I figure if I'm going be blogging about my life, the story should start at home. Isn't that the way the saying goes? Or something. Well, in that case I should probably let you know that as I type this I’m looking at my 4ft high new houseplant, complete with an oversized sequin peacock sitting amongst its branches. So far, fairly ordinary - at least in my flat.
I like things to be different. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to be normal; until recently my bijou London flat was a home of many colours, before I decided to adopt a more ‘sophisticated’ styling and painted it all white. But I soon got bored, hence the houseplant and peacock. Check back in a week or so, and I can pretty much guarantee it will have several friends nesting in the leaves along with it.
Not sure how many of you will agree, but I’m just going to ask the question: when you see pictures that people share on social media, with the purpose of showing off their houses, don’t you think so many of them look exactly the same? At the moment there seems to be big love for a grey and blue colour scheme, or geometric patterns, with sofas that would look right at home in the Made catalogue. Every picture tells me that these homeowners are clued up on what interior magazines recommend for inside the home - but they tell me nothing about what’s inside them, what the homeowner’s all about.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely above the influence. It’s true I have a mid-century sideboard, something I recognise is pretty popular right now. My sofa also radiates retro vibes, and my bedroom floor is a rustic white - the floor du jour of many a fashion instagrammer. We can’t help but be inspired by other images we see (after all let’s face it, that’s the whole point of Pinterest), but part of the fun of decorating, to me, is taking that inspiration and making it your own. (Before we go any further, allow me to apologise for sounding as if I am quoting Louis from the X Factor.)
My sofa has those trendy wooden legs, but it’s a brighter pink than any I’ve seen in any other home, and the white of my wooden bedroom floor is contrasted with bright blue upcycled furniture - furniture that I spent hours painting, waxing and distressing myself. Admittedly, my retro sideboard is covered in fashion books and plants so, in this case, I’m basically an instragram-dream come true but, give me time, I have an idea in the making.
Succulents aside, my home feels like me, and this was happily confirmed to me the other night when a neighbour came over. Post a mini tour, he told me: “This is completely you. Not that I really know what is you, but this looks like such a good fit.” Before his visit, we’d only ever chatted in the front yard a handful of times, so I felt pretty chuffed that his ‘first impressions’ of me were so in sync with his assessment of my flat. If peacocks spread their feathers to attract attention and show a potential mate all they’ve got, then I guess my flat is my way to do that. I’m not thinking it’s going to attract the perfect lover, but I do hope it shows everyone what I have to offer; what I’m about, inside and out.
To me, putting your own stamp on a place is the whole point of owning. I lived for years in rental after rental, dreaming of the day I would be able to do exactly what I wanted - with no greedy landlord able to slap a £200 exit charge on me to ‘cover’ x3 tiny picture holes in the wall. When I first bought my flat I went a little crazy (hence the home of many colours) but, post my latest renovations, I think I’ve nailed it.
Today, my home feels like the pad of an arty, creative writer who’s yet to hit the megabucks bigtime. Interpretation: where Ewan McGregor’s Moulin Rouge character, Christian, would reside were the archetypal bohemian alive today (and if he were a girl). It’s quite fitting really, for I promise I wholeheartedly believe in beauty, truth, freedom and love.
I love my flat. I think it’s beautiful, and I feel free in it. It has something of a botanical-inspired theme throughout: golden birds and leaves painted on the walls, the aforementioned peacocks sitting pretty in houseplants, banana leaf wallpaper and the pages of classic erotica pasted on to the loo wall. Ok, the latter may not be in keeping with the nature theme, but the pictures you'll find in there (if you look closely) depict a very natural human act.
I love where I live. I love the furniture I upcycled with my own two hands, and a little help from Annie Sloan chalk paint. I love the shelves that caused my dad to utter a million 'F words throughout the course of putting up, the vintage mirrored drinks table I (unashamedly) pestered my brother to buy me, and the Latvian-sourced, industrial piping-cum-clothing rails I convinced my dad to put up in my bedroom, causing him to almost divorce his daughter. (Is that thing? If it is, please don't tell him.)
But most of all I love that it’s mine - and no one who’s seen it has ever questioned that fact for a second.