Dreaming of la dolce vita

Dreaming of la dolce vita

Well who would have thought when the year started that Brexit talk would be eclipsed by a worldwide pandemic? It seems like an innocent time when a new Prime Minister was the talk of the town.

Usually my year starts with mapping out overseas trips into the diary in an attempt to stagger the flights and mitigate jetlag.

2020 got off to a normal start. Flights, hotels, car parks and meetings were booked. A major birthday plan was outlined and had started to be arranged and paid for. Then lockdown.

Flights, hotels and birthday plans were cancelled, and being at home became the default.

Normally the Claybrook creatives spend quite a bit of time in Italy throughout the year. The routine of meetings and dinners has become second nature to our little gang. We know each other’s personal preferences for breakfast and dinner menus, who is a morning person (not me) and who is an evening person, which hotels we prefer and which restaurant is best for a quiet meal/rowdier event.


Italian food can be subtle in its flavours. Indeed, it’s taken a while to spot a good pasta dish from an average one. Likewise, not all pizzas are equal. Cappuccino is taken standing at a bar pre-noon, and served lukewarm for a quick slurp. Asking for it hot can induce sniffs of derision. I know. I ask. Every time.

Back at home, my thoughts have turned to Italy when thinking about refurbishing a bathroom. The room is generally in good condition but the previous owner splashed out on a freestanding bath, but no shower. As an en-suite used daily, a shower would be preferable. This means re-doing the room, wall and floor tiles included. The perfect excuse to design a whole new space using Claybrook tiles and bathrooms, alongside our paint collection.


Bologna and Venice, two frequent stops on the annual Claybrook sourcing tour, both feature amazing examples of Terrazzo in homes and galleries, and even on the street. The material started life as handmade mosaic-like floors made with marble and stone off-cuts laid into cement. Over time pre-formed tiled floors became available, much like the floors Claybrook offers today. Our Trousdale porcelain Terrazzo, which I have on my mood board for the new bathroom, was named after the Trousdale Estates neighbourhood of Beverley Hills which we visited on a trip to LA two or three years ago. The beautiful estate was laid out in the 50’s and 60’s with many low-rise homes designed in a classic mid-century style. A number of them feature traditional Terrazzo finishes which induce envy and admiration. I for one now plan on using the floor alongside some white glazed brick wall tiles for contrast. Now my only dilemma is; do I go with the Aniston or Hughes Terrazzo colourways? Decisions decisions.

Italy is opening back up and another visit is pencilled in.

Bring on the hot coffee and tasty pasta.