Due to some poor planning on my part, we were left without a Knock Knock this week. So instead of making someone else do all the heavy lifting, I thought I might as well give it a go.
I moved into this flat on the North End Road around four years ago. I still refer to it as my boyfriend's home, firstly because it is his, secondly because I would have never moved somewhere like this. That sounds very spoilt, which I am. I have grown up in homes with bones; the bones do so much for the space that you can rely on them to make a home beautiful. If you know my mother, Liz Elliot, you will know that she exudes an effortless elegance which her interiors absorb. So with those two factors, I have become very spoilt. A new build like this, where everything seems so thick and new, would never have appealed to me, but love is blind.
This flat has the wow factor; the sitting room has windows down all one side. You can look over your patch of London (the Marcus Garvey Park in our case) and to me it takes on the form of a moving picture. The park fills up, the noise explodes and then towards nightfall you can hear the lonely thud of a basketball. For someone as nosy as me, it makes for endless enjoyment. I should also say for someone as lonely as me. Before lockdown I had decided to do Tat full time, leaving the wonderful office of House & Garden where I had many of my greatest friends within a metre radius. The change was harder than I had expected. So those windows and that park became a huge comfort to me, one that until I wrote this down, I had always taken for granted.
I have changed very little in this flat. I am always suffering from being out of pocket. So all those things people do - tearing out kitchens, chipping tiles away and uprooting carpet - seem somewhat mad to me. Partly because I never have enough money & also because all those things work just fine. It might seem crazy for someone who has set their life on the aesthetic, but I think if you look at the things I buy for Tat I can live with just about anything.
That being said, the things I have done - buy, buy, buy! Poor Charlie (my boyfriend is also called Charlie) will open the front door, and a chaise lounge will be pushed by him. Or I get rid of a very comfy chair and replace it with a rickety old thing which has a time limit on how long you can sit on it. He is now used to the fact; he will walk through the front door and be greeted by multiple changes, his pictures moved behind the sofa, books popped in cupboards and furniture quietly disposed of. Never once has complained, for this alone I will never stop loving him.
One purchase we made together was our Arlo & Jacob sofa, from the House & Garden collection (natch). Charlie found it very hard to get over how much we were paying for a sofa (we also got it when they had a sale). After doing his pricing research at the insurance broker at which he works (not trusting the word of his girlfriend who at that time worked at House & Garden, in the decoration department) he agreed to get it. That sofa has become the third person in our relationship. During the first few months of lockdown we lived on it. It was one of the few places that gave me a little comfort; sat on it with Charlie on the other side, with a pizza on my lap and a bucket of red wine on the table in front of me, one could almost drown out the sound of sirens that pierced the constant silence. So salut dear sofa.
Our bedroom consists of two single beds strapped together, which I strongly advise; you barely feel the other person is there. A headboard which I believe was handed down - I found burnt orange linen and stuffed it around it. it has made the room feel so much brighter. The terrace was unloved til lockdown, but goodness we got our act together in March. It became our Friday night date night when we'd make cocktails, have a chat, then call someone on zoom and pretend we were in the pub. We spent the eve of our supposed wedding there: having been sent a mountain of treats we sat there toasting what would have been an exciting day. Just when we went to retire to our old friend the sofa, my phone rang, and it was my mother saying go downstairs. There was my father, who I hadn't seen in months, on the doorstep, mask on, gloves on, and waving having left us a bottle of champagne and an oak tree. So although sad not to have got married, that was one of the happier memories of the last few years.
I can't think of anything else to note, but should perhaps mention my favourite individual pieces in the flat - one of which is the Josef Franck pendant light over the table that acts as a useful divider between the dining room and sitting room. The coffee table is made by a good friend - @planeandable. It's a beautiful piece & I like that the place is arranged around something made by someone we love. Also, the red phallic columns that flank the TV that were given to me for my 30th birthday by my mother. They're ridiculous, and I love them. Apart from that, I am easy-come-easy-go. My parents between them have given me pieces of art, donated by my mother, and done by my father. Those would be the things I'd get out sharpish.
Sorry, that was a bit of an odd Knock Knock I've contradicted myself repeatedly - but that is pretty true to form. Hopefully back to regular proceedings next Newsletter, I doubt we can flog this dead horse again.
N.B these photographs have all been taken within the last year.