Knock-knock is the working title, if you come up with a better one, please let me know. If you can crowbar the word Tat in you, get a small cash prize. I always wanted to bring real homes on Tat, rather than the grand and the spectacular. More the homes that are created bit by bit, not necessarily with bundles of money but eBay, hand me downs and a lot of time. As I wasn't sure how we would start it off, especially as the person I am asking needs to do all the leg work - I decided to ask my sister (god love 'em). Miranda Porter, Client Director at Household & Founder of second-hand clothes store LINES (so you if you need old crap you know which sisters to hit up). She very kindly obliged and showed us around her charming home, which she shares with her husband Benji Lanyado (Founder of Picfair).
For the last five years, I’ve lived in Stroud Green, two years on a crescent that during the pandemic has given the Truman show a run for its money, in a small blue-grey house. It’s a wonderful neighbourhood, sometimes too good to be true, with the furloughed opera singers stretching their lungs up down the street, bands playing from doorsteps on Saturdays and neighbours stretching over fences with slices of lemon meringue pies. During this time, it’s become evident that we’re the black sheep, with our lack of musical talents and appalling baking.
My favourite part of the little blue house, and the first change we made to the once white-box, was this fantastic wallpaper (Beech by Lewis & Wood) in our bedroom, an incredibly generous wedding present from family friends. The delicately climbing beech branches and tiny pink buds are the first things I see, as the quiet morning light cracks through. These few moments have become weirdly enjoyable, I follow my favourite branch, (yes, I have a favourite!) to the ceiling, slowly coming round before reaching for my phone and the inevitable cold dousing of reality. Like everywhere else in the house, this room is a work in progress, the latest addition is the wonderful lampshade from Alice Palmer, made of vintage French linen, it gives off a gorgeous glow in the evening.
During the day, like most people over the last three months, my desk has become my life. From left to right, it’s covered with the essential odds and ends needed to get through a day in lockdown. From a dressed-up lamp, to the dish of jewellery (big earrings + the ‘touch up my appearance setting, hides all manners of sins) candles, pens, speaker and a lot of hand cream, paired with a wall full of cards, postcards, pictures and posters from a life pre-pandemic.
It’s my space where I run LINES on the side and the place where I have all my favourite things. One of which came on one glorious payday, as a sunny weekend stretched ahead, and I had a party in my sights. It was in this happy haze, as I got ready to leave my ‘real’ office, I suddenly felt I deserved something, something big, something that would grow with me, something that wasn’t from Arket. And I had just the right present in mind. Long had I pined for it on Tat and then it was mine, this superb abstract Swedish painting, a jagged mix of jewel tones in the blue, navy, deep mustard, caramels and pinks and reds. Perfect to lose yourself in when escaping overzealous Zooms. It sits next to my wedding dress, now two years old, she’s the most beautiful piece I will ever buy, so hangs precariously from the top shelf of my LINES shelves, something the varying threads, sequins, and beads to look up to.
Mingled in amongst the chic hand-me-downs from my mum and IKEA essentials I’ve got a few bits peppered about, which always cheer me up when spied out the corner of my eye. Two in particularly are brilliant, the first is the framed print of Tony Curtis and the Jack Lemon, from one of Vanity Fair’s Oscar covers in the 90s in my “dressing room”/ room too small for a bed. The mixture of defiant grumpiness in their tindy whiteies is the perfect start to the day and inspiration while dressing. The other is the Oca tie in hallway, a reminder of the Palio in Siena last year – the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.
I found this chair on eBay and was exultant. Finally! That big comfy chair I had always imagined curling up in to read and drink in the evening. And this does happen, but by Benji, my husband, who like a stubborn housecat, refuses to vacate. I’m left to perch proprietarily on the edge to subconsciously/ consciously, depending on the mood, remind him that if we were to get divorced, the chair would be in my truck. While that’s not the case, it stands flanked by an incredibly mirrored deco side table with the Isolde lamp in green resin.