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Real homes: what a difference new cushions can make

I've been charting the finishing touches to my kitchen for what seems like ages. But these things take time, decisions aren't always fast – things have to be lived with, tried out, and experimented with... 

But I'll admit that the kitchen cushions – seen in their before-ish state, below – have been an issue for several years.

And it's not like I haven't had some excellent, expert guidance along the way. The hold-up was my optimistic determination to sew my own. Not doing so, I decided, would be some kind of failure. So I got as far as dusting off the beautiful (but now, deeply archaic) Frister Rossman sewing machine I was given on my 18th birthday.

That was a few months back. It looks lovely on my never-used sewing desk though, above, doesn't it? (You'll notice it's not plugged in...).

Finally, I accepted the truth: I'm not going to be doing any sewing any time soon. So I took my own advice and went to H&M last week for a few of their cheery, spring cushions – and the transformation is quite striking, I think.

The whole area looks warmer, brighter and cosier at once. I think the addition of the jade green, particularly, has done wonders.

And what do you think of the squirrel by Reggie the dog's food and water point? I'm not huge on wall stickers (this one is by Binary Fox), but I kind of couldn't resist it: whenever you say the word "squirrel", Reggie runs around in circles excitedly looking for one.

The cushion in front is made (not by me, of course) from Florence Broadhurst fabric, a gift from my sister-in-law.

The beautiful three-colour teapot was a present to us from my sister-in-law-ish, Laura. It is by Anouk Jansen, you can find it at Howkapow.

It's funny how the new cushions have made me look afresh at all the things around them, and remember how much I like them. The display cupboard above is not finished – I like the things in it, but think they could live elsewhere more harmoniously. I was inspired by the Balcony Gardener via Twitter to fill the cupboard with plants – ferns and ivy would work well, she suggested. Another project for another day. Meanwhile, here's what's living there and nearby right now.

A brilliant papier mache pig found by our neighbours Emma & Sarah in the local charity shop. Good gift!

This sweet Jack Russell card was left for us after Jill and Terence came to stay.

On the left, a pretty bad work of art made by an 11-year-old me. It was a model of one of our neighbours – she was always standing at her gate next door, wearing a housecoat, hoisting her bosom and smoking hard. She was ace. The tin is an old present from my brother, who lives in Australia and sent this over one birthday. The other work of art, and far superior to my own efforts, is by my boyfriend's super-cute, three-year-old niece, Isabella.

The fairy lights are part of the ongoing cupboard experiment. The bar sign – which lights up very brightly – was a bargain find at a local junk shop many years ago when such things were affordable inside London, and the black and white photo is one of my favourite shots of my mum in the early 1980s (nice dungarees!) with our cantankerous old cat, Sam.

This child's wooden clock was abandoned to the garage for a while. But when Scotch the black cat moved in last year, it sort of gained new presence.

Love this 1960s US Esquire magazine cover that my boyfriend procured when he worked at the British version of the mag. Can you imagine a consumer magazine these days with just one coverline? Love here that the image and single message are allowed to shine.

And we finally covered up the bare bulbs over the kitchen table with these funny, borderline naff glass lampshades found on eBay for under a tenner.

Post by Kate


  1. Great kitchen full of treasures, lovely spot for a cuppa I bet.

  2. I couple of weekends ago, I swapped the once cool, now tired charcoal grey cushions on my sofa, with lighter blue-grey ones from M&S and it was amazing how much brighter it made the room. And H+M home is just the best for affordable experiments. Lovely post x

  3. Wow, your home is full of such stunning treasures and so many stories! I have loved my visit to your blog x