whoever you want to be…

Tying the string, by Anne-Marie Taylor

From SixesnSevens on Etsy, unfortunately it’s no longer available, but I love the sentiment.

Home. It’s not just a place – home is a feeling, something material and intangible at the same time. Not just bricks and mortar, we each build our notion of home from our memories of the past and our hopes for the future.

For you ‘home’ might be found in the sound of your kids splashing in the bath, or having fresh flowers in that crystal vase you inherited from your Auntie Barbara. For me, home is books in every room, the sound of ice cubes hitting glass as my husband fixes our Friday night drinks. It’s the smell of roast chicken, a towering pile of magazines, the glow of fairylights.

My husband’s motto – print by Vintage Princess, http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/

I’ve been fashioning my own idea of home for nearly 20 years now, since I moved up to Leeds to go to university. That first year (in the all female halls of residence – what was I thinking?) was spent in a dingy basement room, with posters of indie darlings and postcards from the Tate Gallery shop blu-tacked to the wall. My second-year house was cursed with the cheapest, brightest, greenest carpet ever – I swear it glowed (not ideal during hungover moments). This necessitated the hunt for the biggest, cheapest, most non-hideous rug I could find in Leeds, and gave birth to my firm belief that a good rug can solve many a décor problem, as well as simply tying a room together.

Once in gainful employment I moved to London and the joys of renting – enlivening all that magnolia with Jack Vettriano prints (what? It was 1997) and the creative use of throws. An eight month sojourn in Seven Sisters taught me that, no matter how many cushions you throw at it, sometimes a house is just a pile of bricks (mice and uneven floors in every room didn’t help). In twelve years of renting I became adept at making somewhere cosy, STAT. I also spent a lot of time dreaming about what I would do with a place of my own. Feature walls! Custom-built bookcases! Eames furniture! Hmmmmm…….

I’m too scaredy to get an actual tattoo but I love this Gold Tattoo Print, by spdesign at notonthehighstreet.com

Three years ago my husband and I left renting behind for our very own two bedroom 1930s house in Carshalton. Slowly but surely we’re putting our stamp on it, learning about gardening and DIY as we go (neither of us had so much as put up a shelf before). Of course we’ve made a few mistakes – a hole knocked in the wall whilst attaching a towel rail here; slightly pinker than expected bedroom walls there – and I’m sure we’ll make many more, but as long as we avoid major structural damage I’m fine with that. 🙂

Lovely mug from Dots & Spots, £8.95

The custom-built bookcases and Eames furniture are still on my wishlist, but for me it’s the little decorative touches that gladden my heart and make me feel really at home. My tiny ceramic toucans, bought in Bath fifteen years ago for £7, that have been as carefully bubble-wrapped for each move as if they were worth ten times that. A Fifties-inspired sunburst clock from Heals that I obsessed over for months before finally, gleefully, nabbing in the sales. The leather jewellery box that belonged to my grandmother…..

You’ll have gathered by now that I’m no minimalist (although I do love looking at clean, calm, white and airy spaces on the internet), so it’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that in researching this post I’ve found something I simply MUST HAVE. I have loved The Wizard of Oz since I was a little girl, and have mugs, coasters, a clock and um, dolls (these ones – yes, they are a bit creepy. No, they are not out on show). This print, though, is completely suitable for public display, and will look lovely on my kitchen wall.

Framed print from From the Wilde, £75

What things/objects of yours signify “home” to you? What do you tie your string to?


9 comments on “Tying the string, by Anne-Marie Taylor

  1. Helen
    June 27, 2012

    A relevant article for me right now, as we’ve been in our new house for four weeks. Sometimes it feels like home, other times it feels like a holiday rental. But it is slowly coming together. Putting our big, mounted film posters on the kitchen walls, throws on the settee, unpacking my recipe books (made a big difference!), hanging curtains (any curtains!) so the windows aren’t bare. And hanging my decorative hearts where I can. But also it’s about the smell. The nutmeg in a rice pudding, gingerbread in the oven.

    • Anne-Marie
      June 27, 2012

      Oh yes, it does take a while to get used to a new place doesn’t it? Sounds like your house smells absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Carrie
    June 27, 2012

    This is interesting – I was burgled at Christmas and ever since then I’ve not felt at home at home, and I really don’t know what else I can do to make it feel better.

    • Anne-Marie
      June 27, 2012

      That’s horrible Carrie, I’m sorry. We were burgled in our old flat and it really did shatter ‘home’ for a while. It was rented so we couldn’t redecorate (and we didn’t want to move at that point), so I moved all the furniture and pictures around. Sounds silly, but it did help.

      • Carrie
        June 27, 2012

        Thank you – sorry, I didn’t want to put a downer on your lovely post! I’ve been in my place for six years and had just got everything just as I wanted it (it’s only a little house) so my scope for changing things round is limited by space and money. I hope time will also be helpful!

  3. Keris
    June 27, 2012

    This is a lovely post. I love our house, but there were just a few niggling things stopping it from being my perfect home – a knackered old fire, an uncomfortable bed – I’ve actually just started working on it (the fire’s gone, the bed’s next) and it’s made all the difference. I’ve found quite a few pictures on etsy too…

    • Anne-Marie
      June 27, 2012

      Thanks Keris! The list of things stopping my house from being perfect is long – crappy lean-to, dingy hall, ropey tiling in the bathroom – but we’ll get to it all eventually 😉 Having a good bed makes SUCH a difference, you will sleep with JOY.

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  5. Becky
    June 29, 2012

    Thanks for featuring our HOME mug – very kind of you. Home for me is a place to feel comfortable, surrounded by my favourite things – I would love a bigger house with a big live-in family kitchen which would be the heart of the home – the room where everyone gathered together. Will keep saving and imagining.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 27, 2012 by in Bea Creative, Bea Inspired, Bea Stylish and tagged , , .
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