In our London house, we had the standard teeny tiny shared hallway, with several doors in it, that lead to a flight of stairs and then suddenly you were in the kitchen. No gentle welcome, no friendly knock at the door. I was never really able to welcome people to the house and I longed to be able to have a warm, welcoming entrance hall that made people happy they’d arrived. Finally, with our country cottage we have just that.
Our own front door and a chance to make the house look pretty from the outside too…
The little walkway down to the front door, with our bamboo-enclosed woodshed to the left, is a sheltered sunny spot, so the perfect place to add a bit of colour. As the seasons change, so do our flowers. Right now, it’s all daffodils and primroses, but in the winter we had berries and geraniums too, as well as the odd more seasonal touches. Halloween meant we could use some of our homegrown squash to make a quirky (!) autumnal arrangement….
…while at Christmas a mini tree with simple lights and a striking wreath was a nice festive touch…
Inside, the hallway leads up a few stairs to a little landing, which can be seen from the front door…
This little alcove in our hallway brings together my love for Indian furniture and design, and a few more modern touches too. You can see this from our front door, so it really sets the tone for visitors and welcomes people into the house.
- Flowers: While I always try to have fresh flowers around the house, I am religious about making sure we always have something seasonal and pretty in the hallway.
- Scent: I always have my favourite home scent – Bay and Rosemary by St Eval Candle company – burning during the day or before we have guests. It conjures up such a homey, warm smell and reminds me of the first days we moved in here.
- Decor: This Indian picture is three-dimensional piece, made from old sari silk, while the Indian chest was bought at an antique shop and has been in my family for years. I am not a minimalist person at all, so the frenetic energy and colour of Indian design has always appealed. I pick pieces up as and when I find them – charity shops, antique markets and specialist Indian importers. The Organic Farm Shop in Cirencester do some fantastic pieces.
- Lighting: Because the chest is so colourful you need something plain that won’t compete, but won’t get lost either, this lamp is from a charity shop, but I added a more expensive shade to it to update the design and keep it looking smart.
While it’s always a challenge to keep the house tidy with a little one crawling around, I always make sure we have a clean, tidy hallway, that feels welcoming when we get home, and friendly and open when our friends and family come over. In the summer, we have the front door open all day, so the sunshine can stream in and people can pop in and out to say hello.
“I try to create homes, not houses.”