Tuesday, 21 June 2011

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).


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