Flat Power

1970s, Barbara Carrera, cosmopolitan, Elyse Lewin, interior design, interiors

You might be short on space, but that’s no reason to skimp on imagination in doing up your own place. “Studio flat, one bed, kitchen and bath, ch, pleasant aspect.” That’s the kind of accommodation most of us want when we look for somewhere to live in the big city. And the metal windows, featureless walls and skimpy dimensions are liable to be standard whether you call it a flat and you’re in London, or Liverpool, or it’s pronounced “apartment” and the address is Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. Case in point is the one-bedroom pad, shown on these pages, of Barbara Carrera, Nicaraguan-born model and actress. The plethora of ruffled pillows, jungle of greenery and vast coffee table indicates the Hollywood influence, but you don’t need to be Liz Taylor to aspire to mirror tiles on your wall to expand a poky bedroom. The Californian passion for pale colours, low sofas and casual arrangements of objects suits the English climate, too. Wicker mania is also rampant here in the UK, hence the boom in shops that sell basketware of every kind. Barbara must have bought a job lot of laundry baskets which she mounted in two tiers. These now hold her TV set, record player, art books and some of the jungle greenery. The mirror walls make the basket shelves look double the amount, but the initial investment in six strong cane baskets is a fraction of shelving bought by the yard. Bonus: you can take the baskets with you when you decide to move elsewhere.

Barbara is celebrating her first part in a film—she plays Victoria in Embryo opposite Rock Hudson—hence the purchase of the wall-hanging “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEDA” seen over her bed. But if, like Barbara, you can handle a paint brush, why not splash out your own abstract art like Barbara’s picture hanging over the sofa ? Most working girls don’t have the space for a dining area. Barbara gives intimate dinners—never more than four—in the corner of her living-room where two peacock chairs flank a small round table. Make one yourself from a round plywood top balanced on a metal plinth finished off with fabric skirt.

The all-over printed batiks have the freshest look in printed fabrics with the correct ethnic feeling. Models like Barbara who jet round the world can pick up Indonesian sarongs, embroidered Greek cushions and Navaho rugs in the Country of origin at airport shops as well as in the authentic souks and bazaars. Happily, anyone with a day ticket can find the same merchandise in the clutch of ethnic shops in Pimlico, Covent Garden and Hampstead. Beautiful kangas, batiks, or baskets, shells. Oriental china and wall-hangings can be seen at one of the newest sources, Rain (late Klong and Roots and Shoots), Pimlico Road, London SW1. A wind-bell to tinkle at the window and a dozen or so green plants (don’t forget a decorative watering-can and plant mister are available at Conran, Draycott Avenue, SW3, which also stocks handsome cane furniture) will complete your private Oriental fantasy. We can’t all be movie stars, but we can all afford some of the comforts of Hollywood.

Photographed by Elyse Lewin.

Scanned from Cosmopolitan, November 1976.

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