I’m ashamed to admit I’ve spent the last few weeks sat in the darkness of my crypt, scrolling through Instagram, again with not one bloody invite insight. What’s a vampire to do? One particular account I have been stalking more than others shows the tasty home of Opalfruitcake aka Rujina. On a gloriously bleak evening I managed to pluck up the courage to message Rujina to ask if I might be invited into her home to creep around and get my fangs into her decor and suck on the inspiration – well I didn’t put it quite like that, I didn’t mention the fangs. To my surprise and utter delight, one could even be mistaken for thinking I felt some life flow back through my veins, she replied and we arranged a date.
Rujina names her Instagram account Opalfruitcake as, a homage to Opal Fruits before they changed their name to Starburst and on entering her home, the decor does bring to mind a world of sugary delights. It’s colourful, playful, fun and like every packet of Opal Fruits in each room, you never know what you’re going to get next. Rujina lives here with her husband Gavin and their 3 kids and it’s a home filled with curiosities and eclectic decoration, a maze of wonders to spark the imagination. There’s a relaxed creative atmosphere and you can see that they’re not precious about kids messing the place up, instead they have managed to integrate this playful/ practical mix into the house and it works beautifully. The blue tiling print on the stairs is wallpaper (I thought it was tiles) which Rujina found on Ebay from a lady who had one roll leftover, which was enough to cover all the stairs in the house, there are two floors!
They moved into the house in August 2012 and Rujina says the living room was an absolute mess. There was a lot of work to be done and they did a lot of it themselves, including the flooring and the exposed brick fireplace which they resurrected and added a log burner. This is now a main feature of the dining room. They have found most things in the house through Ebay and vintage markets. Every piece is different but works so well with the rest of the room.
Gavin and Rujina knocked down the middle wall to open up the living room into the dining room and it now creates the perfect fang-shui with the front bay-window light flowing right through to the back French doors which lead to the garden. The mix of industrial, natural materials and bright colourful touches creates a laid-back, fun mood. The shelves are made up from old scaffolding wood and the center light which brings the whole room together is made from mini milk bottles. My fangs are right stuck in, it’s delicious. In human food, I would compare it to a hearty, artery toffee pud of a room with ice-cream and skittles on top.
The kitchen door they found in the street and Gavin installed this sliding mechanism which means they now have a door for the pantry as well as the kitchen. Scrumptiously economical.
The downstairs victorian bathroom is so bright and airy with floor tiles to die for.
On the first floor are the kid’s bedrooms which are beautifully colourful, playful and fun. The burnt orange theme runs throughout the house and here with these gorgeous velvet orange curtains which help bring out the colours in the rest of the room.
This is a house where even the walls come alive, instead of using wallpaper they use wall calendars, pinboards, maps, blackboards and floating shelving units making it even more interactive and interesting. There’s the saying ‘if the walls could speak’… .well these walls get involved and in every room! The final staircase takes you into the loft, which is Rujina and Gavin’s bedroom and sanctuary away from the rest of the house. You would never expect to climb the stairs and find this room. It’s a slice of heaven (not sure I should be up here). The room is beautifully lit by an almost floor to ceiling window covering one wall and three skylights. It’s filled with plants which Rujina says thrive in this room and I can see why. It’s more modern to the rest of the house and there’s a real feeling of calm as you enter it. It’s almost like its own holiday home and complete with mini Victorian bathroom nestled right in the corner making full use of the space for the bedroom/chill-out area. I could hang here quite peacefully for 100 years or so.
It’s the sort of home that tickles the soul, even mine which has been dead for 300 years. I don’t like to admit it but I was having so much fun I almost forgot I was a creature of the darkness. I also forgot to get a picture of Rujina and Gavin together! Hopefully, they will invite me back, a vampire still lives in hope. I ask Rujina and Gavin which room they would prefer to die in which of course they say is the loft! I couldn’t think of a more perfect place myself. With that, I fly off out of the floor-to-ceiling window into the night completely stuffed with a stomach full of Opalfruitcake and ready for the crypt.