A home should reflect you, no matter whether you have a whopping great mortgage, own your home, or rent. Even if you share with other people or still live at home and only have your own room to decorate. One of the lovely parts of my job is seeing inside other people’s homes and getting to know their stories. It is inspiring to see what creative things you are all doing to create your little parts of the world.
Home really is where the heart is.
Today I am giving you some vintage decorating ideas, revisiting a story I published a little while back – the home of Angela Prins, who lives in a rental property in Blackwood, South Australia. Angela contacted me via Facebook and was so delighted to let me into her pretty hills rental home. I love that this is a rental property too, as it shows how you can make it your own with your own style and personality.
When you first pull up to Angela’s stone fronted, brick home, you are met with a charming cottage consisting of 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a laundry, living room/dining, kitchen, small garden and carport. As they are renting the property, Angela says she has less opportunity to add eco friendly elements such as solar power, but the stone floors make it cool in summer and as the property is small it keeps the heat in, during winter. She also has some amazing chooks! And lots of handpainted and vintage furniture and homewares.
Can you tell us about your home and how long you have lived here?
We have lived here for a year after we immigrated from the UK 1 ½ years ago, and before then both myself and my husband grew up in South Africa. We wanted the outdoor lifestyle but without the crime, so applied with my husband’s skills as a plumber/gas fitter to get into Australia. We got our visa and needed to be in the country prior to the birth of my second daughter, so arrived in the country at 35 weeks pregnant knowing only 1 person! My second daughter was born 2 weeks later.
Our first born was 18 months old at the time. We love Adelaide and Australia, the people we have met and become friends with have become like family. We love the lifestyle, the fresh air, the sunshine and we can see this is why Australia is called “the lucky country.” We love everything about it, it’s wonderful, full of opportunity for those willing to give it a try.
Our family consists of myself, Angela, my husband Conrad, our daughter Arabella 2 1/2yrs old and our other daughter Sienna who is 16 months old. We also have our 2 cats we brought with us from the UK – Serjei 10 yrs old and Saffron 9 yrs old, as well as 3 silkie chickens!
How did you find your home?
We have never been able to afford to buy our own home, as have been paying for both our studies over the years and our immigration costs to get to Australia. We both grew up without a dad and have never had any help, so we have always dreamed of owning our place. Our dream is to build with sustainable materials and get an acre where we are able to be self sufficient. We would like to build a barn style property, very open with lots of light and a wood burner.
What made you fall in love with it?
We love the fact the cottage we rent is cosy and it has a porch. We love the sash style windows and that there are koalas who come into our garden. We love the space out back for me to renovate furniture and that there is a safe enclosed space for the girls to play and space for the chickens.
Do you plan to live here long term?
We will live here for about the next 2 years until we can afford to get a deposit together to buy our own home. We would like to get a plot of land and build our own house from scratch (my husband is very talented and willing and able) and probably get a caravan or something and build on the land, as and when we have the funds. Or we may buy a run down property and renovate when we have the money. We would love to build a barn style property with stone cladding and a mixture of corragate and stone with concrete floors and wood burner and sash windows and a deep porch, or as in South Africa we would say “stoep” (Afrikaans word for porch).
Can you tell us something you like about your local area or region?
We love Blackwood, Eden Hills, Summertown, Piccadily and Belair as it’s so open. There is so much wildlife around, a great sense of community. We walk every evening for 2 hrs and its just beautiful, and such a wonderful way for the girls to grow up. We feed/bath our girls, then put them in the double buggy and go for these long walks each evening – discussing, planning and talking about our days.
What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your home?
We have chickens where we get our eggs from, we buy all our fruit and veg from a local SA owned fruit and veg market from local growers, we use our car as little as possible and walk a lot. If it were our own home we would include solar panels and sustainable building materials where possible.
What is your decorating style?
Shabby chic! Everything in our home is either taken off the skip, like the cubby house we have now created into an amazing chicken coop. Everything is re-purposed and I will repaint, recover or re-create it into something for another purpose in our home. Every piece in our home has a story. I can remember where I’ve got every single piece, what I’ve done to renovate it, or just a simple clean up with soap and water which has brought the piece back to life. I never go “shopping” for pieces. I seem to acquire things! Everything in our home has a story and everything is used ie our French china dinner plates. Nothing is off limits and too precious to be used, everything is used and incorporated into our every day lives.I love a home to feel welcoming and comfortable when you step into it, yet stylish and appealing. I absolutely love love love candles! My favourite scent would probably wild fig, pear (my favourite brand in the UK was True Grace) but they very expensive to get here so currently looking for a good soy candle which holds its scent like this brand.
Your favorite part of your home?
I love our bedroom, it’s a bed I bought off Ebay that comes from France and I repainted it and recovered it. It is so cosy and such a lovely place to end the day and pour over my interior magazines in. Secondly, I’m very proud of the chicken coop, although the chickens are oblivious to all the work! I love how cute it looks and how functional it is. (You will read more about how Angela rescued and upcycled the chicken coop in my book.)
What do people say when they come to visit you?
They love it, a lot of our pieces are from “Brocantes” (bric brac shops) in France. My husband worked there a lot when we lived in the UK for English clients and we would go to these Brocantes and get loads of old pieces and then take them home to the UK and renovate them.
Do you recommend any particular materials, processes or ideas for people wanting to create a more sustainable and mindful home?
Look at the overall style of the piece of furniture if you like it, it can always be re-purposed and painted ie a cubby house we got off the skip is now a luxury chicken coop, and im just starting on a project to create a toy kitchen for a client out of a old dresser, so anything is possible. If you look past the colour of the unit it can all be re-purposed and changed.
What do you do to relax and unwind at home?
I love reading Country Style, looking at Real Estate.com.au…. going for long walks, having long chats with my special hubby and kiddies around the dinner table. I love having a coffee in the evenings with my husband and discussing our dreams and downloading about our days. A lot of our pieces are from markets in the UK or from Brocantes in France, but I also love visiting Garage Sales to get pieces here in Adelaide. Sundays mornings seem to best time to go to Garage Sales.
I love this house and the story of this gorgeous family who have travelled across the sea to find a home in the pretty Adelaide hills. You can find Angela on her facebook page here where she offers an Interior Design styling & sourcing service, upcycling of furniture, sourcing of vintage pieces, styling of vintage themed weddings and more.
Do you have a favourite piece from Angela’s house tour? And tell me whether you love seeing inside other people’s homes as much as me! If you think your home may be a good fit for me to share please drop me a line.