18 Jan 2016

English Country Decorating With…The Vintage Blanket!

As a history lover, I cannot deny that it is an absolute joy to live in a Georgian house that was built around 200 years ago.   Living with windows that were constructed 200 years ago?  Not so much.  Of course they are quite beautiful to look at, and the ripples and imperfections that are a testament to their single glazed heritage are a complete pleasure that I wouldn’t change for all of the ‘Everest’ windows in the world…during the Summertime.   Thankfully, I am a great fan of open fires and chunky (and clunky)Victorian cast iron radiators – both of which we have in abundance.  

However, during the season when the need to cocoon and hibernate preoccupies even the thickest skinned and hardiest of those of us living in draughty country houses, my thoughts also turn to one of the easiest and most cost effective decorative solutions for avoiding the Winter chill.  The humble blanket.

I use them anywhere and everywhere throughout the house.  You will find them on the end of beds, draped over chairs and sofas, protecting ones back from the cold wood panelling of an old bench, and even as part of the many ‘princess and the pea’ mattresses belonging to the four legged member of the family.

A particularly good thing about decorating with blankets, is that one can never have too many.  They are far too useful for Mr. Sutton to complain along the lines of “Do we really “need‘ another jug, vase, cushion, occasional chair etc.”  You see – of COURSE we need another blanket, because it gets terribly COLD in the Winter dear.  Not to mention that they can be terribly pretty and colourful additions to ones decorating scheme whilst remaing practical.  Delightfully, they are tactile, comforting, enveloping, cosy and all of the other words that make you imagine that you are living in a giant pudding.

Above all, they can be incredibly reasonably priced depending on your taste.  My particular preference is for vintage wool blankets from the 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s.  The sort of thick, hard wearing blanket that I used to have on my bed when I was a child.  The very same style of blanket that I then turned my nose up at during my teens and early twenties, and then fell back in love with as a discerning adult whose tastes had evolved from fad to trad(itional!).

Although I not averse to a newly woven example among my collection, I usually tend to look for old fashioned, vintage labels, where I know that the quality will be superior and hardwearing.  Some of them are incredibly dense and heavy – all the better for achieving that straight jacket effect when battening down the hatches, and hunkering down in front of a Sunday evenings viewing session of a bodice ripping BBC period drama…(clearly i’m obsessed.)

I hate to sound as though I am the same vintage as my house, but they really don’t make them (for the price) like they used to.  We still have the tartan blanket that my husband took away to boarding school at the tender age of 7 – complete with sewn on name tape.  Now, whilst one may wish to question the idea of boarding school at 7…one cannot possibly question the durability of this particular blanket.  It is as pristine, unfrayed, and impeccable as the day he left home, chubby kneed and gripping on to it forty years ago, and it is still brought out from the blanket box year after year as the nights draw in.  The chubby knees have most certainly left us, but I can safely say that the resilience of a comfort inducing vintage blanket goes on, and on, and on…

Until next time!

The Diaries

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