Hay­ley South­wood’s chic home acts as a can­vas for her Scandi-style finds

Mollie Makes - - Living - Words: LARA WAT­SON Pho­tog­ra­phy: RACHAEL SMITH

De­scrib­ing her­self with a smile as an ‘ac­ci­den­tal en­trepreneur’, Hay­ley South­wood, founder of Scan­di­na­vian-in­flu­enced South­wood Stores and the South­wood So­cial Hub, is a busy woman. As such, she treats her house as her sanc­tu­ary – a calm space she feels pro­tec­tive to­wards.

“This is the first time I’ve in­vited a mag­a­zine in!” she ad­mits, a lit­tle ner­vously. And it’s a priv­i­lege to visit. It comes as no sur­prise that the same im­pec­ca­ble cu­ra­tion of her Swan­bourne-

based show­room is ev­i­dent in her ac­tual home, just up the road. Al­though she leans to­wards the monochro­matic, keep­ing it clean and sim­ple, there are fun, colour­ful per­sonal touches, too.

Donna Wil­son face-painted plates line the walls in the kitchen where tra­di­tional fam­ily por­traits might go, for in­stance, and in the liv­ing room, a wooden mon­key toy hangs from a shelf of prints. It’s in­stantly friendly and com­fort­able, much like a first meet­ing with Hay­ley.

Hay­ley lives with her hus­band Paul, an en­gi­neer­ing man­ager, sons Cal­lum, 20, and Jake, 18, and Sid the Sch­nauzer. They’ve been in this semi-de­tached house for 11 years.

“We rented a cot­tage in the same vil­lage be­fore buy­ing this place,” Hay­ley re­calls, “and when we looked around it we were gripped by the po­ten­tial.” They had the house gut­ted, “from electrics to ceil­ings,” and with a fresh lick of white paint, they moved in.

It was in the sum­mer house in the gar­den that South­wood Stores started its phys­i­cal life, where Hay­ley cre­ated a small show­room and then packed or­ders on her kitchen ta­ble. On­line, it had been go­ing for some time – Hay­ley was an early adopter of In­sta­gram and pro­lific on Twit­ter, where she started cre­at­ing the brand.

“I had noth­ing to lose,” she says of her busi­ness jour­ney, which be­gan when her mum died young from can­cer. “My first solo ven­ture was Mrs Scoops and her Vin­tage Ice Cream Van. I bought the van on eBay in a mo­ment of mad­ness, to es­cape my grief, and it gave me some­thing to fo­cus on.” Hay­ley did all her own mar­ket­ing and was fea­tured in over 100 mag­a­zines. “From that mo­ment, I de­cided I would never be un­happy in my work or home again. It’s a cliché, but life re­ally is too short.”

South­wood Stores it­self was born when Hay­ley started us­ing In­sta­gram to share her

favourite in­te­rior finds, and peo­ple be­gan ask­ing if they could pur­chase them. So, ev­ery­thing you see there is some­thing Hay­ley has gen­uinely fallen in love with her­self.

Hay­ley’s fes­tive style is the same as her usual style, with clut­ter kept to a min­i­mum. Dec­o­ra­tions go up 12 days be­fore Christmas. As with most re­tail busi­nesses, Christmas starts in the shop in Oc­to­ber, so Hay­ley finds she’s less in­clined to jump into it early at home. “My sur­round­ings re­ally a ect my mood, so it has to be sim­ple with­out too many dec­o­ra­tions.”

Nat­u­ral el­e­ments form a big part of Hay­ley’s fes­tive in­te­ri­ors. “At Christmas, it’s all about a real tree and green­ery,” she ex­plains. Cosy fires are a fix­ture too, with an open fire­place in the liv­ing room, a fire pit out­side in the gar­den and plenty of can­dles po­si­tioned around the house. Christmas Day it­self is tra­di­tional, with the ex­tended fam­ily com­ing to­gether for din­ner at the ta­ble, lots of ex­tra chairs, and all the trim­mings. “I hap­pily let Paul do all the cook­ing nor­mally, but Christmas din­ner is the one meal I love to cook,” says Hay­ley. “It’s just a big roast isn’t it? Noth­ing too fancy!”

And that’s a good sum­ming up of Hay­ley’s ap­proach to life: a jump-right-in cel­e­bra­tion of the sim­ple things. “I am pas­sion­ate that we can all live as happy a life as we want to. It’s just giv­ing our­selves the space to start.”

The gor­geous green­ery was sup­plied and styled by florist and South­ward So­cial Hub mem­ber Jemma Cox of Martin & Cox

01 Wil­son, Plates Rob from Ryan Donna and Fine Lit­tle Day perch on the kitchen shelves. 02 These Skan­di­navisk can­dles, Origami Est dec­o­ra­tions and sweet wooden Christmas trees are also sold in Hay­ley’s shop.

01 Hay­ley only ever wraps the Christmas presents with brown pa­per. 02 Pine cones and sprigs of fir re­place twinkly tin­sel for a more grown-up feel.

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