Artist and interiors gal Lucy Tiffney shows us around her colourful Essex home
From the tropics of Borneo to Japan via Western signage, the detached 1910s home Lucy Ti ney shares with husband Ti , teenage sons Leo and Frank, and Zed the cat, unites her experiences in a riot of joyful styling. Known for her murals and love of salvaged pieces, Lucy’s work merges seamlessly with her home in Colchester, Essex as “an amalgamation of creative life”.
Lucy and her family have lived here for four years, moving in and updating, knocking
through, rewiring, replastering and redecorating to create the modern space they needed for a growing brood. The interior has evolved over the years through Lucy “collecting stu , ” such as a ‘42’ plaque that a friend found by a railway and gave to her aged 18, and the kitchen’s oversized ‘Gas/Oil’ sign that caught Lucy’s eye, discarded at the side of a road in France. “I threw it into the back of the car alongside my three friends and we took it on holiday with us!”
Two years into living here, Lucy was selected to appear on the BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge, in which she made the final, and her career took o . “My background is in textile design, but after the show I got commissions to paint murals instead, and I quickly realised I wanted to do more wallpapers and homewares as well as interior designing.” Lucy only launched her wallpaper collection last May, but the success has been overwhelming, winning Best Start Up Business at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2017, as well as accolades in the press and gaining several big clients.
“I’ve never been great at labelling my style, but my designs do tend to be happy and bright,” says Lucy. “It’s all about textures, bringing things together – di erent colours, items from di erent decades, di erent places.” She considers herself lucky as her sister lived in America and Japan for a while, and in her 20s she had the opportunity to travel a lot. “It’s informed my work a lot more than I realised until this point. I spent a lot of time in south east Asia – all the colours, all the tropicalness, materials and graphics. That was the luck of how things panned out for me.”
You can also tell from Lucy’s home that she has a fascination with lettering and found objects. And, thrifting is something she’s very passionate about. Lucy has an eagle eye for a
special piece of furniture or decor and is never o -duty in her aesthetic hunt. “It’s the sheer joy of always looking out for lovely things,” she explains. Lucy is in heaven in this environment, saving anything from vintage umbrella stands to old toys. “The thrill is not knowing where or when you’re going to find it. It’s great, but it does mean I have two sheds full of stu !”
Lucy loves trawling eBay, and most of her furniture is vintage, such as her Ercol table, painted bright pink, “as it was a bit scu ed,” and her Eames DAR rocking chair, a gift from her parents. Other items are second-hand. “Both our sofas came from my sister, the kitchen chairs were donated… I don’t spend much money, but I will save up for something like a throw or a cushion I really like.” The Prozac cushion in the green room, for instance, is by Jonathan Adler. Lucy enjoys making her space her own, repainting or re-covering things herself to prolong their life: “If I go o something, I just paint it a di erent colour.”
It’s easy to see Lucy’s zest and energy when you visit her home. All those moments of chance, seized as a prize; such a keen eye for detail, making the most of each and every beautiful thing. It’s a sentiment that naturally translates into her work, and something she can’t hold in. “I throw everything at it,” says Lucy. “Our house is the stu of life.”
This charming little and bird 01 Pollux toy is from Castor in the arches in Brighton. 02 Lucy found this painted disc years ago, and kept it for its fun graphics. The little toys on the shelf are 25 years old, from China.
01 thermometer gift The yellow was for a from Japan Lucy’s husband. 02 In the bedroom, Lucy’s curtains are vintage Marimekko: “I found them in the cupboard when I was teaching at college.”