When we started the redesign process for Can Terrades, Rachel Laxer was the first person we called. The founder of Rachel Laxer Interiors, Rachel has studios based in London and New York, with a focus on residential homes, hospitality and corporate spaces. Rachel and her team deliver incredible bespoke and exclusive interiors to their clients, with furniture and accessories sourced from various markets all around the world. They work with small, independent craftsmen to create unique pieces to layer into their projects – designing the interiors at Can Terrades was no exception. When designing ARTAH, Rachel discovered wonderful local crafts and vintage items both in Spain and the UK, and featured a lot of these unique, handmade items throughout the property. Since we aren’t able to share our beautiful home at the present moment, we sat down with Rachel to get her advice on how to bring the retreat experience into your own home.
The heart of our home has to be the living room – particularly during lockdown. Currently serving as a Zoom ‘meeting room’, a cinema for our all too frequent movie marathons, and a cosy hub to curl up, read, or play cards, we’re focused on making sure our living room feels as stylish as it is comfortable. Rachel’s piece of advice? Focus on the coffee table. “Use it to display a mix of beautiful books, elegant trays, plants and interesting vases. Start with the tray, this is a great place to hide the remote control in a box (you may need a better hiding place during quarantine!), add a few coasters and a round it out with a simple low maintenance plant. Make a couple of stacks of books, always think of the top book as a little painting on your table. Fill in the remaining gaps with height of an interesting vase or board game.”
Our dining schedules suddenly feel like they’re on airport rules and it’s all becoming a little confusing. To avoid feeling too much like we’re stuck in Groundhog Day, we’ve been trying to make dinner feel like a special occasion every night, making sure we’re signing off on the ‘work day’ in style. “In the dining room, the key to setting a simple and elegant table just takes a few touches. Work in groups of 3, 5 and 7’s. Keep it elegant – linen napkins for everyone, 3 – 5 bud vases filled with one or two flowers, or just foliage. Add 5-7 glass votives with tea lights and 3 – 5 candlesticks for height and bring it all together with a runner to add colour and ground your centrepiece. Light the candles for dinner and everything tastes and looks better!”
And so to bed: ‘“For the bedroom, I like an interesting texture behind the bed instead of art over the bed. ARTAH has beautiful old stone walls and this feeling can be created with a textured wallpaper. Most of the bedrooms can be used as singles or shared. The lovely thing about twin beds is the headboards are just slipcovers so if you put them together, you can turn it into a super king bed. This is great for guest rooms and kids rooms as they get older. Always place a bench at the foot of the bed, its great place to sit or use for storage. Keep it simple with a cushion and a light throw. Save on your decorative items and invest in great sheets – you won’t regret it. Handmade ceramic lamps add a touch of warmth and texture. Every bedroom needs a Directors chair: buy either in black or white and add a touch of colour with the canvas seat. It’s a great pull up, temporary valet or somewhere to put a breakfast tray.”
If there’s one thing we really and truly miss about ARTAH, it’s the bathrooms. Something about the colourful tiles, enormous towel sheets and our favourite Per Purr body wash, makes us wish we could have RLI do a socially distanced re-haul of our own homes. “It’s actually really easy to create your own spa bathroom. Fold a pile of white bath towels and hand towels on top of one another on a tray or small stool. Roll up your hand towels on a little bamboo tray or similar. Keep most of your products out of sight in a cupboard and buy some pretty containers for your everyday essentials. If you have space, add a scented candle or reed diffuser, along with a small plant.”
Bring a little life into your forgotten spaces. “To make a cosy corner in your home, group a few simple cushions and a throw or waffle towel – perfect in the summer – a plant and some Japanese tea cups. A metal table adds a bit of glam to the space. If you paint your shutters a soothing colour and just leave the walls white, it’s a very quick fix to a neglected space.”
Most of us are now WFH and in need of a good project. “The reception desk at ARTAH is a wonderful example of how to create a relaxed work area. Buy a vintage desk on eBay and paint it to give it a whole new energy. Copper vessels to hold your water (our favourites are TAMRA) and add a mix of vintage ceramics, plants and a distressed old mirror with a simple sisal rug finish off the space.