Insider our readers' homes
- Diana Kiernander
- 28 November 2006
Inside I'm Dancing
What do our homes say about us? Out of town furniture stores may be cheap and easy, but most people want to avoid an identikit approach to interior design. We had a hunch that there’s a maverick spirit in Scotland’s approach to home-making, and we didn’t have to travel far to find it. From breathtaking minimalism to high voltage kitsch, Diana Kiernander snoops round some of our readers’ homes and discovers a cornucopia of design surprises. Photos: Neale Smith
Ruth Paxton’s Edinburgh home is overflowing with elaborate costume jewellery and racks of fantasy shoes, and it has a bedroom that appears to be a giant dressing up box. Ruth is 23 and studying for her Masters in Film at Edinburgh College of Art, and her affection for vintage clothing goes far beyond a passing interest in fleamarket funk. ‘I worked in Armstrongs, a vintage clothing emporium in Edinburgh, and I guess that sparked my interest,’ she says, ‘though I’ve always trekked round charity shops looking for unique stuff.’
Ruth gathers much of her stash from far-flung cities. ‘I’ve been to Italy and the States and found pieces that I loved,’ she says. It may be a wickedly indulgent scene, but to Ruth, it is simply a reflection of her passions.
Her interest in filmmaking spills over into styling and the clothes are integral to this. ‘I art direct all my work and because of my interest in clothes, the films are very stylised affairs,’ she explains. In Ruth Paxton’s room, it is always showtime.
Nick Walker describes himself as an architect, but in truth he is more of a visionary. He began his personal house project six years ago when he and his partner, press officer and ex-Divine DJ, Alan Miller, bought a flat in Glasgow.
In just two years Nick and Alan had transformed the 1895 building into a stunning, modern living space.
Unsurprisingly, they didn’t agree on everything. ‘We didn’t argue, but we did have discussions,’ says Miller, ‘As an architect, Nick is really concerned with clean lines and opening up space, but my aesthetic is more about creating a cultural bricolage of style.’
The keepers of the faith
High up on a faraway hill in Edinburgh’s Southside, a ‘topsy-turvy’ house sits. The main living area is positioned on the upper level, with bedrooms and bathroom downstairs. The story attached to this original 60s building is every bit as enchanting and fabulous as any childhood fable.
The owners themselves, who have requested to be known simply as Hans and Eleanor, are in awe of their outstanding piece of ‘upside down’ architecture. Since moving to the property three years ago, the couple have experienced an overwhelming desire to keep the original design ethos. ‘We feel it’s so important to preserve architecture for the future,’ says Eleanor.
She and her partner felt an instant, overwhelming connection with the property, which was designed by the late, great Scottish architect, James Morris, from the Morris & Steedman partnership. ‘He came by the house just months before he died,’ explains Eleanor. ‘I think this project must have been special to him and thankfully he really approved of what we had done with the place.’
Furnished almost entirely with junk shop finds and retro originals, in close keeping with the 60s design era, this is a house of almost magical inspiration and devotion.
The urban toy junkie
Lucy Munro has a magpie eye for all things miniature. Every little room overflows with an archive of vinyl toys and bubblegum figurines.
‘When I was a kid, I remember wanting lots of Transformer figures,’ she recalls, but the imaginative landscape of make-believe seems never to have left Lucy. Today, the characters around her flat are straight out of comic books, American blockbusters and Japanese animé films, but they all have human qualities as well.
King Ken, by urban art god James Jarvis, takes pride of place as the living room showpiece, while the bedroom houses Hayao Miyazaki’s faultless character incarnations from his animated treasure, Spirited Away.
‘I’ve got some Card Boys in my collection,’ says Lucy, pointing to a trio of grinning robot-shaped cut-outs. ‘They are packaged in a little square box, which you turn inside out and build the character from there.’ Lucy is a great advert for the urban market. Her collection is sizeable, yet subtle. And everywhere you look, a little street culture hero is smiling back at you. Nice.
The bedroom DJs
In a tiny flat, deep in Glasgow’s West End, a stash of rock memorabilia lives on. There are Beatles posters, an extravagant collage paying homage to 80s band Orange Juice and a mountain of memoirs from rock’n’pop’s rich cultural history. The collection belongs to Erik and Björn Sandberg, the twin brothers responsible for setting up the label, Say Dirty Records, in their front room earlier this year.
‘I guess we did it to keep costs down,’ says Björn, ‘The way the house operates has changed a lot now. We don’t have friends round as much anymore.’ The brothers’ live/work interior aesthetic is pure DIY, and they’ve built themselves a space steeped in rock’n’roll dreams.
Thanks to a distinctly retro realism that speaks of Postcard, Chemikal Underground and Soma, it’s the ideas that dominate these living quarters.
Do you have an amazing, unusual living space? Send us photos and tell us why you love it. www.blipfoto.com/thelist
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Che Camille 143 Oxford Street, 07862 720215
Dallas & Dallas 18 Montrose Street, 0141 552 2939
18Zero8 83 Bowman Street, 0141 423 8585
Finnie Antiques & Interiors 103 Niddrie Road, 0141 357 5812
Form, The Lighthouse Shop, 11 Mitchell Lane, 0141 225 8422
Glasgow Architectural Salvage Unit 1, Albion Centre, 1394 South Street, 0141 958 1113
Glasgow Clydeside Antiques 121-127 Lancefield Street, 0141 248 7914
Habitat 160 Bothwell St, 0141 248 2517
Inhouse 24-26 Wilson Street, 0141 552 5902
Relics Dowanside Lane, 0141 341 0007
Cabaret Antiques 37 Grassmarket, 0131 225 8618
Clock House Furniture 14 Old Stables, Haddington, 01620 860958
Concrete Butterfly 317 Cowgate, 0131 558 7130
Design Shop 116-120 Causewayside, 0131 667 7078
Edinburgh Architectural Salvage Yard, 31 West Bowling Street, 0131 554 7077
Habitat 32 Shandwick Place, 0131 225 9151
Holyrood Architectural Salvage 146 Duddingston Road West, 0131 661 9305
Inhouse, 28 Howe Street 0131 225 2888
Tangram 33-37 Jeffrey Street, 0131 556 6551
Twentieth Century Antiques www.twentiethcenturyantiques.co.uk
The Nomad’s Tent 21 St Leonards Lane, 0131 662 1612