Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Decorating a Bohemian Farmhouse

Our Czech home is in no way like our UK one - it is a bohemian farmhouse, the other a Cotswold town cottage. My approach to furnishing and decorating the Czech house is totally different. When first we came the house was furnished in a combination of Czech kitsch and bizarre. The stairwell shown above was decorated with several stuffed birds and animal skulls. I think the most bizarre was a set of coat hooks made from real deer feet! The rural Czechs seem to like to shoot their decorations first!

It will not surprise you that we decided not to go for Bohemian farmhouse décor if that was an example. Instead I have chosen to pursue a more eclectic rustic almost naïve style, with embroideries from Mexico and Nepal on the whitewashed walls. Hand-crafted stoneware pottery is more in keeping with the place than porcelain and is similar to the German-style stoneware we found here.

The large dining table and benches in the main room are made from solid pieces of local wood. And there is also a collection of found objects – fossils, shells, pine cones and a small nest found in the wood whilst mushrooming. Many decisions have been born of necessity – all the money was going on the fabric of the house so there was little available for furniture. The simple beds we inherited from the previous owners and from some British friends who were replacing theirs. The wardrobes were bought secondhand in a local town and are functional and not out of keeping. My sister designed the lampshades which were based on those in the Laibon Restaurant in Cesky Krumlov- they are quite simply made out of crumpled baking paper and card.

Over time we will replace many of these with better versions, but I do not believe that the house will ever be decorated luxuriously. It would be like taking an old farmer's wife and decking her out as a princess. But then I sometimes think that the British royal family never look so at home as when they are dressed as farmers, but that says more about the British royal family than it does about my simile. No, let the old house feel comfortable with her garb. Large velvet curtains will only hide the lovely arches of the windows. Smooth plaster will hide the wonderful lack of symmetry of the walls and ceilings.

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