Journey Home 5: Ten interior ideas to steal from Julian & Miranda
This week we are journeying through the home of the impeccable Julian and Miranda. They are dear friends of mine and I've been dying to photograph and share their home from before I even set up my blog. Their home is one that I always love visiting. Not only because I get to spend time with these beautiful humans or the amazing soirées they hold (I vividly remember a Burn's night a few years back) but there is a warmness and serenity that overflows into their home. This is a place of sanctuary and rest. The late 1960s property sits on the edge of an ancient wood and the couple moved here a few years ago from a bustling inner-city London where they had a Victorian pub-conversion flat. Miranda who works in communication craves respite and peace from her busy working week and for Julian who is a graphic designer this location is like a homecoming as he grew up here. And how can I not mention Bertie who brings a lot of life and soul to the place!
The space itself is quite modern and there are surprisingly high ceilings upstairs with large windows where light floods in but the interior has a much more traditional feel and that's what makes this space so unique. Usually we see Victorian properties with modern interior style. I want to delve deeper into why I love this home so much and share how you can learn from Julian and Miranda's interior design choices. Keep reading for my 10 favourite ideas from this wonderful home...
1. Make decisions together
Miranda and Julian are two peas of a pod. They adore times gone by particularly mid-century style so really they are on the same page when it comes to decorating decisions. They love listening to jazz and even their fashion sense compliments each other. I am well aware that this is not always the case. Sometimes our partners are not interested in our interior design dilemmas and other times they are too fussy (but still don't offer an alternative). This is a difficult one to rectify or advise on easily but my suggestion is dig deep to the things that you do have in common outside interior design. Maybe a film has a particular styling that you both appreciate or there is a holiday location that holds mutual happy memories. Maybe you have a favourite pub or place to go out for dinner that has an atmosphere or feel that you both love. These are all great places to start designing a room from and will be different and unique for everyone. As I've chatted to friends sometimes their other half really doesn't care and actually it's difficult to make decision without a sounding board to bounce your ideas off. This is something that I've been thinking about a lot and in the near future Skirting Boards and Chandeliers may be offering services to help with this very predicament.
2. Add a bit of drama even to small rooms
The best room in this house is the smallest. The downstairs loo is simply to die for. I can't express how much I LOVE it! Julian and Miranda have gone completely over the top in the 'powder room' with some Whimsical Caberet wallpaper from Cole and Son. It's loud and red and fantastic and really reflects the couple who, as well as adoring visiting the theatre, went to St Petersburg a few years ago. There is also some Russian dolls in here which is a little ornamental detail that is mirrored in different places around the house. Miranda explained that once they had decided to go for the wallpaper they quickly realised that they needed to have the most decadent mirror that they could find to fit over the handbasin which I think they eventually sourced from eBay. I'm so completely inspired to be a bit more fun and maximalist with a room in the near future, I just need to find the perfect wallpaper. And remember this is the perfect lesson that you don't need to be boring with small rooms!
3. Statement lighting doesn't need to be expensive
Another highlight as I wander through Julian and Miranda's home is when I look up! There is a strong vintage vibe in the lighting throughout their home which flits between art deco leaf designs and detailed glass lampshades. I really think that lighting can make or break a room and statement lighting isn't as expensive as you think. There are great affordable vintage options from British Home Stores and Laura Ashley that could add atmosphere and sophistication to any room. I've always been quite lucky at getting some great bargains in their sales so keep your eyes peeled. I've spotted some amazing mid-century modern gold sputnik lights on Vinterior which sources unique vintage items but they can be a bit pricier than high street shops. Don't forget to traul those antique shops too if you're after something really unique.
4. You don't need to theme a room on colour
This is something I actually struggle with in my own home. I find myself trying to colour match quite a lot in my rooms although I try to make sure that prints and hues of colour are not too matchy-matchy. However I'm finding myself absolutely adoring rooms that have no colour theme at all! You can use a style or an idea that holds the whole room together where any colour goes. This is something that really works in Julian and Miranda's open lounge and dining area. There is a strong vintage theme with the green chesterfield sofa and armchair and lots of different wooden furniture pieces. But things aren't too matchy. There are gold accents but different designs, various types of wood with black flooring and brown velvet sofa. A green vintage lampshade adorns the corner and other colourful vintage items are dotted around the shelves and floors. As I write this I realise that it sounds a bit crazy but take a look for yourself. It totally works!
And the couple in their search for calm and serenity were very clear that a soft mid-grey would be the subtle background for their curated pieces and what I love about these greys is that somehow the wall seems to disappear.
5. Dark flooring
I love the way that the dark flooring down stairs (which appears lighter when different light reflects off it) then continues into the upstairs in the form of carpet. I'm not sure why but I never consider dark floors. This home really benefits from it as there is so much light in every room thanks to the huge downstairs windows and enormously high walls and ceiling windows upstairs. I think it can give a masculine feel but I don't think that's a bad thing. There are so many other ways of adding softer feminine touches in the artwork, soft furnishings and lighting.
6. Gallery family wall
I am a huge fan of this because not only does a gallery wall of family portraits look awesome but it plays an important role in our homes. It reminds us of where we come from and we can remember those who are no longer with us as well as family that may live far away or special memories that we want to remember daily. That's why the stairs is a great place for such a curated collection of images. Every single photograph here looks like it could be in a magazine, so it appears that being stylish runs in the family!
7. Add a rug
Ok I'm preaching to myself here and must confess that I have never bought a rug! We have stayed with the carpet vibe on the stairs, on the landing, in the bedrooms and one of my biggest regrets - in the living room. My husband was adamant that we needed carpet for acoustic reasons for the surround sound and home cinema to sound it's best. However having been inspired by many homes I can't wait until we can tear up the living room carpet with all its tea spills, mud stains and goodness knows what else (my firstborn was born on it too!) and put in a nice wood floor and a cosy rug. I think I've convinced John that a rug will be perfectly adequate for our home cinema viewing experience. Julian and Miranda's rug adds warmth to the large area of dark flooring but this delightful rug also defines the lounge area in an open plan space. Inspired!
8. Find some antiques
I really adore the style of this home, probably mostly because at heart I think I am actually quite in love with antiques. I love how old vintage pieces are unique and that you are probably never likely to see the same piece again. It's also the history behind a chair or some drawers that holds my fascination. Who made them or sat in them and what did the drawers used to hold? I also like how antique furniture isn't clean and glossy. Their rough edges and imperfection actually makes them more beautiful in my opinion. I'm a big believer in the beauty of the imperfect and was really inspired by a blog by deVOL I read this week.
Sourcing antiques is not as hard as you think. Locally you could start with Mabels Five and Dime in Sydenham and there are plenty of antique shops in Greenwich too. So Last Century is a vintage fair which pops up every few months across south-east London with really affordable pieces and unique ideas. If you fancy a day out my absolute favourite place to visit for fun as well as antiques is Brighton but I know that you'll also have some great finds if you visit Ramsgate or Hastings. Online I always head to eBay and Vinterior but don't forget that people are alway getting rid of things on local Facebook groups. My reupholstered chair was sourced this way for FREE! I am forever jealous of a certain friend who finds the most amazing Wingback chairs either just on the corner of a street or in a charity shop (Sue Ryder if my memory serves me right) but I am never this lucky.
9. Add in a walk-in wardrobe
I remember the first time I had a look around this house and the squeals of delight I let out when I discovered the walk in wardrobe! It's a little hidden gem and something that if you can fit in - do it! The main advantage is that it means that your bedroom can be a clutter-free haven. That's got be a good thing! In fact in our current renovations Ethan's old bedroom is being transformed into an ensuite bedroom and I'm trying to convince John that instead of a toilet we should put a dressing room in there. I'll let you know our final decision!
10. Gold Mirrors
I've said this before and I'll say it again - they go anywhere! I've always been a fan of jazzing up a space with a decorative gold frame and here we seen them in abundance. And they work! They work so well against the soft grey walls and the extravagant wallpaper in the toilet but try it. They work is almost any space...
So there we have it. I told you they were stylish! There's actually a lot in here that I'm definitely going to think about for future decor in my own home. I hope you not only feel inspired but confident to go ahead with some of these ideas if you've been thinking about them for a while. I'd love to hear your favourite tips and if you think there are more that I could add to the list. Comment below the blog post with any thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!
If you've enjoyed this post or any of my other ones, I'd be eternally grateful if you could do me a little favour for me. I'm so excited and incredibly humbled to be nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award in the Newcomer category and need lots of votes to be in with a chance of being shortlisted for the ceremony at the Design Museum in October. I'd love to go an evening celebrating the best in the industry and meet the bloggers that I follow and who inspire me. It will take maybe 20 seconds to cast your vote and you will make me a very happy lady. Vote here. Cheers!
DISCLAIMER: All photography my own unless otherwise stated.