The Home Of Great Ideas For More Than 100 Years
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1. What trend would you like to see the back of and why
I’ve had enough hygge (which I loved a couple of years ago) to last me a lifetime. Luckily the warmer months are fast approaching, so hopefully I won’t have to hear about it again for six months. There was a time when every single thing I read was all about hygge and I definitely reached peak saturation point.
2. What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought for your home?
It’s got to be the vintage school lab bench we picked up on eBay to use as an island in the kitchen. Originally we had a table in the centre of the room, but that layout never worked brilliantly, and the bench was the perfect size for the space. The base wasn’t great (a nasty, orangey wood), but I painted it, and I absolutely adore the distressed wooden worktop – it features in lots of my Instagram shots!
3. Where did you find the inspiration for your garden makeover?
I spotted the idea of using panelling in the garden of a location house I was shooting in. They’d used roofing batons, which I thought was a cheap and effective way to create a modern look. That gave me a starting point, and then Pinterest fuelled my obsession with black walls and fences. My husband Ben built banquette seating (a built-in diner-style bench) in the kitchen a few years ago, and we thought a similar thing would work well outside. The idea for the fire pit was Ben’s – we do a lot of camping and he loves cooking on a fire, so he wanted to be able to do that at home, and it also gives the space a focal point.
4. Ever had an epic DIY disaster?
Absolutely! In our first flat, Ben was busy nailing down plywood to the floorboards in our kitchen so we could lay a new floor. Just after he knocked in the last nail, I could hear the trickling of water. We had to look under the floorboards in the room just next door to see that he had driven the nail through the mains water pipe. It was a first floor flat, so we were panicking about flooding the flat below. I held onto the pipe with towels for what seemed like forever while Ben tried to find the stopcock, and then we had to rip the boards back up to fix the pipe.
5. Do you have any useful tips for getting your garden ready for summer?
I’ve just had a big clear out in my potting shed, so that I can actually use the space again. We are terrible at leaving furniture out over the winter, so it’s always in a bad state by the time we want to be back outside – it needs cleaning and maybe a lick of treatment or paint. There are so many great outdoor lighting solutions around, and this is a great way to give your garden an instant update for summer.
6. What’s your latest DIY/upcycling project?
It’s a biggie! We’re just in the process of buying a second-hand VW van to turn into a campervan! On a smaller scale at home, I’ve recently been sent some Sugru (mouldable glue – it’s amazing stuff) to try out, so I’m busy coming up with ideas for projects I could use that for.
7. What’s the one styling trick or tip you couldn’t live without?
Always display things in odd numbers - it gives a better sense of balance. I learnt that one on my first ever photo shoot 15 years ago, and it’s stayed with me ever since. I’m also a big fan of mixing older pieces with new to add interest and give a sense of history and contrast.
8. How does your home and garden reflect you and your family?
The main thing we’ve found since having the twins (they’re seven now) is that their needs are always changing, so how we use the space at home changes too. I’m also very adamant that our home is, first and foremost, a family home, not a show home. I want the kids to feel comfortable hanging out here, and not to constantly stress that things could get broken or damaged.
9. How would you give your garden/home a new lease of life without breaking the bank?
I have two tricks I use if I feel a space needs an update. The first is moving furniture around. I think a new arrangement of furniture always breathes new life into a room. In our home things move between rooms all the time – I love turning the place upside down and then putting it back together again. The second is paint – I’m a spontaneous painter! I’ll paint a wall, or a piece of furniture to give the space a whole new look, and this works inside and out.
10. What are the best ways to bring elements of the outdoors into our homes?
Just a few years ago I didn’t own a single houseplant. Now I have over 40 downstairs alone (I know this because my son counted them recently)! From small succulents, to hanging planters, to a fiddle leaf fig tree, I love filling our home with greenery and blurring the line between indoor and outdoor.
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