Artists and designer makers often have the most inspiring homes. It’s not because they are rich and can afford the best that money can buy, in fact, they are often on tight budgets.
It’s because they are, by their very nature, creative and able to come up with original, left-field ideas. They also tend to be unafraid of colour and are keen to try something new.
Photographer, blogger and maker Emily Quinton visited a variety of them at their homes and in their studios and has pulled together a visual feast for her book “Maker Spaces”.
It focuses on 13 properties from around the world and includes everything from a trendy studio in East London to a fashionable apartment in San Francisco, all with clever styling ideas and interesting decor.
Emily says: “I have always loved making things and creating spaces that make me happy. The book came about because I wanted to see how other makers from around the world live and work.
“I know I am affected by the space I occupy. I was keen to explore this connection in the book and also to celebrate this amazing era of modern makers.”
One of the most original ideas in the book is the Art Deco lift door, which is now a table top on a wood base. Jewellery designer Alix Bluh is also an expert upcycler. The pelmet above her bed is a decorative wood panel that now holds silk drapes and the lampshade is an old basket that has been re-purposed.
Old wooden crates and boxes have been very creatively used, often stacked up as make-shift shelves or wall-hung. Alix’s partner, Michael, came up with the idea of having a page of Gershwin sheet music enlarged. The chords of Rhapsody in Blue now cover most of one wall in the bathroom.
There are also some good examples of how being adventurous with colour can really pay off. The kitchen, pictured above, has units in fashionable dark grey, but there are pops of colour that lift the room. The open shelf is painted bright green and the appliances are red.
While all the homes and studios featured in the book are inspirational, our favourite is that of British designer Donna Wilson.
It is full of creativity and colour and, of course, it features her own work. Her cushion looks perfect on the Piet Hein Eek chair in the hallway. Her plates hang on the side of the kitchen cabinets and a collection of her quirky creatures sit together in the dining room.
The cottage is a mix of new and vintage buys, including an original Ercol table and chairs she found on eBay. A montage of boxes and drawers above the fireplace is an ever-changing gallery of family photographs, collectibles and children’s art work. The white walls and wood floors create a backdrop for colourful accessories.
“Having things around you that have memories attached to them is important in creating a happy place and home,” she says.
*Maker Spaces by Emily Quinton is published by Ryland Peters and Small, £19.99, www.rylandpeters.com
*If you want to see the homes and work spaces of artists and makers in Yorkshire, look out for open studios events. York runs its own, as does Hebden Bridge, Kirklees, Sheffield and East Yorkshire. The biggest, at least geographically, is the North Yorkshire Open Studios event. It runs over two weekends, June 6 and 7 and June 13 and 14. It features over 100 artists and makers, including painters, ceramicists, photographers, jewellery makers, furniture makers and, of course, spectacular scenery. For more details visit www.nyos.org.uk