So, to start our new series we have the lovely Ann Marie, a life-long friend of mine whose home is always warm, welcoming and spotless!(I don't know how she does it) Growing up she always took pride in her bedroom, carefully curating each shelf and table top with ornaments and keepsakes. Now, years later, I still find how she styles and decorates her home inspiring. Over to Ann Marie...
James and I have been living together for nearly 14 years. In the first place we owned, nearly everything was borrowed or given to us by family and three properties later our favourites are still dotted about like old friends. Some of the decorative pieces come from another generation altogether like the old clock in the sitting room, which is from my dad's family home, and the black pedestal that's in our bedroom, which used to be painted gold.
I've also got an old suitcase that belonged to my Dad's grandfather when he served in the army which still has some of the labels on from his travels. I think that's the key to our home; I like to surround us with memories and interesting things that tell anyone looking in who we are. For example, the coconut that is knocking around in our dining room was sent by my Dad to my great aunt from the Maldives in the sixties. Dad was working there at the time. The stamps are still stuck on the actual coconut with a very young looking Queen. Imagine trying to post something like that these days?!
We moved into our current house nearly 8 years ago with a baby in my belly and big plans! I knew from the moment I walked in the door that it was where I wanted to raise our family. The house looked pretty different to how it does now, it looked bare and the previous owners seemed to like the colour orange and the whole hallway and one of the bedrooms was painted in a garish shade! If it wasn't orange it was white and it lacked any character. We set about decorating and before our baby arrived we had spruced it up and settled in. I will be honest not every idea worked and I would advise against decorating when your body is full of raging hormones!
Since that mad rush to get the house together and ready for our new arrival we have tackled a room at a time and try to decorate at least one room every spring as well as making little changes and updating things along the way. Every room change starts with a pile of home magazines ( my total weakness) and some scribbled ideas. I have recently discovered Pinterest and wonder how I survived without it all this time! Next I think about what furniture I already have in the room and how it's going to fit in with my plans, or if I want to move something from another room. Most of the time I adapt things to fit in, like the rocking chair in our bedroom has been with me since I was 12, I spray painted it white when I last decorated and I'm pretty happy with the result. If we buy something new I try and think about how it's going to fit in and change over the years and always opt for something classic that won't date. For example, the changing table from our first baby became a dresser in the dining room for a few years and is now back in the nursery for our second baby doing it's original job! I don't like things going to waste and even used the left over paint from our bedroom to paint the sitting room! Because it's a different room the light varies the colour and each room has separate accent colours which change the look.
Now with a second little lady arriving on the scene things are changing again. I feel the need to find extra storage space wherever I can and thank those clever Swedes from Ikea for making that task a bit easier! I would love to put a window seat in the box bay in our sitting room and my next project is a big one... the kitchen. I better get saving the pennies!
Thank you Ann Marie for sharing your beautiful home with us!