The Story of My Home
OK this is a bigger one than normal for me, but I hope you enjoy reading it and looking at the pics. It all started 24 years ago when I moved into a 1930's detached house in the suburbs in Surrey with my two little girls and my then husband, well there has only been one, but anyway, and the house was structurally sound, more or less, but was SO hideous. So we did a few quick touch ups on a budget until we could afford to do rooms properly. Now obviously if you have lived in a house for 24 years, trends come and go and stuff happens, so it has had a few incarnations, some of which I have included in before pics.
So let's start - with me, an interiors writer, editor and stylist. I have worked on interiors mags, lifestyle mags and been freelance in that time. I've never earned a fortune and I have lived on my own with the girls, for 21 out of the last 24 years.
Hello! This is me, as I am now, proudly showing off the lampshade I made in the first lockdown. Wearing stripes (whenever possible), don't my hands look big? Then we start off with the hall.
It's been blue, Prussian and a lighter blue, Dufour from Zoffany, for about five years but during the first lockdown I painted the floor and stairs in Jack Black from Little Greene, with a bit of help from daughter no. 2, let me tell you the spindles are a chore. I was a bit unsure about it, but its a light space and I think its turned out really well. You will be pleased to know the white lines in the floor have now been filled in, so it doesn't look like a pair of pin striped trousers, although in a funny sort of way, I quite liked it. The black hall leads into the kitchen which is now monochrome. The black and white pot is from one of my fave shops Powpots
The hall looking the other way with a huge radiator cover which I put in about 20 years ago. This is the original front door, although for some strange reason it was on the back door and there was a fully glazed one here with those leaf designs on it, proper 70's. The door curtain went up about five years ago too, its a Mulberry fabric, now sadly discontinued. That plant looks nothing like that now.....in its lovely Salo pot from Made.com
Then into the living room where I replaced the windows about 10 years ago, I know you can't see them. The shelving, base for the tv, cupboard and log store was put in about 20 years ago, built by my father-in-law, lovely man. That mantelpiece used to stretch from one wall to the other and it was a treacly orange, you can see it in the following before shot. So we cut it in half and used a piece for the mantelpiece and made two uprights, but they used to burn through because the fireplace was so shallow. I put the wood-burning stove in from Chesney's about six years ago, which was probably the best thing I ever did, as this room was always cold, and had the carpet laid too, which is from Brintons, but they don't do this colour anymore. (I think I should have hoovered before I took this shot). The guy putting the stove in didn't realise the wall had been brought forward at the back, neither did I to be fair, and it wasn't until three years ago when I discovered the chimney couldn't be swept, that it was illegal, and it had to come out, the false wall chopped out and a flue installed, it cost me more than it did originally! The collection of cream vases started when I interviewed the late, great, Jane Packer who also used to collect them. I make it a point never to spend more than £15 on one, they really stand out against the dark brown wall which is Bitter Chocolate from Dulux.
This is what the room looked like when we moved in...I haven't got the nets or curtains any more.....and look at that silly fireplace...I took the dado rails down too.
This is the other side of the room. There was a radiator that fitted the bay window but I hated it, so I replaced it with this slim, wall-mounted one. I had the shutters installed about 2 years ago, from Hillarys - I love them! -another thing I am happy with. I had the vintage US flag for years and finally decided to get it framed, it cost me £5 in a junk shop and £400 to frame! Although I did discover it was from World War II as it only has 50 stars instead of 52, it came off a boat. The sofa belongs to the other half and the table is the Hooper from Made.com
Into the dining room which is the other end to the living room. The flooring is the original pine. The radiator matches the one at the other end. I bought the cabinets from Dwell about 15 years ago, now discontinued, then I bought the vintage Ercol table and chairs within the last five years, can't remember when exactly. The rug is new, from John Lewis, well about a year old, when I decided this end of the room needed more colour, I then added the orange accents and the artwork. My collection of soda syphons began years ago, I don't collect them anymore, nowhere to put them! I love those napkins, they came from my parent's house, another 60's throw back.
This is how the other side of the room used to look. The shelving and the dresser are still there, but the fire surround has gone. It wasn't original, I bought it from a farm sale up the road. Its a long story, but a previous boyfriend removed the surround and made the aperture smaller, then put a lovely little French antique stove in, but we split up and he took the stove with him! It was his I suppose.....I really need to paint that dresser, its on the list, it came from a friend's parent's garden and I've had it for about 20 years.
This is what I call orange corner. I have had the floor lamp for about 30 years, I think it was Habitat originally and I just buy different shades. The rattan chair came from a friends parent's house when he cleared it out, seems to be happening a lot in my age group recently, and that is one of my pow pots on the top, love them -and a small independent maker too. Support small businesses!
Then into the office, it was the girls playroom for a while, then it became a joint playroom and home office, and now its just my home office. A boyfriend (same one) put the shelving up and built the desk - lesson - girls, never go out with a man who isn't handy. I repainted the walls this colour a couple of years ago, its Pistachio Fizz from Crown then last year I had the floor laid - I love it. Its from Porcelain Superstore and the chair is from Cult Furniture.
This is how the office used to look. Look at that computer! Talk about vintage. But they were lucky girls to have a room for their own.
This is the other side of the office showing how it leads into the dining room. I put the day bed in and sometimes I sit and listen to podcasts or read a book, not often though. There are loads of box shelves next to the daybed, full of stuff and these shelves hold some of my props. The great thing is, if people come around, I just shove everything in here. And its lovely having a garden office, always something to look at - and its light.
Then into the kitchen which I did 18 months ago after living with a bodged kitchen for 20 odd years. Its incredible how long it took me to to get used to it. But I am happy with it now, although in a galley kitchen you are always in someone's way, why is it people always stand in the place you want to get to? Its a Howdens kitchen with my lovely tiles from Mandarin Stone. The blind is Blinds2go. It looked like this when it appeared in housebeautifulmagazine
And this is what it looked like before..I used to think that was tidy! The Belfast sink is now in the garden, and my bread board is the only thing that stayed. All the vintage stuff is in the famous loft.
The top landing with my film poster (copy) - real ones are so expensive....some plants, one of which is now dead and more pow pots (I'm a fan)
My lovely, lovely bedroom which had a complete overhaul 2 years ago after I had rented it out for years. Unfortunately it doesn't look like this anymore, as my daughter moved back home with all her clutter and moved the bed to the other wall, I will be putting it back at some stage. This is how it appeared in @housebeautifulmagazine. The wardrobes are Spaceslide, the bed is Button & Sprung, the bedlinen is from The Secret Linen Store, the yellow cushion is Also Home now discontinued, the ceiling light is Maisons du Monde, the armchair is Atkin & Thyme and the plant holder is from Oliver Bonas. This is how it looked when it appeared in https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/
The family bathroom at the front of the house with marble tiles from Topps Tiles, vanity unit from Roca and lovely fluffy towels from Made.com (gifted). It had a bath in it until 2 years ago, but I hated stepping into the bath to have a shower, never have a bath anyway and the damn thing always leaked into the hall. Much happier with a shower.
This is one of its looks from a while ago. Half panelled with yellow painted walls.
And this is the before! Look, it even says it on it! You can guess I have done a makeover on it. So this is what it looked like when we bought the house - lovely. That vanity unit was mahoosive, so that had to go and the lovely tiles and ginger panelling. See the dried flower arrangement? This is what they used to look like.
This is now the spare room. It used to be my eldest daughter's room but she moved out, so here it is. We painted it together when she came back from uni, blimey, 6 years ago and I gave it a quick makeover last summer, new French Connection rug, which every stylist ever known seems to have (slight exaggeration), a new table lamp, pictures, throw, and I made some cushions. See below for a previous look.
Just in case you weren't sure, it says After. This is my youngest daughter going through her Swedish period, and I think it might be Christmas. I liked it like this, I even did some stencilling. I've still got the bed somewhere and I made that quilt and the santa sack, which again are both up in the loft. We put that window in, it had a funny little slit window before so it was really dingy and dark, and a radiator in here leaked, and if we hadn't found it, this room would have ended up in the dining room. Fun times. The wardrobes were already there but had pine louvred doors on them, so we bought new doors from James Mayor Furniture.
Then into my room. Its quite small but its at the back of the house, so its quieter and it has an en-suite. To use another overused term, its my sanctuary. I went grey about five years ago, the room not me, that happened ages ago, based around this gorgeous wallpaper, Storm Clouds from Abigail Edwards. That chest came from India and is my pride and joy, it cost a lot to get it back here, not to mention driving to Tilbury and back to collect it. The chandelier is a vintage wooden number. The headboard came from The Dormy House.
This was about two looks ago. I went through a phase of loving that hospital green, I still like it. The blinds were an Osborne & Little fabric I think, and I had lamps coming out of the wall to save space. The wardrobes were sort of there, see below, but we filled in the gap and they now span the room, so lots of storage space. The doors came from James Mayor Furniture as before.
And this is the before - nice huh? Particularly the louvred wardrobes, what a dust trap, the overhead ones never stayed open and look at that funny headboard! When you think about how big headboards are now. So it all went, the bed moved to the opposite wall - so much nicer - so you can see the tree tops, and the louvred wardrobes became proper wardrobes, which made the room a bit smaller, but so much better for storage and a more balanced look.
My en-suite, with newly installed black fittings, such a little thing but makes such a difference. As you can see I have got marble tiles in here too, what do you mean no imagination? with a smaller vanity unit and my lovely mirror which is touch sensitive and great for doing my make up. These are also Topps Tiles, I'm not on commission I promise you.
This is how it looked before. I saw this shower wall idea in a Spanish magazine when mosaic and glass bricks were all the rage. It was fine, but works so much better now and weirdly looks bigger. I wish I could find the before, it was horrific, it was in deep yellow with patterned tiles, a, coloured loo and basin. The best way to describe the colour is vomit.
So I think we are at the end. If you got this far well done! you deserve that gin and tonic. So that is the story of my house over 24 years. Lots of memories, lots of mistakes and finally I am happy with it - well almost......