Well here we still are then and I hope you are still well. Being at home and writing all day isn’t really that different for me, but I am finding it hard to summon up any motivation to exercise and, for some inexplicable reason, I’m finding it much harder to decide what to wear for a day spent at home than I ever did when I had to go out to meetings. But I am determined that I will be dressed every day because I fear if I don’t do that I will do nothing and it will be a short slide into entire days spent in bed reading …. although, now I come to think of it, there are worse things. So I rise (later than usual, I dress (more indecisively than usual) but you can forget about baking banana bread and feeding sourdough starters. Ain’t no-one got time for that – even in a lockdown.
Although if I had a kitchen like this…. Mine has painted wooden doors but I increasingly find I am drawn to salvage type fronts and doors made from old floorboards and reclaimed shop fittings. I have often spoken of the bathroom that doesn’t look all sleek and modern but like a room in which you happen to bathe and there is a growing move towards kitchens that have the same vibe; witness the removal of overhead cupboards as many of us decide open shelves are more attractive. Yes they may attract more dust but in open plan spaces, or rooms that have to double as dining, sitting and even, office areas, having a kitchen that feels more like it has furniture in it rather than fittings works really well.
This dining area above is also really welcoming with its tongue and groove panelled walls and built in banquet. It’s small but its designer has embraced that cosiness with the wooden walls and the gallery wall echoing the window opposite. You have to go with what you’ve got and if it’s small then work with it rather than try to make it something it’s not by leaving it bare and unadorned to make it feel more spacious. This often doesn’t work and just looks cold and empty. Here the colours are pale but there is texture and character.
The dark wooden chairs work with the picture frames and cushions to make it feel cosy and bright at the same time. I have a similarly narrow dining area and we have put the table lengthways down the space which probably makes it look even longer and narrower. A slightly smaller table might be able to sit across like this one and fill the space but, in our case, we need to access the door where, in the image above, the window is so we had no choice. Another good option for a narrow boxy space is a round or, hard to find, oval table.
Leaving the kitchen but staying with the tongue and groove to this home office area. If you have an alcove, this kind of work space is easy enough to create as you just add shelves to store all your stuff and make sure that the bottom one is high enough to fit a chair under – standard desk/table height is 73cm. If you’re not sitting there for hours then a stool that slides right underneath so you can fit a door and close off the space at the end of the day is a good idea. Or perhaps you can pinch a chair from the kitchen table so that it can return afterwards. The panelling brings character but it’s the old church chair that really elevates this space so much more than a modern one would do.
Another home office, another, less rustic and more period, type of panelling. And this antique table and chair makes the perfect desk set up that would work well in a room that wasn’t designed as an office and had to double up with other functions -dining or lounging for example. The drawer means you could put the laptop and notebooks away and replace them with decorative items when it wasn’t needed for work.
One thing, if at all possible, if your desk can’t face a window is to have it sideways not just for the light and air but for the view. If you can’t arrange that then try and put a picture of an outside view on the wall in front of you.
Moving into the bedroom and this is a product shot, but it’s made all the more inviting by the old door and vintage mirror, both of which bring so much more character to the room. If you live in a modern house then don’t worry, you can always add antiques in the form of the furniture rather than the fixtures. Just as a mid-century modern chair will work in any period, so will an antique table.
Below, the bedhead has been made from reclaimed floorboards and I love the way the wall lights have been arranged to be a decorative wall feature as well as a practical, and space-saving, addition. I made a sliding door from leftover floorboards in the loft and you can often find small amounts of boards on ebay that aren’t enough for a room but will work for something else.
So don’t worry, if you haven’t got the budget for antiques, which can be pricey, see what you can find in salvage and use that to bring character to your rooms.