Property of the month - A fine vintage
PUBLISHED: 15:54 01 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:20 20 February 2013
Louise Lingwood's cottage in Bushey is the perfect canvas to showcase her Art Deco finds, vibrant vintage fabrics and 30s and 40s American style kitchenalia...
AT HOME WITH LOUISE
Designer Louise Lingwood has a passion for collecting 1920s-30s homewares, displaying beautiful vintage finds and making crafts all of which she has successfully put together inside her Victorian cottage in Bushey.
By day Louise works full time in healthcare and has always dreamed of having her own shop when she retires from the NHS next year.
I make soft furnishings from vintage style fabric and source vintage items to sell in my little shop at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective at Battlers Green Farm in Radlett, she adds. I also make handmade soap using natural ingredients and pure essential oils and sell them at local craft fairs.
Louises main motivation for buying her cottage was to find a period style home in a more rural community and Bushey was one of the areas she had picked out.
I spent quite a bit of time driving around several roads in the village and noticed a for sale sign outside this house, she explains. Having gone to find out more at the local estate agent who told me it was no longer available, I put it to the back of my mind and started looking at other properties.
As luck would have it a few weeks later, Louise received a phone call early one Saturday morning to say the cottage had come back onto the market and could she view it right away.
I was thrilled and as soon as I walked in through the door I said yes Ill buy it! The cottage was in good condition with anaglypta wallpapers and Victorian features that I love including sash windows and three original open fireplaces.
Louise moved in May 1999 and didnt hesitate in putting her stamp on the cottage beginning with the floral Cath Kidston wallpaper in her bedroom.
Just before I moved here I began noticing vintage fabrics that Cath Kidston introduced when she had her first tiny shop in Notting Hill where she had just started making some of her accessories where shed be at her shop every day with her dog Stanley!
To me, it was the perfect shop full of re-found treasures and vintage fabrics and I remember thinking then, that I had to do something with these beautiful fabrics. I purchased one of the first Cath Kidston wallpapers from that tiny shop and it was really that very wallpaper that inspired me to find this cottage and I couldnt wait to put it on my bedroom walls.
More recently Louise used a local firm Country Life Interiors to create a country inspired bespoke kitchen to display her love of green glass and American vintage kitchenalia.
When I first moved here I gave the original kitchen units a makeover and painted them in Farrow & Ball cream paint until I could afford to redo it, which I did last year, using a local firm as I feel its important to support our local businesses I am passionate about using local tradesmen, she adds.
I was keen to find a country kitchen with a classically timeless appeal, the type you might find in an old Georgian house. It was quite a challenge to fit everything in and I sourced everything myself on the Internet, from the mini range cooker to the window ironmongery. The only hiccup we had was when the American style fridge freezer arrived, the fridge door got in the way of the step leading down to the kitchen which was easily remedied by our builder.
Louises pride and joy is her cottage style garden that she refers to as her sanctuary.
When I moved here there was quite a bit of planting to do at first and the garden is fairly high maintenance, says Louise. I love packed and chaotic gardens and mine attracts a huge amount of wildlife, next doors cat is a particular fan!
Louise also took the tall trees out at the bottom of the garden as they blocked out too much light and in their place she created a new planting bed and a raised area using reclaimed flagstones and railway sleepers and painted the summerhouse in Farrow & Ball paint.
Early evenings and summer afternoons are absolutely gorgeous there as it catches the sun at the end of the day, she adds. I like to sit and do my hand sewing there or enjoy afternoon tea with guests when they pop by.
When shes not busy working for the NHS or replenishing stock at her craft unit, Louise, a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, is planning a trip to mark a special landmark birthday with her son Robin to see Bruce in concert later this year. She is also an active member of the National Rock Choir in Watford.
Weve got a big gig coming up at Wembley Stadium and were also taking part in a flash mob for Sports Relief at St Pancras Station which should be great fun, she laughs.
Changes still to come at Lilac Cottage include replacing the pink bathroom suite that Louise inherited with the house and restoring the front sash windows.
Im making a last stand on the road to keep original features, she says. Id also like to devote more time to help clients with advice on how to display and use vintage items in their home, which is all part of my retirement plan next year!
Louise Lingwood works for the NHS and also runs a craft unit called Love & Lilac at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective at Battlers Green Farm in Radlett, selling homemade accessories, upcycled furniture and genuine vintage items dating from 1920s-1960s.
A two-bedroom 1890s built Victorian cottage in Bushey.
WHATS BEEN YOUR BEST BUY?
Ive been buying vintage for the past 20 years. Ive always loved the beautiful romantic lines of the Art Deco period. I love my Art Deco pink mirror in my bedroom that I bought 20 years ago from a junk shop in Brighton and I saw one almost identical recently at a collectors fair, which was quite valuable. I also love green depression glass and American kitchenalia, in particular things that in their time were made for use and practical purposes and not for show or display.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP AND VISIT?
I love waking early and visiting local boot fairs and flea markets, scurrying through boxes to find hidden treasures for the house or garden. The Internet is a great source for fabric particularly for the popular retro cowboy fabric that I use with vintage buttons to create gorgeous retro cushions. I also like visiting friends in Los Angeles where I have discovered many 20s-30s vintage finds. To me, happiness is also visiting quintessential English country villages and beautiful cottage gardens. Im a regular visitor to Suffolk and love the sleepy 1950s England feel about it. Hertfordshire too has some beautiful towns and villages where I like spending time, in particular Hitchin and Berkhamsted.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I called my home Lilac Cottage after a lilac tree that didnt flower until my third year here. When its in bloom people walk pass and stop as the scent is so heady and amazing. This cottage has been my inspiration. These cottages are tiny and you have to be fairly imaginative on how to use them mine is full of eclectic treasures and is very much loved. I called my business Love & Lilac after my home where everything I sell is made or lovingly sourced. When I bought this house I couldnt find everything I wanted so I began making items for my home. Its wonderful in these throw-away times where everything seems to be disposable, that crafts are making a comeback. I think there is a real desire for people to get back to making things and a yearning for a time when we used to make things not just as individuals but also as a nation and to be able to pass these items to the next generation. Its so rewarding to be able to create something whether its for use in your own home or to give as a gift. I expanded my hobby by making things for other people, which has now become a business. When I was a child I hated sewing - my sewing teacher would be amazed that Ive got my own sewing machine and have made a business from doing crafts!
Enjoy a Jubilee Tea Party on June 2 at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective, at Battlers Green Farm, Radlett WD7 8PH