My secret closet

I have a secret. My hallway cupboard is what I imagine hell to be like: cluttered, disorganised and things fall on me every time I open it. My hallway cupboard is my nemesis.  It always reminds me of the ‘Friends’ episode that reveals Monica’s secret closet, which is crammed with rubbish. It is the complete opposite to the rest of her apartment, which is so organised, tidy and ordered (much like my flat – probably achieved because I have such a big cupboard filled with crap!).

I have decided that the hallway cupboard is on my list of summer projects. It has become even more crucial in the light of getting a new puppy, who requires lots of space, toys, food, blankets so we need as much organised storage space as possible.

I am very embarrassed to reveal this ‘before’ picture to you…

Tips to declutter


My task is to declutter the cupboard and then try to create storage solutions so the items we need to keep are accessible, organised and, therefore, useable. At the moment, for fear of everything falling on my head, I bearly use any of the stuff in here, except the hoover.

I will show you the results in a few weeks, as I finish work for the summer this week. In the meantime I want to share with you my tips for decluttering your home.

1) Focus on one small area at a time

If you try to set aside a whole weekend to declutter your entire home, firstly, you’ll have a really boring weekend and secondly, I bet you won’t get it done as you’ll lose momentum and motivation. If you try to do too much at once, often what happens is you make so much mess and dis-order you end up with stuff everywhere, which becomes overwhelming and dis-heartening. You then run out of time and your home is left in total chaos. Instead, try  to focus on one small area at a time as this is much more manageable and won’t leave you exhausted and annoyed e.g. your desk, a shelf in your wardrobe, dining table, the drawer of your bedside table, bathroom cabinet, one kitchen drawer.

2) Choose to declutter an area of your home you use every day

Start with the areas you use everyday, that annoy you everyday day e.g. the hallway table, your underwear drawer, the cutlery drawer. That way you will immediately notice the difference and feel more motivated to carry on elsewhere.

3) Tidy first

Never start a decluttering job in a messy room. If you begin with a tidy room you will find the job much easier as you will have clear floorspace and there will be no confusion over what is clutter and what is mess.

4) Don’t stop until you are finished

Try really hard not to get sidetracked by reminiscing about long forgotten treasures you may come across or whatever else. If you leave the job half-done, you are far less likelty to return to it and you will have succeeded in making your home even more disorganised!

5) Be organised

When decluttering use four different bags or boxes labelled: charity/giveaway/sell, rubbish, recycle, keep. The boxes/bags are a good idea as it keeps your decluttering organised as otherwise the piles can start to merge and the process becomes confusing.  Once you have filled your four bags/boxes, don’t leave them in the hallway – take them out to the bins, put them in your car, ready to be dropped at the charity shop etc. If there are things that you can’t bear to get rid of, but you know full well you don’t need them anymore, give them  away to a new home! Far too many of us buy everything new, whereas we would all save a lot of money and the environment if we shared our belongings.

6) Declutter by yourself

Controversial, I know, but I like to declutter by myself and take executive decisions on what we need/don’t need. The main reason for this is that if you do it with someone else you end up discussing every single item, which wastes a huge amount of time. I will often get rid of things, without conferring, and no one even notices that anything is missing….I hope Jules doesn’t read this!

7) Declutter first and then buy new storage solutions

It’s important to clear first before spending a fortune on new storage solutions. Figure out what you are going to keep and then you can work out what you need to buy to organise what is left.


Let’s hope my hallway cupboard will look something like this in the end…

Organised closet

Or this…

Organised linen cupboard

Or this…

Organised linen closet

I have already started decluttering my kitchen cupboards and used some easy storage solutions, which I will share with you at the end of this week.

Happy decluttering!

P.S. Please don’t judge me by my hallway cupboard…!


Abigail Borg

Abigail Borg is an illustrator and surface pattern designer with a love for hand drawn design. Her designs are all based on nature and beautiful botanicals:

My style is unique and takes unusual flowers and plants and uses them as a backdrop to provide colourful patterns. The beauty of illustrated botanicals cannot be denied and it is what sets my designs apart from the rest. My designs are hand drawn, intricate, highly detailed and above all an intimate portrait of the chosen plant or flower. From something so delicate comes a robust and useful home textile which is luxurious and beautiful.

Last Christmas, I asked my sister, Juliette, to buy me some Abigail Borg cushions for my stripy sofa after seeing them in Liberty.  Lots of people comment on them because they are a little piece of art in themselves. I was instantly attracted by the deep, rich colours and bold, beautiful designs. I would love to paper a room in one of Abigail’s gorgeous wallpapers, or upholster a chair with one of her fabrics. Have a look…

Abigail Borg Polka Polka cushion

The gorgeous colours and hydrangea design of my Polka Polka cushion.

Abigail Borg Fritti cushion | Apartment Apothecary

All of Abgail’s designs seem to work together. I love the combination of my striped sofa, Polka Polka cushion and Fritti cushion.

Mr Chrysanth floral Wallpaper Abigail Borg

Gorgeous Mr Chrysanth wallpaper.

Abigail Borg Polka Polka wallpaper

My favourite design – Polka Polka wallpaper. I really like the complementary woodwork.

Abigail Borg Orange Fox wallpaper

I love the colours of the  Orange Fox fabric.

Abigail Borg floral cushions

Choose from a selection of beautifully made cushions that are made from a linen mix.

Which is your favourite print? X

Letterpress drawers

On a weekend away on the Isle of Wight, we came across such a lovely antique shop/scrap yard hidden away down a country lane. We spent hours rifling through great finds and all at such good prices, which is more and more rare these days. I spotted a letterpress drawer (although I didn’t know it was that at the time) that was a bit mouldy and damp but that I could see would make a great display case for all my tiny knick-knacks. It cost £4, so I snapped it up. I took it home, treated it for woodworm and gave it a really good clean and added loops on the back, so it could be hung on the wall.

I love the fact that I can store all my teeny tiny trinkets in it, as these are the things that often get shoved to the back of a drawer, never to be seen again. It adds character and a story to my sitting room, as each object has a memory attached.

Vintage letter press drawers

I use my letter press drawer to display all my little knick knacks that I’ve collected since I was a child. Photograph by Peachey Photography.

Vintage letter press drawers and antique terrarium

I think the drawer adds real depth in place of a picture.

Antique vintage letter press drawers

Letterpress drawers date back to the Printing Press. Each drawer has small compartments where a letter block was stored.

Since finding my letter press drawer, I have seen lots of different ways that they can be used that I would like to share with you today…

Letter press drawers used as jewellery storage

Add hooks to make this great jewellery case.

Letter press drawers used as a desk tidy

A desk tidy.

Letter press drawers used to store children's toys

Decorate with wrapping paper and store children’s toys in it.

Letter press drawers used to make a table

Cover with glass to make a coffee table – with the added bonus all your trinkets won’t get dusty.

Letter press drawers used to hold cotton reels

Cotton reel holder.

Letter press drawers hung over bed

A simple, yet striking, display case.

If you want to buy your own letter press drawer search eBay for either: letterpress drawers, letterpress printers case, printers type case, printers drawers or printers tray. If you find one that is cheaper than the rest because it looks old and dirty, it really doesn’t take much to bring it back to life!



Modern Victorian home

I long for a period home. I was brought up in a Victorian house and this has influenced my love of Victorian architecture and period features: fireplaces, cornicing, ceiling roses, original floorboards, sash windows, tiled hallway, brass door knobs, free-standing bath, the list goes on. In my childhood home there was even an original spiral staircase that led from the first floor down to the garden – absolutely beautiful. In fact, it got to the point where my university friends secretly nick-named me Victorian Katy. Seriously.

If you are lucky enough to live in a home with original period features, for some it can be difficult to resist the urge to renovate to try to make everything look and feel ‘new’ again. However, this can remove a lot of the character of a house. I would like to show you a very sympathetic and careful renovation of a London Victorian house that has been brought back to life in such a way that none of the character has been lost, yet it has gained clean, simple lines and a fresh feel…

Victorian house with original period features and tiled hallway

Typically, Victorian houses have narrow, awkward hallways. By painting everything white and removing carpet from the stairs, the owners have made this hallway feel as spacious as possible.

Victorian house with original period features and period built-in dresser

They have retained the original built-in dresser, which usually gets ripped out in favour of a fitted kitchen. However, it adds such character and is the perfect place to show off vintage kitchen finds.

Victorian house with original period features and vintage kitchen

In the kitchen the floorboards have been painted white, which always gives a feeling of light and space. They have lost none of the charm of a typical free-standing kitchen by using fabric instead of cupboard doors. This makes you think it is not a fitted kitchen, when actually it is. The addition of the vintage trolley and weighing scales adds character.

Victorian house with original period features and conservatory

The addition of a conservatory gives much needed space but they have retained the original garden doors and used wood cladding on the on the wall to add character.

Victorian house with original period features and painted floorboards in hallway

Painted floorboards and white walls run throughout the house, which gives it a more modern feel.

Victorian house with orignal period features and vintage bedroom

In the bedroom all of the character is maintained but it has none of the dark, heavy colours associated with Victoriana. Removing heavy curtains from the windows adds to the fresh, clean lines.

Victorian house with orignal period features and vintage bathroom

I love this pretty bathroom. It is completely practical, clean and simple, yet clever touches add a vintage feel: the mirrors, lace panel, light shade and the wood cladding bath panel. The sink is also a clever addition; a modern sink has been installed on a vintage table with a fabric curtain. This adds style, yet remains practical.

Victorian home with original period features and vintage nursery

More painted floorboards, no heavy curtains and another clever sink unit make this a Victorian room with all the practicalities a child needs.

Victorian home with original period features and vintage nursery and hooks

All this home needs is a cosy sitting room. I love it: modern, clutter-free and all the clean lines you could want, combined with orignal period features and a load of Victorian charm. What’s your favourite architectural style? x


Mixing styles

It can be very difficult to decide on a ‘style’ for your home. Often this is because our taste is eclectic; a bit of Victorian, a bit of mid-century, a bit of kitsch. My favourite type of home is one that combines styles successfully and pulls off the elusive ‘eclecticism’ that many hanker after.

If pulling off the ‘eclectic’ look is something you have struggled with, I have come up with a few tips to help you. When you break it down, it really is simpler than you’d imagine. If you stick to these rules then you will be able to combine all of your most beloved possessions and pieces of furniture without your home looking or feeling confused…

Tip one: Use colour to tie different pieces together

An easy way to make any room feel harmonious is to use a colour scheme. When you are trying to combine styles, colour is an easy way to tie together different pieces from different eras without them jarring.

How to combine styles like this modern kitchen with fifties dining table

This fifties dining table and chairs do not look out of place in this modern kitchen as the black of the leather is picked up in the work surface and lamp.

Antique nursing chair covered in Chelsea Sanderson fabric

I have used a brand new Ikea cushion for this 1940’s chair that used to be my grandmother’s. The colours combine well so the cushion does not scream ‘new’ against the faded fabric of the chair. See the rest of my home in my previous post: At Home with the Peach.

Painted eclectic dining chairs

These dining chairs are all from different eras but they work together as they have been painted a similar colour.

Eclectic mid-century furniture combined using cushions

This modern sofa has been effectively combined with a mid-century coffee table and chair by using similarly coloured cushions.

Tip two: Use pairs of furniture

To stop your home feeling too much like a junk shop by having lots of different, random pieces of furniture, try to use pairs. This creates cohesion and an important sense of balance and will allow you to combine a pair of ultra-modern chairs with a pair of Art Deco chairs, for example.

Pair of Bentwood dining chairs

Using a pair of these Bentwood dining chairs with this ultra-modern table creates balance.

Lisa Stickley's home

In Lisa Levis’s (nee Stickley) home, she has used pairs of different styles of furniture to create a cohesive, yet eclectic, look. Photograph by Peachey Photography. See the rest of Lisa’a home in my previous post At Home with Lisa Levis.

Country kitchen

This pair of modern breakfast bar stools do not look out of place in this country kitchen.

Tip three: Evenly distribute different styles throughout the room

If you have a collection of Victorian furniture and a collection of mid century furniture, you need to distribute them evenly throughout the room. Don’t place all the furniture of one era next to each other as this will make your room feel unbalanced and divided. Don’t be afraid to have a contemporary table with antique chairs or a Scandinavian lamp on an Edwardian desk.

Eclectic French apartment

In this beautiful French apartment they have used sixties chairs and a fifties table set a long side a classical chandelier, objet d’arts and Victorian sideboard. However, they have combined all of these elements and placed them side by side, rather than ‘grouping’ them.

Eclectic living room

Eclecticism at its best with different pieces distributed throughout the room. Pieces can have many effective configurations like a triangle pattern or each piece against a different wall

Eclectic reception room

These different pieces are very evenly distributed across this double reception room to the point that there is no one era or style that is dominant.

Tip four: Pair up styles

When combining styles, you should have at least two pieces from each era as this will help tie your room together. If you have a sixties ceiling light and no other reference to the sixties throughout the room, this could look a bit odd and out of place. Try to incorporate a sixties coffee table or print to add cohesion.

Sixties lamps in traditional dining room

These sixties lamp shades tie in with the Eames chairs of the same era and colour.

Scandinavian home

In this modern Scandinavian home they have incorporated an antique sideboard. This has been balanced with the antique chair on the other side of the room so it doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the modern furniture.

What do you think? Are you a purist or do you like combining different styles? Would love to hear from you…