IKEA Ideas - Home visit: a curious collector’s happy hideaway

Never-ending story

Patience is the word to describe Ashlyn, her partner Matthew and teen daughter Olive’s journey home. “It took time to find this place and we lived in it for a year before renovating,” says Ashlyn. “Most of us want our home to be perfect yesterday! For me it’s organic and ongoing. Figure out what matters to you then take time making it. For us it’s a mix of old, new, beautiful, things with a story.”

"We wanted a flexible space. Matthew’s a theatre director so it’s good for him to have rehearsal space. I’m a stylist so it’s good for me to have a place to do shoots. Our dream was an adaptable space that we could use communally and socially."

Welcome the world to your table

“We’ve made a space that encourages togetherness. We don’t have a TV but we have our table. And we tend to cook and serve meals in a way that brings everyone to the table. We don’t plate up individual portions, we serve the food up in big dishes, put in the middle of the table for us all to share.”

IKEA Ideas - Home visit: a curious collector’s happy hideaway

Mix, match and help yourself

Hosting gatherings was key to Ashlyn and Matthew’s plan for their home. This influenced their interior's design. “We wanted a communal spirit. It helps that downstairs is open-plan but you can be open in other ways – open shelves so guests can help themselves, dining tables that open out to seat more, extra chairs stacked in the corner, piles of crockery in a mix of styles and colours so there’s no limit to how many can join the meal.”

IKEA Ideas - Home visit: a curious collector’s happy hideaway

Personal interest

How do you turn a blank canvas into a home? “Make it as personal as you can,” says Ashlyn. “And making your home personal is cheap because it’s about kids’ drawings, postcards, maps, a snow globe, things from your travels or that you’ve inherited. They’re things you don’t really think about but that’s where the specialness comes from, things that hold memories.”

"I kind of follow my own path. As a stylist you see a lot of trends but the biggest influence on your home should be your passions."

IKEA Ideas - Home visit: a curious collector’s happy hideaway

Collect the pieces of your story

“It’s nice for a space to evolve and collect things over time – your home is telling your story. I’ve always collected. When I was Olive’s age, I collected chopsticks and badges. I’ve also collected globes, busts, Murano glass… A lot got lost along the way and putting this place together, I really edited myself but there’s always space on a cabinet top, table or shelf for a display of curios.”

"What is home? Well, this is my daughter’s school. It’s also a space that’s been used for photoshoots, it’s been used for parties and as a retreat. For me, home is a space that’s designed to be shared. It’s somewhere to bring people together."

Recharging station

“I’m mum to a teen, which is full-on. I run a kids’ store and I’ve just opened a new shop called Bless that’s about considered buying and working with social enterprises. I’d love to be zen and do yoga every night, but that’s not me. I’m chaotic, no day is typical! It is possible to find stillness in the frenzy. Those quiet corners where you can sit and reflect, even for five minutes, are vital.”

Escape room

“This home is about sharing, but it’s also an escape and we’ve designed it in a way that you feel you could be anywhere when you’re in here. On a warm day, you could believe you’re in a Balinese spa – the wood, the plants, small touches like the rolled-up towels. It’s no accident that you don’t know where in the world you are when you step into our bathroom – that’s the art of escape!”

Make the useful beautiful

Home doesn’t have to be either/or – it can appeal to your head as much as your heart. “Be beautifully organised,” says Ashlyn. “Open storage is my thing – the beauty of it is that you can display everything you have. It adds an element of joy to the most ordinary tasks. Getting ready at the bathroom sink, dressing in the bedroom, your gaze may fall on a treasured trinket and it makes you smile.”

IKEA Ideas - Home visit: a curious collector’s happy hideaway

“On summer mornings, our treat is to lie on our bed with the doors open. At the end of a day, Matthew and I will look at each other and joke: ‘shall we go up a loft?’ Then we come up here and just hang out because it’s such a beautiful, cosy space.”

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