Journey Home 4: Hazel Nicholls
On this week's Journey Home I have a real treat for you! A feast for the eyes as we journey through a home bursting with colour in every room. Also a fellow Northern Irelander (so yes there was plenty of nattering!) Hazel Nicholls is also a very talented Print Designer and Screen Printer and if you make it to the end of the post you will have access to her studio where she creates her wonderful word art.
She has lived in her Victorian home since 2013 and instantly fell in love with it due to its airiness and amount of natural light spilling into the rooms. There was an instant connection to the space and whilst pregnant with her first child, she made an offer as soon as she viewed it. It was purchased in a live-able state so they have been able to make changes gradually along the way to make the building work for them as a family of four. The biggest challenge and greatest reward has been the recent loft extension. The other bulk of the work was painting over the wallpaper that covered most of the rooms to create a calmer backdrop for the many pieces of colourful art hanging everywhere. Excited and want to hear more? Then keep reading...
Loft conversion bedroom
Starting at the top and working our way down, this first room really made me go WOW! There is so much light flooding into the room thanks to the glass panelled doors on one side of the extension. There is a relaxed retro feel created by the cushions, prints and the mid-century upholstered chairs. But there are other colours thrown in there too and the effect is fantastic. Look how the burnt orange contrasts yet sits so well against the teal walls. The biggest lesson of this room is don't be afraid to use colour! Hazel commented that the decorator was so excited to be working with some colours other than the neutrals he is used to working with every day. The other lesson is experiment. You’ll be surprised what colour combinations go together. Hazel adores this room and the quiet haven that it's become for her. She often works up here too. I love the personal touches such as the blue chair that was originally from a nursing home, then reupholstered and the orange chair from her teenage home. And if you're interested in the quirky cushions the Mark Hearld one was purchased from the Tate modern and the one on the blue chair is by Emily Sutton.
Even as we journey through the hallways and landing we are still hit with colour and wonderful delights of prints and illustrations conveying images and messages to us. One thing that really stuck out to me was the really cute Mini modern window film on the alluminium windows which provide added privacy but still let a lot of light through into the landing. I had a sneak peek at the website, they also have some fabulous wallpaper and fabric as well.
Playroom and Spare Bed
This was one of my favourite rooms in the house, maybe because I could only imagine how much fun my boys would have but I also love how the grey walls and monochrome cat print curtains and cushions provide a more neutral palette for all the gloriously colourful toys that live in here! Again there are many prints to be viewed and enjoyed.
The room where the girls sleep is also a little place of joy, again appearing like a mini art gallery. I love that Hazel's children are encountering so many great pieces of art and also being confronted with great affirmations like the 'You're Magic' print which is one of Hazel's own designs. This shade of green is very calming and it's great how it is teamed with vibrant pinks, oranges reds and blues all in the same space.
Lounge and Dining Area
The main downstairs area is another eclectic mix of colours but the theme of prints and art on the walls continues as does the many colour combinations. Doesn't it look great! Hazel has strong ties with Rob Ryan where she used to work and a huge paper cutting of his inspired by the angels in Central Park in New York has pride of place on her chimney breast. If you haven't heard of him I am glad that I've just introduced you to him here! He's definitely had a huge impression on Hazel's own work. The work of Martin Grover is also prominent in the downstairs space. There are grown up elements in this room as well as a continuing retro theme but there is also lots of fun and celebration of the children's own art talents too.
Sometimes Hazel feels like she is always rushing around but has found solace in her recently sown wildflower garden. I can't really put it any better than Hazel can in her own words.
"The crazy weather we've been having has really accelerated their growth, first came yellow bursts, tall and prolific which immediately sparked doubt-ridden conversations between my husband and I as to whether or not we had actually paid for a load of weeds to take over our garden. But quickly shades of lilacs, purples, oranges, reds started appearing. It has felt like each day we make the short journey to our little garden and excitedly discuss what new flowers have appeared or are showing signs that they will do soon. We've had daisies, poppies, nasturtiums, forget-me-nots, viper's bugloss, corncockle, and so many more I am yet to discover the names of.
It has genuinely filled my heart with glee.
If nothing new has bloomed we discuss the creatures that come, some have made homes and others make fleeting visits. These moments are what parenting is really about, but more than that, they're what being alive is about. It's the small things that matter most and although I know this to be true why is it I find this so easy to forget.
It's so easy to get caught up in the rush of life. I hear myself hurrying my small children along, when really is there any actual pleasure in punctuality?
I hate being late but I also hate the person I sometimes (a lot) morph into while trying to herd two little ones out the door or to the car so we aren't late for preschool, gym class, dance class or a playdate, day out etc.
The times I've made a conscious decision not to rush have always been rewarded with beautiful occurrences, like discovering a double rainbow for the first time and talking about it at length while the clock ticked away but time stood still in the wonderment of my daughter's face.
I want to bottle up these moments and use them as smelling salts to arouse me from times when I find myself being carried away by the moment.”
I'm going to let the studio speak for itself. But i know it is a really creative space for her and the kids like to get some artwork action in there too!
To end I'm going to leave you with a small collection of Hazel's work.
Her inspiration appears to stem from two or three different places. A connection that Hazel made recently is that she grew up surrounded by positive messages through her mum’s creative cross stitch endeavours that would often contain words. Hazel lost her dad at a young age and she witnessed how her mum took evening classes, constantly learning new creative skills to keep herself occupied and sane. Not only has this influenced Hazel creatively but has also inspired her to have a hands on approach to all the DIY tasks around the house. She wants to pass on this practical attitude to her girls as well and they have already had an active role in assembling their own cots! It's amazing how our parents approach to 'homemaking' can really influence us. Rob Ryan who Hazel has worked with extensively especially early on in her career is also a huge influence which can be seen clearly in her prints. Another aspect that resonates with both Hazel and I is the power of creativity to bring mental well-being to our lives and we can both testify to extremely difficult periods in out lives when 'making' helped us make a way through it. The important thing is not the product at the end but the value for us is in the creative process.
I thoroughly enjoyed the colourful journey through Hazel's home and getting to know her work better. I definitely need some of her quirky typography on my walls! But I've hope you've had a chance to see how many different colours can be made great use of throughout a whole home which can still have a cohesive theme throughout. My reaction to this home has definitely made me realise that I am a maximalist with a joy for lots of things in a room in an ordered way rather than a minimalist. Less is not more when it come to decor for me.
What was your favourite room in Hazel's home?
Instagram: @hazelcjnicholls Website: www.meandthem.bigcartel.com
DISCLAIMER: All photography is my own unless otherwise stated.