Saturday, 4 February 2012

How to make a 'space' a home

I am really interested in how spaces can become homes or more specifically homely. We have recently moved and started renovating a 'project' Victorian cottage. However, I have found it's the smallest things that seem to make the differences, for example our vintage duck egg blue and white striped curtains that I made last weekend. (I made them too short and have an interesting ruched arrangement at the top to disguise this!) I made them without linings so the light still shines through but our modesty is preserved. The window is resolutely chilly whatever the weather but somehow these flimsy curtains are so evocative, that it got me thinking, at 1 am one chilly visit to the bathroom.
What is it that makes any space a home?

Some of my fondest memories are from my time spent on my grandparents' farm. The seasons were so obvious when each summer holiday we made the long drive to the farm from London. The summers were hot and peppered by highlights such as tea in the harvest field, tennis in the garden and, having once navigated the netting, finally picking juicy raspberries as the sunlight danced through the canes. These were  special carefree times where we were allowed to wander from dawn until the dusky sunsets,  only deigning to show our grubby faces at meal times (always of spectacular fare)! We shared rooms with cousins and chatted until a grumpy adult told us, in no uncertain terms, to put a sock in it! Our sanctity from the regulations of grown ups was a beautiful wendy house on a island in the duck pond.

 It was a play house of such proportions that there were actually stairs and two floors. I dreaded growing each year, as each year threatened to send us through the ceiling like Alice. It was a stately wooden house, built with such love for us all. There was  a bunk upstairs and the previous generation had even slept there. A small kitchen with a table and chairs were downstairs and the view out from the small window was out over the pond shrouded by weeping willows. Every spring the island came alive with primroses and we picked them and placed them in fusty jam jars which were also useful to catching wasps, of which I have always had an inordinate fear! It was always my favourite place as the sun grew dim to sit on the stairs and watch the light on the eye watering patterns of the miniature curtains and the fading cheery wallpaper. This was a space that belonged to everybody but one we called home.

So now with a shed that is under attack with 'bay tree' coloured paint and already festooned with heart wreaths, I am thinking about making a 'shed' a home. It seems nostalgia has a lot to do with making somewhere homely. It doesn't have to cost a lot. Vintage fabrics, remnants or a dress that is too pretty to lose but too small to ever fit (post pregnancy sadly!) are all useful in making beautiful bunting. Cut triangles with pinking shears and sew onto lengths of ribbon or grosgrain. This will cheer your space. If you have the time then painting walls always adds a new dimension. Choose a soothing colour for reflective spaces or a bright aquamarine for creative and energetic spaces. Finally dig out that old jam jar, dust and all and place some wild flowers in it.

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