We ask 10 creative people, including Michelle Ogundehin and Lucinda Chambers, to show us their happy places: the terraces, the work spaces, the kitchens and the gardens that make them feel joyful.
Interiors: Find Your Happy Place
'This open-plan space is where we like to be,' say the 2LG Studio interior designers and authors of Joyful Minimalism. 'We spend time every day sitting at this table working. The room epitomises our style – a mix of bold and joyful pattern and texture but used in a minimalist way. The malachite green (FTT012; mylands.com) brings the outdoors in, meeting the ivy-covered fence of the garden. We get a lovely view from the table (designed by us and made in collaboration with Olivia Aspinall); the Ercol chairs were also made by us, for PRIDE.'
'All my home is designed to actively contribute to my wellbeing, but there is a great Aristotle quote that goes, "Nature requires us not only to be able to work well, but also to idle well,"' says the co-presenter of Interior Design Masters and author of Happy Inside. 'So my happiest place is when I get the sofa all to myself, plus comfy casuals and cashmere socks, a pot of tea with a magazine, papers or a book to hand; no TV and no pressure to do anything or be anywhere else. My sofa, upholstered in velvet, is deliberately dressed to give me a hug! And I have a ridiculous number of cushions, all of them profoundly tactile.'
'Lockdown has made me realise just how much I love being at home with my family, and the kitchen is the heart of our home,' says the florist and author of The Wild Journal. 'I find it a really beautiful and calming space. We did it up three years ago, painting the existing units and adding new knobs, the Sanderson Swallows wallpaper (johnlewis.com) and lamp and chairs (both oka.com). The kitchen table is where we cook, eat and the children do their homework.'
'I'm a consultant physician specialising in complex older patients presenting to A&E and I also manage the treatment of Covid-19 patients, so it's tough at the moment,' says the woman behind @littlebigbell. 'Despite adequate protection, I've had to socially distance myself from my family at home. I find it difficult not to be able to hug them. So, after a hard day's work, I head to my workspace, which is also my happy place. A light, bright, fun space, the sofa was upcycled in a pink velvet fabric with flamingo red trims (linwoodfabric.com); the shell cushions are from Moi Mili and recycled plastic rugs from Pappelina.'
'This is the first year I've had a garden, so I've been spending as much time outside as possible,' says the interior designer of Campbell Rey. 'To plant something as tiny as a seed, to devote time to it, nurture it and see it grow really feels like magic. It's taught me patience and it's also a great opportunity to get me away from my screen and off my phone. When things look bleak, there's something hopeful about green shoots – they remind us nothing is forever.'
'My happy place is the space just outside the kitchen,' says the co-founder of the curated fashion, beauty and lifestyle site collagerie.com. 'It's a veranda with a roof, so I'm outside even when I'm indoors. I particularly love this area first thing in the morning, rain or shine, with a cup of tea, listening to the birds and thinking about the day ahead. It's also where I go with that last glass of wine before bed. I've had the chairs for ages; the cushions and rugs are replaced as they get faded or the foxes play on them, and there are quilts to wrap around you if it's a bit chilly. It all creates a lovely calm, restorative space.'
'At the end of a busy working day, designing and despatching our wallpapers from the ground-floor studio, it's a treat to come up the stairs to our light-filled space on the top floor, prepare food and open a bottle of wine to start the evening,' say the designers behind Mini Moderns. 'We wanted the area to feel light and airy by day, rich and cosy by night, and the wall behind our G-plan Fresco sideboard really helps create that. We change it often. At the moment, it features our Lucky Lantern wallpaper in Winter Plum. We've styled it with an oversized Tretchikoff screen-print, a cold-cast bronze resin lamp base teamed with one of our Darjeeling lampshades, and plenty of plants. The wall also serves as a great backdrop to all the FaceTimes and Zooms we're doing at the moment!'
'As a gardener, wherever I've wound up living, there had to be some kind of outdoor space,' says the author of Rootbound, Rewilding A Life. 'What I didn't expect was to end up with a balcony that was surrounded by woodland, giving me a tiny pocket of space where I couldn't see another building. It's shady, so I've learned plenty about growing things in dappled light. It is the most calming place I know: here I can sit and work in the afternoon sun, read or watch the sunset. I can grab 20 seconds to inhale, exhale and know I've ended the day with a hit of green.'
'I live in a small flat with no outside space, so having something to do inside is really important,' says broadcast journalist and foodie writer (@felicityspector). 'When I'm not working, I relax by planning what I'm going to cook, so this spot by my bookcase – with about 150 books – is where I love to be. Cooking is creative and satisfying and I enjoy sharing the recipe on Instagram, being able to be part of a community. At the moment, I look at the ingredients I have and check out a cookbook's index to see what's possible. If I can, I message the author and ask if they can suggest an alternative to any missing ingredient and they are usually more than happy to respond.'
'My happy place is sitting in the kitchen on a stool (by Frank Guille) reading cookery books old and new, talking to the boys – my husband and sons – while they are cooking away! The dogs are always there, too,' says the designer whose new collection for John Lewis has recently been released. 'As well as the cookery books, the big open shelves are filled with treasures I love, gathered over the years. My current favourite cookbooks are two vintage ones from Ireland that I grew up with and found on eBay. Full And Plenty by Maura Laverty and Monica's Kitchen by Monica Sheridan, both with wonderful writing and great anecdotes from the time.'
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