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I reckon I’m a bit challenged when it comes to interior decoration; I know what I like but I’m not really sure if this is stylish or fashionable. I just like it. Subscribing to some interiors blogs have helped (I love Apartment Therapy, Little Green Notebook and A Beach Cottage) but I still like to think I’m a bit of a loose cannon in IKEA and John Lewis. I love finding ‘treasures’ on eBay or in charity shops, mixing old with new and lots and lots of colour, apart from in the bedroom where I think it’s important to use toned-down, peaceful hues.
When we first moved to this house the lounge was a big blank canvas. It’s a huge room in the part of our house that used to be barns, flanked on both sides by windows and french doors with a faux-log burning stove as the centerpoint (it’s gas!). As the lounge is the hub of the house I wanted to create a room that would be fun for Elfie to play in during the day and peaceful for Will and I to relax in come evening time.
After Elfie arrived my tastes took a bit of a 360 and became most noticeable in the lounge. In our old house this used to be a very grown-up room with glass, grown-up books, pale colours and vases of flowers (it looked like this). But here I’ve used lots and lots of colour so our baby and toddler paraphernalia blends in and becomes part of the furniture. I am a bit of a nazi when it comes to not buying large toys that won’t fit in with our primary colour scheme (I know, I know) and anything that doesn’t pass this test lives in Elfie’s room. Also: wood over plastic toys anyday.
Our IKEA shelves used to be full of books (2 rows per shelf) but when we moved last time and I’d just received a Kindle for Christmas we decided to get rid of all our crappy paperbacks. So now we only have nice booksets and hardbacks, which makes us look pretty intellectual (Shakespeare, Blyton, Rowling… and TWILIGHT). The bottom two shelves are free for Elfie’s toys and the big bass thing that comes with Will’s Bose speakers. In my little ‘reading corner’ we have a John Lewis leather bucket chair (though I have a dream chair that I’ve been lusting after for a couple of years now, it will be mine), a gorgeous dark wood chest that was inherited from Will’s family, my lovely blue porcelain dog from SCP and a very weird framed gold map of the UK that was a charity shop special. I really love to be surrounded by so many colours and I’m sure it makes me a happier person, plus the multicoloured rug hides raisins brilliantly.
I think that when it comes to items in your home it’s the stories behind your favourite objects that bring that feeling of warmth to a room. I love my orange lamp that my parents gave us for a housewarming gift, the beautiful chest of drawers (another inheritance piece) that it sits on, the weird portrait I got off eBay and the photo of Will and I on holiday in New York. This is one of my favourite corners in the whole house.
Either side of our chimney breast we have more shelves that hold both grown-up and baby books: the one on the right belongs to Elfie and the one on the left is for the adults. I have every single copy of Vice Magazine that has my name on the the masthead along with a few coffee table books and Elfie has inherited all my best books from when I was little.
I am a self-confessed cushion fetishist and my current favourites are the ones featuring horses, flamingoes and dogs from Habitat. My dad bought me the electric guitar Union Jack one from The White Company as a joke for my birthday last year, but the joke’s on him because I LOVE IT. I’m planning on getting rid of some of our older cushions soon and have my eye on these skull designs, in pink, blue and gold. The sofa is a Farnborough from Laura Ashley and I adore the contrast between that and our more modern looking Karlstad.
Mixing it up again with the artwork, I have this Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names from Pop Chart Lab in the corner which not only brings some colour into the room but is also awesome. I wrote about it previously here. I think it’s important to have a bit of greenery in your home so I have this lovely dead Geranium plant on display (must replace); I kill all plants, it’s a wonder I remember to feed Elfie every day. The lamp is from Homebase and the Union Jack shield matches ones I have on display in the kitchen, and were part of some WWII memorabilia we inherited from Will’s grandpa. Out of shot is my beloved Will & Kate calendar that I never got round to opening as we were moving house so it’s in impeccable shrinkwrapped condition.
Elfie’s old rainbow chair is out ready for its new occupant and our huge wicker basket is brilliant for chucking in larger toys – I then cover it with this blanket that one of my mum’s best friends made for Elfie when she was born, it hides a wide manner of crap. We also have a smaller basket on top of a Habitat closing down bargain coffee table which again is brilliant for picking up toys quickly at the end of the day.
This is ‘before’, or what our lounge looked like on moving-in day in February:
I really hope Elfie enjoys being in this room as much as I think she does. I love curling up on the sofa with her at the end of the day with some books and milk (for her) and Location Location Location (for me). Hopefully number two will like spending time here too, I think he’ll blend in quite nicely in the rainbow bouncer.
Elsewhere in my house: