Friday, 25 April 2014

My eclectic home: Great British Home Challenge

Toys and books everywhere, a collection of fine china, art works, an Elmer rug and Elmer wall painting... Our house style is truly eclectic, it is a combination of old classic and comfy. There's nothing pristine minimalist about it. Our creative chaos reflects our personalities and style of life, and shows that first of all, it is a family home, child-friendly and much loved.

BritMums came up with an amusing Great British Home challenge sponsored by Victoria Plumb (inspiration centre for bathroom style and design), asking bloggers to describe their home "What does your home say about you?"

We were invited to take part in "What's your celebrity home style" quiz.
In my case the results couldn't be further from reality. It was just plain wrong, don't even know where to start.
I am not into the celebrity culture and was terrified to discover that my home style has been compared by the quiz to the Towie stars. I never watched Towie, but know enough about it.

Can you read it? "You are Mr or Mrs Glamorous".
Who? Me?
"Your style is most like Joey Eassex or Sam Faiers from Towie".
Oh dear, I hate the fake tan, reality shows and hopefully have a few more brain cells.
"Everything about you screams glamour. You always look photo-ready, whether you're working or shopping in designer boutiques,or snuggled up at home in your designer onesie" Wrong on so many levels. Onesie is something I would never-ever wear.
"You crave home comforts that make a statement - a faux fur blanket, embroidered cushions and lots of crushed velvet"
No, no and no, none of the above.
The reference to keys to my Range Rover made me laugh aloud. I don't drive, and hate cars.
"Can't live without: A feature fireplace for all those OK magazine spreads". If you find one in my house, I'll give you a hundred pounds.

So, what's it like inside our house? We live in a listed building, which has been immortalised in a song "In an old-fashioned house..." by Ada Leonora Harris. Her uncle and aunt lived in our house, and she used to stay here.

This house which belonged to the Harris family for over a hundred years, has been our home for over 6 years, or is it 7 already? It feels cozy and welcoming. It has some fabulous old features like dark beams, flagstones, carved pillars in the entrance (apparently they used to be the bed posts over a century ago), and an amazing fireplace with an inglenook. They must have been rather petite and nimble to sit in that inglenook and not get toasted when the fire was lit.

Fireplace with an inglenook

Hall with old worn flagstones and wood carved posts

Living in an old house brings its own challenges. I remember reading a few weeks ago a blog post on the vagaries of living in a rented accommodation, which made it sound that home owners have it easy. Having had the pleasure of living in both a rented and owned house, I would say, there are pros and cons on both sides. Just before our trip to Italy at Easter time, we had a disaster at home: the old plaster ceiling in the sitting room has collapsed. Huge blocks of century-old plaster have fallen with a mighty crack. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but it was too close for comfort, as my younger son was literally a meter away. I still shudder thinking about it. This week I had to deal with lots of mess and dust in the house, as the old ceiling has been ripped completely apart, and a new one has been done.

Eddie begged me to give him a mop to wash the floor after the builders left the other day
Our bathrooom is nicknamed Titanic, because the floor is slanted, as if sinking. When we moved in, we removed some ugly green tiles to expose the old stones, and that's how we left it: one wall of uneven old stones, the other walls are tiled in neutral Italian ceramics. There's nothing flashy about our Titanic. I am on the lookout for the vintage round mirror which would look like a ship's window. I've seen one in the antiques shop but it was way too pricey.

My home wouldn't be complete without my Mum's artwork. And though I am not a religious person, I love the Russian icons as well as devotional art from around the world.
I have a huge collection of art and cook books. My kitchen looks like a tea shop. As I said, it is an eclectic house, which reflects our tastes and hobbies. And not a single copy of OK magazine in sight (or out of sight)...
What does your home say about you?

Boy-Island (portrait of Sasha Varese) by Lyudmila Kravchenko

Russian icon, by Lyudmila Kravchenko

This post is an entry for the #GreatBritishHome Challenge  sponsored by Victoria Plumb, a source of quality bathrooms for every type of home. Take its “What’s Your Celebrity Home Style?” quiz to discover what your home says about you.
If you enjoyed reading my post, you might like to read what my friends Cheryl and Alison said about their homes


  1. Your house looks beautiful, I love older properties and the pictures look cosy, colourful and full of character. The quiz was much closer for me, with quirky cool being my result, I would never put you and TOWIE in the same sentence!

    1. Oi, I was flabbergasted. lol lol Our house is beautiful but there are so many things that need to be repaired or taken care of, sigh.

  2. Love getting a glimpse into your home - it looks beautiful :) And I think I may have to plagiarize your "creative chaos" line for our house ! lol

    1. Yes, that's the euphemism for cluttered and messy in my case. :)

  3. Love the look of the home and the story of it and the song too. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

  4. Love it! I got the TOWIE answer too, most odd! I do have a faux fur throw though, maybe that's why...

    I'm always rather suspicious of people with neat and tidy homes, definitely not right! Yours looks gorgeous and full of family and love and fun, just as it should be.

    Make sure you hide that beautiful icon your mum painted when I come round though, or it may disappear... ;-)

    1. Leta, you are welcome any time! Just let me know, so I can bake a cake.

  5. Totally love your house! We now live in an old house too, but with very low ceilings! I can see you have more height and lovely stone work too!