Tag Archives: Interior Decor

My walls, my rules (+ art print GIVEAWAY!)

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You will never find me on a home improvement blog. I have no colour sense, and no idea how to ‘style’ corners (whatever that means). But you will have to prise my wall art out of my cold, dead fingers.

Everything on our walls is meaningful to us, and it makes even our sad old magnolia paint – of which there is rather a lot – feel cosier. Our living room doesn’t ever get much light thanks to the row of oak trees just outside, so we’ve filled the room with soft greys, old wooden furniture, far too many blankets, and a jewel-coloured Van Gogh. When I saw that Van Gogh in the flesh, in a museum in Paris, on one of the best trips we’ve ever taken together, I cried. I think about that every time I see it.

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Then there’s the couple of old maps reminding us of places we’ve been and would like to go; a fantastic Sherlock portrait that induces a pleasant Benedict Cumberbatch meditation every time I sneak over to turn up the thermostat; a David Hockney I carried back from the Tate Modern for our downstairs loo (The Splash: something that often, regrettably, happens in there); the mother-and-baby painting that used to sit in our dining room when I was a child and reminds me now of all the mothers who’ve made me; and of course the ‘Courage, dear heart’ print hanging over our bed. I need to read that one about twelve times a day.

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None of it’s particularly styled. But it all means something, and I love that. It makes me feel at home.

SO. Imagine how delighted I was when my sister-in-law Bryony Dick got in touch to say she’d hand-lettered a quote from this very blog. Something…I wrote…up there…on a wall…*hyperventilating*. You can find Bryony’s Etsy shop here – including a limited run of this hand-lettered print – but I have one RIGHT HERE to give away to one of you lovely lot! All you have to do is enter below, using your Facebook account or your email. I hope it might make you feel like all of your days have the potential for something marvellous.

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(Bryony also has a Zazzle shop, in which my absolute favourite has to be the Wives of Henry VIII badges. What a PERFECT OPENING to explain to a hapless stranger why Anne of Cleves is my all-time fave.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Room for two

I am sat in the boys’ room on a sheepskin rug in front of a radiator, thinking how much I like this nursery being a nursery.

That’s not to say I don’t miss Sarah being in here like a lopped-off arm: I do. But this room is small enough that even a moderately enthusiastic forward roll would go awry (and has). Adult furniture didn’t suit it. Baby beds do.

We have been playing in here for an hour – Teddy screeching dire threats to his rattles in the cot, Henry fiddling with trains. I went out to get something and found him in my spot when I came back, tucked under my blanket by the radiator.

The prospect of having a whole new room to hang out in – and a radiator to sit by – is making me giddy. It is green-and-white and restful, and it’s just increased our play space by 100%.





While we’re on the subject of house tweaks, I did not know it was possible to be this happy about looking at curtains, and then my birthday Van Gogh arrived to sit next to them, and the whole thing just tipped into indecent giddiness. That print is the first thing I see coming up the stairs, and suddenly I’m in Paris, in the Musee D’Orsay, standing so close to the painting I can’t see anything but the colours and feeling very much like I want to cry. That is an intensely good feeling to have every time I come home from Tesco. Van Gogh can add that to his list of illustrious achievements.

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Discovered: The Modern Baby

I don’t usually do posts like this – interior decor being the evil shimmery Kryptonite of my nightmares, if you want to get metaphorical about it – but I’m a little bit obsessed. And it’s good to share your obsessions, I hear. It dilutes them or something.

Here’s what I discovered yesterday, thanks to some marvellous people on Twitter: themodernbaby.co.uk. Not only is it UK-based, for once, but it’s all so b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l I could cry. You can click on the link below and find the details for the individual pieces, if so inclined. (Now I’ve said ‘pieces’ when I mean ‘cushions and stuff’, I must immediately go put my head in a bucket of water. I hate that. It’s only acceptable if you’re a curator in a museum. If not, check whether you’re wearing leather leggings and three pairs of sunglasses indoors. You can admit it, it’s ok.)

Elephants and bears and slightly sad pear prints, oh my. Don’t you just want it ALL?

The Modern Baby

Of course I technically don’t have a nursery at the moment – and stuffing poor Sarah’s room with yet more baby stuff wouldn’t be very nice for her – but I do wonder how she feels about sad pears.

Believe it or not, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just love it so much it makes my heart hurt. 

Quiet living in a little space

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Did I tell you about our flat? I love our flat. It’s true that cream carpets get OLD with a baby and a muddy cyclist leaving their mark on the floor. But I ran home to a new husband here, and brought my baby back to this room. This house has seen the best of me, as well as everything else.

So I’m not trying to make it feel bad for being small. Even though it was definitely made for two people, and it’s about to house five. Chin up, little house, we love you anyway. And we’ve just worked MEGA hard to make the very most of this space for as long as we can.

The idea of my doing a home decoration post is the sort of thing that makes me belly laugh – hello, I have enough belly to go around everyone at the moment – so I feel like a bit of a dork, writing this. On the other hand, I’m sure we’re not the only ones trying to fit more into less without choking on the claustrophobia. Here’s what I’ve found helpful over the past couple of weeks. If you’ve hit on anything that worked in your little space, give me some pointers!

big fish, little fish, basket, box

I live with a wires man. Timothy trails wires like a weird AI version of Edward Scissorhands. He’s the chap to ask if you need an audio cable, a tiny screwdriver, seven kinds of battery or a phone that went out of circulation five years ago. Most of this seemed to be living on the bookcases.

(Kidding, husband! I am just affronted when things go on the bookcases that aren’t my books. That space is at a PREMIUM, DO NOT TOUCH IT.)

Timothy threw away everything he didn’t need, then we ravaged the basket section of IKEA. He now has baskets that are categorised with titles such as Audio and Video, Flash Drives and Storage, Misc and Useful Misc. He decided not to use a whole basket just for different types of glue, in the end, but it was a close thing. We ended up with an entirely clear cupboard – that we’ll desperately need for other things – and a serenely uncluttered bookcase, with a row of baskets on top that look rather nice. Now I can stroke Wolf Hall in peace, thank you very much.

Also, thanks to Tim’s parents, we just inherited this beeeeeaaaaautiful family chest belonging to a Jeffcoat of Yore. It now sits in our living room where the coffee table used to go, and you wouldn’t believe how much we’ve put inside it. I’m so excited about having a piece of family history in our house that’s a century old at least that I keep wanting to embrace it. Furniture that’s actually a giant box: now there’s something I can get behind. 

clear, and clear, and clear

This one was hard. We let go of knick-knacks, clothes we never wore, shoes that were too battered to be seen in public, and lots of old bits-and-bobs we’d been hanging on to for no reason. I like the philosophy of minimalism-with-prettiness: clear out as much as you can, then add little touches you really love. On top of the little bookcase in the corner – just to the left of the old Tube map I adore – I keep an old, glazed jug, a painting by Tim’s brother, and a Piet-Mondrian-patterned tissue box. They make me happy whenever I look at them.

ups and downs

Without much obvious floor space, we had to think creatively about what would go where. So we stacked, high and low. We lined cupboard walls with shelves and free corners with tall shelving units, and used yet more baskets to keep little things out of sight. Henry’s toys now live in two large boxes under his bed, which means we have a place to put toys away, instead of just having them out all the time.

We did the same when it came to beds: we were lucky enough to be given a brilliant high-rise contraption (again, a family hand-me-down), and bought a child’s bed to slot underneath it, to replace Henry’s cot. I cannot tell you how much I panicked about this. Henry, free to roam the house at night, ingesting interesting pills and climbing into dangerous places. Imagine the possibilities.

We’ve only had to chase him back inside three times a night, so far. Ahem. No, he’s doing really well. Making up a proper bed with a car-printed duvet for this tiny boy just about broke my heart, but he was so excited. After his naps I fling open the blinds, he stands up to survey the scene out of his window, and lets out a great, satisfied ‘ahhhhhh’.

King of the world. It was worth it just for that.

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PS: thanks to generous parents, we’ve been able to reuse a lot of family furniture, which has saved us a heck of a lot of money. Otherwise, though, we’d be all over Ebay like a rash. Go second-hand or go home.

PPS: Sadly, Henricus discovered yesterday that he could climb onto the high-rise, which happens to have a VERY bouncy mattress. For our next project, we’ll be covering everything in bubble wrap. 

Superboy and the new bed from Rachel Jeffcoat on Vimeo.

The little corner that could


We bought a chair so that we could sit and think.

It’s a lovely chair. It fits in the space our TV used to occupy, before we realised that we never switched it on once we had the projector, and in any case everyone’s face was going green around the edges. For a while we stacked coffee tables and junk in that corner instead, but I wanted to use it properly. Because every house needs a sit-and-think space, even (especially) one as crowded as ours.

I don’t think a person can function without somewhere to be still, a little corner with pretty, restful things in it. ‘Be still and know’, it says more than once in the scriptures. I find that coupling interesting. Souls are not things to be hammered with blunt objects, and busyness, noise and iPhone notifications are as blunt as they come. When we want our certainties to come back to us, we need quiet. We need open space. And we need, every once in a while, to sit and want nothing at all from ourselves but sitting.

Our corner could use some art on the wall (this this this) and maybe a snazzy cushion, if I get round to it (tiiiiny bit in love with these). But I’ve worked all week from this chair, watching flowers open and sun fall on my legs. I like sitting next to a bookcase with apples and pottery and a pair of tiny shoes. It feels like somewhere I could flower myself.

‘For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant – and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences of either side. A candle flowers in the space of night.’

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, quoted here.

Good work, chair.


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