May 18 2018
Every home has its own unique smell. It is rather impossible to put your finger on it, and you become so accustomed to it, that you often forget that it is there. But, when I have been away for a while and return to lovely Wiltshire, I just adore the comforting smell that tells me I truly am back home. Scent is capable of great things. It carries such weight and used properly, meaningfully contributes to a room’s ambience. I therefore always bring other purposeful scents into my home and those of my clients, using them to contribute to a setting, to reflect on the season. Below I have shared with you my three personal favourites for summertime.
My saviour. If I had to choose one scent for summer, this would be my one and only. I grow it fresh in the garden and snip its needle-like leaves to bring into my kitchen which I then use in tea infusions or in fragrant recipes. I especially love to drop it into olive oil so that it takes on rosemary’s delicate notes. Because I use it so much in cooking, I find it suits my kitchen’s scenting most of all, so I keep a pot on my window ledge throughout summer. If I am seeking a more potent punch, I might place a few sprigs in warm water on the stove and let them simmer quite happily for an hour until the scent flows throughout the whole room and into neighbouring spaces such as the pantry or dining room. It is such a happy combination of British-grown herbs and Mediterranean origin.
Choosing a different scent for every room in the home is not something I would advise – the scents become muddled and the experience changes into one that is a touch overwhelming. Each fragrance needs room to spread and settle. This being said, I will often choose two or three to combine – much as I would do with a home’s colour palette – that I extend across my home and that complement one another. Fig is the perfect example of this. I discovered how wonderfully it combines with rosemary at a friend’s supper party many years ago, when we were served warmed figs with honey and rosemary. Dr Vranjes Firenze have a divine fragrance called Fico Selvatico which has a number of delicate notes like white musk, clover and of course – fig. I use this in my sitting room and downstairs loo, so that it is nearby to the rosemary.
As I wrote this, I deliberated about whether or not to include lavender. I thought to myself that it may be too obvious, but classics are what they are for fair reason, and lavender is a classic without question. It is simply so clever at doing what it does best – restoring calm, encouraging peace, and soothing with such ease. It is another perennial plant that is easy to grow in your own garden – much like rosemary – so I have its silvery purple fronds tracing the edge of my garden perimeters and pathways. This is my scent of choice for our bedrooms and for my little bathroom during summer because I save it for moments of relaxation as opposed to teeth brushing and hand washing. I snip at my outdoor stems and dry them in a dark corner for two-four weeks, before turning the dried petals into little lavender pillows or muslin pouches that I store in linen closets, dresser drawers and beneath our pillows. I also use lavender essential oil in the bathtub – heavenly.