‘My home IS bright, LIKE A rain­bow’

Stylist at Home Sophie, 34, used retro ac­ces­sories, vi­brant shades and clever tricks to cre­ate her dream home

Style at Home (UK) - - Inside… -

Retro fur­nish­ings and a riot of colour bring Sophie Crocket’s in­te­rior to life

here was a very sim­ple rea­son for buy­ing this house,’ says Sophie. ‘It was the only one that was big enough to fit my pur­ple sofa into! I got the sofa be­fore I’d even be­gun to view prop­er­ties. But I had other re­quire­ments, too, and de­spite be­ing plain, square and mod­ern, this house ful­filled them all.

I needed stor­age for my retro fur­ni­ture and finds, so the garage was a huge bonus,

Tand I wanted a gar­den with space for a stu­dio dis­play­ing my stock, and rear ac­cess for cus­tomers, although they usu­ally ar­rive at the front door and walk through the liv­ing room and kitchen. This means that ev­ery­where has to look good all the time, which isn’t dif­fi­cult as I’ve been col­lect­ing vin­tage and retro pieces since I was a child. Hav­ing grown up with a grandma whose 1960s house was car­peted in pea­cock blue, and filled with fur­ni­ture by G Plan or

Dan­ish de­sign­ers, I de­cided to recre­ate the in­te­ri­ors I’d loved since I was young.

Get­ting started

Af­ter mov­ing in, the first thing I did was to paint the brick­work in the con­ser­va­tory. This im­me­di­ately cre­ated more light, plus it pro­vided a fab­u­lous back­drop for my side­board and coloured glass col­lec­tion.

Be­cause my part­ner Paul and I both needed a place where we can work from home, we de­cided to turn the sec­ond bed­room into an office. In or­der to make sure we had enough space and didn’t dis­tract each other, we came up with the idea of hav­ing “his and hers” ends, each with our own fea­ture wall. I painted mine in what I like to think of as “Ker­mit green” and Paul chose a bright yel­low shade. When he moved in, Paul brought his Play­mo­bil col­lec­tion with him and I have my Lego one, so we’ve dis­played those in the office, too, along with a Formica desk each, to keep up the vin­tage vibe.

Mak­ing a com­pro­mise

In some ways our tastes are sim­i­lar, although we dif­fer in oth­ers. Paul prefers wooden fur­ni­ture, so we added a 1960s teak side­board in the liv­ing room, and more pieces are grad­u­ally creep­ing in.

Be­cause we both work and don’t have a lot of time or money to change things

around, we’ve tried to live with what’s here al­ready, there­fore the main pal­ette and per­son­al­ity in the house have had to come from the things we’ve put in it. I think that if you have a lot to look at, it makes your space feel more per­sonal and I like the idea that as lit­tle of the decor is fixed to the walls, we can just move things around when we fancy a change. This is quite prac­ti­cal, as cus­tomers of­ten spot items as they’re walk­ing through the house and want to buy them, so it helps that I’m not too pre­cious about many items!.

Open space

Our plan is to change the whole kitchen one day, so we started by knock­ing out a win­dow be­tween the kitchen and the con­ser­va­tory, be­cause I felt it wasn’t serv­ing any pur­pose at all and just get­ting in the way. First, I asked a builder friend to check that it wasn’t sup­port­ing any­thing and then de­cided to take the win­dow out my­self, with a ham­mer. I thought that if you put enough mask­ing tape on the glass pane, like peo­ple used to do dur­ing air raids, it would come out in one piece, but that isn’t true – it went ev­ery­where! Weeks later I was still sweep­ing up bits of stray glass, although the ef­fect on the two rooms was amaz­ing and they both feel nicer now. I can now see my col­lec­tion of Scan­di­na­vian and Ital­ian glass.

I’m a great be­liever in re-spray­ing items to give them a new per­son­al­ity. I have a huge ar­ray of colour­ful paints, which I use to freshen up lamp bases and bits of fur­ni­ture, such as our bed, which was plain white be­fore I gave it a whole new look by spray­ing it orange.

I also have a gi­ant fab­ric col­lec­tion and use pieces from that to re­fresh things, mak­ing cush­ions or lamp­shades my­self. The stan­dard lamp in the sit­ting room is a great ex­am­ple of this – the fab­ric dates from the 1960s and the base is a 1950s one I bought re­cently in a car-boot sale for £5. Some­times it’s hard to get enough vin­tage fab­ric for a de­cent set of big cur­tains (which we needed for our

‘keep chang­ing things around – see­ing your beau­ti­ful pieces in new places means you’ll al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate them’

‘if you get bored o f Some­thing, Sell it on ebay and use the money to buy Some­thing you re­ally want’

liv­ing room), but I’ve solved that prob­lem by mak­ing my own be­spoke cur­tains, adding side pan­els in a tonal, cus­tom-dyed cot­ton, then stitch­ing the pat­terned panel in the cen­tre.

Lat­est buys

Although most of what I own is vin­tage, I do oc­ca­sion­ally buy things new, such as the re­pro­duc­tion Eames Hang It All coat hooks on the stairs. It’s such a fun and iconic de­sign, but I def­i­nitely don’t think I could af­ford an orig­i­nal! I also en­joy trawl­ing through Ikea for stuff, be­cause although they’re mass pro­duced, some of the things on sale are real de­sign clas­sics. I have their Kal­lax shelv­ing ev­ery­where, even in my show­room – I think I paid about £150 for them all, and now, I reckon I could prob­a­bly put them to­gether in my sleep. They are def­i­nitely one of my best buys, along with the PS pen­dant lamp in the sit­ting room. It’s so amaz­ing and un­usual, no-one ever be­lieves it came from Ikea.

Fu­ture plans

At the mo­ment, we’re sav­ing up to change the kitchen, de­mol­ish the di­vid­ing wall be­tween that room and the con­ser­va­tory and make it feel more open-plan. next on the list, we plan to knock down the wall be­tween the stair­case and the liv­ing room, to make that area feel more spa­cious.

Un­til then, what I love most about my home is that I know I can change its look ev­ery day if I want to, just by mov­ing things around. When peo­ple come to visit us, they some­times ask us how many chil­dren we have, be­cause it’s all so quirky and vi­brant, but if you can get away with it, why not have circus posters and gi­ant lego in your liv­ing room?

get click­ing and go to house­to­home.co.uk/ styleath­ome for more in­spir­ing house tours.

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