I don’t know if it comes as a result of being on maternity leave for what feels like forever and having beans to live on. Maybe it’s the subtle indoctrination of my psyche after years in retail merchandising. Or perhaps it’s simply a natural evolution of taste in line with modern living. Whatever the reason, it has recently become clear that Papa P and I have developed a particular interior style.
For one, we find ourselves repeatedly drawn to pieces with exposed shelving and displays. In the kitchen, dining room, bathroom, nursery, hallway… Yeah, there’s a theme. People seem to either love the idea, hate it or are genuinely terrified by it. Too much dusting! Too cluttered! But where will you hide your mess?!
My answer to that is simple and twofold – don’t hoard rubbish and a few carefully considered pieces of storage furniture throughout your home can conceal all your extra linens or bright coloured kids toys without compromising your aesthetic. But that’s another post. Exposed shelving, when arranged in a clean and streamlined manner, curates a boutique feel, re-creating that hygge homeliness of your favourite interior stores. Industry, anyone?!
It’s not about having your ‘Sunday best’ on show. I’m all about that everyday luxury. Drink from your lovely mugs, have those linen tea towels on hand, light the candles, use the good soap. If your love of beautiful things extends to dishes and utensils and pretty tins, then why would you tuck them away in cupboards and drawers to be forgotten or brought out for guests. Display them, use them, rearrange them. Shop your home. Celebrate your stuff. Faff.
The other side of this concept is literally shopping your home. Or at least pretending you are. Creating retail style spaces like this one we recently set up in our dining room, full of our favourite reads and coffee table books. As someone who has bounced from high mortgage repayments to renovations to double maternity leaves and onwards to extortionate daycare fees, you learn to drop a lot of luxuries very quickly. One of my bygone indulgences was a good stack of glossy monthly mags, evolving from Dazed and Wonderland during my uni days to Living Etc. and Homes & Gardens as my priorities shifted.
I loved that long lurk in the store, stood like a kid at Christmas in front of a wall of new issues, the smell from the freshly printed pages as you flipped through before purchasing and the hours spent digesting their contents. I won’t lie either; I am a big judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover gal and if it the design is great I’ll probably want it.
So to me spaces like this which double as both a gallery wall and a book store are a dream come true. I’m only ever a couple of steps away from a quick flick through. One of my favourite and more romantically-minded things about this particular set-up is the seamless blending of two people’s interests; two paths, two histories merging together issue by issue until we arrived here together in this moment.
As veteran magazine hoarders, this method of decorating has breathed new life into our bad habit. If anything our obsessive stashing of old publications has aligned with our style. Rather than gathering dust in forgotten piles around the house we can now proudly display them, admire them every time we pass through this room and, of course, replace each other’s choices on a regular basis. You didn’t think we agreed on everything, did you?!
One final aspect of this new design mentality, much-maligned by Papa P because it probably falls under the ‘faffing’ side of things, is my incessant rotating vignettes. This particular habit comes from the fact that we still don’t really own enough pieces to complete one room 100% so I am constantly pinching things from one room to fill another. Plants, pots, pictures, pillows. Nothing is sacred. I’ll shift it all if the notion takes me.
One of the best bonuses of running our fledging business from within the confines of our home is the constant cycle of products flowing through the making and testing process. An entire pool of homewares at my disposal – maybe I’ve set the whole thing up to essentially feed my own need to faff. Clever me.
Faffing has become an amazingly therapeutic way of satiating that need for new when the budget just doesn’t allow it. A repositioned piece of furniture, a work surface reconfigured or a new picture in an old frame can completely refresh an entire room and my mind along with it.
The only thing I adherently refuse to move around our home is plants. Only two out of about thirty have survived the last year, the majority of those didn’t see out the month. I’ll probably continue to shop the garden centre for these. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.
So to my fellow faffers, pillow pinchers and my budget decorators. Go team!