I have long been a fan of Kate Owen. Her quilts inspired by American folk traditions are magnificent. I have been eyeing up one for some time; as soon as I get into my one day house, you can betcha bottom dollar one of these babies will be strapped to a wall. Until then, I have made do with her Instagram. No bad thing, as this is where I first glimpsed her house and had the bright idea to ask her to do Knock Knock! You are more than welcome as it's a real doozy.
In my final year at Central St.Martins with my now-husband Luke, I moved to Peckham, and we've been here ever since. That was 12 years ago, and we've been in this house for nearly two years. We loved the area so much that we joked that we could only live in 'The Triangle', a very specific and tiny area we had marked on the map. It took a long time to find the right place, and I didn't like the look of this house online, but when we viewed it, we knew it was just right. There was a fox curled up asleep like a cat at the end of the garden, and Luke softly said, "Sold".
The previous owners took out all of the upstairs ceilings and put skylights in, making it feel brighter and more spacious than perhaps it actually is. They had also cut the master bedroom in two, creating a total of four bedrooms (but still with a three-bed price!), and thanks to the split, we could both have studios (for my quilts and textiles, Luke for his record label Death Is Not The End), our bedroom and also a single guest bedroom.
Apart from two fireplaces, there weren't any period features left, and we were left with a white box. A few major things needed replacing, like the roof, ground floor joists and floorboards. The garden was full of bindweed, and our survey didn't pick up a rather glorious outbreak of rot. Still, slowly we've ticked things off our list, repairing the damage and getting to the point where we could do fun things like putting in lots of fitted bookcases, plaster cornicing, wainscoting and wallpaper. It takes time to put a house together, and I still feel like there is so much more I could do.
I love quite an old, traditional look, with lots of patterns, textiles and colour. I get very sentimental about my home and feel like everything in the house has a story. The little curtains in the dining room are made from our wedding tablecloths. Lots of the art on our walls is by myself, Luke, or it has a story behind it - who bought it, who it is by, or what it is of. Nearly all the furniture is second hand; I think the only exceptions being both of our desks and our wonderful kilim armchair.
The bedroom curtains are vintage Laura Ashley that I extended with a scrap of silk and red grosgrain ribbon. I spent a long, long time choosing the wallpaper; I even bought 5 rolls of the same print as the curtains from eBay, but it wouldn't have been enough. I finally settled on 'Mallow' from the William Morris collection, and it brings me delight every day. I find it detailed and interesting but not overpowering.
I've had my wardrobe since I was 15 (bought for £15 and then sanded and oiled by myself in my parents' garage) and was thrilled it fit so nicely into the alcove. It's awkwardly shallow, though. My finest lockdown moment was buying 60 children's sized wooden hangers (which most things still surprisingly fit!) and magically increasing the storage capacity from 10 items to 60 items.
I made the quilt on my bed, especially for myself (so often making for others) out of scraps of my favourite fabrics, old shirts, hems of dresses and skirts, and vintage fabrics I knew I could never find again. The quilt hanging behind my bed was made by my grandmother-in-law and is entirely hand-stitched. I inherited it without a backing, and it felt too precious to use on a bed, so I backed it with silk and turned it into a canopy with a bamboo hoop I had.
Apart from the house, I still feel ridiculously lucky to have a room of my own. I didn't tidy my studio for this shoot because what's fun about a clean studio? It overlooks the garden, and in the distance, you can see the Shard; it's very peaceful.
Of course, there's still a list of things we'd like to do; we'd love to extend the kitchen one day and update the bathrooms. They were in great condition when we moved in, though not really to my taste. There's no way to justify changing them yet. I'm sure those things will get done one day as we don't plan on leaving anytime soon!