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Sunny delight! Come and explore this eclectic vintage treasure trove...

Sunny delight! Come and explore this eclectic vintage treasure trove...

From the early days of developing this blog, one of the things I knew I wanted to do was feature a House Envy tour of my friend Carol Maxwell's gorgeously eclectic South East London home. Carol is the one woman powerhouse behind print and greetings card business Max Made Me Do It and lives here with partner Tom and the two M's Max, 4, and Milo, 6mths. You see, on paper we have very different tastes...she's a vintage and flea market queen, whereas I'm all about the shiny shiz. But despite this, Carol's home has been a major source of inspiration for me, from the fresh flowers she always has dotted all over the house, to her bold use of colour, particularly the sunny delight which is the bay window in her kitchen. She is also the only women in the world who possibly has more paint pot samples than me...possibly.

So without further ado, let's have a look round shall we?


The Victorian terrace is oozing with original period features like this highly decorative cornicing in the hallway. The antique chandelier which is sparkling away up there was a 30th birthday present from Tom. Best. Present. Ever!

Carol went over to the dark side in the living room way before everyone else started doing it. The walls are painted in Farrow and Ball's Hague Blue aka the most perfect blue green ever created.

Carol and Tom's walls are covered in art they have collected over the years, either on their globetrotting travels or to mark special occasions. There's an original Cecil Beaton sketch in the hallway which they got at a charity auction. The volcano (below left) was bought at a Spanish flea market and the deer (below right) was a piece Carol painted for Tom one Christmas.

Tom's mum used to run a successful antiques shop off the Kings Road in the 80's and she had quite a few high profile customers. She gifted them many of the antique pieces in the house, which were leftover stock from the shop.

This beautiful Freya Douglas Morris catches your eye the minute you walk into the room. "I have adored her work for years," says Carol. "For my 29th birthday about 20 of my girlfriends clubbed together to get me one of her pieces. It was an amazing surprise and I'm still head over heels for it."

Spot that original plaster panelled ceiling...

Spot that original plaster panelled ceiling...

Carol bought the cupboard (above left) for £40 from a seller in Brick Lane and then painted it herself after being inspired by a visit to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury set in Lewes, East Sussex.

The kitchen is painted in F&B's dark grey Railings, while the bright and breezy bay window zings in Babouche. I can honestly say this yellow never fails to make me smile when I walk in the kitchen, no matter whether it's rain or shine outside. The kitchen table belonged to Tom's mum  and dad and must have a few stories to tell. Carol explains: "Tom's dad was an actor and many a thespian has sat around that table."

The bathroom is yet another example of bold colour combinations and vintage finds. Here we have Stiffkey Blue paired with Dix Blue which looks fresh alongside the white metro tiles and dark grout. The French vintage sign was bought from former Forest Hill institution The Montage (RIP). While Carol and her dad found the bath at an auction in Ireland and paid 30E. Yes, really! Carol says: "It was a total wreck when we bought it but my dad did an amazing job fixing it up. He sandblasted it at a car enamelers and then painted it himself." 

Carol has gone for a calming and neutral grey palette in the Master Bedroom with accents of pale green and pink. Her bedding is from Lulu & Nat, which she discovered after meeting the founder at a Mothers Meeting Business Club.

Remember that bargain bath? Well this stunning dressing table was another bargain from the same Irish auction *books flight to Ireland pronto. Another thing Carol has done in many of the rooms is paint the floorboards which gives you an opportunity to add interest and get a bit clever with a room's colour scheme.

The Forever For Now print (below left) is by local Forest Hill based artist Supermundane 


The gallery wall of birds have been collected at various flea markets or brought back from Carol's travels in India.

And last but not least we have the little guy who prompted Carol to set up her own business. I recently wrote a piece suggesting people step away from the palm print. However this is another one of those occasions where Carol was wayyyy ahead of the curve. Max's palm print curtains were pre-peak palm. I love that it's not your usual Robot/Cowboy/Dinosaur boys room decor...although obviously no little boys room is complete without at least a few dinosaurs ;-)

That's Carol's own Alphabet print on the wall and the cutest Lulu and Nat Tiger bedding. 

Carol made the canvas (below right) herself by stretching material she bought on Ebay across a frame. Again, not a conventional choice for a boys room, and all the better for it.

I'll leave you with Tom and Carol's picture perfect garden, which is tended to by Tom and is really special when it's in full bloom. Their next project is to deal with the bottom of the garden and possibly a loft conversion...Carol said: "The house is still very much a work in progress and I never stop thinking about ways we can improve it but we're getting there." I know that feeling well!

What are your favourite bits of Carol's house? Are you inspired to go vintage and flea market shopping? Let me know in the comments below.

Jess x

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