Meet textile designer Jan Constantine
Known for her colourful, hand-embroidered designs, Jan has been an independent textile designer for years (after a 12-year spell in fashion), but now she's just launched a range for Dunelm. She lives in Cheshire with her husband David and daughters Camille and Mary (when they’re home from uni).
Our house is still a work in progress, 25 years on! It's a Georgian farmhouse we bought at auction. When we got it, it was habitable, but freezing cold and everything needed doing. We had to move in straight away, though, because we had no choice.
We've done it up on a budget. We got fireplaces and old bathtubs from salvage yards. Our old dining table looked ridiculously small in the big kitchen here, so we bought four oak table legs from a yard and my dad, who's a joiner, made the rest. It looks like it's always been there.
The kitchen is my favourite room. Putting in an Aga brought the house to life. That, more than anything else, transformed it. It made it a home and everybody gravitates to it when they come. Anyone who visits always goes and stands by it. It’s like a magnet.
Whatever colour inspires me,
I just do it. All my rooms are quite brightly coloured! The walls in the bathroom are ombré blue, inspired by a Designers Guild wallpaper. One day I just had a go at doing it with paint. There’s something about the blue, it’s so intense, and the room is south-facing, so it feels like I’m on holiday. Tricia Guild is one of my favourite designers because of her beautiful use of colour. Gorgeous surroundings enhance your life. When the house is all tidy and lovely and has fresh flowers in it, that makes me really happy.
Our home is constantly
changing. It’s colourful, strong and eclectic. We’ve got very few new pieces. Most of the stuff is family hand-me-downs – nothing is grand at all, but it all works together. We do have a Mongolian cupboard in the kitchen, which I bought at Liberty. It’s painted black and red, and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.
I’ve loved shopping in Liberty since I was a student in London, when I used to buy Tana Lawn fabric remnants for my projects.
Sunday mornings are for
inspiration. I get all the style and homes magazines that have come in that week, and pore over them. Then I generally potter around the house looking at stuff, trying to tidy up and getting sidetracked by new changes I want to make.
I’ve got more confident as time’s gone by and I just do whatever
I like, and then worry about it after. It usually works out.
I’ve always wanted my stuff to
be available to everyone, but I’m such a small business and my pieces are hand-embroidered, so I just can’t do mass-production. Seeing the Dunelm designs for the first time was like Christmas. I’m really excited about the deep blue bedding with the white peacocks. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! That’s what I’m going to put on my new bed – it’s quite a pale room at the moment, so it will change the space completely.
RULE BRITANNIA Union Jack cushions, £69.50 each, Jan Constantine
TIME FOR BED Boxing Rabbits double duvet set, £35, Dunelm
ELEGANT TOUCH Oriental Peacock cushion cover, £15, Dunelm
FOLK TALES Love Birds cushion cover, £15, Dunelm
Love Birds double duvet set, £35, Dunelm
LATIN FLAVOUR Fiesta wall hanging, £225; cushions, from £48, all Jan Constantine
‘WHENEVER I’M IN LONDON, I HAVE TO VISIT LIBERTY,’ SAYS JAN. ‘IT’S MY FAVOURITE PLACE’
LET IT SHINE Sequin Glam Rock Love cushion, £86, Jan Constantine