Retro Studies with Rosie Ward

June 30, 2020
By Riyad

As an interior designer, I’m always going back to my initial inspirations and striking architectural retro features always crop up. This doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel as we always like to enhance the ideas and interesting pieces our clients have already. The era of ‘retro’ broadly encompassing styles from the 1950s onwards. This can take in (among other things) mid-century Scandinavian furniture, curvy mod Sixties styles, and the plush fabrics and bold earth-toned patterns of the 1970s. Warm, playful and fabulous while bringing an overall flair into everyday life.

With a current project in mind, full of mid-century furniture and lighting, brightened up by splashes of vivid colour, here are some of my favourite retro pieces.

1. Timourous Beasties – Seaweed Column Wallpaper: Noted for surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers, Timorous Beasties is incredibly design-led and I just adore the new collection, ‘Oceana’. With its colourful crustaceans, feather-like corals and ever-so-slightly menacing eels I’m dying to use this in a project - super summary with intricate detailing. Their core values are extremely similar to how Sarah and I work, as they remain around drawing, with the fundamental design process that starts with pen and ink.

2. Elitis - Panoramique Initiation Monaco WallpaperElitis always surprise me. Their dynamic and passion always allow for a modern and innovative personality to shine through their work merging the worlds of art and fashion. This beautiful embossed panoramic mural wallpaper is impressive; exploring the extraordinary botanical world in their own unique way, slightly naïve yet abstract.

3. Liberty - Faria Flowers Fabric: Rifling through Liberty’s beautiful fabric collections is a journey in itself. The Modern Archive Collection spotlights Liberty’s rich history of storytelling for every generation of modern interiors – with the vivid natural shades of the Lichen colour story inspired by Liberty’s early textiles of the Arts and Crafts era. Faria Flowers is a hand-drawn and hand-painted floral design, drawn from studies taken at the Royal Chelsea and Hampton Court by our Liberty Fabrics designers. It is expertly printed in Italy onto Vintage Velvet – a beautiful mixed-fibre base that’s suitable for both heavy domestic and contract use. Luxurious in feel and vibrant in colour, this velvet’s elegant drape also makes it ideal for heavier curtains with blackout or draft-excluding qualities. I have a project in mind for this in Mayfair, London for a very special international client.

4. Diedre Dyson - Looking Through Rug: This hand-knotted rug in wool and silk is inspired by ‘looking through’ a water-filled flask at boat rigging and blue cushions reflected on a shiny surface. Deirdre painted these distorted objects without drawing the outline of the flask. I love how involved Dierdre is with her pieces and the process is a fascinating blend of art and process, of ancient skill and new technology. I think I’ll keep this one for my own home – it feels utterly heavenly underfoot!

5. Elitis - Monaco Rug: Another beautiful rug which is an assembly of handmade jute braids and I love that the irregularities in appearance between different parts of the rug are visible. The bold, playful and colourful mint and green shapes really add a perfect contrast when juxtaposed to a more minimalist interior. Furthermore, jute is a natural fibre which adds a cosy, organic texture to a space.

6. 1stdibs - Transversal Bookcase & Space Divider: What a cool room divide! This transversal is both a bookcase and space divider, created in solid wood and natural veneer boards. It is the result of the collaboration between FOAM design studio and Breuer carpenters. You can almost feel the lines and rhythms that detonate through this three-dimensional pattern. I’d definitely use this as space divider, given the current situation. I’m looking to separate my desk from the main living room, to unintrusively divide my work zone and an area of relaxation. I’ll also use it to display my much-loved books and favourite pieces within the lattice of attractive geometries that generate the niches. 

If you’d like to talk to Sarah and Rosie about an interior design project, don’t hesitate to get in touch, by email: or by phone:​ 

+44 (0)20 3667 7796.

+44 (0)20 3667 7796
Ward & Co. Interiors
12 Soho Square,
London W1D 3QF