Whether we’re watching property shows on television or spending hours perusing homeware boards on Pinterest, we just can’t get enough of imaginatively decorated interiors. Whilst the stylish, glossy images you see in magazines are great to aspire to, often the best ideas come from seeing how real people decorate their own homes. We were lucky enough to get a glimpse into artists Adam and James’s home in Brighton and found it to be the ultimate bohemian seaside flat.
Adam and James’s flat is a world away from the calculated interiors bought in bulk from generic stores; their space feels wholly authentic and organic. With small personal touches and quirky pieces scattered throughout, it feels welcoming and has true personality. For Adam, creating a home rather than a trend-led showroom is one of the most important objectives of his interior design: “I don’t own or display anything that doesn’t have a story. I think a home is created by filling a space with objects that are personal artefacts; that way you can enjoy every part of the space.“
Their flat is part of the Artists Open Houses Festival, a collective of artists who open their homes to showcase their art twice a year. So naturally it’s a very creative space – the perfect backdrop to display their art. Seeing as Adam is in contemporary ceramics and glasswork, and James is in print, it’s no surprise that their home has a particularly creative, bohemian vibe. Adam likens decorating his home to creating a piece of art: “To me it’s just another canvas. I hate the idea of going to a department store to buy everything! I really enjoy the creation of each space, and seeing the character that evolves in every room as it’s lived in.“ With upcycled and found furniture mixed in with carefully selected pieces and art, the flat has a distinctly eclectic feel.
This is complemented by statement features like exposed brickwork fireplaces and wooden shelves above the stairs, both of which show self-confessed driftwood addict Adam’s love of objects that have their own story and personality. The shelves were made from a huge piece of wood that Adam discovered on Brighton seafront. After dragging it for three miles to their (then) home, he stored it, knowing that someday he’d find a place for it. When they moved to their current flat, a local carpenter cut it in half and the pieces were attached to the wall in such a way that they seem to float as you walk up the stairs. The idea that the wood has a past and character of its own appeals to Adam, who says he likes to think that it could be from a pirate ship that sailed hundreds of years ago, made from trees that grew hundreds of years before that.
Their love of items with history and character is reflected in the rest of their home, from furniture crafted from banisters and mirrors to decorative chandeliers. Their kitchen is another stand-out feature. Original fittings are complemented by retro styling to create a beautiful yet welcoming space. Adam and James chose to keep the original cabinets, as their vintage charm added to the flat’s natural character, and act as a foundation for their retro accessories. The neutral colour scheme with pops of aqua blue opens up the space, allowing the accessories to take centre stage. With Adam’s ceramics kilns hidden under crochet throws and in hollowed out cabinets (you can see one peeking out in the image below) the kitchen remains a very usable space.
Adam and James’s home is a fantastic example of how blending vintage furniture and personal objects can create a beautifully original interior. Rather than following changeable fashion trends, invest in heritage pieces with character. Well designed pieces will last, and give your home real personality. Incorporating quirky details and using objects in unusual ways (for example creating a candle holder from a chandelier), as well as using furniture from a mixture of eras, will help to stop your house looking like a show home and make it a space that you will treasure.
If you love Adam and James’s interior style as much as we do, recreate it using these pieces from the site:
Retro Steamer Travel Trunk by Daughters of the Revolution
Retro Sweet Jar by Primrose and Plum
Upcyled Vintage Typewriter Butterflies Print by Roo Abrook
Beaded Edge Overmantle Fireplace Mirror by Decorative Mirrors Online
Personalised Bus Blind Canvas by Betsy Benn
Vintage Milk Bottle by Velvet Ribbon
50s Retro Station Clock by 4Living
Mary Rose Upcycled Table by Little Tree Furniture
Rose Silk Posy by Abigail Bryans Designs