Our homes should be places where we can be expressive of who we are. Even if we can’t afford the furniture or paintings we would like, we can always make comfortable compromises by putting an attractive throw and bright cushions over a tatty sofa or, as I do, photocopy pictures of paintings (in high resolution) that I love and frame them.
As I have said before, I am deeply uncomfortable and perplexed when I go into a house where everything is white and there are no books or pictures, precious few ornaments or fol-de-rols and no clues as to the identity of the inhabitant.
The ability to make things oneself comes in so useful, particularly when money is short. Using up old materials to make new things is not only deeply satisfying; it makes your house more individual and exciting but also means fewer items going to the tip. For good examples of this, you need only visit Sue at the Quince Tree or The Vintage Knitter to see the lovely things they do.
As usual for a Sunday, I was wandering around the Market Harborough Antique Market and spotted an interesting looking box, half under the table of a stall that I frequent. It was a slightly unusual shape and it drew my eye, something about the shape nagging at the back of my mind. The vendor had put a few small logs in it and I thought “What a super, neat little box for kindling”. I’m currently using an old straw bag for kindling which does the trick but it looks untidy and just ‘not right’.
I asked what price she had on it and immediately beat her down a few quid. It turned out to be the lid off an old Singer sewing machine. How completely perfect.
I am the owner of four sewing machines; an 1890s treadle, a 1910 flower-enamelled Singer, a miniature 1950s Sew-ette and a fancy new modern jobby that goes shopping for its own bobbins and advises you on your colour schemes.
Everything in your home should tell a story – your story. So make it an adventure.