Last week we were welcomed into the gorgeous home of the lovely Susie Lawrence. Her home is a feat of subtle yet playful colour, varying from dusty rose pinks to dramatic charcoal green-greys. Set in the Chilterns, it has an almost Wes Anderson magical quality. We hope you feel inspired too!
This beautiful converted factory loft space is a singing, eclectic combination of many design references. The room is tied together by a calm but equally energising colour scheme, ranging from pale greys to warm wooden hues, mustard yellow and of course a cacophony of green plants! It has been beautifully curated. So how can you create this look in your own way? Read on for some advice on putting together a leafy bohemian paradise of your very own.
Emma Block’s much loved illustration is known for its wonderful gentle yet vibrant colour palettes and celebration of print and pattern. It’s not surprising that Emma’s new London home also reflects her eye for print and pattern. Set against a calming soft grey are joyful bursts of coral, dusty pink and sea green. There are also many references to Emma’s travels through South America, found in vivid woven rugs and other textile accessories. Enjoy this tour with Emma through her lovely home and find inspiration in all corners!
Sandra Baker – of the to-die-for interior inspiration Instagram account @the_idle_hands – shares this wonderful historical Yorkshire home with her husband and two daughters. Running with its Victorian origins, the interiors are a daring embrace of all things maximalist. From patterned floral wallpaper to stripy runners, tasselled lamps and green velvet sofas, Sandra’s home is a triumph of eclectic detail. On paper it sounds like a lot is going on, but Sandra’s skilled eye has woven these references together to create a wonderful harmony of print and pattern. We also love the use of a darker palette for the walls, which in turn make brighter colour references pop! Enjoy this conversation with Sandra around her home and the design choices behind it.
Hi Sandra, how long have you lived in your home?
We moved in in November 2012, so just over 6 years.
Can you describe it in 3 words?
Bold, patterned, whimsical.
What was the first thing you noticed about the space?
The scale of it. The rooms were all so much bigger than in our previous house (which is why we were moving). It felt really grown up, and I still can’t believe it’s mine!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when decorating?
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the sort of house where you can apply a quick coat of paint and transform it. Every room we’ve decorated has had to be stripped right back and new electrics and plumbing installed, then the walls made good and new flooring fitted. This makes it costly, which in turn means that it’s taken a long time to get to where we are now. And there’s still a lot to do!
What is the best design advice you’ve received?
Don’t dive straight in and decorate as soon as you move in. Live in the house for a while and see what works and what doesn’t. You have a much better chance of getting it right.
What aspect of your home do you love the most?
The space. We have room to come together as a family, but enough space to take a breather from one another!
Do you have a proud DIY moment?
I do! We had lived with the kitchen, as it was when we bought the house, for a couple of years, as we weren’t in a position to buy a new one. One day I decided I couldn’t live with the yellow walls and cream units a moment longer, and spent 3 solid days painting it from floor to ceiling. It may not be my dream kitchen, but it scrubbed up pretty well!
Favourite piece of furniture?
The wooden “monk’s bench” I inherited from my great auntie. I remember it well in her hallway when I was little, and now it sits in mine, still lined with newspaper from 1974 (and provides great shoe storage!).
What is a dream piece you’d like to acquire?
I wouldn’t say no to a Houtique “Wink” lamp.
Was there a leading inspiration for your home?
If I ever feel in need of inspiration, I always find it in Jo Berryman’s work. She’s wonderful.
How do you approach choosing furniture for a room?
Instinct! I’m not the greatest planner, I tend to fall in love with pieces, buy them and hope for the best. I can usually find a way to make it work (which isn’t to say I haven’t had to send back a few mistake items in my time!).
Biggest design error?
Being led by fear (it’s too bold, it’s too bright, what about when we come to sell?). I strongly believe that your heart should soar when you come through your own front door, whatever your style.
Easily the amount of House of Hackney “Artemis” wallpaper I used across three floors of hallway. I will love it forever, though.
You have friends visiting for the weekend! Where do you take them?
Saltaire, for a wander round Salts Mill, a huge converted mill housing a great independent bookshop, an antiques store, art store, interiors store, galleries (loads of David Hockney) and fabulous eateries. It’s my happy place. Saltaire village also has great independent shops to rummage in.
What do you love most about living in Yorkshire?
The proximity to beautiful countryside, whilst still being able to pop to decent shops! I didn’t grow up here, but I’m proud to call it home.
Whose home would you love to sneak peek into?
I’d love a sneaky peek into Pearl Lowe’s incredible home. I’d probably try and claim squatter’s rights!
And finally, what’s the next home project?
The biggest one to date! Removing a huge chimney breast wall up two floors to make an open plan kitchen/dining space, and to reconfigure the main bathroom space upstairs. It will make a huge difference to the way we live.
To see more of Sandra’s fantastic home, follow her on Instagram @the_idle_hands.
Meet Sandrine, the CEO of Vinterior! As the founder of the UK’s leading marketplace for vintage and antique furniture, it’s no wonder that her London home is also bursting with unique vintage finds. An eclectic mix of 20th century design – from Marcel Breuer’s sleek Wassily chair to the 70s Togo sofa – this home is filled with houseplants, artwork and a regal British Shorthair by the name of Misifu.
Who lives here? I live here with Romain, my husband, and my sassy cat, Misifu.
Describe your home in three words! It’s eclectic, messy, and welcoming!
What first caught your eye about your home? The large open plan kitchen.
Favourite piece of furniture? My yellow easy chair by Poul Volther.
Best vintage find? My vintage Ligne Roset togo set is the most comfortable sofa in the world.
What makes for a great weekend in London? A hike in the near countryside with a nice pub lunch.
Who would make it into your dream squad? Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. I’ve learned a lot from his Master of Scale podcast series and his Blitz Scaling book.
Room you love the most? My kitchen.
Top dinner party guests? Ray Dalio, Jeff Bezos and Reid Hoffman.
What would you all eat? Sea urchin sushi!
Your home was ablaze, what do you run back to save? My phone!
Proud DIY moment? I made a huge panel with food photos I took.
Best entrepreneur quote? ‘If you’re not embarrassed by your first product, you’ve launched too late.’ – Reid Hoffman
Top tip for female business founders? Have more confidence in your own judgement and abilities, trust your guts.
Click on the links below to find these vintage pieces (from top to bottom):
Amanda Jones is the human behind the popular Instagram account @small_sustainable_steps. Known for her honest and helpful posts across a wide host of topics, from living with MS to fighting a culture of excess and waste within her home, Amanda’s social following has gathered serious speed. In an age of microwave consumerism, and the subsequent throwaway culture which can arise from this, our curiosity was piqued by Amanda’s smart approach to curating her home and what finds a place in it. Her recent ‘Exit Strategy’ – by which we refer to the removal of anything deemed to be excess – resonated with many of Amanda’s followers. Enjoy this candid chat with her about all things interiors and creating a home which breathes.
How did you become interested in interiors?
I first became interested in interiors at the grand old age of 10. I was moving into my own bedroom for the first time, and my Mum gave me carte blanche on how I wanted my room decorating. It was the smallest bedroom in the house… I chose a dark brown wallpaper with small sprigs of peach flowers printed on it. Very 1970s. I could tell my Mum thought it would be too much, but I loved it. I went away for a week with my friend’s family, and when I got back my bedroom was done. I loved it, and I’ve been hooked on interior design ever since. The chest of drawers I had in my bedroom belonged to my grandparents. I still have it now in my living room. So I’m not only hooked on interiors, but also secondhand furniture.
How would you describe your home?
My home is an eclectic mix of vintage and new pieces. Everything I have in my home has some meaning to me, my family, or some practical use. It is colourful and calm. Whilst I might have a minimal mindset now, and my home is very pared down to what it was, I don’t think I’m what you might typically see as minimalist. There’s no monochrome or clean lines. It’s all about being comfortable, about not being too precious. When people visit, I want them to feel relaxed and welcome.
What concerns you about buying patterns today, particularly for home design?
I am particularly concerned about the growing trend of fast interiors. We are being encouraged to replace furniture or decor on a regular basis. If we’re not careful, the interior industry will go the same way as fast fashion. This throwaway mindset means we aren’t really giving any value items we are bringing into our home. Mass produced furniture and decor can be bought so cheaply now, and therefore easy to dispose of. This is a worrying trend, not only for the planet, but also for our pockets.
Can you tell us about your recent ‘Exit Strategy’?
My Exit Strategy is something I devised when I started to declutter. These are some tips to make the process of letting ‘stuff’ go as easy as possible:
- Decide where that item will go. It could be to a charity, a local group, a friend, or sell something. This actually makes letting go easier, especially as you know that someone else will benefit.
- Have a holding place, out of the way, where donated items can be stored. That way you’re not tripping over bags and boxes. Ideally get items out of your house as soon as possible because then you are less tempted to pull things out again. When decluttering it is important to get a sense of the space you’re creating, this gives you motivation to do more. It’s your reward, so to speak. If you have bags and boxes piled up, it’s difficult to see your progress.
- Set a date to remove these items, and do it.
- Now I’m living a low waste lifestyle, I’ve developed another point. Before I bring anything new into my house, I ask where that item will go when I no longer require it. Is it something someone else will want, is it recyclable? I try and avoid items that will only end in landfill. This has made me more mindful of my purchases, and really question if I genuinely need something.
What is the first thing you approach when renovating a room?
When I’m designing a room, I first think about how I will use the room, and just as importantly, how I want the room to feel. I might then choose an item of furniture, or a decorative piece, and pull the look together from there. I never rush a room, I like it to evolve over time. I’m a firm believer that a piece of furniture will find its way to you, even if you have to wait a while. I always have a mental list of things I’m on the hunt for, and keep my eyes peeled when I’m out and about.
What do you most value in sourcing second-hand/vintage furniture?
When I’m buying secondhand furniture, I really value the history of the piece. I love finding things that are unique, things that have been made to a high standard. I always look for something a little bit different, and when I do eventually find what I’m looking for, it’s a bit like you’ve hit the jackpot.
Which aspect of your home do you enjoy the most and why?
The aspect I love most about my home is the view over the garden. It was originally why we bought this house. We are in a slightly elevated position, with views over our neighbourhood. Even though we are in a town, it feels more like the countryside. We recently updated our old conservatory, adding a large gable end window and solid roof, which means we can appreciate the view all year round now. It’s a really lovely, calm space to sit.
Do you have any renovation projects in the pipeline?
Updating our conservatory was the first phase of renovations, and we still have more to do. I have MS, and we are looking to ‘future proof’ our home, should my needs change. We will be changing the layout of our downstairs, so we can add a bathroom, without extending. This will mean moving our kitchen into the dining room/conservatory space. We want to keep the look of the new space as simple as possible, to feel light and airy. We are going to have to make a relatively small space, work very hard.
What are your top three tips to those who are thinking about sustainable consumerism for home design?
- Think before you buy, is it something you really need? What will it bring to the quality of your life, is it something that you will have for many years, or is it just an impulse buy?
- Don’t bow to trends. Know what you love, and stick to that. I’ve had a similar look to my home for 30 years, I’m confident in the look and feel I want in my home.
- Buy secondhand if you can. It’s not always possible but the more we stop the demand for new, the healthier our planet will be.
Do you feel inspired by Amanda’s approach to sustainable home design? Let us know in the comment section! If you would like to find unique and built to last vintage furniture, enjoy browsing the Vinterior collection here.
Don’t forget to follow @small_sustainable_steps to hear more from Amanda about living a life with less waste and much more besides!
Celine is both a seasoned interior designer and the founder of interior design practice Indie&Co. A triumph of authentic yet understated interiors, Celine uses her design expertise to create homes which address the desire to lead a more balanced existence and encourage mindfulness within our spaces. She chatted to us about life as a designer and threw us some great tips for approaching any home renovation project.
Why did you become an interior designer?
I originally wanted to be a product designer but realised that whenever I wanted to design an object, I ended up designing the space around it.
Can you describe a typical project to us?
I mostly work on residential renovations from kitchen extensions to loft extensions to full refurbishment.
How would you describe your own home?
I am currently in the process of doing it up! We completed the loft extension and the renovation of the first floor this month and we are about to start the kitchen extension and ground floor renovation. I am designing my home around our needs and not around what the resale value would be which is freeing and makes it a functional space.
Home is everything to me, and this house is never empty. I have two small children, a dog, I work from home with my assistant when I am not onsite, I hold meetings in my house and my husband also has a home office which he uses at least one day a week. Usually on projects, we ended up with a fairly muted palette but this isn’t the case in my house. We used a lot of green from light to very moody, as well as some muted pinks and mustard yellows. The furniture is a mismatch of build-in joinery, vintage pieces and contemporary designers.
Where do you draw design inspiration from?
I find inspiration in the past, the colours, the layouts, the furniture and uses of it in a modern context. I also find restaurants and hotels a good place to find inspiration.
What three words sum up life as an interior designer?
Unpredictable, flexible, exciting.
What is the first thing you tend to notice when walking into a new room?
The feel of the room is the first thing which hits me, so without realising I am thinking about: how the room smells, the temperature, is it nice to the touch, how the light makes me feel, what are the materials? I guess following this, the layout would probably be next.
Is there a design trend you would love to see make a comeback?
It is all about context, one item could fit perfectly in a space and feel totally relevant but look outdated in an other. I wouldn’t worry about trends, they always make a come back anyway.
And one which history should forget?
Again this all depends on the context. I wouldn’t want to rule anything out but I guess that carpets in bathrooms would be one, avocado bathroom suits, the extensive use of plastic in interiors, PVC windows and the extensive use of down lights.
Top tip for somebody starting a new home project?
Hire a professional, it may seem expensive at the start – especially if you’ve never used an interior designer – but the investment is worth it. They will know how to avoid big costly mistakes and will allow you to actually deliver the dream home you originally wanted. They will have plenty of contacts which they can recommend and take a lot of the pressure off. A home renovation is a draining and at times very challenging process, so having someone there can make the whole difference. Also move out if you can afford it, the building stage always takes longer then originally anticipated and lastly put some money aside for the unexpected.
What’s a mistake which people often make when decorating?
They look at each item individually rather than think about the whole picture.
Whose home would you love to sneak peak into?
I love all the homes on the site The Modern House.
Is there a dream piece you would like to find for your own home?
I am always on the look out for something a bit different. I have my eye on a few art pieces at the moment, and I also would love to find nice floor lights and table lights.
What do you think will be big in 2019?
Wood kitchens, green kitchen, micro cement and micro concrete, sustainable and ethical products.
Is there a film for which you would love to design the set?
I am a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet so any of his movies; I also love period dramas mostly for their sets and costumes.
And finally, what’s the best way to spend a weekend in London?
A long walk in the park followed by a pub lunch.
Celine’s top three vintage items? Find them below and click through to view on the website.
For me this hits all the marks in terms of colour, texture and practicality, it is such a hard piece to find. Most of my clients are after a day/guest bed which looks beautiful.
This is such a great painting, its both playful and timeless.
A key piece in a kitchen or living space, this bookcase is elegant and understated.
Read more about Indie&Co here.
Blue Monday has dawned, the January day on which – supposedly – everyone wishes they could hit permanent snooze on the alarm clock and preferably not resurface until mid March. The Christmas lights have grown dim behind us and Spring still feels a bit too far away. But don’t despair! There are still a few perks to be found in this limbo season… read on and be encouraged.
10. Embrace cosy nights
These dark nights are a great chance to recharge for the year ahead. Shut the front door against the arctic breeze, leave the phone elsewhere for an hour or two and hunker on down with that stack of books you’ve been intending to read since 2008. Or even head for a cosy night out! London (and many places beside) is brimming with twinkly bars and pubs. Among the Vinterior favourites are Gordon’s Wine Bar in Embankment, The Water Poet in Spitalfields and Simmons in Angel.
9. Get hyggelig
We’re all fairly well educated in the concept of ‘hygge’ by now. If there’s any doubt, enlighten yourself here (pun not intended). One key way of getting ‘hyggelig’ is to transform your home into a den of cosiness. Deck the floors with a beautiful rug. Embrace all of the cushions. Throw a sheepskin rug onto your favourite armchair, snuggle in, and then layer another blanket on top of yourself. Stay put for several hours.
8. Big mugs of coffee
…Or the hot beverage of your choice. If you’re feeling a bit chilly, nothing says ‘simple pleasure’ like wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of something delicious. This is a great one for the time-pressed! Whether in the office or at home, take something nice with you to drink it from. You wouldn’t deplete the experience of drinking a cocktail by sipping it out of a plastic cup, the same goes for your morning/mid afternoon/mid-mid afternoon and late-in-the-day coffee. Use drink-ware which gives you joy!
7. Throw a candle-lit dinner party
Dinner parties don’t have to be fancy and take up lots of your time. Good friends on a dark Tuesday night just need a hot pasta bake and an escape from the cold. Turn off the overhead lighting and give these dinner parties an extra dose of cosy with some stylish candle light. It’s these small details which make the difference when outer natural charm (read: sunlight) is missing. Any Danish friends will be particularly appreciative.
6. Light it up
Dark nights equal twinkly lights! Ask any passing Scandinavian – the experts on living in the dark all winter long – and they’ll tell you that ambient lighting makes all the difference. Use this darker time of the year to fill your home with soft pools of light, a great excuse to go out and find that dreamy vintage lamp you’ve been Pinteresting. We’re used to staring at blue light on our screens all day, so a dose of warm golden light will have you feeling much better very soon!
5. Meet your dream sofa
This one should really go in hand with number 2. If you’re amassing throws like there’s no tomorrow (Spring?) to hide the off-putting sofa within, it might be time to treat your home to a new one. The grand plan is to spend a lot of time between now and mid-March drinking coffee, chatting with friends, learning to knit and catching up on that must-watch series with this sofa, so choose one which you both love to look at and sit on. Many vintage sofas come with the added bonus that they are built to last and have proven so by faithfully serving their occupants through every winter since 1957.
4. Become a bookworm
As mentioned above, when the days are cold and dark there’s nothing better than losing yourself in another world. In an age of digital saturation, many of us are reading less and less and depriving ourselves of this joy! Ask your flatmate/spouse/dog to deposit your phone somewhere you won’t find it for a few hours and lose yourself in something fabulous. Then keep your favourites in an equally fabulous bookcase.
3. Stock up on blankets
With all those throws lying around, you’ll need somewhere to store them. A vintage trunk or wooden chest does just the trick and also lends your home instant character. They also make for an excellent hiding solution when unexpected guests drop round and you’re halfway through that brilliant new novel you finally started reading. Rumour has it that Austen used one for this very purpose.
2. Shake a tail feather
Wintry nights allow time to brush up on your cocktail making skills. Shake a tail feather or two with a stylish drinks trolley to showcase your favourite drinks. Whether you go for fashionable brass or mid century teak, there are so many gorgeous trolleys to choose from and they make whipping up a batch of Old Fashioneds all the more fun. Whether you’re 25 or 55, your parents will be impressed.
1. Slow down!
Finally, just accept this season for what it is and carve out small moments to enjoy it. January and February are good months to rest following the busyness of Christmas and to recharge for the energetic Spring season ahead! Enjoy spending time in your home and make it a comfortable a place to be whether this looks like updating the furniture or simply enjoying some new mug-ware. Keep the faith, lighter and longer days are just around the corner!
Find all of these lovely things above in the Vinterior collection.
Title image credit: Living.co.uk
It’s not everyday you meet someone who willingly arises at 4:30am to hunt down vintage lamps! Passionate about unearthing iconic designs, Chris founded Objects of Interest 20c to live out his dream of working as a collector and dealer of vintage pieces. He talked to us about the rise of ‘Early Ikea’, sourcing Mad Men lamps in Barcelona and where you should spend the weekend in London!
Why did you become a vintage collector and dealer?
I always bought and sold stuff. When I was younger I bought a lot of old cameras and sold them on Brick Lane and over the Internet. I realised that I could still do it as an adult and so I got an Anglepoise lamp. As with cameras, it enticed me to learn more about these items and suddenly I have a huge number of lamps and it has gone way too far!
The reason I started doing it as a business was because I could be my own boss. I worked in a job for a long time, but it was merely a job and not something I enjoyed. I’d rather be happy doing something everyday which brings me satisfaction.
Who is your favourite designer?
I really enjoy Bauhaus. It’s not a designer as such and more a field of design but Bauhaus inspires me very much. It was not just about designing furniture or architecture but it was about designing a new way of life.
What would be your dream vintage find?
I actually don’t know if I could answer that! There’s a thousand things on the list. I think one of my favourite things about sourcing furniture is actually going out and hunting down items rather then just seeing them on the Internet. Part of it is being there in the moment and experiencing that find, realising what something is. It’s not about necessarily seeing something and wanting it because it’s in front of you on the screen. For me, I love the thrill of the find having really looked for it. If I stumble across something great, I’m extremely happy!
What is the favourite piece you’ve sourced?
It was a Fase Boomerang 64 lamp. I bought it in Barcelona in this tiny little shop. The guy took me upstairs and I saw it and thought, ‘Oh my’. These lamps were really on trend a few years ago because there was one on the desk from Mad Men. I was lucky enough to find one in a colour that I’d never seen before.
What parts of being a furniture dealer do you most enjoy?
For me sourcing is the best part, going out and finding stuff. On Tuesday I left my house at 4:30am! I hadn’t been out shopping for the whole of Christmas so I was really eager. Sourcing something, finding something, and knowing a customer will receive this piece that you have found and be really pleased and blessed with it is a great feeling.
What do you think is going to be popular in the future?
Early Ikea designs have already started trading hands for good money. Early Ikea is actually going to become quite sought after. Ten years ago we had so many Victorian pieces and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that came back because there’s a lot of quality. As we get further along in time pieces start to lack that quality of craftsmanship.
Which famous person’s home would you love to sneak peek into?
I would say the fashion designer Paul Smith. He is known to be an avid collector. I’ve seen pictures of his home with strange and peculiar objects which I find incredibly interesting.
Best way to spend weekend?
Columbia Road Flower Market. Primeur restaurant, go for the small plates. I’m a big fan and I’d eat there every day if I could afford to! For markets, go to Portobello for a day. It’s a really great atmosphere. It has made an interesting transition from the 50s – when it was quite a poor area – to becoming to one of the wealthiest parts of London but it still has a great atmosphere.
Browse all vintage lighting in the Objects of Interest 20c collection here.
Meet Sophie, one half of an East London couple passionate about collecting antique furniture. Founders of Stowaway London, we wanted to hear more about what they do, their own treasured pieces and what they’re loving in London.
How did you end up doing what you do?
Sam has been doing this since he left school at eighteen when he joined his Dad buying and selling antiques. Sam and I started Stowaway London about four years ago now, at the time I wanted to leave the fashion world and the antique lifestyle was very appealing.
I left fashion and started Stowaway London because I really wanted my own business and to be my own boss. Fashion had lost its fun and creativity for me and furniture – which I have always loved – was new and exciting. Fashion, furniture, design and art all encompass each other and when you have an eye, you have an eye for it all I think. It was great timing as I wanted a new career… Sam came along and said, ‘I sell antiques. Want to make a brand/business?’ and I just jumped.
Favourite piece you’ve ever sourced?
I loved finding a pair of Morris & Co Sussex chairs as they were hidden and tucked away. Also the timing was great as we had just been to his museum in Walthamstow the weekend before, so it all felt very meant to be. Sam’s piece is a 1960’s foosball table that came in just before the World Cup so the games at our house were made even more fun!
Describe your own home in three words.
Eclectic, characterful, cosy.
Do you have a piece which goes with you wherever you move?
Yeah Sam… and then a Victorian elm stool which belonged to his grandmother which he grew up sitting on.
What do you love about working with antique furniture?
Sam likes working with things that are old and have character. For me it is the same but with the addition that the quality of the furniture is so much better and it is environmentally friendly.
Any great tales behind the pieces you collect?
Last year we brought a beautiful desk and when cleaning it Sam found a folder that had slipped behind the drawers. It contained a note which said that the desk belonged to and had been designed by G. C Grindley, who was a well known psychologist. It was exciting to find that and then research the guy. The provenance made a great desk even more special.
If your home was ablaze, what would you run back to save?
Sam would most certainly have my arms full with the stool, plus many swords and knives (he collects antique weapons) and a few other antique trinket boxes he’s had for a long time. I would grab my jewellery box which has my treasured bits in including my great grandmother’s hat pin.
Dream dinner party guests?
Go to winter beverage?
Early mornings always require coffee.
Velvet sofa or leather sofa?
Which famous person’s home would you love to sneak peek into?
Aino and Alvar Aalto, they are a bit of a designer power couple.