House style

How cou­ples can cre­ate a ver­sa­tile jour­nal for a har­mo­nious home

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - News - Jes­sica Doyle

How to set up a har­mo­nious home

LIKE MANY MOD­ERN cou­ples, when Harry and Meghan start their mar­ried life, they will not be mov­ing into a new home, but re­turn­ing to their cur­rent one – in this case, Not­ting­ham Cot­tage, in the grounds of Kens­ing­ton Palace. But they might still ben­e­fit from the les­sons of a new book on set­ting up home by Joanna and Peter Ahlberg: a cross be­tween an ad­vice man­ual and a jour­nal in which you can record the de­tails of your own home life. Whether you are mov­ing, re­dec­o­rat­ing or just want to live in a more or­gan­ised fash­ion, the fol­low­ing tips might prove use­ful.

— When you move into a house, make a note of the ba­sic de­tails – the year it was built, its style and char­ac­ter­is­tics, and the his­tory of the site. Also record the de­tails that you might oth­er­wise for­get – friends who helped dur­ing the move, and your first meal, visi­tors and party.

— Make a de­tailed plan of each room, in­clud­ing not only the mea­sure­ments of the walls and floor but also the height and width of the doors through which fur­ni­ture will need to fit. Note who will use each room, what it will be used for, and de­tails such as how much light it re­ceives. This will help you choose dec­o­ra­tion and fur­ni­ture.

— Cre­ate a mood­board for each room you want to dec­o­rate within your jour­nal, with de­tails of things to keep, things to buy, and the colours, styles and ma­te­ri­als you would like to use. Write down sources and at­tach swatches; that way you’ll have every­thing in one place. — Keep dig­i­tal re­ceipts of all of your bigticket items and file them to­gether. — Make a paint record, with de­tails of the colours and types of paint used in each room. This will prove in­valu­able when touch-ups are needed. — Have a project work­book of all jobs to be done, both small things such as fix­ing a cabi­net door and long-term ren­o­va­tion plans. Note down bud­gets, con­trac­tors’ de­tails and quotes, and keep a directory of all use­ful lo­cal con­tacts.

— Con­sider what’s out­side: make a note of the an­i­mals and birds you see in your gar­den, and gather nearby plants and flow­ers to press and dry. These will in­spire you to bring colours and nat­u­ral themes into your home. Diary of Your Home, by Joanna and Peter Ahlberg (Riz­zoli, £18.95), is out now

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