It was the living room that did it: as soon as we saw jewellery designer Grainne Morton’s vibrant floral sofa against the dark grey walls, we felt a Pink House Home Tour coming on - and luckily, she agreed! We caught up with Grainne to find out what went into creating her eclectic family home, and how her interior style informs her jewellery designs. Read on for more info - and Susie Lowe’s stunning photos.
PH: Hey Grainne - thanks so much for inviting us into your fascinating home. So - who lives here?
GM: My husband Ian, and our two boys - Tait, 11, Otto, nine, and myself!
PH: Where did you live before?
GM: In 2005 we moved here from a tenement flat in Bruntsfield [also in South Edinburgh, but a bit closer to the town centre]
PH: What attracted you to the house initially?
GM: The original wood in the hallway, the glazed panels in the vestibule and the original patio doors meant it was love at first sight. The large rooms played a big part too; we loved the spacious rooms in our Bruntsfield flat and this Edwardian house felt like a two-storey version of that apartment.
PH: What changes did you make when you moved in?
GM: We didn’t make huge changes initially. We wanted to live in the space first to get a proper feel of what we wanted.
PH: What was the biggest change you made to the house?
GM: After living in it for a few years we realized we wanted the house to be more open plan. We also concluded that the original kitchen had to go: it was a mass of cupboards and fake marble worktops – impossible to put our own stamp on it. So the wall between the kitchen and dining room (which used to be my workshop) was knocked down, and the wall between the hall, kitchen and dining room opened up too. We had to move out during renovation.
PH: Did you know what you wanted the house to look like, style-wise?
GM: We both love antiques – my parents own a shop in Northern Ireland called Fountain Antiques – so the main attraction of the house was its original Edwardian features, which we wanted to keep, but with a modern, personal twist.
PH: How long did it take to get it looking the way you wanted?
GM: It’s an on-going project, but I guess the bulk of the work took about five years.
PH: How would you describe the style of your home?
GM: Eclectic, old, industrial, handmade, crafted, salvaged, and full of traditional materials. We get our inspiration from cities we love: London, New York, Paris and of course Edinburgh. Independent stores, cafes, restaurants, museums - we soak it all up.
PH: Can you tell us a bit about your living room design: what paint colours did you use?
GM: We used Farrow & Ball. The walls are Railings, and the cornicing and shutters are Pointing.
PH: Isn't that the amazing Rabarbar fabric by Jobs Handtryck on your sofa? Why did you choose that fabric?
GM: Yes that's the one! It was actually the sofa we first fell in love with - we bought it 20 years ago from an Edinburgh antiques shop that's now long gone. It was originally covered in a Liberty fabric; I wanted to get it re-covered in something really bright but with a dark background - after a lot of research I found this fabric.
PH: How about the two dark armchairs, and the floor lamp?
The armchairs are also antiques - they came from my parents. And the floor lamp is from my parents too - from their own collection. The shade is from Habitat.
PH: We love how the white background in your kitchen shows off the furniture and decor. Did any of the items in here come from your parents as well?
GM: Yes. The cupboards and dresser all came from my parents antique studio: the dresser was a stock item, the cupboards were bespoke. The taps are from a salvage company, the bar stools from another now-defunct antiques shop and the pendant light over the kitchen table is an eBay purchase: it's an original Edwardian rise-and-fall.
PH: Any tips on doing up a property?
GM: My key tip would be to live for a while in a place before decorating, to learn more about the space first.
PH: What inspires your jewellery design?
GM: Ever since I can remember I’ve been a bit of a magpie, obsessively hoarding anything miniature or eclectic that catches my eye. My jewellery combines my love of tiny things with my passion for antiques. Individuality has always been important to me too – a trademark of my designs is my use of unexpected materials.
PH: What's next on your agenda?
GM: This year I'm celebrating 21 years of designing jewellery - to mark this, in November I have an exhibition here in Edinburgh at The Scottish Gallery.
Grainne’s jewellery is available to purchase on her website: www.grainnemorton.co.uk