And so did come 2021 and with it another lockdown and Kate and Sophie found themselves back in their duvet dens to record, what is now the third series of their podcast The Great Indoors, remotely. And we began by talking about what is getting us through it this time.
Sophie has become and ardent follower of Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Iceman, and in addition to swimming in the English Channel off the coast of Brighton near where she lives, has also taken to lying in an ice cold bath in her garden two or three times a week.
I have spent all the money saved on gym membership on a Peloton bike and am furiously cycling off the excess lockdown calories in the loft. Naturally we are both baffled by each other’s choices. I’d love for you to share your tips on what’s getting you through this time in the comments as you never know what simple thing you do might help someone else who is finding it tough. And yes Gin goes without saying. And this also made me laugh yesterday – I can only link to it as it’s a video on instagram but like I say, whatever gets you through.
Actually, we didn’t discuss on the podcast but reading is always something that helps me and I have been working my way through two big series – loving the familiarity and the comforting feeling of getting to know the characters. First was the Donna Leon series about Brunetti, Chief of Police in Venice, which is much more about the food they cook than the murders he solves, and the Martin Walker, Death in the Dordogne series about Bruno, Chief of Police in Perigord, which again is less about the death and often about the food , his basset hound and his vegetable patch. They are gentle, lovely and full of good food, great wine and perfect settings.
Onto matters interior and the 17yo’s room is finished although at the time of writing he is still moving in so I haven’t been able to take lots of pictures but here’s a quick look. Complete with the reclaimed desks with the offending reference to the mysterious Calum being a word that rhymes with banker, fully removed. I must say I wasn’t expecting the original Victorian fireplace to be a repository for his collection of spray paints and yes that is a rug on carpet. It’s also – although I couldn’t bring myself to show you a rug island. But he has kept the gold ceiling so I’m quitting while I’m ahead. I will show you more when the pictures are hung and the blind is up etc. Then again it might be full of dirty plates and pizza boxes by that stage so the rug island might be the least of it.
This is Sophie’s husband’s office painted in Little Greene sage and onions. Both of us clearly got the green trend memo that has been circulating.
Although we discussed trends in the show and the feeling that they are becoming more irrelevant as we seek to make our homes work for us and what we need rather than being dictated to about certain styles and shades. Green works well in both these rooms (it’s good for creativity apparently) and both look out onto green spaces so the green walls do link the inside and outside.
Finally we talked about my new shop Design Storey, which launches officially on Saturday. I have written and explained about it all here and if you subscribe to the weekly newsletter here you will be the first to know about new products, reader offers (there is one this weekend for 20 per cent of the new range of Bisley Belong home office furniture). That newsletter will go out on Saturday.
I am loving reading your blog and have just recently gobbled up your first two books which were brillint by the way. Your next one has already been pre ordered!!
I have passed the time in lockdown listening to all kinds of podcasts ( including yours of course!) and reignited my passion for interiors.
My next project in our victorian terrace is the living room which is at the front of the house East facing and I am really struggling with it. I bought a sofa and chair less that 12 months ago and I hate them ( husband not best please as you can imagine) . It needs repainting, a new fireplace and I want the radiator moving off a main wall to under the bay windows. At the moment we have a light coloured carpet in there which again was a mistake bu I can see that you have a pale carpet in your sons bedroom. How did you manage to paint it in that lovely green colour without getting it on the carpet? Any tips would be fab.
Loving your work, best of luck with Designstorey and looking forward to the next weeks podcast!
Hi Nik, I’m sorry you feel it’s all gone wrong in your sitting room. Firstly you should decide if it’s the style or the colour that you hate. Colour can be reupholstered. Sadly there’s not much you can do about the style. Can you sell the chair and sofa and start again? Or. if you repainted would it work in there? Moving the radiator will likely involve lifting the carpet so you need to consider that. As for painting – the decorator laid a plastic floor covering, taped it down and painted carefully. I have also seen people use a flat plastic or metal scraper which they hold at an angle between the edge of the carpet and the skirting so they can slide the brush between the two – you can see the sort of thing from this video. I hope that’s helpful, Kate
Just bought the first two books of the Donna Leon series. They sound like exactly the books I’m after right now. I took up knitting during the first lockdown and have found the mixture of creativity/relaxation/productivity to be very helpful. I have knitted so many things already! There are a multitude of lovely patterns and yarns out there. It’s opened me up to a whole new world of design and creativity. I love looking at patterns and thinking of how I could modify them to my exact specifications. Ravelry is now just as much of a rabbit hole as pinterest. I’m really taken with this pattern right now https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/amsterdam-building-blocks and think I might knit it into a cushion. My husband will be delighted at the prospect of another cushion 😀
Love the green color in the 17YO room but with the white and gold… Is it only me who thinks “Why Indian flag?”, “Does the 17YO have plans to go there?”, “Does he have a girlfriend from India?” and “Who will paint the blue ‘mandala’ medallion from the flag over the fireplace?”
Might just be me but I would do a totally green room with the gold ceiling. But then again I might be the only one who thinks of the Indian flag. Love the green. That is truly lovely! And the Gold ceiling!
Hi Kate, I was so happy to find the newest episode of yours and Sophie’s podcast this morning. It made me giggle so much so thank you!
I did take a cold-ish shower and was surprised by a) how quickly you get used to the temperature once you get over the first hurdle (i.e. under the cold water) and b) how refreshed I felt afterwards!
There are several things that have helped me get through several rounds of lockdown in Ireland: kettlebells, because they take up very little space but can get quite heavy, either in the nearby park with friends or via Zoom. Running outdoors as much as possible.
‘Nesting’ by painting walls anything but magnolia, adding bits and pieces (e.g. rugs, pottery, cushions) to make the house feel cosier, and by creating boundaries between work life and private life by utilising the attic as an office space which I leave at the end of the workday.
The local library has been another godsend to discover stuff I’d like to read but without the need to own every book. I love books but space is limited so … However, they’re currently closed so online booksellers are bridging that gap and are defeating my quest to reduce ‘clutter’.
Lastly, gardening and kayaking. I bought an inflatable kayak after reading Alys Fowler’s “Hidden Nature”. It’s a fab way to get outside without having to try to avoid people all the time…
Anyway, thank you so much for the podcast and your blog. I am looking forward to reading/hearing it first thing in the morning. I hope you’re getting through this dire times okay.
Sophie got me to go more serious with my cold showers (I’m now doing 40 seconds) and you got me in love with Design Storey. Congratulations, Kate!
Good morning! Those two series of books sound great, I shall be investigating very shortly. Any tips for surviving lockdown are gratefully received as I’m feeling pent up while it’s too wet to go to the allotment or go cycling, my usual go-tos for keeping sane, and sadly craft project just aren’t cutting it.
Sitting on the balcony at night, wrapped up with a hot drink looking at the stars or (more often) listen to the rain. We also have winter barbeques at night. Sausages on the grill and a fire in the fire basket. From time to time we cook/bake and celebrate something typical from other countries. This weekend it will be an English tea time, scones with (homemade) clotted cream, next time macarons, sushi etc and for the 16yo Burger Italian style.
Love your blog!
Dear Kate ,
I listen to podcasts by Dr Rangan Chatterjee, a brilliant man , who has the most interesting people on his podcasts .
The very same Wim Hof was interviewed by Rangan last year -what an interesting character !..sea swimming has caught on here in Dublin too .
Rangan’s podcasts and Diarmuid Gavin’s ” Garden Conversations “on Instagram keep me sane ………….also I love your blogs and podcasts …I tune in every morning to the blog before I face work .
Keep up the good work Kate and best wishes from your Irish fans
First I started to make bread. Sourdough mostly. At first by hand but then I decided it was worth getting a kneading machine. I don’t even consider it work but fun. The other thing that is a real life changer is meditation. It took me 65 years to realize that.