Loved & loved again

In her Vic­to­rian ter­raced home, look­ing down on the an­cient city of Nor­wich, Tam­syn Mor­gans cel­e­brates ob­jects with his­tory and ap­pre­ci­ates their faded colours and time-worn style


From the kitchen units con­structed from dis­carded pack­ing crates to the vin­tage quilts that cover ev­ery bed and sofa, al­most ev­ery­thing in Tam­syn Mor­gans’ possession has lived an­other life. Tam­syn’s ap­proach to dec­o­rat­ing is not only kind to the en­vi­ron­ment – and her bud­get – but has also helped to cre­ate an in­di­vid­ual space that in­spires the pho­tog­ra­phy for her lifestyle blog, The Villa on Mount Pleas­ant.

Tam­syn’s love of old things be­gan when she was a child. ‘At the age of 10 I started seek­ing out trea­sure at car boot sales with my fa­ther,’ she says. ‘I would soak up cos­tume dra­mas on TV and es­pe­cially en­joyed Li le House on the Prairie. I would try to cre­ate a sim­i­larly warm and nostal­gic feel in my bed­room with dis­plays of vin­tage per­fume bo les and faded post­cards. I cher­ished the vis­its to my el­derly grand­moth­ers, too; both of their homes were strewn with well-used items that fas­ci­nated me. I loved imag­in­ing what tales they would

tell if those ob­jects could speak, and now, through my blog, I get to pon­der these sto­ries.’

Tam­syn’s Vic­to­rian ter­raced house perches high on a hill with views down on to the grand old city of Nor­wich. It too had lived an­other life be­fore she took it on !ve years ago. ‘ I spent the ! rst six months clean­ing ev­ery inch of the house, rip­ping up car­pets and paint­ing ev­ery sur­face,’ she says. ‘ I did most of it my­self, al­though I had a lit­tle help from friends and my fa­ther. He trav­elled up from the south coast ev­ery week­end to lend a much-needed hand, es­pe­cially in the kitchen, which we gut­ted and re­built from scratch us­ing sal­vaged com­po­nents.’

Al­though Tam­syn had a clear idea of the feel she was try­ing to achieve, as a newly sin­gle mum of two start­ing afresh, she wanted to turn the house around as quickly as pos­si­ble. ‘ I didn’t want Lola and Fin­lay to live in a build­ing site for too long,’ she says, ‘so white seemed the ob­vi­ous choice for the walls. But, I have to say, it has

stuck, as it works so well as a back­drop for my pho­tog­ra­phy projects and for show­ing o! my col­lec­tions. If I want to in­tro­duce some colour, I cre­ate a dis­play of vin­tage books, prints or paint­ings – or I paint an old cup­board or dresser.’

De­spite buy­ing a few new items for the kitchen, Tam­syn has re­mained faith­ful to her 10-year- old self when sourc­ing other pieces for the house. She loves the feel of vin­tage cut­lery in her hands, the so" light em­a­nat­ing from be­neath the pleated frills of dusky pink char­ity shop shades and the lux­u­ri­ant tex­ture of her vel­vet cush­ions. ‘ There was an el­e­ment of be­ing mind­ful of my bud­get when fur­nish­ing the house, but there’s so much more to it than that. I prefer things that are al­ready in ex­is­tence, made long ago with thought and care. For far too long we’ve been a

throw­away so­ci­ety, so I’m proud to be do­ing my bit while prov­ing you can have a pretty home with­out spend­ing a for­tune. I’ve never been one to fol­low trends.’

Christ­mas dec­o­rat­ing is a "ne ex­am­ple of Tam­syn’s play­ful styling around her home. She may have taken in­spi­ra­tion from Scan­di­na­vian in­te­ri­ors with her use of white paint, presents wrapped in brown pa­per and nat­u­ral fo­liage, but her love of colour is ex­pressed through her col­lec­tion of vin­tage glass baubles. These jewel-like dec­o­ra­tions are dis­played on ev­ery sur­face: in old pack­ag­ing tins and sweetie jars, dan­gling from twigs and trees, and even threaded with strips of vi­brant sari silk and hung from old chan­de­liers. ‘About 10 years ago, I found a whole box of old baubles in a char­ity shop. Their del­i­cate feel, the sparkle, and even the slightly musty smell of their card­board tray sent my mind back to Christ­mases past.’ Since then, Tam­syn has snapped up ev­ery set of vin­tage baubles she can "nd and has in­her­ited a few from those much-loved grand­moth­ers, too. She ac­cepts that these pa­per-thin glass trea­sures are in­cred­i­bly frag­ile so some will in­evitably get bro­ken and need to be re­placed, but al­ways with some­thing else just as beau­ti­ful, colour­ful and pre-loved, like all the other cher­ished pos­ses­sions in her in­spir­ing home.

THIS PAGE, CLOCK­WISE FROM TOPLEFT Shiny baubles are dis­played in an old Oxo tin; mince pies ar­ranged on a glass cake stand; home­made crack­ers dec­o­rated with linen, doilies and vin­tage jew­ellery; the tureens on the din­ing ta­ble were found at a car boot sale for un­der £1 each. Tam­syn has used the re­cess of the fire­place to dis­play her vin­tage books.

THIS PAGE CLOCK­WISEFROM TOP In the din­ing room, sec­ond­hand fur­ni­ture from Ban­ham Car Boot has been painted in mis­matched hues. The ta­ble is from Looses Em­po­rium, Nor­wich; in the sit­ting room, a brown dresser has been trans­formed with paint and con­tains a col­lec­tion of teacups; a real tree is dec­o­rated sim­ply with sil­ver baubles.RIGHT The shut­ter and printer’s draw­ers are from the Nor­folk Show­ground An­tique and Col­lec­tors Fair.

THIS PAGE CLOCK­WISE FROMTOP The main bed­room ex­udes vin­tage fem­i­nin­ity at its best with quilts, framed flo­ral art and cush­ions bought for a pound or two; Fin­lay’s bed­room is art­fully styled with an old bas­ket for build­ing blocks and a vin­tage printer’s tray to dis­play toy cars and Lego; the bath­room mirror was found at Ban­ham Car Boot while the cup­board is from TW Gaze Diss Auc­tion Rooms. LEFT On the walls of the up­stairs land­ing, Tam­syn has ex­per­i­mented with a Laura Ash­ley sten­cil and colours she mixed her­self.

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