Jocasta Innes, 78, influential writer on decor, cooking
April 24, 2013 2:52 PM   Subscribe

The author of The Pauper's Cookbook , Paint Magic and more than 50 other titles, has died in London. If you ever thought about stippling, sponging, stencilling, scumbling, rag-rolling and distressing and/or color-washing a wall, you might well have been influenced by Ms. Innes.
posted by Ideefixe (9 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I committed so many crimes against taste in the early nineties using these techniques. We applied a faux granite finish to a lino floor in the master bath in our first house just after getting married, *shudder*.

Why did we all want to live in an ersatz Tuscan farmhouse? Using a colour palette not actually found in Tuscany?

We hired a paint consultant to help us pick colours for our house, we decided to go with an oh so chic "coffee shop" motif. Yes, we thought that being in what appeared to be a Starbucks 24/7 was a good idea.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:02 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

90s coffee and book shops everywhere are pouring out a shot for her.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 3:05 PM on April 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

I had no idea she had been going so long! We had a few of her books on our coffee table, back when we watched endless episodes of Changing Rooms and coveted terracotta feature walls.

posted by dumdidumdum at 3:15 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

"After her marriage to Joe Potts broke up, in the early 1980s Jocasta Innes moved to Spitalfields, where she renovated a derelict brewer’s house and began a new relationship with her next-door-neighbour, the modernist architect Sir Richard MacCormac."

What?? This needs to be an adorable romantic comedy right now (or after a suitable period). She's a down-to-earth rag-rolling bean-casserole queen! He's Sir Post-Modernist academic uber-architect! While battling over how to restore a crumbling period property...

(please to cast age-appropriate actress)


. Condolences to her family, she sounds like a marvellous person.
posted by Erasmouse at 3:18 PM on April 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Pauper's Cookbook basically saved me when I was unemployed.
posted by trip and a half at 4:26 PM on April 24, 2013

Oh my goodness, I have several of her books! Faux bois and other surface treatments like that actually have a long and honorable history and can look pretty cool.
posted by Frowner at 6:13 PM on April 24, 2013


Loved loved loved her books. Then again my aunt is a decorative painter and my mom is an antique fiend and pretty much everyone in the family is an art nerd. There were some really good faux finishing techniques in her books, too.
posted by at 6:36 PM on April 24, 2013

I made a small fortune, just briefly, when faux finishing was in, because I could roll a rag like a motherfucker and my multilayered glaze treatments were second to none. I still love to do a subtle wash on rough old cracked walls, but the tide turned to lurid flat latex and I had to retire my marbling feather and give up the decor trade. Too bad, too—paid well.

A combination of Innes and laziness is why I live in a pink apartment and have for decades now, though I do correct people that it's not pink—it's a weathered terra cotta, for Pete's sake.
posted by sonascope at 4:52 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

An update-- Spitalfields Life has a bunch of beautiful photos of Innes' house, full of paint effects and witty tromp d'oeil, and a touching interview with her partner-

"I bought part of the brewery next to the pub and another architect, Theo Crosby, had bought the other half, and Jocasta’s house was in the middle. She was sitting in the pub and I knew she detested architects, yet she pretended she didn’t know I was an architect. When I asked her what she was reading, she said ’1001 Ways to do Without an Architect’ … and we lived together ever since."

According to the Guardian's obit, they lived in their separate houses with a connecting door in the attic, which is a pretty lovely metaphor.
posted by Erasmouse at 1:53 AM on May 8, 2013

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