How would you describe your home? The house is a late Georgian farmhouse - we bought it as a wreck and have slowly pieced it back together. We were pretty broke when we bought it, but I like to think that made us inventive and resourceful. Lots of salvage yards and auction houses later and we’re nearly there. I’m fairly traditional in my tastes - I like classical interiors, lots of antiques, old rugs, rich textiles, craftsmanship and natural materials.
What is on your interiors wish list? I love Pooky lighting, especially their marbled lampshades; they always add a hit of colour to a room. Anything from Penreath and Hall, especially their cushions. A new sofa would be nice; Arlo & Jacob have some lovely shapes, especially the Poirot sofa – but not much point until the kids/dog leaves home. Got my eye on some Little Greene wallpaper too – I’m trying to find any excuse to use one of their London Papers.
Which household items could you not live without? It’s not really a household item, more of a space – my shed. Last year I built myself a garden shed, one that I could work in all year round. I was finding it difficult to separate home and work life, so the shed isn’t just an extra building, it’s a career move. It was an acknowledgment that my job of being a writer deserved its own space, not just a corner of the kitchen.
Which designers do you most admire? Ben Penreath, for giving traditional interiors a warm, colourful twist. Robert Welch for his gorgeous, timeless cutlery. All the talented people that make up St Judes including Mark Hearld, Angie Lewin, Ed Kluz, Emily Sutton - artists who’ve translated their work into beautiful prints, wallpaper and textiles. I also went to see the Edward Bawden exhibition in London last year – totally brilliant. For garden design, Arne Maynard and Jinny Blom are hugely inspirational when it comes to making a garden that relates to its surrounding architecture.
What is your favourite building? The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. It’s like a smaller version of the Natural History Museum, stuffed with amazing objects that Victorian explorers, archaeologists and botanists dragged back from their adventures. I’ve spent many a happy hour in there, looking at shrunken heads and dodos.
Is there anything exciting you at the moment in terms of design? Urban design is about to get exciting. I’m really interested to see how cities of the future will try and incorporate more plants, green spaces, clean air and natural light – all the things we need to live happily and healthily. The idea of biophilia – that humans need a connection with their natural surroundings – is gaining momentum and something I really believe in.
What and where is your ideal home? I’m happy where we are but I am sometimes curious to know what it’d be like to live in a really old timber framed house. We went to Lavenham in Suffolk recently, a place stuffed with medieval buildings. Completely fell in love with it.
Who would you most like to invite to dinner? I loved Dolly Alderton’s recent book about female friendship, Everything I Know About Love. It refers to those precious friends who become more like sisters. Most of my university friends live in London but when we get together it’s like no time has passed at all. They make the funniest, wisest, most outrageous dinner companions a girl could wish for.