Pale and interesting

The first thing I want to ask about the house I am featuring today is: Why is it not mine? No, seriously, why?

This Victorian terraced house is in Brixton, South West London, and it is used for photoshoots and filming. I love so much about this house: the colour palette, the interesting furniture, the period features and the simplicity of it all. If I lived here I would want to inject a bit more personality and, of course, there would be more ‘stuff’. However, what I think the owners have achieved is to show that neutral does not have to be boring, if you follow a few rules…

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

The house has stripped and painted floorboards throughout, which creates a fresh, clean feel. It also means the neutral blue palette used in this room stands out. By painting the chairs a different tone of blue adds a layer of interest and colour. The blue is also picked up in the antique Burleigh platters and the ticking stripe of the armchairs. None of these pieces are ‘matching’ so even though they are the same colour it does not look generic. This is an important rule in my book: don’t ‘match’ but combine pieces from different periods and eras with a similar colour palette. This way your colour scheme can remain neutral, yet it becomes interesting.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

By making the most of all the period features in this home they have retained a lot of character even though they have minimal furniture and belongings.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

They have used a different tone of blue/green in another reception room, which adds interest even though it is still very neutral. Another trick for adding character to such a simple interior is by personalising furniture and not buying generic pieces. For example, this sofa has different coloured seat cushions with a variety of scatter cushions, none matching but all sticking with a subtle colour scheme. They tie in with a customised lamp.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

These colourless antique apothecary bottles stand out in such a simple room and add character as they are unique pieces. A mass produced vase in this room would make no such statement.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This chair has been chosen carefully; if it were brand new and perfectly upholstered it would look bland against the neutral wall colour.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This piano and chair strike a contrast against the white, blues and greens. A few statements like this add a focus to a room, which is needed when using such a simple scheme otherwise there is nothing to provoke curiosity.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Painting the wood-work the same colour as the walls creates an unusual effect.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

In this room they have made the lovely bay window and fireplace the focus by keeping everything else neutral. However, the mat and baskets add contrast to the stark white so it does not become too dull. Although, if it were my house, I would definitely want some artwork up on those walls and more personal touches.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Accessories, like the mirror, lamp, jugs and tray, added to this room are all white but they are different shapes, sizes and textures so they add interest.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

A hint of the colours used in the other reception rooms.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This Ercol sofa is very simple and plain but by adding a blanket and mis-matched cushions it softens the stark white of the walls and floor.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

The kitchen builds on the colours used elsewhere in the house and the hard, clean lines are softened by using open-shelving and warm wood.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Although sparse, every piece of furniture and accessory they have chosen to use is from a different era so it does not look boring.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Here the fireplace, alcoves, window and dimensions of this period house can speak for themselves, rather than colour.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Again, they have chosen an old sofa and covered it themselves so it adds charm to this bright, white room.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Such a pretty fireplace and carefully chosen ornaments are the focal point here against the neutral colour scheme.


What do you think? White and boring or pale and interesting? I think the neutral, minimal style has allowed beautiful period features and lovely furniture speak for themselves. I’m totally jealous.


Photographs courtesy of Shoot Factory.



Craft room

I have been very busy recently trying to transform our guest room into a work space for both me and my boyfriend. The challenge is to fit a double bed and enough space for two people to work into a relatively small room. Oh, and the budget is only £150…eeek! We need:

– Desk space for two

– Space for a lap top and desk top computer

– Storage for craft materials

– Filing cabinet

– Space for sewing machine

– Double bed

– Drawers for clothes

Difficult? Just a little.


Home office

This is the desk that we had before. There was absolutely no storage and only really enough room for a computer, definitely no craft space, let alone room for two to work here at the same time. Photograph by Peachey Photography


I did a lot of planning and searched around for creative storage solutions. Have a look at my last post in which I show my inspiration and my tips for creating a functional, yet stylish, work space: Tidy desk, tidy mindWhat I have created is a much more practical, functional space and even though it may not look quite as nice as it did before I think considering how much we had to spend and how much we needed from this space it is as stylish as it can be. I have kept the whole room white with clean lines so it looks as large and as uncluttered as possible. See what you think…

Home office and craft room

I painted a chest of drawers we already had and changed the knobs (one is missing, I know!) so it could act as an extra ‘leg’ and it provides lots of storage for craft materials. I then bought a 2.5m long piece of MDF for £30 from a timber yard, which I painted and varnished. This sits across the drawers and two Ikea trestle legs that only cost £25. An off-cutting of the wood top is used for the shelf.

Home office and craft room

This is my end of the desk for my sewing machine, cutting mat and space to craft. A tutorial to show you how to make the cotton reel holder will follow. I have used the noticeboard as an inspiration board with my favourite pictures, magazine cuttings, fabric swatches, postcards.

Craft storage solutions

Jam jars screwed onto the shelf for easy access.

Craft storage solutions

Make sure you use at least two screws otherwise your pots will swivel!

Craft storage solutions

I put a broom handle, that I painted, between the shelf brackets and hung Ikea Fintorp pots on Grundtal S-hooks for tools and pens.

Craft storage solutions

I’ve used more S-hooks to hang tools so everything is to hand.

Washi tape

Washi tape and ribbon reels on the broom handle.

Craft storage solutions

A magnetic board that I made from a baking sheet…tutorial to follow!

Home office and craft room

Using a 2.5m table top gives us both space and flexibility.

Craft room

My chalkboard storage boxes (see tutorial) are used for craft materials and my favourite interiors books sit on the shelf. I’ve also hung my favourite Double Merrick print. I’ve also added a Loaf lamp that I already had.

Craft room

I’ve used old Kilner jars with labels printed from Graphics Fairy for my sewing supplies.

Modge podge jars

I’ve also covered jam jar lids with fabric for storage pots; much cheaper than buying new.

Craft room

I have recycled a mustard jar and more old Kilner jars for storage.

Wicker trunk

My fabric is in a wicker basket that I found in a skip (love a good skip-find!)

Home office and craft room

The finished room. There’s a filing cabinet tucked in the corner with all my magazines stored on top, that actually looks more like a bedside table (bought from eBay for £20). I hung hooks in this room for guests to hang their belongings when they come to stay. In total we spent about £120 on: desk, shelf, filing cabinet, storage and paint. Now, I just need to find two proper desk chairs although that will probably require quite a bit more than £30 (maybe more like £300!)


Jules has since realised that making a work space for two may not have been such a good idea; I like a good chat whilst I’m crafting or blogging and he has a lot of ‘real’ work to do! Ha! Too late now.



Tidy desk, tidy mind

I’ve been secretly beavering away on an interior decoration project, in an effort to transform our spare room. We have been trying to create a guest room combined with a home office (for Jules) combined with a craft room (for me): not an easy task.  I will be revealing all next week but in the mean time I thought it would be nice to share with you my inspiration for the room and my tips on how to create the perfect work space.

1. Plan carefully how you want to use the space.

You need to decide whether your work space is needed for just a computer or writing, drawing, crafting. This will then dictate how much space, storage and the type of desk you will need. Be careful to select a desk that is an appropriate shape and size according to the type of work you plan to do.  Make a clear list of everything you need to store and plan a space, drawer, pot for all of these things.

Home office Ercol desk

If you only work on the computer you can be a lot more flexible and opt for a much smaller desk. In this case they have re-purposed a small Ercol dining.

2. Keep your desk as clear as possible by using creative storage solutions.

Think carefully about how you can use the wall space in front of your desk for storage, as well as the space under your desk. Could you add a storage unit under your desk or put up shelves above the desk? Also, think carefully about what you will need to use on a regular basis and how you can make these things easily accessible, whilst remaining off your desk.

Craft room storage solutions

Hooks, jars and a paper dispenser are used to great effect here. Adding this wall unit, drawers under the desk and the filing cabinet to the left means this desk can remain clear and fully functional.

3. Don’t lose your style!

It can be difficult balancing style and function but there are so many ways you can inject your work space with your own style: antique desk or chair, vintage storage pots, stylish lamp, mid-century shelves. Look for pieces of furniture and storage with both form and function, otherwise your work space will not be a nice place to be.

Vintage work space

This beautiful, antique desk adds such style to this work space. The vintage boxes, pots and tins also add personality and character to what can otherwise be a very dull space.

4. Don’t scrimp on stationery.

It’s so nice to be surrounded by things you like the look of and this can only help stimulate creativity. Nice stationery will add to a space where form and function can exist together.

stylish stationery

5. Make an inspiration board.

I love being able to see images, post cards, photos, notes that inspire me. Why not make an inspiration board that be put in front of your desk? This can be added to when you are working on something particular to help inspire you. You can also pin up business cards, reminders or post-its to help keep you organsied.

Tidy desk

What about making this washing line instead of the traditional notice board?

6. Tidy your desk every week!

I genuinely believe that a tidy desk means a tidy mind. If you can’t find what you need to do your job or make your craft you are far less likely to do it at all! Choose a particular day each week to go over your desk and put things back into place, sort paper work, recycle paper you don’t need anymore. This will definitely help the creative process.

Danish desk

Tidy desk, tidy mind.

7. Develop a filing system.

There is a constant stream of paper work coming into most people’s work spaces. You need to have a clear system in place so you don’t get yourself into a mess and miss bills or a deadline. Generally, it’s a good idea to have three different paperwork stations: Paperwork that has not been looked at yet, paperwork you are currently  dealing with, storage for paperwork that has been dealt with. Try and develop your own system that will work best for you.

Filing solutions

Dividing up paperwork is a good idea so nothing gets lost or forgotten.

 8. Invest in a good lamp and a good chair.

Light and comfort are very important whilst working. You can not get by with a kitchen chair or with a dim ceiling light!

industrial style home office

Gorgeous Benjamin Hubert lamp (and look at the old mattress springs used as a noticeboard!)

9. Be creative with the space you have.

If you can not dedicate a whole room to your home office use a cupboard, a landing, a corner of your guest room. As long as you are organised and choose the right desk and chair it does not need to be an eyesore.

Small home office in a cupboard

An inbuilt cupboard in this living room is used as an occasional work-space. They have used a great chair and lamp so even when the cupboard is shut they become a design statement.  

 10. My favourite office accessories with both form and function:

stylish filing cabinet

Make your filing a bit more stylish with this cabinet from cb2.

stylish clipboards

Rose and Grey decorative clipboards – perfect for your filing system.

Mid century string shelving

Mid-century style string shelving.


I will reveal my new work space next week…hope you’ll join me!


Double Merrick

On a road trip round France last summer we caught up with a friend in La Croisille-sur-Briance, a tiny village nestled deep in the Limousin region. Merrick Angle is an illustrator and designer who is both halves of Double Merrick (the name was coined by his daughter, Flora, who, when asked what could be better than Merrick, replied “double Merrick!”). My next post will showcase some of his beautiful prints, canvases and homewares, but first I want to show you his stunning, ivy-covered, family home. Having arrived at the house during the hottest part of the day, – we stepped out of the glaring sun and into cool shade provided by the house’s two-foot-thick stone walls. A unique home opened up before us: filled with vintage finds, antique furniture and an organic feel that can only evolve in a real home. One of the things I love most about the design of the house is that it doesn’t follow any rules; Merrick and his wife Alice have combined furniture from different periods with colours and fabrics, photographs, knick knacks and a lobster on a piano. This is what he told me:

“In 2004 we bought a wreck. The house hadn’t been lived in for 30 plus years, had no hot water and one socket for the whole house. It was February! On top of this we had no money, so work was a slow business. This in someways has been a blessing, as it forced us to live with the house and really think about how we used it before we could do any major work.  Mainly, we have just decorated and done very little structural work (just rewired the house and put in a kitchen and a bathroom). Most of our furniture are things Alice has come across in her work as an estate agent or finds from brocantes and car boot sales.”

I asked Merrick, from a designer’s point of view, what advice he has about using colour, as this is something that I always struggle with:

“Push your boundaries. We all start off from a small space of what we consider ‘right’ and acceptable. And it is a small space! I started out wanting to paint every room in our house a bold, strong colour but through Alice’s (my wife) influence I have learnt a lot about nuance and tone. I think you have to be receptive to new ideas.”

Delight in these pictures of Merrick’s and Alice’s home and their unique style. I will introduce you to Merrick’s work in my next post…

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

The pretty and traditional style of the outside belies the unique interior style of this home.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Kitchens can too often feel clinical and characterless but here the simple addition of the photographs give another dimension to this space.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

I’m just not sure what to say about this stove other than give it to me! Love the French signage too.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

A 1950s cabinet adds another layer of interest to this kitchen. The mix of old, really old and new makes this room interesting and exciting.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

A gorgeous, traditional window seat is a reminder of the age of the building and shows off the incredibly thick walls.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Original wallpaper that they were able to save on one wall of the bedroom.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

I told you there was a lobster and piano.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

All of the period fireplaces are strong and simple and give structure to each room.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

I love bathrooms that are a feature and point of interest rather than being purely functional.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Amazing vintage barber’s chair in the bathroom.

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

Home of Double Merrick | French house | Apartment Apothecary

What I would do for a shutter or two in my life!

Jealous much?

Katy x

Photographs taken by Merrick Angle.

What to do with vintage finds

I prefer a mix of new, vintage and antique finds in my home. I think it’s hard to create a sense of self and personality in a home if everything is brand new as nothing represents your childhood and younger adult years. I think a home should reflect the people who live in it and this involves keeping or collecting what you’re interested in, what you love the look of, or what has a story behind it; Ikea comes flat-packed, memories not included.

The problem comes when you begin to run out of space.  Antiques are usually so precious and expensive we don’t have too many of them so they don’t prove a problem.  New objects are usually bought for practical purposes.  It’s the vintage objects (post-1960s) that can begin to clutter up our lives as they can be collected easily and are relatively inexpensive. However, vintage objects don’t always have a practical use so seem to ‘hang around’ more than anything else and people can get scared to use them because they are ‘old’.

I would like to show you some examples of how to use vintage finds in a practical way so that they don’t become clutter but turn into interesting conversation pieces, characterful storage and practical pieces of beauty that will add a unique feel to your home. Don’t rush out and buy something made for purpose; recycle and re-use what you have in a creative way and don’t be scared to use it instead of just staring at it!

Retro vintage G-Plan sideboard and Ercol chair

We needed a TV unit for our ENORMOUS (don’t get me started!) TV. Instead of buying a made for purpose AV unit, which are typically pretty disgusting, in my opinion, we turned this 1950’s G-Plan sideboard into the perfect, stylish TV cupboard (filled with horrible electrical boxes).

Vintage blue and white tiles

I absolutely love these blue and white tiles that my friend Agnes bought me in Buenos Aires. I use them as coasters or on the kitchen table for hot pans.

Blue and white vintage enamel

This blue and white enamel pie dish used to belong to my grandfather and he used it in the bathroom for his soap. I use it for make-up and every time I see it I think of my grandfather so what better reason to re-use this rather than buying a new make-up box.

Vintage crates

I salvaged these crates from an orchard whilst on a school trip. They sit on my balcony and keep the pots off the decking to decrease the chance of mould. I love the vintage feel they give to the balcony as well as serving an important purpose. Photograph by Peachey Photography.

Vintage glass jelly mould

A vintage jelly mould, given to me by my friend Farah, that I use for my cotton reels.

vintage ashtray

This vintage ashtray hangs on my mug hooks in the kitchen and holds garlic cloves.

Vintage Burleigh jug

Instead of buying a brand new utensil holder use a pretty vintage jug, which will add character to your kitchen.

Vintage shabby chic children's chair

Instead of buying a step-stool for high cupboards and shelves I have re-purposed a vintage children’s chair.

Moroccan tiles

I use these Moroccan tiles in a very practical way: I rest my hair straighteners on them.

Vintage metal basket

Instead of a boring loo roll holder I’ve used this vintage electrical wire basket to hold loo roll and books in the bathroom, which is more interesting to look at.

Vintage mustard jar

A mustard jar is re-purposed to make a brush pot.

Use vintage bottles to hold single stems.

Antique iron

I use this iron as a very effective doorstop or it would make a perfect bookend.

Vintage tea cup

I love vintage crockery but it can be easy to buy too much and it ends up sitting in a cupboard not being used. We use one of my favourite tea cups for keys on the hallway table so we can see it and it serves a purpose.

Vintage Burleigh pottery jug Asiatic Pheasants

Don’t just stare at your vintage jug, use it as a vase.

Vintage school trunk

I did a previous post about how I up-cycled my mum’s Old School Trunk, rather than buying a brand new coffee table. Photograph by Peachey Photography.


Have a look around your home and see if there is anything you have been hanging onto that could eventually serve a purpose and make your home more beautiful at the same time. x