I had a realisation recently one Saturday. I was driving to B&Q, listening to the latest Desert Island Discs, gleefully pondering what size skirting boards I wanted for the bedroom and whether I was going for Purbeck Stone or Elephant Grey paint colour on the walls and I realised: ‘Woah, I’m an adult now.’
The minute details of home renovation have recently become my life and I couldn’t be happier about it! After all, it reminds me that I am finally, after many years of saving, a homeowner in London.
You would have thought that I’d have been put off by my friends’ countless words of warning on how buying a house is ‘the most stressful thing you’ll ever do’ and the advent of Brexit didn’t help, but somehow we resurfaced from the pile of mortgage applications with a little house of our own in, arguably, the best city in the world.
There’s something about a house that’s really yours that makes you want to tell your story through it – don’t you think?
I love that you can pay someone a visit at their home and find out so much about them – where they’ve been and where they are going, or what inspires them.
Having always been a huge lover of interiors, it’s safe to say I was itching to get started on mood-boarding and planning, but as we have decided to completely renovate the inside of the property, being faced with a blank canvas was harder than I thought.
Hours of pouring over Elle Decor and Homes & Garden only lead to indecisiveness, making the process more stressful than buying the house in the first place!
Luckily, having lived next to the world’s largest antiques market for years, I headed back down to old haunts in Portobello and Golborne Road to get inspired. Strolling into different stores filled with antiques and imported pieces from all over Europe reminded me that I didn’t need to get everything there and then and that actually having the luxury of time is what makes a home a home – building up pieces gradually is what it’s all about.
Strolling into different stores on Portobello and Golborne Road reminded me that building up pieces gradually is what it’s all about
I love that I can look at a piece of furniture I’ve picked up from an antiques store and it will remind me of a specific day, something that happened around that time or remind me of a place in the world that I love (a French chandelier I picked up from Jensen and Ballantine on Ladbroke Road reminds me of my favourite hotel in Saint Remy).
Some of the other shops that constantly provide inspiration are also The Cloth Shop on Portobello for the best linens around, or Phoenix on Golborne for more statement pieces. After a stop off in both Arbon Interiors and Susan Osbourne, there’s just enough time to stock up on a bag of custard tarts from Lisboa Patisserie and make my merry way home; filled with ideas on what will go where and, for the pieces I can’t afford, it’s great to think how some salvage yard buys could be upcycled to look similar.
It’s hard to know what really makes a house a home, but I’m looking forward to collecting pieces over time that can turn the house into that little personal sanctuary we all crave.
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