4 Feb 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

I had to laugh…when I saw this beautifully executed room by Stephen Sills in last months Architectural Digest.  Two years ago when my Canadian cottage was photographed I had a bit of a last minute panic when I realised I had forgotten to plant acres of Martha Stewart type cutting gardens.  What was I thinking?? Well the horticultural perils of the Canadian shield had something to do with it but whatever!!  And not a florist to be found for MILES!!

My whole life weekends were spent driving to and from the city-admiring the bogs along side the highway in which grow fields of bullrushes.  I wondered were they too twee to use in the shoot – and yet really i thought they were terribly chic if you put aside visions of dry Victorian assemblages.  Was I crazy?? Luckily Nicky was only a text away.  ’Do you think there is any merit in bullrushes?? They ARE chocolate velvet after all‘ I send.   He texts back to say ‘That is SO weird. Coming back today I saw bullrushes by the road near Odiham and thought must get some for round the lake.  And remember the bullrush wall lights at Villa Corrine.’  So I was off!  Terrified in the bogs… I quickly cut the bare minimum…sadly I also didn’t have a decent vase so they ended up in this rather pathetic enamel jug.  Stephen outdid me on presentation without a doubt.  Live and learn.

Since then I’ve been collecting everything with bullrushes (spelt bulrush in the UK), the symbol of faithfulness and humility.


This divine font spotted on a sourcing trip to Belgium has been on my wall for years – sadly we didn’t have a place for it at the time.



Bullrushes on turquoise majolica! This is a cachepot I would definitely not leave behind.



And for all you crafters out there…you might whip up some of these miniatures…wouldn’t they be incredible as match sticks!!


Petticoat of white silver tissue, trimmed at the bottom with a deep silver fringe, headed with a wreath of bulrushes; festoons of the same tied up with silver tassels. From Regency Fashion.

Now I am not well versed enough in Regency dress to verify…but i am told that this dress features rosettes of bulrush-I hope its true…how wonderful.

And these shoes by Indecorous…are you kidding me?? I could write a PHD on these – plastic, cellophane, bullrushes…..darlings I’ve tried to write to enquire, to no avail.  DO contact me wont you?


And brilliant readers….you know this interior from Suzy Menkes book.  The Mill for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  I have it in my head that John Fowler painted this.  Did I conjure it?? Well it’s delightful in every way. Heaven.

8 Responses to “Pussywillows cat tails soft winds and roses…”

  1. C and N–

    Best and wittiest concept. So, if you both think it is chic, it’s chic. Done!

  2. avatar mary says:

    I love the bullrushes–humble yet beautiful and timeless. The porcelain pitcher is perfect.

  3. How serendipitous to both have noticed them, but then great minds…..adore this post+great images. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  4. I keep saying it………….you are a clever girl Colette! Happy weekend. XO

  5. avatar p gaye tapp says:

    I love Lauren’s wild shoe fetish-she is quite the talent! and wasn’t the Duchess right in low browing that Dining room -so perfectly? we like to call ‘um cat tails in the South, by the by my Gran Mother had curtains with them all merging from the hems -why oh why didn’t they get salvaged?

  6. avatar colette says:

    PGT…any pics of the curtains? they sound wonderful.

  7. avatar Vicki Archer says:

    That bulrush mirror is totally exquisite….xv

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