‘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
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.
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!.
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.
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.
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?
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