Our home was recently profiled in Image magazine and it was interesting to see it through ‘a lens’. It really looked like somewhere I would like to hang out! which made me happy. They asked a few questions, starting with: what’s your interiors style? Layered and comfortable, I like my interiors to feel inviting, a little playful even, with a couple of ‘high heels’ moments for the adults.
This translated into a title I could live with:
Although Instagram’s square-format (above) chopped out the chandelier, which – I have to re-instate, it’s so great with the carpet. Note: This has not dimmed my insta-obsession.
You possibly know the sitting room from Christmas carry-on…
but I loved their detail shot of my heirloom Egyptian beauty, … she sat on my grandparents’ Irish side table greeting us on arrival throughout my childhood.
Downstairs in family areas, where the high heels are firmly off, it’s cheerful and vibrant:
The thing about being an obsessed designer is I over focus on what I can’t change in a rental house (ACRES of cream wall), rather than the happy home created, so their next questions resonated:
You’ve done amazing work with a rental! What about this house stood out, and how did you go about making it your own?
I knew we would love this house, the proportions are beautiful and it hadn’t been ‘done over’, allowing the architecture breath. We have moved a lot so I have ‘set pieces’ that make it feel like ours, and then I layer on colour and accessories in themes that unite the space.
How do you mix interesting design with having a child-friendly space?
Well it is their home right? I keep one room ‘invite only’ the rest is open house. I collect things which they know remind me of them, one is ‘the owl’ hence their presence around the place and I display plenty of their artwork. As for our cats and dog…
Well the dog is usually beside my desk, to stop her climbing on the sofa in my absence:
I wasn’t going to share all this en-blog, until an article hit my inbox from Abigail Ahern, whose blog I recently subscribed too: How to Make Your Home Feel Happier, reading it I felt that ‘SNAP’ sensation:
1. Add a splash of yellow, the most underused colour in the decorating book. This cheerful hue will lift your spirits instantly. YELLOW is my ‘go to’ accent whenever the option is there, I love it. The kitchen side table and starburst mirror above just got resprayed in Farrow and Ball’s vibrant ‘yellow cake’. When I look at my pinterest ‘colour palettes‘ it shines out:
The masterful Veere Grenney used it as the accent throughout this chic London interior.
Chinoisere Chic blogspot shows how just one ‘happy’ yellow book lifts a space. Shall I go on…
Abigails daubs in ‘yellow’ with the door, dress and painting above while fashionistas Kate Spade and Jenna Lyons create strong upholstered statements below. What is your happy colour? Nicholas Haslam feels no room is complete without a dash of red, I know quite a few fans of turquoise – the point is some colours make you smile.
2. Add Flowers … nature makes us feel good.
Although I am a while off the ‘flowers from the garden’ je ne said quoi of Catherine Deneuve. They cheer up breakfast and beyond every day:
For me the more rustic the better, hedgerow meets herbaceous border, Scarlet and Violet are London florists who (alongside Abigail) have mastered this:
Aren’t they gorgeous, don’t they make you smile… as for the SWAN, swoon.
3. Re-arrange, ‘play with your things’… I might add ‘and edit’… then enjoy the new look/corner/vignette.
So pleased with my new oval ‘leafed’ mirror, which I had been searching for…ooh and look my owls have migrated and regrouped:
4. Only buy what you love. It’s so true, seek out and buy what you love – it will always have a space. I would add: keep items from loved ones and family, my Egyptian ladies hold memories as well as candles.
4. Add curves. Almost all houses/rooms are square boxes, curve them up. Add a round mirror, side table, vase… break up those straight lines. Make like Kit Kemp and Abigail have a constellation:
5. Add some whimsy, Abigail loves decorating with animals, they lighten the mood.
Take your pick.. give them space. So thanks Abiagail for setting out the ‘Happy Rules’.
Abigail via The Selby at home/her desk.
The reason I like the ‘Happy Rules’ is that they are timeless, these rules are about an emotional response rather than an ‘on trend’ list, you could follow them in 1930 or 2020, they will give you a happy home, furnished with love.
all photos of ‘home’ from Image magazine.
other images from Abigail Ahern, Scarlet and Violet, Pinterest and WOI.