Rosa Park, founding editor of travel and style magazine Cereal and founder and director of Francis Gallery in Bath, knows how to soften the edges of minimalism. Her very particular take on the pared-back aesthetic is at once serene and accessible. Enter the blissful home in Bath that she shares with her photographer husband Rich Stapleton and it’s as if you have stepped into the pages of her publication.
Set in a Grade I-listed Georgian property close to the banks of the River Avon, this second-floor apartment is decorated in a soft biscuit tone. The colour speaks to the building’s heritage while also feeling completely contemporary. In the living room, low-level seating – such as the sofa by Danish brand Erik Jørgensen, upholstered in Kvadrat fabric – helps to emphasise the height of the ceilings. The oversized curtains, which softly drape onto the limed oak floorboards, have a similar effect and are inspired by the style of Belgian interior designer and architect Vincent Van Duysen. ‘I love his work so much,’ says Rosa. ‘He has curtains like these in every project he does.’
Rosa’s neutral interiors are also the ideal backdrop for her extensive collection of art. Nature-inspired works by Hong Kong-born Spencer Fung – an artist Rosa represents at Francis Gallery – suit the serene feel in the bedroom, while a series of photographs by Rich, printed on washi paper, hang in the living area. In the corner of the room, there’s an old oil painting propped against the wall. ‘I usually buy contemporary art, but I knew I wanted a work by an Old Master,’ Rosa explains. ‘It’s one of those mesmerising, shadowy Dutch still life paintings that changes with the light during the day.’
As well as art, this home is decorated with pieces that have deep meaning – whether personal or spiritual. Crystals, books and tiny, precious things – mostly in stone or porcelain – are arranged in stylish vignettes at every turn. One such example is the pair of miniature Buddhist stupa cones (also known as tsa-tsa or chortens), handmade by Rosa and Rich on a recent trip to Bhutan. Containing tiny scrolls with prayers or mantras, these clay castings represent a wish for the wellbeing of a loved one. Engaging every sense, aromas are also important to Rosa, who likes to burn palo santo wood at home. Originally used by the Incas, its citrusy, pine-like scent was believed to have cleansing powers.
For Rosa, decorating this home was a search for ease, comfort and tranquillity. Succeeding in charming each and every one of the five senses, her apartment is a testament to the power of simplicity. readcereal.com; francisgallery.com
This feature appeared in ELLE Decoration October 2019.
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