Is 'Home-Home' where the heart is? (posted 24th February 2017)
For the next two weeks, beginning today we're delighted to have Rebecca Tucker (Co-Owner, Co-Director and Interior Designer at Suna Interior Design) blogging for us!
So in an effort to hit several birds with one stone I find myself crossing the north/south divide, intending to ‘have a break’ whilst getting some work done remotely, giving my children some QT with their grandparents AND saving some cash on half term holiday clubs that don’t necessarily fulfil the freedom prerequisite that was part and parcel of those halcyon days of the school holidays ‘when I were a lass’...I’m heading ‘home-home’ (as opposed to ‘home’, my actual grown-up own home in London).
Weighed down with two children, three cases, an iPad (Child #1), a kindle (Child #2) and a hefty laptop (me) I’m off up north on a superfast train from Euston to Lancaster, travelling the same distance in two and a half hours that could sometimes take about 8 hours in a car (oh, the joy of whiling away hours on the M6 in stationary traffic throwing treats and snacks randomly over my shoulder into the back seat for #1 and #2 to catch like performing seals).
Little did I know the true meaning of “working remotely”. As in ‘remote’. As in ‘the middle of nowhere’ with barely any t’internet signal. With my dad’s out of date wi-fi, a router that needs cajoling every other hour into actually submitting to sending a signal that can reach the 10 feet to my laptop, and with parents asking ‘do you really have to work’, presumably thinking that when I said I would come up and work from theirs so they could spend some time with #1 and #2, they thought I was trying to pull a fast one over my boss (me) and get a few days off.
I am actually now quite happily ensconced, in front of the fire, right on the edge of on an old oak kitchen table (so I can get as close as possible to the router without actually having to sit on the stairs), with copious cups of tea coming my way courtesy of my dad, after having shovelled my mum and the two kids out the door off to somewhere called ‘Illuminasia’ (SUCH a shame I couldn’t go?!), and I find myself reflecting on my parents’ home of nearly 40 years, and mine from the age of 7 until I left at 18 (and kept coming back to after that) and wondering what of my own style is a reflection of or a reaction to my parents interior design approach.
Whilst I actively tried to dissuade my father (unsuccessfully for the most part, it seems a 20 year career in Interior Design is not enough to persuade a father of his daughters ability to advise on such matters), from some of his design decisions (oh-so-subtle tones of white on all walls, from blossom white...barely pink....to apple white....barely green; paired with various shades of brightly coloured coving, from sunshine yellow to baby blue; sitting alongside mustard yellow carpet in a room right next to russet red carpet in the next room) there is an essence of the home that I experienced here that I now spend my life trying to emulate in mine and others properties. Home is warm and welcoming and has the right people in it, and contains all the memories that childhood is made of.
Their still-functioning 60’s Formica kitchen was outdated and misplaced in a Georgian double fronted house when they moved here in the 80’s but it’s still here, and the family council now says that changing it is probably not worth the stress involved. The pink bathroom suite is obviously not something I’d ever specify myself, but the massive super-glued crack in the basin that resulted from an over-attended (read ‘gate-crashed’) 18th birthday party (my own) when the sink ended up in two monumental pieces on the floor of the bathroom reminds me every time I see it of that particular party and how it went down in the upper sixth form year book as the best party of the year (oh, the absolute pride of having that accolade to my name!). The red ‘pub carpet’ in the hall (you’d recognise it, red background, diamond shaped intertwined repeating pattern, oft seen on TV sitcoms and soaps), that was threadbare when we moved in but now would change the aesthetic of the house completely if it were ever replaced. And not forgetting the painstaking hours and hours of labour my dad has put into all the odd jobs and not-so-odd jobs, the ‘why don’t you get someone in to do that’ jobs, my attic bedroom, unheated but treated to beautifully crafted, lovingly worked pine panelled wall cladding, and the areas that we don’t even see, his work on the roof, the render, the windows and doors, the electrics and plumbing, the ancient boiler that his tinkering has kept going way past the point I’d have been on the phone to replace it. All of these things make a home, combining the memories and the people and the time and the aromas and the sounds and the belongings and the love; bringing together the inherited furniture imbued with family history with the 80’s grey leather, contrast piped, misplaced sofa; hanging the children’s and grand children’s art projects alongside the family portraits and photos of distant long gone relations; sitting seventies bed covers next to more recent ‘Marks and Sparks’ linens (‘only the best will do’); mixing the smells of mum’s home-made ‘free style’ bread and cakes with the coal smoke issuing from the open fire.
So, in my choice of career and in my approach to interior design I do believe that while I wouldn’t make the same choices on particular items or design rooms according to the same set of rules that my parents have adhered to with their own house, I do think I take forward with me from my parents a sense of what makes a home, what others would find appealing in a home, and how bringing together eclectic elements of furniture, furnishings, artwork, accessories and aspiring towards that elusive ‘homeliness’ can result in a place where the heart does reside, and where, no matter how long ago you left ‘home-home’ you come back to with a feeling of returning.