She’s eclec­tic

A Moroc­can rug busi­ness + a love of vin­tage fur­ni­ture = the per­fect for­mula for a family home

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - EAT IN - pho­tog­ra­phy: in­grid ras­mussen Writer: Talib Choudhry Alexander

Atrip to Morocco 13 years ago trans­formed Tam­sin Flower’s life. She met her hus­band, Dun­can, while they were both work­ing on the set of the film (she in the cos­tume department; he as a lo­ca­tion man­ager), and their first date was at a rooftop party her threw in Es­saouira.

‘It was such a gor­geous house that I al­most think it’s what made me fall in love with Dun­can,’ Tam­sin re­calls, ‘I swooned and was a bit like, “You’re so beau­ti­ful, and you’re liv­ing in this amaz­ing house.”’

The prop­erty was ac­tu­ally a stylishly ren­o­vated hol­i­day rental be­long­ing to Bri­tish ex­pat Emma Wil­son, with whom Tam­sin be­came firm friends, and she reg­u­larly trav­elled back to the house for hol­i­days. Four years ago, Tam­sin struck upon the idea of set­ting up a busi­ness of­fer­ing the jewel-coloured bouch­er­ouite rugs that adorn Emma’s house.

‘Emma used to be an in­te­rior de­signer and had been stock­pil­ing rugs that she couldn’t re­sist,’ ex­plains Tam­sin, ‘Even if she didn’t have a space for a rug, she’d put it in a cup­board. So when I sug­gested the idea of sell­ing them in the UK, she was really up for the idea.’

The Ed­war­dian home in north-west London that Tam­sin and Dun­can share with their two chil­dren, Fordy, seven, and Tippi, two, is full of thought­fully dis­played vin­tage finds, prov­ing that great style doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily in­volve splash­ing the cash. What was the house like when you bought it? We’ve al­ways loved these Ed­war­dian houses, but it wasn’t love at first sight by any means – we came to view it three times. A cou­ple had been liv­ing here for about 30 years and there were thick lay­ers of wall­pa­per, shaggy car­pets and a very strange plas­tic lean-to at the back of the house. I al­ways said I didn’t want a house that had al­ready been ‘done’, but build­ing the ex­ten­sion with a small child in the house was quite daunt­ing.

How long did the ren­o­va­tions take? It took about a year in to­tal, and we lived here for most of it. The ex­ten­sion and kitchen re­fit was done over the sum­mer – we man­aged to find enough friends who were go­ing on hol­i­day to let us house-sit for two weeks at a time.

How would you de­scribe your dec­o­rat­ing style? I like Mid-Cen­tury style, but it’s about get­ting the bal­ance right. I pre­fer things that are soft and friendly-look­ing, rather than very an­gu­lar G-Plan-style fur­ni­ture. Pieces from France and Italy from the same pe­riod tend to be more ex­u­ber­ant and a bit softer and curvier. The tri­pod lamp in the sit­ting room is my favourite.

You have lots of lovely vin­tage pieces.... I’m a bit of a mag­pie. I’ve never wor­ried about where things are go­ing to go, or how to put them to­gether. That’s some­thing that I really love do­ing. I like mix­ing

‘I’m a bit of a mag­pie. I’ve never wor­ried about where things are go­ing to go, or how to put them to­gether’

things to­gether from dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods. It ex­cites me to see two seem­ingly dis­parate things sit­ting to­gether that look bril­liant. My par­ents have a house in France, and my hus­band’s par­ents live in Brus­sels. He’s half French, so we tend to go to a lot of flea mar­kets, and most of it comes from there, really. In London, I al­ways like to have a good rummage around the Cap­i­tal Car­boot in Pim­lico (cap­i­tal­car­boot.com).

Tell us about your busi­ness, Beldi…. We started out about four years ago and spe­cialise in vin­tage Moroc­can rugs. I’ve al­ways loved find­ing out about the story be­hind old ob­jects, and that was why I started the busi­ness. Boucherite rag rugs come in such vi­brant colours and pat­terns, and each one is unique; lots of the pat­terns are passed down through the dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of one family.

How do you man­age to run a busi­ness when you’re based in dif­fer­ent coun­tries? We email con­stantly and have a good catch-up via Skype a cou­ple of times a week. Emma is usu­ally sit­ting in the sun­shine – she lives just out­side Es­saouira – and I’ll be in­doors with a cup of tea. She does all the fun bits, like sourc­ing the vin­tage rugs and work­ing with the weavers on new de­signs, and I do a lot of ad­min, like the tax re­turns! We have a stu­dio here in London, and I love help­ing clients choose what suits them.

What are you work­ing on at the mo­ment? A col­lec­tion of new wo­ven rugs with a lower price point. They’re more prac­ti­cal and af­ford­able rugs, and would look great in a kid’s room. We also sell new made-to­order Beni Ou­rain rugs be­cause they’re be­com­ing harder to source. Also, Moroc­can houses are gen­er­ally very long and thin, and peo­ple in Europe tend to want their rugs in a squarer di­men­sion.

Which is your favourite room at home? The family room. I’ve al­ways wanted to have a rock­ing chair by a real fire. I bought the Ernest Race rocker from Retrou­vius on Har­row Road, and we added the wood­burner re­cently. It looks great, but we still haven’t had it plumbed in so it’s not keep­ing the house cosy yet!

Top Vin­tage cab­i­nets house Tam­sin’s retro kitchen finds. Above Tam­sin and Tippi. Main

pho­to­graph A Beni Ou­rain rug and 1950s Ital­ian lights take pride of place in the liv­ing room

Far left Tex­tiles and art­work in shades of blue bring a sooth­ing vibe to the bed­room.

Left An Ernest Race rocker next to the wood­burner is Tam­sin’s happy place

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