I recently opened the doors of my home for a private house tour. The house tour was for the members of the local Decorcafe Network Brighton. Knowing that the members are all interior designers, designer makers and home decor business owners makes for an exciting opportunity to meet like minded interiors enthusiasts.
In a similar way to getting ready for a party, I see taking time to prepare for the house tour as an opportunity to take an objective look around the house. Finishing little jobs I’ve been meaning to do and get everything in order ready for the discerning eye of visitors - who also happen to all be interiors experts! The day of the house tour was a sunny morning and soon I began to welcome our fellow members into my home to have a look around.
The History of my Home
Since moving here three years ago the history of the house and the period it was built in has had a huge influence on my design aesthetic. My home is very much a living canvas for my work. I decorate often, changing colours, fabrics and accessories to experiment with new ideas.
Firstly let me tell you about the history of the house. The cottage was built in 1926 and the first occupants were workers on the nearby Glynde Estate. My neighbour is 101 and remembers these houses being built. He’s a great source of information on everything to do with the house. Exploring the history of the house and finding out more about art deco, art nouveau and early 20th Century home design and decor inspires my choices to suit the original period of the cottage as well as my own personal style.
Inside the House
On entering the house one of the first things that you see is the central staircase. The staircase is always much admired when I post it on instagram. I customised the staircase with Pearl wallpaper on the risers with gold paint either side of each panel. It is probably the most recognised part of my home as well as being one of my favourite features of the design of the cottage.
The central location of the staircase means that flow of the downstairs is open and circular. This allows you to walk through the front door from one room to the next in a complete 360 degrees and back to the front door again.
The Dining Room
Entering the dining room the wall around the window is a wallpaper which connects with local history. This is because it was inspired by the interior design of nearby Charleston House. Charleston is the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury group of early 20th Century artists and writers. I’ve always found the decor style of the Bloomsbury group so inspiring as it is part of the local history of this area. The Charleston style paper perfectly suits being on the wall in a cottage of Bloomsbury group era.
The curtains framing the window are a Tanga velvet, one of the fabrics from my own collection with a gold fringe. The cabinet is from Rockett St George and stores lots of little treasures. These include family photographs as well as a small piece of artwork by one of my favourite artists, Lewes based Rachel Plummer.
Over the dining table there's also a larger artwork by the same artist. The table has a lamp and shade from my Tigrana fabric finished with a fringe of vintage beading which you can just see. It is also the same pattern as the fabric on the table.
Coming into the kitchen the worktops were one the highlights of the day. So many people asked about these as they are so unusual. The worktops are by Daniel Bland at Bland Design. I chose them as an alternative to brass which can be difficult to maintain in a kitchen. Alternatively these worktops are made by applying gold leaf to glossed MDF and then coated with layer upon layer of resin. This creates an aged metallic look worktop which is easy to care for. The storage and appliances hide behind the Raja curtains from my own fabric collection.
There's black paint on the walls of the kitchen. Although it may not seem so, it actually makes the small space seem larger. The continuity of the black across the walls and ceiling creates a sense of infinite space which is only broken by the mirror which reflects light from outside around the room.
The Living Room
The living room is small and filled with carefully chosen furniture. The challenge is to provide enough seating space without feeling crowded.
The alcoves either side of the fireplace. On one side the alcove provides shelving for books. The egyptian themed mirror is again by Bland Designs and features aged glass and metallic and black striped surround with a lovely patina on the metal elements. On the other there is a piano which also doubles up as a bar!
There are two sofas in the room. One a modern velvet sofa in a beautiful burnt orange which features a selection of my own cushion collection.
The other sofa is originally a Knoll style sofa however the arms were removed. This because the high sides take up too much space and interrupt the flow of the room. I've been researching the fabric on this sofa and I believe it to be an original GPJ Baker fabric. I was lucky enough to be able to buy more of the fabric when I bought the sofa so I made extra cushions for the 2 antique leather chairs as well.
Upstairs to the Bedrooms
There are 3 bedrooms in the cottage. As we've yet to finish decorating the bathroom it didn't feature in the house tour. On one side of the stairs are the two boys rooms. The two boy’s rooms are completely different. One likes colour pattern and vintage furniture whilst the other prefers a more modern and minimal look.
The smaller room has a strong red colour and a customised teal vintage tallboy for clothes storage. The lampshade is a fringed Palmprint Shade from my collection.
The larger room is black and white themed. Apart from the fireplace and hearth tiles which are integral to the room. The only element of vintage style decor to tie this to the rest of the house is a panel of antiqued glass tiles above the fireplace.
On the other side of the stairs are the bathroom and main bedroom. As we've yet to finish decorating the bathroom it didn't feature in the house tour. I love the Beth Fraser collage on the landing which won a place in the Royal Academy Summer exhibition last year.
Into the main bedroom. The wallpaper is my own Bibana design as well as the pattern, I love the subtle glow it gives off as it has a lovely golden sheen.
One the bed is a selection of my own fabrics and cushions. The crowning glory is an antique wooden pelmet with beautiful braided fringing. Hanging from the ceiling is a Moravian star lantern.
Perfectly placed to draw attention to the pelmet. To one the side of the bed is another Daniel Bland mirror. On the other side is an art deco style dressing table and mirror lit by two small beaded lamps. The curtains are gold leather which drew a lot of interest from my visitors.
And here is where the house tour ended. It was a pleasure to share my home with fellow designers. If you'd like to see a video tour of my home with more detail I made a quick video for my instagram stories highlights. As my home is ever evolving with my design style I look forward to welcoming you in again when I next make some new updates.