). I followed the store when it moved to Buchanan Street in the centre of Glasgow, and now I visit the shop in its present location in West George Street, which I prefer to support, as it is great to have the convenience of a LA store in the city centre. Even if I don't have any purchases in mind it is such a lovely shop to visit - you just never know - a little treat might await...

Wallpapers, borders and the occasional accessory were as much as I could afford in the early days, moving on to the odd fabric and bedding purchases as finances would permit; in the more recent past I have been able to shell out on a couple of pieces of furniture. Although not inexpensive purchases I believe that the choices I have made have been worth it for the quality and pleasure that they have given me, and I don't see me changing or tiring of the furniture, so expect them to outlive me. I'd like to think that the furniture would be appreciated by someone after me but times and fashions change, so who knows.

Last weekend when out and about in Callander I popped into the old second-hand Bookshop

(the one on the High Street Caireen)

and came across this 1990's edition of the LA catalogue,

which now sits happily together with a copy of LA's home Decorating book printed in 1989 full of hints, tips and 'how to's', that I picked up from the local Scout jumble sale some years ago. In the Home catalogue I spotted a number of wallpapers and some fabric that I had purchased over the years, from the early '80s onwards, and so all week I have been on a journey of past times and cherished memories of a particlarly loved previous home.

I had this wallpaper

on the main wall of my large airy living room. The other walls were painted with Magnolia coloured paint on to woodchip wallpaper (I know, I know, but it was the done thing at the time!). In the living room I also had a burgundy self-coloured carpet, a burgundy 3-piece suite and sumptuous floor-to-ceiling, self-coloured burgundy velvet curtains on the high tenement windows. Though large, it was always such a cosy room and a great space to be in - especially when the curtains were closed.

When it was time for a change I also had this one

(which is actually back in stock now!). Wallpapering the main wall allowed for a reasonably regular freshen up without having to redecorate the entire room.

My favour colour is blue (although I also like many others) and every bedroom I have had has been decorated in blue. So, in this bedroom I had a self-coloured navy blue carpet plus said self-coloured, this time navy blue, velvet curtains, and on the walls I had this wallpaper

then this one

In the bathroom I had this one

on the top half of the wall, separated by the border, and then wood panelling to the floor. I also had matching curtain fabric and a (now much maligned) avocado bathroom suite, which I don't seem to remember having much of a problem with at the time. It was quite a novelty to have a coloured bathroom suite then.

I still have LA wallpaper in some rooms in my present house, despite the fact that all the walls were replastered when we moved in (took a chance on the abilities of the plasterer at the time - but that was a mistake). Over the years, and when work was being done to the house to the extent that even more plaster dust floating around wouldn't have made much difference, some of the walls were redone. Though my taste in wallpaper has since changed, now very plain, I still like my choices from more than two decades ago and I can still visualise the rooms they adorned.

I have so enjoyed my trip down memory lane that this single (£2.00) chance purchase has given me; vivid memories that have taken me back some 20+ years ago to a place that meant very much to me, and have such fond memories of. Hope you don't mind me sharing some of them with you.

As it happens I will be at home tomorrow awaiting a little treat to myself from LA, a bit of an impulse purchase but what the heck! If it's not too indulgent of me I might even put a pic of it on my blog once it has settled into its new home.

I have also posted below some pics from the LA books, some of which although 20 years old, I think would sit quite well in many homes today. Some I like a lot, some not so much - but see what you think:

Interesting take on the en-suite bathroom

This is my favourite image. (I can but dream!)

Off to bed now - 'night 'night. (Note to self: learn how to make links!)


  1. Enjoy your blog.So kind.Good luck!
    We hope that we will have the opportunity to make friends with you.
    We invite you to come to our blog. You are welcome any time.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. See you at the WGM...will be able to stay on after. Here's hoping for lots of people through the doors!!Rx

  4. I enjoyed have a bit of Laura Ashley nostagia via your post. I have a rather shabby patchwork cushion cover made from squares of really old LA fabric ... back from her beginnings. I cannot bear to toss it away, and still like to see the early block printed designs.

    I also very much liked that prior post about the spinner and her amazing lacy knitting.

    Best wishes!

  5. Yep I like LA too, & love that last picture.