Home for Now + Thornback & Peel Launch Party!

Home for Now & Thornback & Peel Launch Event

I’m delighted to announce that, to celebrate the launch of my book, Home for Now, I will be holding an exclusive launch event in the super-lovely Thornback & Peel! Having been big fans of the brand since their early days, first discovering them at a Cockpit Arts Open Studios event, it’s been lovely seeing them go from strength to strength and make the move from online to bricks and mortar retail. Famed for their quirky graphic prints, showcasing classic British motifs in striking colourways on crisp white backgrounds, their first retail store, in the particularly charming area of Bloomsbury, London, is as quintessentially British as they are. When I first started thinking about what I’d like for my launch (quirky shop selling handmade British goods that I could slope into the corner of, centrally located but nowhere too hustly-bustly, intimate yet enough room to swing a cat/book) it soon became apparent they were the perfect fit. And luckily, they agreed!

Inside Thornback & Peel

So on Thursday 24th April I’ll be playing shop for the day. We are turning the back wall into a ‘living’ version of the book cover, and decorating the space and windows throughout with some of the styling ideas showcased in the book. Signed copies will be sold on the night for a discounted price of £15, and there will also be a prize drawer to win a copy including a goodie bag packed with home-for-now-friendly treats for your home (psst – this competition will also be duplicated online on Mon 28th April, so come back then for more info!)

Images from Thornback & Peel

The display will remain up in-store until Friday 2nd May, so if you’re in the area whilst it’s on, do pop in and take a gander – the shop is stunning as are its surroundings, next door to fabulous homewares emporium Ben Pentreath and just off from the olde-worlde cobbled Lamb’s Conduit Street, home to a number of fascinating independent shops including Darkroom, Persephone Books and Folk. Find Thornback & Peel at 7 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QT; nearest tube Russell Square and also walkable-in-flats from King’s Cross or Holborn.

If you’re a member of the press or an interiors blogger and would like to attend the launch, please email publicity@cicobooks.co.uk or jo@joannathornhill.co.uk for a place on the guest list.

Home for Now is currently being sold in countries worldwide – to find out how to order a copy, click here

{Images: all courtesy of Thornback & Peel, aside from the book cover}

Launch day: Home for Now is officially On Sale!

Home for Now book with Hyacinths by Joanna Thornhill

It seems simultaneously like five minutes and a lifetime ago that I sat at my desk and received an email from Cico Books saying (not in these exact words) that they were willing to take a punt on little ol’ me and my slightly rambling idea for a book aimed at renters and first-time buyers. Today, that book is here (well, OK, Amazon has been selling it for about a week and someone tweeted me to say it was in Waterstones in Thurrock on the weekend) but it’s all properly official now – I’m an author! A rather almighty tick off the bucket-list there…

I wrote at length in this post about the reasons I wanted to write the book, and to highlight the amazing contributors’ homes featured within it, so I shall try not to repeat myself – instead, I thought I’d explain a little more about its contents, showing one of my favourite images from each chapter:

1. Living Spaces:

Tom Chalet's Living Room, as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

Broken down into Seating Areas, Wall & Display, Storage Solutions and Open-plan Living, this is the chunkiest chapter in the book. Detailing everything from styling ideas for less-than-lovely hand-me-down sofas to turning an old wardrobe into stylish living room storage, it explains how to make the most of your communal space, whether you live in a shared rental or have it all to yourself. It also contains step-by step illustrated projects for creating your own no-sew upholstery chair, turning an old drawer into a printer’s-tray-inspired set of mini display shelves and making over a chest of drawers with wallpaper, for when you can’t add pattern to your walls.

{image: the living room of Tom Chalet, where he has cleverly added character to his newbuild flat by cladding the walls himself in old scaffolding planks, cut to length by hand on his balcony. Get a smaller-scale version of the look in a rental by simply leaning some old wood against a wall to add character and texture}

2. Kitchens and Dining Areas:

Hannah Ricci's kitchen dining room, as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

Often considered a no-go room for making changes in unless you are able to rip the space apart and start again, this chapter shows that there are plenty of workaround ideas – from hiding a landlord’s ugly tiles with removable tile stickers to removing cupboard doors to create an open-shelving effect (stashing the doors behind the sofa ready to reattach when required!) It also details practical elements, such as how to add extra storage without building anything in, plus introducing impactful design ideas to help the space feel less functional, as showcased with this ingenious removable wall mural from Surface View.

{image: the rented kitchen/dining room of Hannah Ricci, personalised with a giant wall mural to add character to the otherwise featureless space. Note the old drinks crate – upturned to provide handy storage for herbs and spices – and the vintage table used as a makeshift island unit, which visually divides the kitchen and dining areas}

3. Bedrooms and Bathrooms:

Karin Lindroos' bed nook, as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

From the tiniest nook to a multi-purpose corner of a studio apartment and even a section on children’s room ideas, the Bedrooms section covers off everything from clever uses of furniture and all-important storage ideas, to how to decorate this intimate room for added – and temporary – interest. And like kitchens, although the bathroom is often considered an unchangeable space (especially for renters) this section details clever ideas to make the best of this space without undertaking dramatic or costly changes, from reversible flooring ideas to more decorative touches, all designed to create a sanctuary out of even the most uninspiring of rooms.

{image: the tiny bedroom of Karin Lindroos, situated inside an old porch, shows that you needn’t shy away of colour in a small space – rather, it can help create a cosy sanctuary. A bit of creative thinking, such as using an old wall-mounted telephone table for bedside storage and hanging pouches on the wall to hold sunglasses and phone chargers – makes the most of its diminutive proportions}

4. Creative Workspaces:

Clare Nicolson's craft:work:dining table in her studio flat, as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

Whether you work from home and are lucky enough to have a dedicated workspace, or simply like to keep a corner of another room free for catching up on crafts and paperwork, this section is packed with ideas for both home offices and craft areas, and focuses on ways to keep organised without compromising on aesthetic, particularly when said space is a part of another room. From ways to create a ‘hidden’ workspace to tips on organising paperwork or craft supplies stylishly, there are also full instructions to create your own cute wall-mounted hanging storage rack.

{image: the versatile craft/work desk-cum-dining-table in the studio flat of textiles designer and stylist Clare Nicolson – its fold-down sides means it can be stowed against the wall when not needed for entertaining guests}

5. Plants and Outdoor Living

Ninete Bahne's garden, as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

With plants so important both inside and outside the home for adding life to any space (there is proper research to show they can both lift your mood as well as purifying the air around them), this chapter includes some basics for first-time indoor or outdoor gardeners, as well as ideas for adding greenery to your home even if space is limited, such as making macrame hanging baskets (with instructions provided) as well as ways to style simple garden flowers indoors. And for those who do have a garden but are perhaps reluctant to do much to it if it’s not your forever home, there are lots of styling tips and tricks to help transform the space without spending much money, leaving it ready to simply take away with you when you move on.

{image: a corner of Ninette Bahne’s garden, featuring a simple picnic bench painted fresh white, topped with a homemade hanging decoration, created from fabric scraps}

The book has already been doing brilliantly in pre-sales so a big thank-you to anyone who has already snapped up a copy, and for those who haven’t, the Amazon UK link is here. For any non-UK readers, check out my dedicated page on my website, which details other countries selling the book, including shop links where available. This page also details all the press coverage the book has been receiving – and as well as features in Elle Decoration, Good Homes, Homes & Property and Your Home, there’s been some fantastic online coverage from the likes of Mad About the House, Nothin’ but the Rent and Chalky Paint. If you’ve got a copy of the book and have tried out any of the ideas in it, do get in touch and share your creations!

{Image Credits: Top image taken by Joanna Thornhill. All other images taken from Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill (Cico Books); with photography by Emma Mitchell (shots 1, 2 & 4) and James Gardiner (shots 3 & 5)

Introducing… Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill!

Finally. I have been wanting to write this post for SO long, yet various dull reasons have prevented me. But here it is…

Front Cover Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books

I’ve only gone and done a book!!! It’s currently on a ship heading back from the printers in China – I like to think that it’s currently enjoying a mild climate off an exotic shore as it slowly ambles its way to Blighty. But it’s currently available to pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon USA, and will be physically available in all fine bookshops throughout various corners of the globe from mid April! Nevertheless, I am going to share a few sneaky peeks of what to expect here with you, via the medium of the PDF.

Regular readers will know that I’ve been something of a serial renter throughout my adult life – living 12 landlord-owned abodes no less – and I have always enjoyed trying to make each of them feel as homely as possible, rental restrictions permitting. Then, when I finally scraped enough pennies together to buy my first home in May 2012, I excitedly envisaged gutting the place, converting the loft and doing an obligatory bi-fold kitchen doors glass box extension, before promptly realising that I had about, ooh, £45 to do the entire renovation and really, as it’s not my ‘forever’ home, was it really wise to invest such serious money in it? Even if I had it. Which I didn’t. Hmm…

P118-119 Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books

Increasingly, I found myself reverting to my ‘renter’s’ mindset when making decisions regarding refurbishing my home (which is still very much an ongoing work in progress) – could I track down a cheap, second-hand cupboard for that awkward gap next to the bath, rather than pay to get something built in? (answer: yes, after about 60 man-hours trawling eBay daily for six months, but for £30 I’ll take that on the chin.) How about if I created an artwork gallery wall on a giant pinboard, to save puncturing my newly-acquired walls with holes? Or decorated my furniture with bright colours and wallpaper, making it easier to update than if I applied the same design or tone directly to my walls? I quickly realised that many similarities were shared between us home-for-now’ers, whether renting or teetering delicately on that first rung of the property ladder. And I was also pretty certain that the media weren’t really offering us much help.

Hence, as they say, the lightbulb moment: what if there was a book that specifically focused on people like me (both in my previous renter incarnation and current grown-up-home-owner guise), which was full of styling, craft and DIY ideas, aimed at real people with real (ly small) budgets, who wanted to make the most of their temporary living spaces, whether simply renting a room for a few months or in a long-term yet not ‘forever’ home? And you could actually copy the ideas featured in it, regardless of your funds or circumstances? Maybe it could even feature the homes of canny renters and first-time-owners who had done just this themselves, to show it really can be done? Would anyone be interested in that?

P174-175 Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books

Well luckily, my ever-patient and supportive publishers, Cico Books (part of Ryland, Peters & Small) thought so, and commissioned me to style and write the book back in April last year. And I’ve been beavering away on it ever since, handing in my final copy shortly before Christmas (finally relieving the boyf of almost a year’s washing-up duty whilst I struggled to fit it all in between other work commitments). I’d been keeping it quiet to preserve the idea and thought it best to wait until there was something to show before posting about it, but now I think it’s safe to say the time has come. Above are two example layouts from the book, as well as the cover – and as an extra-juicy sneak peek, here are a few pics from the various blogs and social networks of the amazing, inspirational and generous homeowners whose lovely interiors feature throughout the book:

Contributor's Snapshots p1 as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books and blogged on Stylist's Own

1. The shared-ownership London flat of jewellery and homeware designer, Anna Alicia2. The rented London studio flat of textiles designer and interior stylist, Clare Nicolson3. The rented London flat of lifestyle blogger and interiors stylist, Carole Poirot of Mademoiselle Poirot

Contributor's Snapshots p2 as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books and blogged on Stylist's Own

4. The first-time-owned Brighton, UK flat of artist Dion Salvador Lloyd5. The first-time-owned home of Interiors blogger Maria Meder of Diagnoosi Sisustusmania (try saying that after a few bevvies – or in English, Diagnosis: Interior Design Mania) in Järvenpää, Finland; 6. The family-owned home in Tammisarri, Finland of of interiors stylist, writer and photographer Karin Lindroos

Contributor's Snapshots p3 as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books and blogged on Stylist's Own

7. The first-time-owned newbuild London flat of Tom Chalet8. The home of housewife and blogger Ninette Bahne at Tedags hos Tant Ninette (Teatime at Aunt Ninette’s), Pargas, Finland; 9. The rented flat of Hannah Ricci and Gavin Kettle, furniture makers and restorers at Ruby Rhino in Staffordshire, UK

Contributor's Snapshots p4 as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books and blogged on Stylist's Own

10. The Manchester, UK home of interiors blogger Kimberley Hughes of Swoon Worthy11. The rented London open-plan studio space of illustrators Holly Wales and Stephen Smith12. The first-time-owned ex-council London flat of costume designer Jane Petrie

Contributor's Snapshots p5 as featured in Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill for Cico Books and blogged on Stylist's Own

13. The Brighton, UK home of artist Phillipa Stanton (check out her insanely popular Instagram feed, via her alter-ego 5ftinf – 277,000 followers and counting!); 14. The rented London flat of Becky Nolan and Barney Read, aka vintage shop owners The Peanut Vendor15. The rented apartment of visual artist Saija Starr, Helsinki, Finland

I’m not 100% sure how it all works yet, but the book will be sold in its current English-language edition in the following countries, with foreign-language editions to follow in due course: Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, UK and the USA. This certainly isn’t the last you’ll be hearing from me on this subject (though I’ll try not to bore) but for now I’ll leave you to *ahem* go and get your credit cards and place an Amazon pre-order via the links at the top of this post.

(that was subtle right?!)

Pssst – for any journalists or bloggers reading who might be interested in featuring Home for Now on their platforms, please contact publicity@cicobooks.co.uk for further information

{Image credits} Book jacket design and layout pages copyright Joanna Thornhill/Cico Books. Images of each contributor’s homes, copyright the respective homeowners, excluding 1. and 4. which were taken by me, and 12. which was shot by Rachael Smith and styled by Emily Blunden (who kindly tipped me off about this amazing apartment) for The Guardian

A Swoonworthy Mini Makeover

Image

Happy 2014 one and all! It’s been rather low round here on the blog-post front, but I have an ace excuse, honest….

….drumroll….

…I’ve been writing a book! It’s on interiors (as I don’t really know about anything else) and it will be published this Spring. I won’t say anything more right now as there’s still a few tiny odds and ends to tie up and I want to do a proper post on it, but now I’m not working 90-hour-weeks back to back, and having redressed the work/life balance (and eaten copious amounts of cheese) during the festive break, I’m ready to say a bit more for myself again! Starting with this.

Image

I was recently approached by Swoon Editions, an innovative online furniture company who specialise in limited-batch runs of furniture, ensuring prices are kept low without compromising on design or craftsmanship, and asked if they could tempt me with an armchair from their lovely collection, in exchange for taking a few pics of it in situ at home. As I STILL hadn’t managed to solve my living room armchair dilemma, the words ‘gifthorse’, ‘don’t knock’ and ‘mouth’ sprung to mind. Having failed thus far to find a loveseat or bench the right size (and price) to fit the rather bijou space I had available for said seat, when I clapped eyes on the Milly, I knew she could be the answer: with her diminutive proportions, she would easily fit the gap whilst still leaving space for a small side table, and if in the future I did find the bench/loveseat of my dreams (which after 18 months searching I think only exists in my head), she could comfortably be relocated to the dining room, bedroom or study. I plumped for the grey colourway (natch) to tie her in with the rest of the room, and I think she looks resplendent in her new abode. For me, legs always seem to be an issue when looking at not-a-million-pounds seating: the standard seems to be cheap, clunky veneer-clad ones which screw on rather than being integral to the furniture, and is one of the reasons I’ve struggled with my search for so long. Luckily, the Milly (for she’s a somewhat leggy creature) has legs to die for, created from turned solid oak in a pleasingly matt, weathered finish, and with a mid-century style taper.

Image

I’d been waiting to source a chair before hanging any artwork on this wall, so the arrival of Milly also spurred a picture hanging frenzy. After finally relocating the lovely pieces I picked up last August at the Lille Braderie (rolled up at the back of my dining room food cupboard, obviously – no, me neither), frame sourcing commenced, before a final hanging spree.

Image

Top: Vintage 1940′s exam papers, from Lille Braderie, framed in 20x25cm Black wood block photo frames, £9.60 each, Debenhams. Middle left: Papercut artwork, from a vintage market (which I think is sadly no longer there) just outside the main Greenwich Market , framed in 24x30cm Bacall floating picture frame, £16, Habitat. Middle right: Vintage sheet music cover art (I think), from Lille Braderie, framed in 50x70cm Ribba picture frame, £12, Ikea and painted in some leftover Light Gray emulsion, Farrow & Ball. Bottom: Vintage Paris map, from Lille Braderie, framed in Ikea Ribba frame, as before.

Image

In all the excitement, I also added a little pimp-up to my hyacinth plant pot – having excitedly purchased the plant just before Christmas, I failed to check if I had a suitable outer pot to house it in, and this white one was the best I could find knocking about in the shed. As the plastic inner pot protruded slightly, I sloshed a bit of Farrow & Ball’s Light Gray on it (yes, a bit posh like, but I was actually painting some props in it previously for a client and got a bit carried away with using up the leftovers – see also picture frame, above), then decided to add a few stripes with Washi tape. I decided to go with my little 50′s footstool as a ‘side table’ for Milly (for some reason, despite having zero chairs, I seem to own about five side tables, most of which live in the loft, waiting for their moment to shine downstairs). Its small scale sits well with Milly, and it can also easily be cleared off to double as an additional seating perch when we have more than, um, three people come to visit. I’m now on the lookout for a small square tray to sit on its top to make the table-to-seat transition slightly easier and more robust.

So what do you think? Potentially I’d like to add in a couple more prints, but for now, I think I’m done. Phew! Back soon with book info…

{Images} All copyright Joanna Thornhill. If you wish to use them elsewhere, please include a credit and a link back here.

Disclaimer: Swoon Editions supplied me with the Milly free of charge, but all words and opinions are my own, and trust me, I wouldn’t put anything in my house that I didn’t genuinely love, as I am a total fusspot with a poor poker face.

Hurray for Heal’s – Living Room Design Challenge

Vintage Heal's Easy Chairs poster

Those of your who have scurried down London’s Tottenham Court Road of late may have noticed something rather special going on at Heal’s. After over 200 years in the furniture biz (most of which has been spent at this site), the grand old dame has recently undergone something of a spring clean, including restoring her swooping Cecil Brewer staircase, complete with iconic 1920′s cat mascot (once almost sold in error by an eager shop assistant and later paid tribute to by knitwear queen Donna Wilson). Her floors have had something of a shake-up, too, with a far more curated collection of accessories on the ground floor and a larger smattering of new designers’ pieces throughout, under the Heal’s Discovers umbrella. But you needn’t miss out if you’re not in the Big Smoke, as fortunately their website has also undergone a similar spruce-up, and a much firmer focus placed on seating in particular, with a dedicated sofa site to boot.

Frame sofa by Ian Archer, £3,595, Heal's

With this in mind, Heal’s asked a team of interiors writers and bloggers (including yours truly) to come up with a living room design based around one of their key sofas from the site, with the winning design to feature as a real-life set-up in store. You don’t need to ask me twice to spend hours dribbling over their website, so I duly rose to the challenge, starting with selecting my favourite sofa: the Frame, by Ian Archer (shown above in large and upholstered in coral camira hemp). With its sexy, mid-century-yet-nod-to-the-contemporary walnut frame, boxy sides and striking colourway options, this is one seriously swoonworthy bit of kit, and the perfect basis for a little fantasy-makeover dreaming. The warmth of both the walnut and fabric work brilliantly with this season’s hot trend, copper (it’s the new black, don’tcha know) and also, to my delight, worked rather nicely with a few little Moroccan-infused flourishes. Behold:

 

Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Main Elements

As the main ‘ingredients’ for the room, these pieces mix together the Moroccan and mid-century touches wonderfully, with slivers of warm colour coming through in the upright dividers of the Kay + Stemmer flow bookcase (4) and bold top of the Punt Stockholm sideboard by Mario Riuz (6). Copper elements are introduced in both the Cantori City side table (2) and Blu Dot Scamp coffee table (6), which also help ground the scheme with their crisp outlines. The stunning Plantation Rugs Bones rug (5) sets the scene for adding Moroccan detailing throughout the space, with Rothschild & Bickers’ Retro pendant light (1) tying everything together in a rather special way.

Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Sitting Area

It wouldn’t be a scheme of mine without adding in some form of slightly macabre animal motif, and Kristjana Williams’ Twin Owls cushion does the job rather nicely here, bringing in a touch of whimsy to lift the look. And whilst being very different in style, the Boeme Aurora Noir cushion (8) and Eleanor Pritchard line cushion (9) all sit happily together, carrying through the tones of the rug without feeling matchy-matchy. The Leimu large table lamp by Magnus Pettersen (12), with its unusual concrete base, contrasts wonderfully with the more ornate ceiling pendant, and the coffee table quite frankly looks like it’s crying out for the Discipline Roule tray by Pauline Deltour (11) and the Cumbria Crystal Six 11 carafe and wine glass (10), filled with some cheeky Rioja.

Heal's Challenge products for Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill - Dressing Props

But what of the remaining empty shelf, surface space and walls, crying out for trinkets and baubles, I hear you wail? Ahem. Well, fear not – I’ve got that one in the bag, too. With several flashes of pattern already going on, the Deknudk Decora Little Lady mirror proves the perfect piece to grace the walls – simple, with just a slight touch of Victoriana, creating an interesting, eclectic mix. The Ontwerpduo (13), Iittala Nappula (14) and Hay Lup solid triangle candlesticks (15) respectively do a grand job of carrying through tones from the rug and sofa and pick up the copper element, and a sneaky little Iittala glass bird (17) helps my beloved owl cushion feel a little more at home, too. Covering off the trinkets department, the opulent yet simplistic Tom Dixon Spun Copper tall vase (18) contrasts wonderfully with the intricate detailing on the Finsdottir Honkadonka black vase (19 – and also winner of my Favourite Product Name Ever contest) and its squat companion, the Finsdottir Twinkle Little Bat grey litbox (20).

To link through to all these lovelies, do pop over to my Pinterest page, featuring all of these and numerous other items also in my design shortlist. What’s on your wishlist?

{Images: all product images and vintage advertising images taken from the Heal’s website. This post was produced in partnership with the Heal’s Challenge – all product choices are my own}

Trend Watch: Faux Knits

BHS AW13 Knits Lifestyle Shot, featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Another lengthy gap from me I’m afraid – just raising my head above the parapet now that all my Christmas features are (tentatively) finally complete ready for your festive delight in a couple of months, to focus on a more on-season matter. As one of  a team of writers and bloggers contributing seasonal trend reports for Most Wanted’s High Street Hunter series, I’ve been scouring the interweb for a topic I felt was most timely. With both Wool Week (and Autumn) fast approaching, the knitted stuff is – as they say – so hot right now, and in more ways than one.

Whilst Wool Week’s most honourable focus is on championing us to use more wool in our homes, as well as supporting the British wool industry, another little trend has been peeking over its coat tails. A micro-trend, if you will. Faux Knits (working title: How Faux Can You Go – snigger) is Real Wool’s sassy little sister, celebrating abstract printed versions of knitted designs alongside woollen imprints in resin and porcelain, washed down with a bit of engineered chunky knit. Use her to inject both texture and humour into your homes this season, and all for under £80.

Faux Knits Shopping Round-up p1 featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

1. Lana pendant (resin), £50, BHS. 2. Knit Knit bedding in Ink, from £18-£80, Room39. 3. Cable knit letterpress coasters in grey, £14.06 for ten, RedBirdInk at Etsy. 4. Knitted effect deer head, £40, John Lewis. 5. Weave porcelain cup in mauve, £14. Clare Gage. 6. Knitted Room IV dark mural by Chae Young Kim, £50 per m2 (available as both a permanent and a removable stick-it-up wall covering and made to your custom size), Surface View.

Faux Knits Shopping Round-up p2 featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

7. Chunky knit towels in smoke, from £3-25 each, John Lewis. 8. Lope purple knitted cushion (created from squares of ribbing for a knitted look), £45, Habitat. 9. Cable knit porcelain bowl, £26, Magpie Miller. 10. Purl baskets in overcast blue, £69 for three, Made.com. 11. Red herringbone 3×5′ rug, £35, Urban Outfitters. 12. Cable knit storage boxes, £65 for three, Cox & Cox.

{Images: All taken from the websites credited above. Main top image features the Aviemore footstool, Lana pendant, Waffle knit cushion, Vintage cushion and throws from a selection, all at BHS. This post was created in collaboration with Most Wanted magazine, part of VoucherCodes.co.uk.}

Pull Up a Seat

Darlings of Chelsea Conran Chair by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog1

I have moaned before about my lack of seating in the living room – for a glorious few hours this time last year, I got a loaner-chair as the space featured in a magazine shoot, and I was far too frantic dealing with festive baubles and mince pies to genuinely select and buy myself an armchair in time. (Yes, that’s a Christmas shoot during the August Bank Holiday – that’s how we roll in my biz…)

So the chair was duly returned and my confusion over seating choices remained. It’s a rather awkward space, you see – slightly too tight for a two-seater sofa or even really a love seat (or snuggler, if you will), yet the armchair I’d been loaned seemed rather an under-use of the space. Luckily, my PR chums at Darlings of Chelsea kindly offered me a month-long loan to see if they had something that might work for me, in exchange for popping up a couple of pics on here.

Darlings of Chelsea Sofas and Chairs by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

As the room has dark grey walls and a light grey sofa already, I was taken with the idea of going for a coloured chair, to add contrast, and pick up on one of the various bright tones in my curtains. Above were a few of my favourites

1. Viola, 2. Duke by Conran, 3. Washington, 4. Rosaline, 5. Titania, all Darlings of Chelsea. 

Still uncertain what size to go for, I thought I’d try a large armchair instead – not quite a loveseat, but more substantial than a small tub. So after much deliberation, this rather special little beauty came to live with us for a while:

Darlings of Chelsea Conran Chair by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog2

Ain’t she lovely? She’s the Matador armchair by Conran (which figures) and her rich, cobalt blue tones looked amazing against said grey walls (and by happy co-incidence, she got on splendidly with my Crush Cube cushion). When the time came to return her, I did quickly dust off the cobwebs on my wallet to see if I could make her a permanent addition, but then sadly the washing machine decided to blow up unannounced so funding had to be channelled that way instead (bore-ing!) However, she shall always hold a special place in my heart, and perhaps one day I’ll get her back into my life – for now, we’re back to using a temporary footstool in place of a chair and hoping that no one over 5’4″ comes to visit…

{Images: Lifestyle shots taken by me; cut-out shots all via Darlings of Chelsea. With thanks again to Darlings of Chelsea for the loan of this chair}

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 147 other followers