House Tour: Beth’s Mid Century Family Home
Beth mixes family heirlooms and wicked vintage finds, then adds creative DIY and modern elements to create a wonderfully unique warm family home oozing MCM style ...
Where does your love of vintage come from and when did it begin?
My mum's a flea market/junk shop/charity shop fan, I hated going at the time but I spent many an 80's Saturday being dragged from shop to shop. Fast forward a decade to the 90's, when I was a teenager growing up in Brighton, I'd go with friends to my favourite shop Snoopers Paradise, which had random second-hand clothes, curiosity bits, house clearance type boxes and vintage furniture. It wasn't really cool as a teenager then to like 'old stuff', so we'd always check before we stepped out the door just to make sure we weren't spotted by friends who thought old was stinky. We started with clothes but as time went by I started being more interested in home stuff and we'd look in all the cabinets and boxes, saving photos of people found in boxes. I hate leaving a happy photo behind. I brought my first vintage home item, an amazing 70's green and cream vinyl pouffe when I was 18 in the late 90's, in a Nottingham junk shop (a fun item to carry back on the train and tube), it was love and I never looked back (sadly the pouffe got beyond repair a couple of years ago but it served me well).
Do you have any specific criteria for your home décor?
Oh this is hard, I don't think too much about the choices I make, I just go with what I like, rather than what's on trend. I love pattern, colour, interesting things and filling spaces, be that with vintage or new, so it would have to fit with that.
I like brands that are passionate about MCM, like Mini Moderns, I have used two of their wallpapers and they hit the pattern, colour and interesting things brief straight away. I think with my love for teak, they'll be my go to wallpaper people as I love their MCM passion and that they're true fans.
My general overriding criteria for decorating is budgets and doing it myself, so the house isn't show home perfect, I do my best to decorate with cost in mind, like my son’s map walls which I did using old maps sourced from eBay, which cost me less than 1 roll of nice wallpaper, whilst being a more unique space for my son.
How would you describe your vintage style?
Teak and orange, was my first thought as my eyes panned around the house. I love the MCM look, my favourite items being the 60/70's. I like a bit of kitschy naff, (I have a collection of painting by Soulet and John Streverns in storage), I like mixing old with new, I am definitely not a purist.
Do you have a favourite piece, room or area in your home?
I adore my butterfly inlayed coffee table, which I inherited from my mum’s parents, as a little girl I'd spend ages looking into the top at the scene below. My grandad was a carpenter and supplied the piece of teak to the furniture maker, who in turn made a table for my grandad for supplying the wood, I'm not 100% on year but it’s very similar to the G Plan astro table so I’d guess it was early 70's . They made multiple tables but this one's special as my grandad also used the same teak to make a windowsill and fireplace mantel (very 70's chic) in his house. I wish I'd asked more questions like the furniture makers name when he was alive, but you don't think until it's too late, I've never seen another one. It sits in my favourite room, our front room, which is home to my loved Mini Moderns morale wallpaper and Ercol and G Plan sofas.
As a fan of West German pottery myself, I have spied a number of gorgeous pieces in your home, I’m guessing you’re a fan too? You also have quite a collection of art, care to tell us about these collections?
Big fan! Sadly it's a well-loved collection, either damaged by my son or my dad when he was young, but I'd rather it was where I wanted to see it than tucked away. I was lucky to inherit a lot from my gran, she had a great collection of West German pottery which I saved from the skip when my Dad and his sisters were clearing their parents’ home. It sits with other items from my family, little bits I spot in charity shops and a fabulous haul from a work trip a few years ago in Hannover, Germany. I got so carried away I had to dish items out to colleagues to take back through airport security for me. My €12 lamp with original shade was a high point.
My artworks are a mix of family items, old charity shop pictures, new prints, my son’s artworks to original paintings. I'd love to find some original Tretchikoff prints to replace my reproduction prints. There isn't really a theme, just items that give me a good feeling. I have a thing with blank spaces, so my artworks keep growing, I can't do a simple wall. I am also lucky to have some lovely needlepoint artworks which my gran made, she was a lover of West German pottery and a wonderful crafter. I am lucky my grandparents had great taste (in my opinion).
Do you have a favourite vintage era or maker?
If I had to pick just one decade, it would have to be the 70's. The architecture is to me perfect. I love the typical suburban 70's home exterior and interior, even better if the house has an exterior stone clad chimney feature, the dream. The Barbican is my favourite place. Give me buildings most would say were ugly concrete blots on the landscape over any picture postcard cottage or village in the Cotswolds any day. Sorry Prince Charles. Also, sorry to my 1926 house, it’s not true love, but you're okay.
Where do you source your items / furniture from?
I am very lucky to have inherited items, like my Nathan circles sideboard and I was fortunate to find my Ercol sofa on Freecycle, it needed a lot of love but it got me interested in Ercol and led to me purchasing a daybed from a vintage seller. eBay is my go to place for vintage homewares and smaller furniture items, I have found a few things from vintage Facebook group sales posts. My most recent bargain was a my G Plan saddleback sofa, it was from a retro seller I'd chatted to via Instagram, I'd done a doodle of their home and they knew I wanted a saddleback. Time passed and out of the blue they offered me one for free, I just covered petrol to deliver. Unexpected but perfect. They wanted it to find a forever home as the only interest had been from people wanting to strip it for parts. It might be very 70's brown right now but I have plans.
What plans do you have for your home in the future?
I think we're pretty much done decorating wise, although the dream one day is to get a new kitchen, although I say new but it definitely won't be a typical showroom finish. I'd love a mustard 70's colour palette with vintage looking tiles and Formica pattern worktops. But for now, my next project will be upholstering the brown saddleback to make it the star of the room, I'm seeing a mottled teal wool fabric on the horizon.
I absolutely love your other Instagram account Doodles at No 29, please tell us more about the wonderful custom art you create to remember special places.
I started doing doodles of people's houses a year or so ago. I did my own home, then a friend’s and it spiralled from there. It was a little creative outlet whilst I took a career break to care for my autistic son, I'd been working as a creative concept designer and missed being creative. My doodles are simple black ink drawings, capturing a moment in a house’s history, I also do the occasional wedding venue, car! and street scene. I take commissions and work from photographs supplied. I'm currently taking a little break from the doodles as I've started a new job, so whilst I'm finding my feet I'm having a little break but I hope to be back soon once I've worked out the logistics.
Photo credits: All photos kindly provided by Beth.