We don’t know about you but there are definitely some DIY projects that we are quite happy to keep to the confines of our memory. But if your home improvements are as beautifully executed as those of Bianca Hall’s, then you’d want to catalogue them, as she does on her blog French For Pineapple. Bianca’s home in London’s Stoke Newington is the latest to feature on Today’s Coolest Habitats. We caught up with Bianca to hear more about her home, life and business.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I write an interiors blog called French For Pineapple where I document my many DIY projects and continual changes in my home in Stoke Newington in North London, where I live with my husband and two children. I also write about products I love; I can immerse myself on a daily basis in the thing I love the most – beautiful interiors. I’m constantly excited to see how products can be used to completely transform a space, and in awe of how some designers put things together. I love how a new coat of paint can completely change the way a room not only looks, but feels.
What exciting projects have you been working on lately?
I’m always working on several DIY projects in the house that nearly always get documented on the blog. I’m in the midst of a mini bathroom re-vamp (and I’m hoping to do a bigger overhaul at some point in 2017). I’m continually thinking about changing room colours, and next on the list is the bedroom, because I want to go a bit lighter in there. The kitchen cupboards are also on my list for a new lick of paint, and Baxter’s small bedroom needs some serious attention. On top of that I’m working with several companies to show my readers how I’ve used their products in my home. 2017 is set to be another busy one!
Are you a voyeur?
Most definitely! There’s nothing I love more than to have a look around other people’s houses. I have literally walked into a pole before because I was too busy peering into someone’s window as I was walking by. I love seeing how people put their homes together – even if I’m completely baffled by it, it’s always interesting!
What does Habitat mean to you?
When I was in the process of moving the UK, several friends told me I had to go to Habitat among other shops, because they knew I’d love it, and they weren’t wrong. Over the years we’ve bought lots of things from Habitat, including my son’s wardrobe, my favourite kitchen canisters, and several lamps. It’s reliably solid design at good prices, and I know that if I go to a Habitat store or the website that I’ll nearly always find what I’m looking for.
I love the hammered rose gold Orrico side table. It’s a beautiful timeless piece that’s also incredibly useful and versatile. A great side table in any room, a bedside table, and even a stool when extra seating is required. It’s such a pretty colour, bringing warmth to any room.
The Habitat ceramics are amazing too. Such a beautiful collection at really reasonable prices.
What’s your favourite thing about your home?
That it’s a place where we can hang out together as a family, but that it’s also easy to get away when you need some time on your own. We’re lucky that we have the space. We’ve only recently sorted out the top level of the house so that it’s being used properly, and now the whole house seems to work so much better.
How have you made this house your home?
We added another level to the house about six years ago to give us an additional two rooms (currently used as my studio and a TV room) and second bathroom. I’ve also completely redecorated throughout several times. It’s not uncommon for a room to change colour once a year and sometimes more. But the thing that’s really made it a home is that we’ve now collected so many treasured things together that have stories, and great memories attached.
I describe my style as laid-back urban-glam. The urban bit coming mostly from my husbands beloved skateboard collection (he’s skated since he was a kid), and our street art collected over the years. Left to my own devices it would be more glam, less urban, but I think that what really makes a house a home, is the blending of two different people’s tastes and how you make them work together.
Tell us about your most treasured possessions.
Definitely family photographs. Specifically a photo of my mother when she was modelling in the sixties, taken by my father who was then a photographer. He gave it to me framed many years ago, and when you open the back of the frame it’s like a jigsaw puzzle and you can make up a larger picture of her. It’s a pretty cool thing to have.
An antique chest of drawers that was a wedding present from my husband’s parents, and an ornate mirror that hangs in our bedroom. Other than that it’s smaller sentimental items like photographs and artwork. Whenever I open a box of old photos I get lost for hours on end.
When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing you saw?
Um, the hole in the bedroom ceiling that’s there as a result of a leak from the shower above that we can’t seem to locate to fix. Definitely more urban than glam.
If you could re-live one moment in this house what would it be?
The evening Baxter (now five) decided to get up and walk when he was around one year old, completely out of nowhere. He’d not been practising; he just stood up one evening and started walking. He was so unbelievably happy with his new skill, that he kept literally falling over with laughter and then getting up again. I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so much together before or since, and I’m so pleased we have it documented.
Is this your perfect habitat? What would complete your home? Do you have your eye on anything new?
It’s my perfect habitat at this point in time. I can’t imagine that my home will ever be complete, because I get bored easily and love change. I adore our house, but there are things I’d change. We inherited white painted floorboards, which are a pain to maintain and I’d love to replace them with parquet one day. I’m also desperate to extend our kitchen into the side return, and start from scratch. I think about my dream kitchen a LOT.