The Great Garden Fakeover: (final) Grand Reveal!

Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p25, Heart Home July14 You might have noticed my makeover posts of late have very much been focused on my garden, rather than anything actually going on inside. The interior’s something I’ve been beavering away with, honest, but as anything to do with renovating a Victorian property (especially when someone – OK, me – insisted on painstakingly stripping 100+ years of woodwork paint just to get a slightly neater finish) seems to take forever, the garden has very much become my ‘happy place’ now the weather’s on our side. Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p30-31, Heart Home July14 As I’ve mentioned previously, the garden was utterly barren when we moved in, so it’s by far the biggest transformation we’ve made to our house and as I know bugger all about gardening, am really rather proud of it all. When I was setting it all up, I had a hunch others might be interested in seeing some of the ‘makeover’ tricks I’ve used to transform the space, so I set about shooting it at the end of last Summer before it all faded away again, ably photographed by the wonderful Rita Platts, whom I worked with during my Home for Now shoot extravaganzas. Finally, after the best part of a year’s wait, the images we created are in this month’s Heart Home magazine! Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p32-33, Heart Home July14 I’m really pleased with how the feature turned out, and hope it inspires both renters and inexperienced gardeners to have a go at transforming their own space into something special with a few outside-the-box tricks. Above (and the first one below) are a few layout pages from the feature, but do take a look at the full article over at Heart Home (it’s in the July 2014 issue currently on their homepage, but from early August onwards you’ll still be able to access it via their past issues section – page 25 onwards). Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p38-39, Heart Home July14 Of course, come the dawn of spring this year and six months after this shoot, it certainly wasn’t looking like this – you might recall a few months ago, I shared a few ‘real reveal‘ shots of it post-winter in rather a sorry state. Since then, I’ve been trying to restore it to its former glory and more so, with the addition of some new plants and seeds. Clever online gardening site Plant Me Now helped me on the way with this, so I thought it only fair to reveal how it’s really looking today, now it’s in full bloom! And here’s a quick reminder too of how truly awful it was when we started in the Summer of 2012: Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - back Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - decking Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - seating area Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - decking detail Not bad, huh? Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic one Here’s a few close-ups of my Plant Me Now babies – I was pleasantly surprised to find pretty much everything’s survived my black thumb thus far, and most things are currently flowering beautifully. The lupins have actually finished now, as have the foxgloves (though it looks like a few new shoots are appearing on the latter – anyone know if I can expect the same for the lupins?!) and I’ve also grown some sweet pea from seed which still haven’t actually flowered for some reason, but otherwise seem to be happily growing so hopefully they’ll pop out soon, and the dahlia’s are also just starting to appear – I’m hoping they will see me through to the Autumn. Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic two Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic three Next on the list is to try and be clever and start planning for next two season’s soon: I’m thinking of filling in some of the pots with some winter bedding plants once the Summer seasonals have died off (most likely involving some Pansies and Violas though I’m also loving the look of their pretty Myosotis flowers and Sedum plant), as well as planting out some spring bulbs (am desperate to try some alliums), so hopefully it’ll be less of a mess come Spring 2015 than it was earlier this year. Right, best go and get back in it – it’s Pimms O’Clock, after all… {Images: Heart Home layout pages: photography Rita Platts, styling and text Joanna Thornhill. All subsequent photography, Joanna Thornhill.}

Working Girl: Setting up a (fantasy) Office Space

The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop

With my Art Trail, book-flogging debut out of the way, it’s been a busy time at Stylist HQ of late – and with Christmas(-in-July – when us media folk have to put our festive hats on in order to file Crimbo features in time for the big day) just around the corner, I’ve been chasing my tail somewhat in order to get ready for all the press shows that are fast filling my diary.

Back in March, I cleared out my study at home as Men were coming to replace my super-leaky, mega-rotten back window. I thought I’d use it as an opportune moment to completely empty out the room and actually finish decorating it, having only really been camping in there up to this point. I assured the boyf that I MUST be back in there within the week, two at most, so we’d have to work extra-hard to get the space sorted to minimise my camping-in-a-corner-of-the-dining-room-using-chairs-as-in-trays hell.

Yes, needless to say, four months on I’m still shoved in a corner downstairs at my makeshift workstation. Between having no free time and various technical malfunctions (my actual computer, plus issues with all the furniture I’m painstakingly customising prior to moving back in) it’s all I can do not to daydream of sacking it all off and moving into a Proper Office Space. But on my own terms, obvs. I’m thinking some sort of former industrial unit with crittall windows and exposed brickwork, like the space above (OK, technically that’s a coffee shop, but you get my drift.) I’m lucky to live in London anyway so a quick dash on the tube to one of my favourite spots (I’m thinking Clerkenwell, though this one just down the road in the City looks pretty tasty from the outside, too) would be do-able. There’s no shortage of hot desks and communal studios dotted about the capital but there’s also plenty of serviced offices too – definitely something to think about in the future, even if for the time being it’s still just a bit of a fantasy. Of course, the extra space would allow me to take on some staff (an assistant, 24/7 IT support and a Chief Coffee Maker/Biscuit Provider would do for starters) and I could actually catch up with clients in my meeting area (which currently consists of a half-metre corner of said home-study, where I’ve plonked a footstool). Here’s how it might look:

Dream Office Workspace by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

A self-contained, freestanding unit would offer loads of flexibility within a large space, so this clever Shesk freestanding shelf and desk, soon to launch at Habitat, would be a great place to start (1). I do love a pegboard and a few of these large ones in light blue, £60 from Block (2) would provide the perfect versatile display without requiring holes-in-walls – great for a rented space. I often feel I’d benefit from horse blinkers at work to stop me getting distracted – having them built into my chair (ID Trim Cap chair, price on application, Vitra) certainly seems an appealing prospect. For flexibility in an open-plan space, these chunky drawers are ideal thanks to their industrial wheels, and cound happily house all my samples and swatches. House Doctor wooden side table, £495, Bodie and Fou (4).

 

Dream Office Workspace - Communal Areas by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Looking at the wider space generally, a splash of colour to shelf brackets on an open-backed unit would work well to zone off an open-plan space, without feeling corporate. This example – believe it or not – is actually an Ikea hack (5). In-keeping with the industrial style yet with a touch of muted pastel to soften things up, this gorgeous Eikon basic ash lamp, £200 from Furnie (6), would look striking clustered together in a group or hung low over a meeting table, for which the Scrumpy, £645 from Loaf (9), would do a grand job of providing. A chill-out zone is a must, and I’m partial to a bit of button-back as so splendidly showcased on this Ritchie two-seat sofa, a mere £499 from Made.com (7). And if you’re going to have your own little hive of industry, why not realise that childhood dream and commission your very own name in lights from Goodwin & Goodwin (8)?!

Dream Office Workspace - Desktop Accessories by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Desktop organisation is key and pretty things certainly help achieve that visual zen. Get your secretary (ahem) to manage your diary in style with this Letterpress filecard planner, £19.50, Present & Correct (10). A splash of neon livens up any scheme - and as these sunglasses-inducing-in-a-good-way pencils also moonlight as rulers, why not get one of each? Flourescent ruler pencils, £1.25 each, Future & Found (11). Then, to show you’ve really hit the big time, nothing says success quite like some gold desktop goodies (um, OK, they’re not real gold) in the form of a handy Pencil holder, £44 from Anthropologie (12) and snazzy Paper tray, £61 from Another Country (13). And yes, they might not be as practical as an actual filing cabinet, but I doubt unpaid invoices will ever look as good elsewhere as they would in these stunning Plisse archive folders by Hay Studio, £27 each at Really Well Made (14). Finally, a little lamp to light the way will help when burning the midnight oil, especially if it has little golden feet like the Arles, £96 from In-Spaces (15).

Right, so who fancies a job? Yeah? See you there at 9am sharp on Monday. The address is In My Mind, with salary payable in whimsical notions and dreams, sigh… *goes back to finishing off DIY in real-life study in the hopes of actually sharing some After shots soon*

{Images: Opening shot of The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop, Sydney. All other images as per the companies’ credited. This post was supported by Flexi Offices but all products and images shown were entirely my own choice}

E17 Art Trail 2014 + Home for Now

Home for Now & E17 Art Trail as seen on Stylist's Own

I’ve waxed lyrical quite a few times over on Twitter about my love for my adopted little ‘hometown’, Walthamstow (a far-flung corner of north east London, yet so well connected – thank-you, Victoria Line – that you wouldn’t know it). Since moving here and not knowing a soul, I’ve been amazed at how many artists, designers, media folk and even interiors peeps like myself have also found themselves in this enclave, many of whom I now consider friends (but – shhh – the locals don’t like us talking about it, in case everyone else cottons on, though I fear if recent property price hikes are anything to go by, the cat may already be out of the bag). Anyway I digress: one of the many things I like about this area is the real sense of community – sadly hard to find in much of London Town – and the E17 Art Trail is a perfect case in point. Started in 2005 by two local artists, looking for a way to help motivate and strengthen the local artistic community, it has since turned into a behemoth, with over 3,500 artists and contributors involved in 2014′s three-week extravaganza. And this year, I’m going to be one of them!

Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill Launch Party Pic

Kiln Arts & Sonia Hunt at the E17 Art Trail as seen on Stylist's Own blog

I’ll be ‘popping up’ at the home of local ceramicist Steven Smith, aka Kiln Arts, who is kindly hosting both myself and fellow-local photographer Sonia Hunt within his maisonette (or hopefully in his stunning garden, weather permitting). I’ll be setting up a version of my ‘living book wall’ as featured at last month’s book launch (seen in the above pic) and selling signed copies of Home for Now at a special discounted rate of £15, as well as running a competition to win a goodie bag full of lovely loot (the same bounty as seen in this previous post. Thanks to all who entered that one and if you missed out, here’s your chance for another crack at the whip!) And of course, Steven and Sonia will be offering their own ceramic pieces and photography prints for sale, too, along with fending off my attempts at swapsies, no doubt. I have sort of promised to make flapjacks, but I’m not sure I’ve got time and, given that I once managed to nearly blow up a microwave whilst attempting to cook a jacket potato, I’ll let you judge whether that will be a good or bad thing. But beverages and snacks will be available, one way or another.

Helpfully, the guide this year (pick one up at one of the participating venues or view the PDF here) has been broken down into distinct trails, focusing on the various corners of the ‘Stow (we’re at Venue number 85 (here’s our group page) within the Markhouse Trail), letting you map out your route for the day with ease and allowing you to see at a glance what’s in your vicinity. But to break it all down, here’s the key info you need:

Dates/times: Sat 31st May/Sun 1st June and Sat 7th/Sun 8th June; 11am-6pm each day (note: I *should* be there the whole time but my stall will be manned even if I’m not, though if you did specifically want to see me in person then do tweet me or drop me an email just to make sure)

Venue: 112 Theydon Street, London E17 8EL

How to get there: TUBE: Blackhorse Road or Walthamstow Central (Victoria line) then about a 20-ish minute walk; TRAIN: St James Street or Walthamstow Central (15 minute walk from the former/20ish minutes the latter); BUS: 158 (from Blackhorse Road/St James Street), 58/48 (from Walthamstow Central) or 48/55/56 (from Hackney/Clapton way); CAR: free on-street parking (plenty of room for bikes in the garden, too).

Yes, I know, it’s possibly a little out of the way, but there’s more than enough to see to make a little daytrip out of it, and for the over-30′s, you can also regale your friends and family afterwards with tales of how you visited the hometown of everyone’s favourite 90′s boyband to boot. Aside from that, and visiting the other, um, 3,499 places involved in the Art Trail, might I recommend the following to while away the hours in East 17:

Five things to see and do in Walthamstow as seen on Stylist's Own blog

1. A visit to neon artist Chris Bracey’s masterpiece of a studio-cum-workshop-cum-neon-paradise, God’s Own Junkyard (his work has appeared in Hollywood movies and as a backdrop for dishy Idris Elba in the BBC’s Luther, don’tchaknow), followed by a locally brewed Jack of Clubs in the Wildcard Brewery yard outside.

2. Stroll round the picturesque conservation area that is Walthamstow Village, home to the 15th Century timber Ancient House and all manner of other character cottages which are quite the opposite of what one would expect to find in urban Zone Three; bijou little shops/pubs/cafes on Orford Road; a cat-friendly pub plus the world’s poshest Spar (stockists of infamous local delicacy, Bacon Jam. Get some. Seriously. In fact, get two and drop the other one round to mine, please, I’ve run out.)

3. Pop into the birthplace of none other than William Morris on Forest Road, recently renovated and now an award-winning (free) gallery dedicated to his work. If it’s open, the massive Salvation Army charity shop opposite is a must for vintage fiends.

4. Estate agents enjoy bragging about Walthamstow High Street being home to the longest street market in Britain (or Europe, depending on how hungry they are for your commission) – rumour has it, a certain Lord Sugar even learnt his trade here. Whilst on face value it’s not exactly the most inspiring of streets, there are lots of little gems tucked away along its one-mile route, such as the beautiful Grade II listed Manze’s pie ‘n’ mash shop, amazing (and amazingly cheap) naan bread from the Fresh Nan Bakery and a multitude of fab Indian fabric shops (great for cheap, colourful trimmings for the craft box).

5. Fancy a coffee? Get your caffeine fix from industrial-chic Cafe 56 (a handy ten-minute walk from my pop-up event venue), Scandi new kids Bygga Bo, where you can buy both Scandi home accessories and an amazing cinnamon bun in one hit, or local stalwarts (and the friendliest cafe owners you’ll ever meet) Arts & Crusts. Something stronger? Recently refurbished Victorian boozers The Bell or The Chequers should see you right, or for something a bit more classic, check out the Rose & Crown theatre pub, which often hosts comedy nights – look carefully and you can see big names for cheaps trying out new material, includind Stuart Lee and Alan Carr.

I look forward to seeing you Stow-side!

{Images: 1. Time Out, 2. my Instagram feed, 3.  Friends of the William Morris Gallery (and yes, that is Laurence Llewelyn Bowen lurking on the far left at the grand opening), 4. The Guardian, 5. my Instagram feed again, showing the interior of Cafe 56}

Garden Mini-Makeover Part Two: Plant Me Now

Plant detail, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

So as mentioned in my last post, I’ve been slowly tackling the garden over the past couple of months, in-between book shenanigans and driving rain. As we didn’t get the garden set up last year until rather late in the season, along with some perennial plants here and there, we mainly just filled in the gaps with cheap seasonals, so come March when we finally stuck our heads out the back door, it was all looking somewhat barren:

Grubby Garden Before shot, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Just as thoughts turned to restocking supplies, I had a rather timely email from a clever company, Plant Me Now, who sell an array of seeds, bulbs and plug plants (little tiddlers ready for going straight into your soil) along with various gardening supplies – a one-stop gardening shop, if you will, asking if I’d like to test out their service. I’ve always been slightly confused about what to plant in my garden due to its slightly unusual set-up (as it’s wholly concrete – we put down the fake grass and borders last year – everything is grown in pots rather than planted into the (non-existent) ground soil). However, I’m lucky that my garden is south facing and gets the sun all day (on the occasions when it actually shines) so I’ve always had high hopes that she might become a little tropical oasis, spilling over with flora and fauna if I treat her right. Together with their in-house expert, the very helpful Tim, I discussed my grand plans for a wild meadow-style space brimming with pretty country flowers, in the hope that my vision could be translated into my, um, small patch of concrete in  Walthamstow. Luckily, it turns out a lot of my favourite garden flowers were deemed suitable for my setting, so I’m hoping that in a month or so everything will be overflowing with some of this (and if you have a south-facing balcony or small garden and an abundance of pots, these should all work for you, too:)

Ready plants from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Ready perennial plants (provided as a 7cm plug plant, already overwintered (grown the previous year) and ready to plant for flowering that season)

{1. Delphinium dalsante; 2. Echinacea double scoop cranberry; 3. Huecherella sweet tea; 4. Phlox cloud of perfume; 5. Penstemon electric blue}

Starter plants from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Starter plants (provided as a 5cm plug plant and also overwintered)

{6. Achillea red velvet; 7. Foxglove digitalis dalmation cream; 8. Euphorbia humpty dumpty; 9. Gardilia mesa bicolour; 10. Lupin gallery pink; 11. Monardo marshall’s delight; 12. Rudbeckia goldstrum; 13. Salvia nemorosa caradonna}

Bulbs and seeds from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Bulbs (can be removed at the end of the season and replanted the following year) and seeds (lasting one season)

{14. Dahlia collerette; 15. Dahlia maniac; 16. Dahlia nick sr; 17. Sweet Pea singing the blues; Sweet Pea old spice mixed}

Preparing to plant, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

So as to avoid last year’s mild disaster of not labelling anything and now having no idea what half the living things actually are, I was determined to be meticulous with my plant organisation. Initially, I cut up the green pots they were all sent in, so each was sat in its own individual labelled container, so to speak.

Plant Me Now label detail, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Then we worked our way around the garden, deciding which pots to place what in and resting each on top until its turn came to be planted (stopping for a bit of tea and cake halfway through, natch).

Coffee and cake in the garden as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

And finally, I worked my way around, replacing the printed-pot labels with my own hand written ones, scrawled in biro on some bits of bamboo leftover from our fence (in an ideal world, I’d have done this a little more elegantly, but the effects of the earlier coffee and cake had started to wear off by that point and I was getting keen to finish up.) They do the job, nonetheless!

Bamboo plant label, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

I dearly hope to be able to come back to you in a month or so with pictures of my overflowing garden, but for now I’m sitting back and letting Mother Nature do her thing…

{Images: all taken by Joanna Thornhill, except for the flowering plant photographs, which were taken from Plant Me Now’s website.}

{Disclaimer: Plant Me Now supplied me with all my lovely foliage in exchange for a blog post, but the items picked are all my own personal selection}

 

Garden Mini-Makeover Part One: Tesco Home

Tesco products garden detail as blogged on Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill

I thought it high time I talked about something other than my book – the rest of my house has been as neglected as the blog over the past year as I struggled to fit in writing and shooting it along with other work. Luckily, I’m now managing to sneak in some baby-steps towards getting things slightly more ship-shape. My office makeover is currently underway (what was meant to be a two-week job yet is now entering its third month) and I can’t wait to share it once it’s done (mainly as the entire house is in chaos with displacement and I can’t file any paperwork at the moment, which makes me VERY twitchy). And the garden, which was looking so lovely at the end of last Summer, has been left somewhat worse-for-wear after a Winter’s neglect. I’ll come back to share what’s been going on out there later this week, but for now I’m just showing a ‘nice’ bit.

Tesco products garden items as blogged on Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill

Y’see, my PR chums at Tesco, having just launched a new Home catalogue, got in touch to see if I’d like to try out a few items from their latest trends range, to see how I could get them to work at home and fit in with my own style. As the house is still in redecorating chaos, I thought testing some outdoor bits would make sense. Especially as I’d been meaning to get a parasol as our little south-facing garden can get really rather uncomfortably hot on sunny days (no, I don’t expect any sympathy for that particular problem…) and who can say no to a bright pink raffia parasol?! So this is how the ‘nice corner’ is currently looking, and I am very much enjoying my newly-sheltered dining spot (not to mention, taking these photos provided an ideal opportunity to purchase and scoff a Battenberg). The catalogue is in stores now so do check it out when you’re next doing a groceries run. More on the remainder of the space to follow!

{Image credits: photography by Joanna Thornhill. Tesco items featured are the Hula parasol, £20, Bright stripe drinks bucket, £15, Round glass lantern in flamingo, £10, Multi brights picnic jug with tumblers, £12 and Dip dye cereal bowls, £12.50 for four, all from their Sherbet Crush range. The table and chairs are my own little vintage numbers.}

{Disclosure: Tesco provided me with these items in exchange for this post, but the choice of items was my own, and I am most happy with them all!}

Competition: Home for Now Book + Goodie Bag

Competition board Home for Now Joanna Thornhill

As promised earlier in the week, I’m popping back in to talk about a rather exciting little competition I have up my sleeve! At my book launch event, I held an on-the-night competition to win a signed copy of Home for Now, plus a goodie bag dripping with home-for-now inspired bounty, by my fabulous event sponsors. I asked all those who attended (well, I say asked, it was written in the corner but luckily most people seemed to see it!) to write down their best home-for-now, landlord-friendly decorating or styling tip and pin it to my special board. Said special board was, in fact, an old shed door I ‘inherited’ with my house – inspired by the decorative door featured in book contributor Carole Poirot’s London flat (the original image can just be seen stuck to my door in the top left picture – Carole uses hers as a decorative background) I painted mine up and now plan to turn it into a jewellery holder (will share pics if/when I get round to that). But I digress – so for the night, I tied some twine (thanks, REfound objects) around it, wrote up ‘Competition’ with some washi tape (and in my pre-launch excitement initially managed to spell it wrong), and fixed on some mini pegs from Hobbycraft, to provide a sort of real-life Pinterest for guests to pin their answers to. It worked rather well!

So now, I’m turning back to the virtual, and asking, who would like to…

Home for Now prize giveaway by Joanna Thornhill

You do? Well then, here’s the official blurb and details of how to do it!

Competition blog graphic Home for Now by Joanna Thornhill

And below is a little more info on what else you’ll be getting in the goodie bag, with massive thanks to my amazing sponsors Dulux, Rockett St George, Tala, Thornback & Peel, Rose & Grey, Command and Hobbycraft, along with a little write-up of how you could use them to improve your own home-for-now. Competition is open from now until midday Friday 23rd May, so spread the word and send in your entry!

Goodie Bag Bounty Home for Now Joanna Thornhill pt1

Goodie Bag Bounty Home for Now Joanna Thornhill pt2

Goodie Bag Bounty Home for Now Joanna Thornhill pt3

So to surmise:

1. Think up your best home-for-now decorating or styling tip – it can be something you’ve tried yourself, something you’ve seen and would like to have a go at, or even a photograph of a proud achievement from your own home-for-now .

2. Share it – email it to me at jo @ joannathornhill.co.uk or tweet me @joannathornhill. You could also pop it on my Facebook page, or if it’s a visual, tag me into your Instagram @joannthornhillstylist

3. Excitedly tell your friends about the book whilst waiting to see if you’re the winner…

{Image credits} Top right and left ‘competition board’ board photos by Daniel Nelson and bottom one by Zoe Brewer; WIN! photo by Joanna Thornhill,

 

Home for Now London Launch

1. Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Last week (well, a little longer than that now – where did that time go?!) saw the culmination of a year’s blood, sweat and tears, as I wet my book-baby’s head at my very own launch party! As mentioned in my last post, I held it at the gorgeous Thornback & Peel shop, in a tucked-away corner of charming Bloomsbury. I was blown away by the great turnout and reception it received - it’s impossible to be objective about a project you’re so close to, but the reaction (and sales) have left me assured that I’ve created something that will hopefully help inspire many home-for-now’ers throughout the land! For those who couldn’t attend, here’s how it all went down:

I wanted to bring elements of the book to life for the launch; in particular the back wall, where I was keen to create a ‘living book cover’. I opted to paint the back wall of the shop in a hue that matched the book cover itself, to create a focal point, eventually settling on Dulux‘s Amazon Beat 3. A gorgeous light blue/grey, it changes its tone with the light and perfectly represented my cover photography. The cardboard and rusty metal letters spelling out the book title, all from REfound Objects, speak for themselves, and the rest of the wall was decorated using elements that also feature within the book (more on that further down).

2. The Windows opener Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Thornback & Peel kindly let me take over their windows as well as their back wall (well, and their entire shop, really). I wanted to use this as another platform to showcase three ideas that feature in the book (plus shove up a gazebo and bunting for extra prettiness/to provide shelter from the threatened rain, which luckily never showed). This is what happened in each window…

3. The Windows Suitcase Stact Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Suitcase Stack – inspired by several shots in the book that show the virtues of using vintage suitcases as storage (including this gorgeous snap above right, used for our launch event invite), I stacked up three cases from my own stash and added my own little tin teapot (which I usually use as garden decor) to house some pretty blooms. Each window had a custom-made caption, offering styling or DIY advice, in the same way that it appears throughout the book.

4. Decoupage Cabinet Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Decoupage Cabinet – a real-life example of home-for-now’ing: Thornback & Peel let me use one of their old display cabinets in the window, which I wanted to decorate in a home-for-now-friendly manner, without doing anything irreversible to it as it wasn’t my own piece. The solution? I took several sheets of Thornback & Peel giftwrap, chopped them into various sizes and created a patchwork pattern on the top and sides, held on with double-sided tape, making it easy to remove again afterwards. This is a technique I discuss in the book, which works equally well with leftover wallpaper samples.

5. Wallpaper Drop Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Wallpaper Drop – another technique discussed in the book: if you’re not able to wallpaper, as you’re renting or simply don’t want the commitment, try hanging a single drop from a smart trouser hanger for a hit of pattern. The image on the right (taken from the book) was recreated in the third window using one of Thornback & Peel’s stunning designs.

6. Details1 Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

Never one to turn down an opportunity to add in a bit of styling, the decor throughout was peppered with home-for-now related details. Here’s a few of the things I did:

1. My Kusmi tea tin makes a perfect (and free!) plant pot holder, and this little spider plant was actually given to me as a cutting from contributor Anna Alicia (you can see its ‘Mummy’ on p49 of the book). It usually sits in pride of place in my office.

2. I couldn’t resist getting some extra business cards printed (by Moo) featuring some of my favourite images from the book.

3. This barber board (kindly loaned by Rose & Grey) recreates the one featured in the tiny studio flat of Clare Nicolson, and also made the perfect spot to spell out my social media accounts on the night! The newspaper stars (REfound Objects) and washi tape stripes (extra-wide MT Casa tape and thinner stripe, from a selection at Molly Meg) were both used as bedroom decor at Hannah Ricci’s rented flat – the washi tape adds a flash of pattern and can be removed without a trace, and the paper stars are lightweight enough to act as fun ceiling decor without causing damage.

4. This ribbon-wrapped light fitting is perfect for getting a vintage-fabric-cord look without requiring an electrician – simply wrap it round a wire shade (this one is from Rockett St George, with the ribbon from REfound Objects) and continue all the way along the flex. This project originally appeared in the bedroom of Saija Starr.

5. My faithful vintage crate was used in the book as a makeshift bedside table at Dion Salvador Lloyd‘s flat, though crates feature throughout the book as a handy home-for-now freestanding storage item in many of the homes we photographed. Here, it was put to good use housing my books for the night. The three bottles on top were a little nod to Karin Lindroos‘s coffee table, where she displays single flowers in old lab bottles for an inexpensive yet striking display (the one on the left was actually used to prop Maria Meder‘s dining table in Finland and was such a cool design, I snuck it all the way home with me in my suitcase!)

7. Details2 Launch Party Opening Shots Home for Now book by Joanna Thornhill, as seen on Stylist's Own blog

6. My vintage drawer display shelves, as featured in the book as one of the step-by-step illustrated projects. These now live in my study at home and offer really handy storage for all the little trinkets I am obsessed with collecting (I think it’s in a stylist’s DNA). I stuck some printouts of the relevant book pages on the side, using my trusty washi tape.

7. Moth wall stickers, as featured in Tom Chalet‘s kitchen and balcony – these are by designer Lou Rota but are sadly being discontinued, though luckily similar designs still adorn her quirky ceramics. This cute bunting washi tape is from another of my event sponsors, Hobbycraft (the pic it’s holding up shows how the stickers were used to add a touch of personality to Tom’s white kitchen units in the book).

8. With a product range that’s SO perfect for both renters and anyone not wishing to put holes in their walls, I was lucky enough to get Command onboard as an event sponsor, too. We used several items from their range of picture and poster hanging strips plus some of their hooks (these are their clear utensil hooks holding up the ‘for’), which worked perfectly as we didn’t want to damage Thornback & Peels’ walls either!

9. Using an offcut from an old map I had at home (I had previously used the bulk of it to cover my filing cabinet, which you can see here), I copied this cute mini bunting that originally hung in Karin Lindroos’s dining room, using the Make Your Own instructions I’d written up for it in the book. It was great to practice what I preach and make a project from the book for fun- there are still several other projects in there I want to make for myself, too.

Joanna Thornhill at Home for Now Book Launch as featured on Stylist's Own blog

So there we have it. One happy author, and another big tick off the bucket list. I didn’t actually get round to making any speeches on the night, and I won’t go all Oscars on you, but I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank my publishers, Cico Books, for having the faith in me to publish this book and for their generous supply of fizzy plonk on the night, all of the amazing home-for-now’ers who let us shoot their properties and share their amazing homes with the world, my photographers, Emma Mitchell and James Gardiner and everyone else who helped with the production, Thornback & Peel for being such gracious hosts, everyone who has supported the book through sales, blog posts, press coverage and tweets (believe me, it all helps!), and my wonderful friends, family and ever-loyal partner Paul for all the encouragement this past year.

And as a special thank-you to my blog readers, I’m going to be offering a goodie bag with a signed copy of the book, plus a selection of fantastic gifts from my launch sponsors – the competition opens this Friday so do come back then for details of what’s on offer and how to enter. And now, quite aptly, I’m off to Ikea-hack my new Billy bookcase…

{Can’t wait for the competition? Buy the book now – click here for stockist details worldwide}

{Image credits: I must confess to nicking a few Instagrams of the night to intersperse in with my own snaps, so big thanks to Amy Silvester (top left opening crowd shot, decoupage cabinet detail shots and details 1-3), Laura Markwardt (right hand opening crowd shot and gazebo shot on left), Natalie Blenford (bottom opening crowd shot), Vicky Harrison (gazebo shot on right) and Kate Baxter for taking the only shot of me where I don’t look dishevelled}

 

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