Accessorize with Meaning: London lessons

In keeping with my London nostalgia week, I thought I would highlight how the lessons I have learned from our various homes overseas have influenced my current design style.

As I have said, in my opinion, every vignette needs to tell it's own story and the only way to do that is to accessorize with meaning and surround yourself with the things you love.

This is my view from our breakfast table (if I am not looking into the adoring eyes of my lovely family, of course).

Every time I look at it, it just makes me smile. The reason being - every piece in this picture tells a specific story to me. Nothing is from a big box store and everything was hand selected.

Jam Cabinet - first antique that my husband and I purchased together while living in Belsize Park. Our kitchen was so small we ran out of space immediately. We added this piece to the hallway just outside of the kitchen and used it as our pantry.

Wine - what's not to love? I worked in the wine industry overseas and basically, it changed my life and my appreciation for wine forever.

Antique scale - purchased on one of our first 'mini-breaks' to the English Countryside. I had grand ambitions to collect antique scales, but all our homes were too small to accommodate such large pieces. Oh well, in some cases, one large scale piece speaks more than a lot of little ones - at least that is what I am telling myself.

Wire Roosters - these were actually given to me for my first official Mother's Day, from a little shop in Wimbledon Village. And I didn't even pick them out. Love them!

Antique Mallet/Hammer - one of the first antiques that my Dad gave to my Mom.

Antique Ice Cream Scoop - this was my Father's Grandfather's.

So, as you can see, each piece has meaning and memories attached to it. To me, this is what makes a house a home. And of course, some of these things are even practical - like the wine! And I've even used the ice cream scoop once or twice! Most recently to scoop a delicious and festive cherry Bourbon slush at last year's Winter cocktail party - really must find that recipe again.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my London week as much as I enjoyed reliving our time there.

London Nastalgia: Wimbledon

After a year plus in Hampstead we moved to our third and final home in London, Wimbledon.

Wimbledon holds a special place in my heart; we stayed there the longest, our daughter was born there and for me, it was the closest I have come to living my Simple Life.

A quick tour of our house:

From the front

Reception 1: living and study

Looking into second Reception

Second Reception and Kitchen

View from the Front Window

The Village and surrounding areas:

High Street, Wimbledon Village

Homes along Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon Common

Much like our first home in Belsize Park, our home in Wimbledon was small and in a great location. The big difference was the addition of our daughter and you know how much stuff small children bring with them! We really had prioritize what was important in terms of design, accessories, etc. Everything had to have meaning and tell it's own story. We had to purge a lot of extra stuff, which was hard, but in time proved to be a great relief.

The moral of this house was again, simplicity, and to accessorize with meaning.

London Nostalgia: Hampstead

If you are just tuning in, you are in for a week dedicated to our time in London in honor of Mr. Designing Domesticity's jet setting ways.

Honestly, just a quick overview, really.

After a year plus in our teeny tiny flat in Belsize Park, we moved a bit farther North to Hampstead. Here we managed to score a detached home close to the Western Extension of Hamsptead Heath (this will probably mean very little to most of you).

As I mentioned earlier, it took us a long time to realize what a great set up we had in Belsize Park; here in Hampstead, we had a much bigger house, but we weren't very close to the village.

A quick look through the house:

Reception: living area

Reception: dining area

Kitchen: by far the nicest kitchen we had while living overseas. Very American with a full size fridge, double ovens and separate pantry. Needless to say, we were in heaven.

Hampstead High Street
For the first and only time while living overseas, we celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas with friends and family visiting from America. For me, the holidays spent in this home where the most influential in my desire to create a welcoming home.
Here's the main reception decorated for the Holidays.

What did our time in this house teach me: location, location, location. But more importantly, how important a welcoming home can be; what a difference it can make to those who are traveling to see you - great distances or small. I knew from this point on that I wanted to make my home feel as homey as possible to all my visitors. Obviously, something I have become a bit obsessed with.

A great house - but it didn't last long; we moved a little over a year later to South West London.

London Nostalgia: Belsize Park

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I'm happy to report that I just enjoyed my first away trip from my daughter - a whole week away in fact, and it was glorious!

We headed to North Carolina and stayed in Asheville for a couple of days and then moved on to the Smoky Mountains. I'm hoping to share photos and inspiration from our trip for a welcoming home next week. Speaking of inspiration, I am officially ready for Fall. Let the decorating festivities begin.

Anywho, back to reality. Just a little sad, especially as my other half has jetted off to London for work. Jealous much?!? I haven't been back since we left a little over a year ago.

In honor of his trip, I plan to spend the week reminiscing over our time in London (while I catch up on housework, get back into our schedule and organize all those NC photos) and explain how each of our homes in London have influenced my current design style.

So, here goes - our first year, in Belsize Park.

Check out our cute (and by cute, I mean, super small) flat.

The street view

The reception: living, dining and office space (special cameo by Mr. Designing Domesticity).

Our teeny, tiny kitchen

Our beautiful back garden

We spent a lot of time walking Hampstead Heath when we lived here. Truly a lovely park - they definitely do Green Space well

And, finally, my second home away from home: work, Regents Park Road in Primrose Hill

The concept that I most took away from that first year in Belsize Park is, simplicity.We walked everywhere; we were lucky enough to live across from a fresh market, a couple of good restaurants, wine shop, etc. I even walked to work. We lived in a small space and made do with what we had room for.

Of course, it has taken me a couple of years looking back to realize how good we had it, but nonetheless, good times, and a great introduction to the city!

Today, I try to surround myself with things I really need and love - not a whole house full of meaningless stuff; I try to keep it simple.