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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Homes & Gardens Series

So, to celebrate the launch of my new blog design I decided to do my own Homes & Gardens series on our own little flat to talk interior decorating and style. I absolutely love their magazines, and while we don't have sweeping lawns, acres of apple trees, our own chapel or an enormous farmhouse kitchen complete with AGA, I do have ambition to turn it into something really special. 
We only moved in a few months ago, but already our little two bed in Walthamstow Village is feeling like home. We've got so many ideas, but first I want to show you around properly. I tend to take too many pictures, so I'll split out the series - this is our lounge as it currently is. We're really lucky to have a gorgeous fireplace (gas, and working, although we can't quite work out how to use it right now). The tiles either side are Victorian, like the rest of the building, and the floors are real oak. They make it impossible to creep around the house with all the creaking and groaning, but they add charm and character. 

I've always been into old homes (I get this from my parents) - most of the houses we have lived in have been period buildings full of history and little touches. A house isn't a house without a few misshapen nooks and crannies I think. Everything I buy for the home tends to be either pure white and clean, or very rich and tactile. I love texture, mixing up materials and unique pieces. A lot of our stuff actually comes from Ikea or high street stores for price and convenience, but along the way we’ve picked up some beautiful things. I love using natural base tones and materials like wood, wool, pottery and metal – no plastics and of course anywhere I go I like to pick up the odd thing to bring home.
This little periwinkle table is hand stenciled and distressed. We bought it recently from a little market in the village. I’m on the look-out for some matching folding chairs. 

You can get these simple woven baskets all over – they’re great for piling up magazines you aren't ready to throw away yet.

These dishes I bought in Argentina – I love having pops of colour in my home. The metal bowl is a heavy pewter ashtray from an amazing reclamation yard in Spain. We spent hours poking around for pieces, being followed by the big plump hens scratching around in the dirt outside.
Kilim rugs are a favourite of mine with their delicate and subtle patterns, but robust at the same time. This one’s from Turkey and reminds me of sitting on piles of them in the shop sipping mint tea with my sister.

The bird is from TK Maxx in Brighton. Do you remember our trip there? Tomasz carried him all the way home in his rucksack, and he cost £7.

Mirrors can really make a room. They add light, colour, a focus point… and positioned well they can add the illusion of space. This jade green mirror we got from the local market in La Cala, Spain. The gold one was a present from my Mum for my birthday from an Antique shop in Cheshire. 

People say material objects are meaningless, but for me the things I've collected reminds me of my travels, of people in my life, of days, events, places. These 1920’s urns for example take me back to Portobello Road Market a few months after moving to London. I remember being so proud of myself that day for “doing” London. Hauling these and my wood and mother of pearl cabinet back on the tube was no easy task!

These exquisite slate tiles we bought from a Polish Christmas market. Remember my post on Gdansk? They actually remind me more of Scandinavian art rather than Eastern Europe, but still, a lovely memory.

Our lamp has seen better days. Cracked varnish and given to me by Mum before she replaced it. I couldn't see it be thrown away though - a new shade and it was good to go. There’s something wonderfully snake-like about it, and again the fact that it was given to me makes it even more special. I love pieces which have been passed on - even our sofa was £60 from Gum Tree and those chairs are both in our home because they wouldn't fit in my sister’s! Always think twice before chucking things, you never know who might want them...


The bottom line is that a house has to be cosy. There’s just no point having a home you can’t live in. Stark and modern has never been my thing, but creating a welcoming atmosphere using a mixture of old and new, antique and hand me downs, gifts, the odd splurge and lots of colour and texture is the trick I think.

I’d love to see your things. Post me a link to your blog and we can swap decorating tips! Stay tuned for the next room...

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