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H is for Home Sweet Home

Some of Adelle and Justin's favourite things (clockwise from top left): a print by Australian graphic artist and blogger behind Draw! PilgrimFinel enamel bowl set, £125, on sale at the couple's shop; a sunny Arabia serving plate, £30; a dinky red and white Cathrineholm kettle/teapot, £110; American online shop,  A la Modern, one of the couple's favourite bookmarks
I can't think how I hadn't stumbled across the luscious vintage shop, H is for Home, before now. It is the kind of place I would happily live in – lots of focus on the Seventies, an era I love, and which works well in my 1968-built home. Having discovered this treasure trove I Twittered myself up with Adelle from H is for Home and asked her to share some of her style tips. Over to you Adelle (and to Adelle's other half, Justin)…

photo: Jeremy Phillips
Tell us a bit about yourselves…We’re Adelle Robinson and Justin Keefe, co-owners of H is for Home – an online shop that we founded in 2008. We specialise in vintage, one off and handmade items for the home. We also have a bricks & mortar space in our local antiques centre in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, Picture House Antiques.

Describe your styleThe best way to describe our style is "modern eclectic". We tend to go for period properties, but love mid-century modern design too – whether it be furniture, graphic design, textiles, pottery and glass. We have quite a collection of Scandinavian ceramics and kitchenware from this period – names such as CathrineholmRorstrand, Finel and Arabia. We like mixing these modern pieces with antique country furniture with its character, patina and warmth.

Adelle and Justin's cosy Seventies-tinged sitting room. Love the contrast of textures between the blanket, the leather sofa, the hard glass/chrome coffee table and the warm wicker hanging chair and footstool. It retains nods to classic farmhouse style (the clothes dryer and the kitchen sideboard/table) but is refreshingly bold elsewhere. A clever mix.

What are your top bookmarks? 
Mid-Centuria This very well researched blog has introduced us to a plethora of more obscure and lesser known mid-century artists, artworks, architecture and graphic design
Dottie Angel Tif Fussell is a Brit living in the US and is a craft maven – she’s a maker, a blogger, she runs craft camps and she’s written a book to be published this summer.
A la Modern Based in  LA, Bryan and Linda have a well curated array of vintage loveliness available in their shop. We’re constantly jealous of all their wonderful mid-century modern stock – much of which you wouldn’t come across over here in the UK.
Dee Adams – artist, designer, blogger, traveller: she’s so prolific (and good!) at everything, where does she find the time? She’s very inspirational!
Draw! Pilgrim A very talented graphic artist from Melbourne. We love her style – she has a colourful, vintage vibe!
Pinterest A new online tool – a "virtual pinboard. And Adelle’s already a bit of an addict: “It’s my late night porn! It’s great for getting ideas about anything... interiors, graphic design, fashion, food, photography... any and everything!"

Best recent buy? We were recently offered a late 18th/early 19th century Irish kitchen table by a local antique dealer we know. It was designed to sit against a wall and it fits the alcove in the kitchen snugly. It’s right at the bottom of our stairs so we always get a long, lingering view of it! It’s beautiful!

Just a smidgen of the lovely ceramics the couple collect. See question one for details and
where to buy similar.
What's on your wishlist right now? A big, comfy, vintage leather Chesterfield chair or sofa – we’ve got the perfect place waiting in front of a real fire that we’ve reinstated on the top floor of the house – a cream fabric sofa would be a big no no with a (very often muddy) weimaraner! Another item we quite fancy is one of those orange, limited-edition Dualit toasters from Selfridges.

You've got an empty room to furnish/style/decorate: where do you start?  We get our main inspiration from books, magazines and blogs. A strong influence on us was a visit to Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, the former home of Jim Ede – onetime curator at the Tate, collector and friend to influential artists of the day. When we’re faced with an empty space, we start with the original features already in the room – fireplace, beams, sash windows, floorboards etc. – and how they can be utilised or shown off. Natural light is an important factor in the colour we’d choose for walls and ceiling. We currently live in a fairly steep-sided river valley so our house can be dark – we’ve used a buttermilk colour paint throughout the house to lighten it up. It’s a good backdrop colour for our kind of furnishings. We’ve given the kitchen diner a bold flash of colour, with a bright orange feature wall (see above). The colour works really well with the wood and stainless steel in that room. The orange also manages to look warm and cosy in the winter – but bright and zingy in the summer. You obviously have to consider what furniture you have available or are likely to buy – and build from there. It’s just a matter of combining pieces that you feel work together and enable you to use the room for its intended purpose. Generally speaking, we use natural shades as a backdrop and add colour through textiles, artwork, pottery etc. It all contributes to the overall personality of a room.

The bold flash of orange (read more below) in Justin and Adelle's kitchen/diner works well with their vintage stylings  – and the aged wood of the table and chairs take the edge off. Love the touches of olive green in the vase and tea-towel and tiles, too, a classic Seventies palette
Your top tip for making a home lovely...  Don’t be afraid to mix items from different eras – antique and brand new can look great together. We have an antique plate rack where we display some  contemporary slipware pottery made by the young Scottish potter, Hannah McAndrew along with a collection of 1960s Denby ‘Arabesque’ Pottery. It’s often best to have a few, quality pieces on display – they’ll have space to breathe and their beauty can be better appreciated. Having too many things all crowded together often just looks cluttered and the objects become lost. Having said that, we’ve seen large collections of items such as West German 'fat lava’ pottery or Scandinavian glass displayed together which look stunning. Collect what you like, what appeals to you – don’t collect what’s ‘in fashion’ or what you think you should collect. Personal taste is subjective... and is constantly changing and developing.

Displaying collections doesn't have to be limited to kitchenalia or things on shelves. It helps that Adelle's handbags are all in mint condition and great colours. If you have too many shoes (like me) but lots of stairs (ditto) you could do the same with your footwear – I keep one pair on each step (but shove the battered converse in the cupboard).

H&M Home's super affordable summer range

Earlier this week, Gaelle Monin gave us a tour of her stylish home.
And a couple of the lovely things in it were – I was surprised to discover – from H&M. So I thought I'd check out what else their summer range, below, had on the go. 
And it's all rather gorgeous (and bargain-ous to boot). 

What a pretty way to picnic. Find these pretty products and more at the H&M Home website

Here are some of my favourite picks...

Mismatched florals is a big look in fashion right now – so why not go catwalk at home, too? Love all these strong, cheery, summery colours. Makes me want to go and do some gardening...if only it'd stop raining.

1. Shower curtain, £14.99
2. Single duvet cover set in cotton, £7.99, reduced from £14.99
3. Doormat, £14.99 (50x80 cm)
4. Cushion cover in cotton satin reduced to £3.99

Love those black metal shelves. Not, sadly, from H&M Home – but the vegetable-themed linens all are

I do love a good flash of black – it's a very anchoring colour that can really pull a room together. These  two-tone graphics could look rather cool clashing with some of the florals above. Would need some care choosing the right clash though, or it could just lead to a headache.

1. Cushion cover, 50x50cm, down from £7.99 to £5.99.
2. Shower towel (in background), £12.99. Very Missoni.
3. 'Guest' towel (comes in a two-pack), £6.99
4. Storage bag, £2.99
5. Cushion cover, 50x50cm, £12.99
6. Organic cotton tea-towel with 50s-style print, £3.49

There is heaps more luscious, and lusciously affordable stuff in the H&M online store too. I must put that credit card away now...

Introducing... Gaelle Monin and her lovely home

The stylish Gaelle Monin and I e-bonded over a shared love of Bjorn Wiinblad ceramics (see below). I featured a wall plaque (from the wonderful Pip's Trip on the blog a while back and Gaelle dropped me a line to say she was watching a couple on eBay – and, by the way, "nice blog". Which is always great to hear. 

So I was delighted when, a couple of months after that email, Gaelle got back in touch to say she'd started her own blog, Nice Day 4 A Sulk (in case you don't recognise the reference, it's lyrics from a Belle and Sebastian song). The blog shares her discoveries of loveable stuff she comes across, as well as snaps of her new and gorgeous done-on-a-budget home as she continues to decorate it. I've loved watching her chart her progress, and so asked her to share photos of and words about some of her finished corners and rooms here (and keep reading for her shopping tips, below).

I love clever details like the unexpected kitchen-style clock in the bathroom, clashy bedclothes and artfully positioned framed pictures. And I really now want some Papier d’Arménie!

Sitting room The high ceilings make the whole wall-dressing task very tricky. With daunting surfaces of white walls to fill, I have to be thankful to Ikea for selling such cheap frames. The ‘art’ was purchased from my comfortable couch, via Spineless Classics, A Little Bit of Art and Folksy. Her swish pendant lampshade is – gasp – from B&Q. Sadly they don't sell them anymore but this bamboo shade isn't a bad match – Kate.

Reading room (left) I’m cheating here. This is really a corner of my living room, so I should call it the reading ‘area’. My obsession for order turned these shelves into a meticulously organised library. From the bottom up: cooking shelf, art and French shelf, and Murakami and African literature shelf (and nearly out of the shot, my boyfriend’s comics’ shelf).

Bathroom Despite owning a £14.99 Argos drill, I am not one for DIY (and nor is my boyfriend). We were therefore very lucky to find a flat that had just been refurbished from top to bottom. The downside is that our bathroom does look like a hotel bathroom. This corner of the room is my attempt to ‘shabby it up’ a bit...

Bedroom A lick of paint and a few mismatching brass and ceramic knobs from eBay transformed this old Argos chest of drawers from my student days. Et voilà! And Bombay Duck has an inspiring selection of interesting new knobs too – Kate

Stove This stove is probably my main reason for wanting the flat so much. And when it’s not burning during milder months, I use a "firewood" scented candle from Henri Bendel to pretend I still have a fire going.

Shopping: A few of Gaelle's favourite things

(From left to right) Aluminium stag hook Another impulse of mine: hooks. I want them everywhere. This one is particularly Christmassy, but I like it up all year-round on my bedroom door. £9.95, Graham & GreenInvisible metal bookshelf The perfect solution for growing piles of books by the bedside: these invisible shelves seamlessly float above our bed and carry the mess that would otherwise clutter our small bedside tables. £14.50, AmazonPapier d’Arménie The oldest, greenest and cheapest of home fragrances, it reminds me of my childhood in France. £2.50, Labour & Wait

Linen box I have recently developed a worrying obsession for old-fashioned linens. What better place to store them but in this French-style wooden box? £29, Caravan nb. not available online. (Left) huckaback linen bath towel: £17.99, LinenMe, (right) linen table runner: £7.99, H&M Home.
Retro style clip lamp I wish I could buy all the different colours available in this range and change them to match the seasons, or my mood. To please the banker, I settled for a sophisticated grey. £34.99, Kidsen

New fabrics from St Jude's

What a lovely thing to pop into my inbox... St Jude's, a good, solid British fabric company based in Norfolk, just emailed me about a new design to add to its artist-designed fabrics. 

The pattern above, available in three colourways, is by Slade/Central schools of art graduate, Jonathan Gibbs. It's called "Herring Moon" and the design is firmly rooted to the east coast of England (just like St Jude's).

Says Gibbs: "Phases of the moon with six swimming fishes illustrate tidal shifts and I have explored the history of herring fishing down the east coast.With these elements I have pictured waves, ships on the sea, the church and lighthouse, all set as if within a postcard.This multiple image connects and repeats across the length, its shapes and symbols illuminating man's place against nature."

Herring Moon is £38 per metre, or from £32 for a ready-made cushion cover.

If you're looking for something a bit different for a blind, or some new cushion covers, or just (if your sewing is as rubbish as mine) a simple bed runner – St Jude's unusual fabrics are worth a browse. Here are some more of their lovely offerings...
Fabrics of life: (clockwise from top left) Mark Hearld's Bird Garden; my personal favourite, Emily Sutton's Curiosity Shop (the sort of fabric that a child would remember forever as you could just stare at its quirky bits and bobs for hours); Jonny Hannah's The Captain's Pattern (with super sweet illustrations of sailors, boats in bottles and lighthouses); another Mark Hearld design, Doveflight. All £44 per sqm, apart from Hannah's, which is £38.

Boudoir style

I've just written a little piece for the iPaper, out on Friday, about getting a bit of boudoir into your home. Here are some things I couldn't include...

This Rude Vintage Cushion, £45, from Sam Roddick's chic sex shop, Coco de Mer, comes emblazoned with various  smutty words. I like 'Sweet Cheeks' but they get naughtier...

The Naughty Floral Tea Cup and Saucer, £46.50, from Coco de Mer, looks vintage and innocent – but look closely and you'll see otherwise. Love it! Do visit the shop to see alternative saucy messages.

You can buy the newspaper (just 20p, and a terribly good read all-round) to see more sexy homewares and to find out why the story is so relevant this week.

Meanwhile, there were a couple of things, above, I couldn't include in my feature from Coco de Mer (read the text on each piece and you'll see why I shied away from showing them to the paper), and some beautifully naughty buys from Dupenny, below, that there just weren't room for. Couldn't resist sharing them here, though. What do you think?

I love Dupenny's naughty 50s housewives plates, left, from £29 (this one's "Peggy" but you can also choose from "Thelma", "Valerie" and "Dusty". Or have them all, on this gloriously cheeky monochrome wallpaper, right, from £75 for a three-metre panel.

My Cool Campervan

If I had to live in a van... it'd be a van like this.

I've been poring over the lusciously retro pictures in My Cool Campervan (Anova, £14.99) since it arrived through my door a couple of weeks ago. (It's by the same people behind the equally por-able My Cool Caravan book.)

Regular readers will know I have a bit of an obsession with small spaces – so seeing these compact little interiors, everything in its place, fold-away-able and snug – well, heaven. Just look at those lovely shelves in the doors, above.

The photography and styling are captivating; a book to look at again and again... and it's not just the classic VW vans featured, there are some crazy-looking lovelies in there. I rather like the all-American, very 70s and very brown Ford Mk 4 Zodiac with Ginetta base – but not quite as much as the swively seats in the GMC motorhome, above.

Read more about the book and its authors at their blog.