Belinda Graham: Favorite Things
A few of my favorite things: Belinda Graham
Hey guys! I'm Belinda Graham from The Happy Home blog based in Australia and I'm here to share a few snippets of my home with you while Holly is settling back into life in Germany. I’m a freelance writing, mother of two, would-be decorator and constant redecorator. Several years ago, my husband and I bought the worst house in one of the best streets metres from a beautiful waterfront reserve on the central coast of NSW - an hour and a half north of Sydney, Australia. We've been renovating on and off since (we like to take our time) and seeing as Holly's request for a guest post coincided with another major work, here are a few corners of my home not covered in dust or the contents of the junk room, and that just happen to contain a few of my favourite things...
My hallstand - I call this the “love spot” as it’s filled with items that we love or that represent love! It’s essentially our hallstand as we don’t have a foyer (our front door opens into the living room) but I didn’t want the usual coat hook and shoe rack as it’s part of the living room so I made the practical (my handbags fit inside my market bag and a tray holds my keys and sunnies) blend with the pretty and the meaningful as much as I could. The table is a sewing machine table that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, the lantern was a gift from my hubby, the Welsh wooden love spoon was a wedding gift and of course the LOVE letters say it loud and clear. All together, it creates a feel-good space for me and one that I’m constantly changing – the recessed shelves call out for latest purchases to be displayed, so it does get revamped quite often!
My kids room - The day I started painting the outline for this silhouette was the day we decided to create two bedrooms out of one so my son Zak, two and a half, and daughter Layla, 13 months, could have a room each. But, determined to put my original plan for this room into action, I finished decorating it – just in time for them to move out (which they will next week!) The neighbourhood skyline was inspired by a picture from VT Wonen – I used chalkboard paint though because it’s the best black colour and I like how the yellow chair pops against it. I love this room because we have so much fun in it and because both bubs contributed to the decorating. I painted stars on their ceiling while Zak “held” the ladder, he helped me glue the bunting papers together and the leaves on the tree and Layla helped me paint the wall by smudging the black paint with the arm of her sleeve. They also have their own art displayed on the other side – they drew all over little wooden birdhouses. So it was a joint effort. And I love hearing Zak tell me stories about who lives in each house and which one is his “favourite”, which changes every time!
My deck - This is possibly my favourite place to be. Our deck runs the length of our L-shaped house and is essentially a playroom for the kids. It gets the sun all day and because our front yard is contained and all useable (we live on a battleaxe block), it’s private, peaceful and the perfect chill-out zone. And I live in that chair – soo comfy. Combine that with the tinkling of the shell chimes, the kookaburras singing in the tree and a good magazine and I’m in heaven.
My bookshelf - This is a recent addition – I’m still deciding whether or not to paint it white. But I love bookshelves – stashes of books give a house a real homey feel and give a little insight to the personality of the owners and their interests and passions. It’s also so easy to make them look good – a few knick knacks here and there creates a little interest. What I love most about this is I now have a place for Steve’s old encyclopedias. Our son Zak is such a bookworm and is much more interested in these books than he is his own. He knows so much about the world already just by having these within his reach and is often found sitting here thumbing through one, waiting for someone to walk past so he can demand they read him a page or two! Layla is also a big book fan so I dedicated the bottom shelf to kids reading material.
My bedroom dresser - I’ve got a big passion for craft and sewing at the moment and this space reflects that, especially seeing as my grandmother’s dressmaker mannequin sits to the left of it covered in my jewellery. This space started with my pinning a loose button that fell of my husband’s shirt onto the pinboard as a reminder to sew it back on. Then I liked the look, so my little jar of loose buttons was raided for similar colours and I built it from there (and, um, still haven’t sewn the button on his shirt!). I’m not great with colour in my home – I’m a brown, white and black kind of girl – but I decided to indulge my favourite colour combo I’ve loved since a kid: purple and yellow. It’s also a safe home to one of my most prized possessions: the little green book is a lyric birthday book passed down from my great, great grandmother. It’s got a song lyric for every birthday and I love seeing the old calligraphy from my ancestors. It’s so old and is falling apart and I need it away from tiny little hands that want to read it…
I’m inspired by…
Many things and many people, which makes it hard to narrow it down. I think at this stage of my life, I’m inspired by the past. I’m exhausted by the pace of the world and want to slow it down a little and live a simpler life. But it’s hard – especially with hourly distractions like blogs and twitter! I blogged about this a while back … Recently, I had a mini freak out about what skills I’d pass down to my children. Aside from crash courses in the basics every now and then, I wasn’t taught how to sew, knit or crochet, to garden or make bread. We’re just not taught the same things our grandparents and parents were - we have to want to learn them now. I want my kids to dip their selves into two eras – be of today’s technological world but with sound knowledge of the old one where people were self-sufficient. This means spending as much time with them as possible teaching them our skills and learning new ones together, creating and reading and exploring and discovering in our yard and around the world. Having less toys and TV and more library trips and loungeroom danceathons. I think that’s why I’m drawn to the women behind Inchmark and Katie Did – they seem like the coolest, funnest (is that a word) women and mums who have managed to bring aspects of the past into the now in a modern, cool way. I aspire to be like them in my crafting, my sewing and my home life.
My best advice…
Trust your heart, your gut, yourself. In every way, from work choices to parenting to decorating, I try and abide by this. I’ve tried following the so-called “rule books” for all these things, but in the end, if I know what I like, what I want and what I think is best, why shouldn’t I go with that? I’m not saying ignore other signals or advice, but we get these feelings for a reason and I think we need to trust and believe in ourselves more.
Many thanks for having me as a guest Holly – enjoy the fun and games that come with moving house and most of all, enjoy a little break! And thank you decor8 readers for, well, reading! -Belinda x
(images: belinda graham)