How we choose to decorate our homes often reveals our sense of identity, interests and past. Ornaments, paintings, furniture and even room decor choices often have unique stories attached to them. Ornaments can form part of collections and can be added to by the inhabitant as well as gifted to them or inherited. One resident I visited recently has a beautifully presented sitting room, which is filled with hundreds of ornaments. The vast majority are housed in a large glass fronted display cabinet. The cabinet was divided into three sections: her own collection and those of her mother and father. Other ornaments were then carefully arranged into groups, nearly always with a story behind each item. To be surrounded by these items is a comfort, especially to those living alone, as a lot of the objects have been gifted and bring to mind celebrations, milestones and occasions with family and friends.
The walls of the homes I’ve visited have been decorated with a mixture of family photographs and pictures of the natural world. I have noticed that there is a trend among the Woolaway homes for bringing nature into the home. For example this autumnal scene pictured above. This was in a home where the occupants were preparing to move house. The walls were nearly empty, but this landscape painting remained, perhaps left up so the room didn’t seem so bare for the final days in their home. These residents remembered when the area was only trees, before the houses were built.
Colour is also important in people’s homes. When I walked into one kitchen I instantly noticed the yellow theme: yellow walls, kettle, tins, ornaments, mats, pictures, post it reminders and even the Utterly Butterly tub. The resident explained, ‘Yellow is a happy colour and it brings the sunshine in.’
The home is a person’s private sanctuary and net curtains are often used. They let the light in, but afford privacy and also allow more identity to be expressed in the choice of pattern, which often references nature. This last photograph shows some floral net curtains with a suspended sun catcher, which apparently enthralled the resident’s grandchildren with rainbow lighting effects which played across the front room.
I’m looking forward to visiting more Woolaway homes in November and will continue to share photographs, stories and reflections on this blog. I would love to hear more stories of life in and around the North Taunton Woolaway houses. If you would like to get involved, a home visit can be arranged by contacting the Woolaway Project Team on 01823 219 159 or email@example.com