This episode is a jam-packed beauty which we hope will bring you some light relief, we’re talking fantasy homes (with some surprise revelations!) a fantastic interview with Jay Blades of The Repair Shop fame and we chat about the joys of revamping and restyling your home, since we’ve all been staring at the same four walls for four months.
A huge thanks to Geberit for sponsoring the series and do check out their website for all your bathroom inspirational needs. You can catch the whole episode here and please do rate and review, we really do value each and every one. Also, don’t forget our ever-growing Facebook group where you can become part of our wonderful Great Indoors community, who are quickly becoming a very resourceful bunch.
This lock down has a habit of making us feel a bit fed up and flat at times so we thought we’d induldge in a bit of fantasy interiors as if money and location were no object. Kate really ran with this topic and has clearly got more time to be perusing The Modern House , doing some virtual house hunting!! I think it’s fascinating to see when we really let ourselves dream, the ideas can really shape our tastes and inspirations. But Kate’s addmission to craving a pink castle, really did have my jaw hitting the floor.
Kate has a long list of fantasy homes but the one that sprung to my mind would be a house where I could have full reign over the decor and fully unleash my colour and pattern passions. In terms of the architecture, it would have to be a little dishevelled, a bit wonky, quirky with a hint of Arts & Crafts – just think Professor Potts’ place from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
We’ve been trying to pin down an interview with the oh-so-fabulous Jay for some time but he is always so busy filming what with his two shows, The Repair Shop and Money for Nothing, both for the BBC. Jay is also an innovative furniture restorer, upcycler, eco-designer as well as creating a bespoke furniture range for his Jay & Co label. We were due to travel to his Shropshire home but of course that couldn’t happen during lockdown. So I was lucky enough to chat with him via the wonders of the interweb – me in my duvet ‘sound recording studio’ and him in his workshop. I was keen to talk about creative upcycling and the making-do mentality that runs through both of Jay’s TV shows when many of us are trying to reinvent and update what we have at home!
Make sure you look out for Jay’s new BBC show coming up towards the end of May which he filmed with one cameraman, socially distancing in his workshop – which I can tell you is no mean feat, there’s usually quite a crew when recording. ‘Jay Blade’s Home Fix‘ aims to inspire viewers to learn new skills for lockdown and beyond and help put right some of those forgotten DIY tasks. It shows you that anything you can buy in a shop you can actually make yourself, including stain remover, dishwasher tablets and his personal favourite furniture polish which he scents with essential oil. I’m tuning in for that recipe alone!
I love the therapeutic element of doing up old furniture. For me, when I’ve tackled a spot of upcycling or decorating I’ve found it strangely meditative and often it really helps lift my spirits. Jay agrees:
“I feel it every time I complete something. When I was at school I was classified as a failure and they didn’t identify that I’m dyslexic so didn’t achieve much in terms of qualifications. But, every time I paint, sand or put some fabric onto a chair there is a level of achievement that supports my mental health. It’s almost as if that fabric, that paint is giving me a pat on the back and giving me the encouragement to keep on going.”
I just love the modern, distinctive twist that Jay puts on all the pieces he creates and it got me wondering if there is a particular project he loved. Jay calls himself a selfish designer, in the sense that he designs for himself and does not follow the trends and many times sticks to the same fabric and colours and just invents them for each piece. He’s expressing his style through what he creates.
So what do we look for in a second-hand piece of furniture? Look for anything made from solid timber ideally from the 1920s-1970s and go for the less fashionable brands – Ercol is very popular at the moment so prices will much higher.
What’s a good first upholstery project? A drop-in seat, so any dining chair where the seat ‘drops in’ to the frame. Start off simple so you don’t get too disheartened.
How Jay’s approach to quirky design evolved. Many came about by mistake. The ‘one leg’ chair, for instance, came about when he started painting and answered a phone call and looked at the chair and really liked that one leg stood out and made the other three look great.
To sum up, Jay’s style has evolved as he puts it, ‘by making beautiful mistakes.’ Do check out Jay on Instagram @Jay_n_co not only for some upholstery inspiration but also his ‘Thought of the Day.’
So we all know we’re a little bored and perhaps going a little stir crazy, so why not try some quick updates to revamp and refresh.
I recently filmed a couple of segments for BBC One’s daytime show, HealthCheck UK Live ( all filmed from my garden window as you can’t let the crew in during a pandemic!)
We are all keen for ways to refresh our homes without feeling the pressure of a major upheaval or re-decorating. So whether that’s buying some new things or just rearranging what we already have the idea is to keep it simple yet effective. Wait for Kate’s gasp when I revealed that one of the ideas was to colour code your bookshelves – I went one step further and colour co-ordinated my ornaments too! Kate’s dislike for this idea is mainly that she loves books for the stories they tell and finds it close to sacrilege to use books for mere decoration. See what you think, you can watch the full episode on BBC Player
Our lovely producer Kate moved house during lockdown, which is simply incredible- they moved all the furniture by walking it down the street. Luckily they were only going around the corner! She discussed how buying a few new houseplants ha really given her home a refresh and while it was hard to buy from large online retailers she ended up finding she could buy from her local shop, online, which in itself felt quite rewarding as she was supporting a local business.
We are all finding ourselves re-thinking how we shop and some things do work well online like, accessories, vases and artwork. Furniture not so well as you would need to check how comfy it is before you part with your cash. Remember to always check the scale and measurements – you don’t want to end up with a doll’s house piece!
Switch it up! Moving things around can instantly refresh a room, as I discovered the other day. I was feeling a little underwhelmed with my dark teal sofa so I grabbed a pale pink throw from the bedroom and threw it over the sofa – and it made such a difference. Or try switching rugs around, swap lamps and lampshades, or even change your artwork and create a gallery wall perhaps.
Huge thanks to Jay Blades for his time, insight and inspiration, to Geberit for their continued support, Kate Taylor of Feast productions, our producer, who worked her remote magic and of course not forgetting you, our lovely listeners.