Pale and Interesting

If you like a soft palette and subtle tones, you’ll adore this stylish duo’s inspiration for your kitchen

Their names might not be instantly familiar but we’ll bet you’ve drooled over their beautiful shabby-chic homes in catalogues. Big names such as The White Company seek them out first when they want the perfect ‘New England-style’ interior for a lifestyle photo-shoot. Stylist Atlanta Bartlett and designer Dave Coote are a husband and wife team who have made a career from a shared passion for decorating with a muted colours. A palette that creates a surprisingly practical backdrop for busy family life. And they have four children, so they should know. 

Their mantra is keep it simple, keep it relaxed and keep it real. We caught up with them to find out more, and to discover how to create the perfect entertaining space in your own home.

Where does your love for simple decor come from? As Thatcher babies I think we both had a reaction against our consumer society, houses being designed as status symbols and design for design’s sake. For us, simple decor represents a more responsible and soulful approach to decorating that celebrates what’s important in life. That includes spending time with family, taking care of our planet by minimising our carbon footprint through the use of sustainable materials, recycling and repairing and, above all, making sure your home is liveable, welcoming and personal.

What’s your favourite colour palette? We just love white with pops of stronger colour.  We stock the new Bauwerk lime paint range at our store. Created with interior stylist and art director Hans Blomquist, there are nine colours inspired by his childhood in Sweden and his travels around the world. Names such as North, Dusty, Tumble, Drift and Mudd are so evocative and atmospheric and give wonderful tones.

And favourite fabrics? Texture is also so important in a white interior, so natural materials and fabrics help to add depth and interest. I source things for our online store from all over the world, but I particularly like Indian fabrics. At the moment we are loving our gorgeous block-printed paisley fabric and the Mother Teresa saris, which are very versatile and can be used as tablecloths or curtains, drapes on sofas. Different sheepskins are also great for adding texture. We often reuse fabrics such as old grain sacks, or dye antique French linen sheets or kilim rugs as cushion covers.

Describe your ideal kitchen… Deconstructed, light, airy and practical. We’ve just given our own an overhaul with some amazing recycled marble slabs taken from an old dairy. They’re two inches thick and still have the original draining channels carved in and are already marked and worn. We love the character and personality they have brought to the kitchen!

Tops tips for creating a welcoming space?Light and airy rooms are naturally welcoming. Adding a vase of fresh flowers on a side table give focus. Mirrors and candles can also give secondary focal points and depth, as they bounce light back into the room. Try grouping together
a collection of decorative antique mirrors above a fireplace. Comfy seats are so welcoming. Make sure you have lots of cushions, and layers of texture using blankets, throws, sheepskins. Mix old and new elements together.

Contrast and complement textures throughout your interior, from walls and floors to cushions and throws. Blur the boundaries between cooking and eating to create a warm and welcoming space that’s at the heart of the home.

Atlanta and Dave run a location agency,, or share their vision in your own home through their online store,

Pale & Interesting by Atlanta Bartlett & Dave Coote,published by Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99