Here are the highlights from my recent photoshoot and interview with The Modern House in which I share the joy of imperfections, embracing a small garden and falling in love with my neighbourhood.
Our house serves as a backdrop to the photography for The Small Home but I never want it to feel like a show home; the girls play netball in the kitchen, my husband, Ben works from here and I have staff coming and going, so it’s in heavy use.
I’m drawn to the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi and embracing the natural imperfections that come with certain materials. That’s why we selected hard-wearing components that will patinate over time, like concrete for the kitchen floor and stainless steel worktops for preparing food. I don’t want anything to feel too precious.
My desire is for each room to feel warm and lived in, never too minimal and clean. I love scouring French markets for old paintings and slightly rusty old trinkets to add depth. I layer with sheepskin rugs and cushions, and decorate with house plants.
The outside space was small, so we embraced it by paving the ground and walling the perimeter. The kitchen extension was designed to have a strong connection to the garden. In summer it now feels like one big space, especially with the windows thrown open.
This house isn’t huge so creating distinct zones was important. The kitchen table is great for socialising – we gravitate towards the island when we’re hosting friends. The seating area next to the shelves is big enough for one person but it’s a real sun trap; I love having my morning coffee there. We had the loft converted with the intention of it serving as a workspace, hence why there are windows overlooking the landing.
My latest project has been redecorating the living room, which is north-facing and naturally dark. I wanted to make it as airy and as calm as possible, so we took the floor back to its natural pine then lime-washed and oiled it. It was laborious, but the results are incredible. It’s a technique they use in Scandinavian homes which works well in Victorian houses too.
My ambition for The Small Home was about running a creative business from home around my children and I feel we’ve achieved that. My desire is to grow, but remain authentic – I’m not interested in mass production. I love travelling and discovering beautiful things – I look forward to being able to source more unique products and work with small makers around the world.”
For me, modern living is about living sustainably and making ethical choices. It’s about mixing different influences in unusual ways, shifting one’s perspective and making considered and interesting choices.
It’s about creating calm space in a hectic world, both physically and mentally, and living in a more considered way – recycling, upcycling and attempting to live as waste-free as possible.