So what a hiatus! I am so sorry. Life took over. However, I am back now and about to start a new series of posts about a new and exciting family adventure. We have moved to Devon! Ilfracombe to be precise. Don’t all rush here! It’s my little secret. So how did we get here? It’s been a dream of Mr G and mine for quite some time now. We independently fell in love with the West Country as children. Me… so many holidays I have lost count spent with my parents and siblings in Cornwall (mainly the Helford area) and Devon (all over). Mr G… Padstow, Rock, Pentewan, Croyde, Woolacombe… So we spent last summer in Woolacombe and visited Ilfracombe – the home of Damien Hirst – and fell in love. Like proper, proper, passionate love. I have been here before. Many years ago and during another lifetime when I was married to my ex husband. Nothing was tarnished though. It was like coming home. My heart soared. The light, the lush foliage, the craggy nature of the rock face, the smell of the sea. Ilfracombe beguiled me. Literally. And also Mr G. We stopped off at a parking stop on the cliffs between Hele Bay and Combe Martin and looked over at Ilfracombe, held hands and said to each other… ‘let’s do it’. We went home to East Sussex. Put the house on the market. And waited. Bloody Brexit. Nothing happened. Still nothing happened. Then I was offered a job of a lifetime in Brighton so I said yes. Started in January of this year and then sod’s law we had buyers who were uber keen. What to do? The dream was calling. But I had this incredible, challenging, creatively exciting job… So I kept the job and we sold the house and bought a vast doer-upper in the heights of Ilfracombe. It’s a four-storey Victorian terrace. The ceiling height is bonkers. The views are sublime. Out the back is the sea, Capstone Hill, Hillsborough, Wales, the Bristol channel, and all the ships and boats, tall ships, fishing boats, vast floating hotels and canoeists, ribs, life boats that you can imagine. At the front is a stunning Norman church that is bathed in brilliant red/pink light at the end of the day. Everywhere I look is replete with light and nature. The sunsets are out of this world. There is something incredibly spiritual about sitting in our living room by the huge bay window and seeing the sun set over the sea. Turner springs to mind. The colours are incredible. It feels like God’s own country. I tell you honestly, I was pretty low at the end of last year. This place has elevated my spirit beyond belief. And that of the whole family I think. Mr G is far more animated and is taking photos left, right and centre. The house has become a passion of ours. She is a she and we are going to breathe a whole lot of new life into her. She has a soul. Palpable. I run my hands over her banister, marvel at her huge doors, feel the warmth bouncing off her walls. This home is smiling. I hope you join us on this adventure and enjoy the ride.
“White… is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black…”
Gilbert K. Chesterton
I will be honest, hitherto I have not been a fan of a lack of colour. In fact, the very absence of colour makes me get a tad twitchy. I thrive off colour, lots of it, and pattern in abundance. So, I thought I’d take myself out of my comfort zone and see what all the fuss was about.
Neutrals, whites, natural materials… plain, dull, soulless. Well, that’s what I used to think. I did some digging around and it’s quite incredible what you can create with a very restrained palette and lots of different textures – not just soft furnishings; you can source incredible textured wallpapers and tiles these days to add further dimension to your walls. Far from clinical and devoid of any personality, you can create quite wonderful, uplifting, almost spiritual spaces.
Two designers whose signature style is the very absence of colour are Alex Legendre and Zoe Ellison, owners and founders of the divine i gigi General Store in Hove, East Sussex. Alex and Zoe have embraced unique textures and a natural palette to create a haven of calm. They have also written a beautiful book called A Life Less Ordinary, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to pour over gorgeous photography and interiors. Definitely one to curl up with.
Below I’ve collected some inspiration for you should you wish to travel down the route of natural palettes. It’s certainly a style that can be successfully applied to any room in the home. Just beware of small people with crayons and sticky hands is all I can say…I can’t say I am a complete convert, but I am certainly not quite the skeptic I once was! Enjoy.