Making a home…Sarah Holland
Our third contributor in our ‘Making a Home’ series is London-based interior’s stylist Sarah Holland.
What makes a home?
My senses are overwhelmed with nostalgia when remembering my childhood home. I can still feel the grooves the pattern made on our brown velvet 70’s sofa, recall in detail the hot air balloon wallpaper that covered my bedroom walls (…and my school books) and I still flinch at the memory of the first degree burn our old radiators gave my cold feet. The smell of toast and bacon is there, the glee of our duvets on the sofa when friends stayed and the voices around the table travelling up the stairs of our little London house, comforting me to sleep.
There are many layers to a successful family home. We need it to provide peach and refuge from a busy outside world as well as a space to socialise in, to laugh in, to feast in. It needs to comfort, inspire and calm us and it needs to hold and make memories. Creating a home that could balance these needs was our primary focus when we moved into our house three years ago. We began by considering how we wanted to feel in the space before tackling anything aesthetic.
Inspired by the building’s pretty Peter Pan-esque windows and roof pitches we set out to create rooms for the children to escape to, play in and ultimately somewhere in which to feel safe and comfortable. We chose deep chalky colours, layers or soft mismatching textiles and threw in the odd quirky eBay find and a touch of whimsy in the lamps, dressing up boxes and hideout den built into an old attic annex.
I find beauty in the small details and truly believe that these are what transform a house into a home. Rouven’s boyhood cowboys on Sam’s chest of drawers, my beloved copy of The Water-Babies on Lyla’s book shelf. Even structurally we have tried to include personal notes; the door between our bedroom and bathroom salvaged from the house Rouven grew up in and our kitchen extractor made by Rouven, a muscle car enthusiast, an homage to a hot red exhaust.
A successful home has a personality. It takes into consideration the building itself, its location and aspects and then mixes in the personalities and loves of those who dwell within. Most importantly for a family home it shouldn’t take itself too seriously. Some of my favourite parts of our house were ‘mistakes’ or things we couldn’t change…the quirks which made the house uniquely ours.
We are excited to adapt the house as our family changes and can see it happening already slowly. A midcentury desk painted and added to Sam’s room as exams start to loom, trawling markets to find a bigger wardrobe to incorporate Lyla’s ever growing clothes collection. Looking back over my own memories makes me ponder over what my children’s will be in years to come, remembering this house. I can only hope they will be as a warm as mine but not as scalding as my old radiators.
Words and photographs by Sarah Holland.