Sofa: Habitat. Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell.
I’ve NO idea why I like this house, it doesn’t reflect my taste even one little bit!! Ha…who doesn’t love a velvet sofa and a gallery wall?! Jacqueline is fairly new to the social media scene (she has had her account for around a year: @Tinyandthehouse) but hers has quickly become one of my favourites…I love her use of colour and her love of modern art mixed with artefacts.
And as we hadn’t done a home tour for a while, we thought we’d launch back into it with this one.
Jacqueline with her baby, Martha.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Jacqueline…have you always loved interiors?
I am Northern Irish, living in London for 15 years. I live in North London with my husband Joe, 5 month old baby Martha and my cat Tiny (my Instagram account was initially named after her). I work in fashion as a shoe designer, designing for the UK high street, but I have also always had a huge passion for interior design and styling. I’ve always felt like the fashion and interiors go hand in hand. If I’m not clothes or shoe shopping, I’m shopping for my house, it’s an addiction! I can be a real homebody so I get a lot of pleasure from decorating and gardening.
Was this a renovation project?
The house was a big big renovation project, in hindsight I don’t know what we were thinking! Being Northern Irish and living in London means I have family come to stay a lot, we were running out of space so decided to take a leap of faith and buy a fixer upper. The house itself had belonged to one family since it was built in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era. The house was in such a bad state a lot of mortgage companies actually refused to lend on it. We had a lot of work to do! Adding central heating, redoing the roof, electrics, plumbing, plastering, replacing sash windows at the back of the house. One of the most difficult jobs was actually to clear the house, the garden and the loft. The previous owners left so much stuff! To clear the loft alone took 4 builders 4 days and 4 skips, they even had to remove some of the roof to get it all out. The phrase “full to the rafters” has never been more true.
The garden was so overgrown we didn’t actually know how big it was. On top of it all they collected snakes, tarantulas and birds so they had rooms full of tanks, so many that the floor of one of the bedrooms was collapsing into the kitchen…unbelievable.
We had to bring the house back to life, it was exciting! But we had to be careful: budget our money, builders and workmen and do it in the fastest time possible. We lived in it for 3 months before starting work…it was freezing, dark, there were rats under the house and slugs would just show up on the kitchen counter…I can’t even describe it.
We had to start with the basics and get the house secure and liveable. One of the first rooms we finished was the bathroom along with a bedroom so we could move back in while the builders finished the rest of the house. Basically everything you see in the house we had to renovate.
Chris noticed a lot of Asian artefacts and pop culture paraphernalia when he was round – do you collect things from your travels?
I’ve been really lucky to travel a lot with my job. Being a shoe designer you travel a lot to where the factories are or shopping research trips, so I’ve spent a lot of time in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Brazil, Portugal, India, China, Vietnam. But in my current role I spend a lot of time in Taiwan: which I love. I like to buy things everywhere I go, even if it’s just a small thing like a postcard I can use in a frame. It’s the small details that make my house unique to me; I buy what I love, not because I think it’s on trend.
How would you describe your interiors style?
It’s hard to say… eclectic maximalist maybe? I like to feel colourful yet still stylish. My living room is probably the best example of this: there are a lot of ornaments, things I collect, I like the effect of them all together on the mantel or my bookcase. It doesn’t feel cluttered though and I’m careful not to push it too far. I am addicted to vintage vases, jars, and kitsch items. I do keep the bedrooms simpler, these rooms have a much more minimalist feel.
Vintage, antique or market shopping is a passion of mine: Portobello Road and Golborne road are amazing in both the shops and the weekend markets. Broadway Market and Columbia Road also. I use Etsy a lot – I can spend days on there!
You have a great range of art, have you been collecting for a while? Where do you buy prints from?
The art in the house is very varied, I am often torn with how to display it. I love oil paintings, I have bought most of these in antique shops or markets, again Etsy is good for this. The more modern art has been collected from gigs we have been to, some are artwork from my husbands favourite bands, he is a huge Radiohead fan so he has bought some from the artist who did their album covers. A lot of what I frame was never intended to be art: like jigsaws or postcards, nice images from calendars or old school charts. I have lots of pieces that I bought in Northern Ireland or art that reminds me of home; for instance the large fish watercolour reminds me of my Grandad. I could buy a piece of art everyday if I had the money and the space.
Any tips you can offer to anyone contemplating or embarking on a renovation project?
I would say look hard at your finances: be realistic about what you can afford. Aim to buy the best you can within your budget on the essential items or the finishing as these are the items that will last while you change decor around them. I had my heart set on the crittal kitchen doors years ago, they were one of our big expenses but they are a permanent fixture and they make the kitchen what it is so I think they were worth it.
Be focused on your style: it’s easy to get confused by so many images you see on social media. What you like in someone else’s house might not suit your style or your lifestyle. Put money aside for takeaways and eating out and wine; when your house is covered in dust and you have slugs in the kitchen sometimes you need to get out for your sanity!
Are there any rooms to finish or any other projects planned for the home?
We are still finishing the nursery and our bedroom and the garden, there really is always something to change and there are never enough hours in the day.
Our bedroom needs wardrobes, bedside lamps and I would like to add some wallpaper. The entrance hallway I would like to tile as well as the path up to the house. Other big house projects are on the wish list like converting the loft, not sure when we will get to this… it’s never ending.
What do you enjoy about social media? What platforms do you use the most?
I am relatively new to the Instagram scene; I had an account when I was renovating but I didn’t use it so much. I wish I had! I could have found so many more things like taps, tiles, colour inspiration and I could have documented the renovations. I mainly use Instagram now, I’m a very visual person so it works for me. It’s an amazing platform really if it’s used in the right way. I started my house account last year and I’ve been surprised how nice everyone is and how much everyone seems to encourage other accounts. It’s a really nice community I wasn’t expecting. I especially love being able to find small independent brands or shops or people making incredible things you just cant get in a High street store.
Thank you for letting us have a nosey around your home, Jacqueline! You can follow Tiny & the House on Instagram here.