Since my last invitation to a tasty homeware shop, I have to admit I have spent most of my time lurking in the shadows and scrolling through Instagram to get my daily decor fix. I always miss the postman as I only arise past sunset and every evening I run eagerly from the crypt in the hope of an invitation and am only ever greeted by requests for meter readings and eviction letters. Can’t they tell I’m dead? I haven’t used the gas fire in years. However, one morning under the pile of un-opened nonsense, I find an invitation from a Mrs Helen Ward. If my heart could still beat, it would skip one, as I have been stalking Helen’s Instagram for years now as she has a home that is literally to die for and I am now salivating at the thought of finally seeing it in the flesh and bone.
I arrive at Helen’s four bedroom Edwardian house and as soon as she opens the door, there’s a feeling you’re entering another world. She has kept all the original bottle-green tiling in the main porch area, so there’s a feeling of opulence and nostalgic grandeur as soon as you walk in (or in my case hover in). You then enter the main hallway by a glass door on the right and, as soon as I walk in, it’s love at first bite.
The space is dimly lit by an eclectic mix of lighting and there is just the most delicious aroma of scented candles, which is good, as it detracts from my general smell of death. The entrance is all so intoxicating and dreamy with so many delights, it’s like you are being lured into a tunnel of wonders. The walls have a light blue distressed look, which add to the shabby Edwardian feel and the ceilings still home all the original period mouldings. The carcass of the old house is still firmly in place but has been delicately revived with a magical modern twist. Helen is an artist, designer and interior designer. This is evident by her colourful hand-made creations that hang from the walls and are lit up by the festoon lights hanging from the ceiling.
The period features and high ceilings continue into the living room. It’s a grand room which reminds me of my glory days living in Victorian London. A huge velvet mustard sofa shapes the main bay window to the front of the property. Delicate, earthy decorations and oddities, mixed with neon colours and lights, add contrast and a feeling of the unexpected. All this keeps you on your toes, as there is not one style or theme here but it all works beautifully.
Helen specialises in paper entomology and inspired by her collection of rare Victorian hand-marbled papers, she creates a series of different butterfly frames. Each piece is incredibly beautiful and intricate and there are wrapped up frames in brown paper all over the house, ready to be shipped off to various galleries. Being here really makes you feel like you are part of a magical working factory of creativity and it all looks good enough to eat. Its like I’ve won a golden ticket into the Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Helen’s mind.
Helen’s love for the monarchy is most apparent in this room, with a framed picture of the queen looking vampalicious and two other quirky art works, one of Diana and the other of Princess Anne, hanging from the walls.
Having got my fangs into so much decor inspiration already, I’m feeling stuffed and not sure how I’m going to make it around the rest of the house but, my eyes as always are bigger than my stomach as I continue to gorge. In the dining room there are more neon touches, this time the centre piece is a personalised sign which Helen brought her husband for their wedding day. It is very special indeed.
The dining room leads into the kitchen which still has all the original diner style tiles. The arched wooden kitchen cabinets and work tops give it a country feel. It’s farmhouse kitchen meets Edwardian american diner and I want everything on the menu.
The winding staircase is brought together by a variety of macramé hanging baskets entwined with decorative lights. There’s so much hanging from the ceiling I’m not sure if I were to reside here I would have a space to sleep upside down.
Helen isn’t afraid to work with every style and theme and make it her own. I knew she had to be brave inviting a vampire into her home but, seeing how she has fearlessly created something unique, bold and completely different in every room, is making me and my fangs look pretty pathetic.
The bathroom’s botanical wallpaper is a stunning contrast next to the black wire ceiling pendants and white tiles which give it a slight industrial feel, which again is offset by a shabby almost country style vanity unit. To the right and next to the window is a huge square bathtub which Helen tells me the whole family can fit into. It’s sleek, well thought-out and efficient. Even the toilet has a remote control.
The master bedroom is perfectly dark, just how I like it. With natural textures and statement pieces and Helen’s artistic creations throughout, including a huge colourful pompom art work that covers almost all of one wall.
By now I am so bloated, I need to head back to the crypt to indulge in my interior food coma. Helen informs me there is one more room to see and it requires walking up more stairs. Thankfully it’s only one flight and it is well worth it. The stairway is a mouth-watering pale pink colour and the walls are covered in individual and original pieces of art work. I make it to the loft room which Helen tells me is her and her husband’s work space and spare bedroom. The natural light in the room is perfect to work in (not great for me).
There is a feeling of tranquility here and the perfect place to get away from it all, except for me. The rather holy piece of art work and the sunlight is freaking me out and I quickly take a picture of Helen behind her desk before I worry I will burst into flames.
I take refuge downstairs and ask Helen where in the house she would prefer to die, to which she tells me, in her bed. I agree but this is a first as most people I have visited so far have wanted to die in the bathroom. With that I fly off into the night to put some tinsel on the crypt and hang upside down like a christmas bauble till the new year. Merry Christmas suckers!