When I first met lifestyle blogger and car-boot addict Tamsyn Morgans through Twitter she was just about to move to a wreck of a house with her two children and planned to completely renovate it on a tight budget, so although she was interested in a photo shoot I thought I’d be waiting a while till she was ready. But this amazing woman pulled out all the stops and just a year or so later, I got my styling hands on Tamsyn’s incredible vintage collections…
The first thing Tamsyn did (with the help of a very dear friend) was strip out all the carpets; all the rooms were then given a good clean, and painted white. ‘I had an excellent workman who sanded all the floors beautifully,’ she says. ‘I then whitewashed or painted them. It was a tough six months; I had paint in my hair for what felt like forever.’
That wasn’t the worst of it, though, as Tamsyn recalls: ‘Discovering a leak under the old concrete floor really slowed the work down; I was without a kitchen for weeks, which was tough going with two children to feed.’
The ‘new’ upcycled kitchen, which Tamsyn and her father built for next to nothing using reclaimed materials – a sink, taps and furniture – is a clear triumph, though. ‘We even made the cupboard doors from old packing crates,’ says Tamsyn, who has shared all her renovation ups and downs on her blog, The Villa on Mount Pleasant. ‘This room makeover was particularly popular with my followers,’ she says. ‘I got the loveliest comments from people saying how inspired they were; it made me feel incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved – and it encouraged me to carry on through the long difficult days.’
This beautiful Victorian house is now incredibly calm thanks to a simple scheme incorporating layers of the same colour: white-washed walls and floors act as an understated backdrop for subtly distressed painted furniture.
Yet despite its abundance of chalky shades, this home is certainly not lacking personality and warmth thanks to oodles of colourful and undeniably pretty and inexpensive vintage accessories, from velvet cushions and pleated lampshades to patchwork quilts and throws found at car-boot sales and charity shops; freshly cut roses, meanwhile, add an extra splash of pink to every room and their sweet scent fills the air with nostalgia and romance.
Tamsyn says: ‘I’d describe my home as elegantly eclectic as I tend to style a room by colour and collections rather than sticking to a particular period; I love curating assorted items so they look like they were always meant to be together.’
One of Tamsyn’s most treasured collections is her royal memorabilia, and she’s particularly fond of pastel-coloured tins depicting our longest serving monarch; on the day of the shoot, I had such fun arranging these with some beautiful roses on a set of printer’s drawers in one of the sitting room alcoves. ‘The Queen is an iconic figure and I love the sense of nostalgia in these faded portraits,’ says Tamsyn.
‘I also love beaded handbags,’ she enthuses, ‘some of which I’ve hung in frames here in the sitting room and in my bedroom. I occasionally use them for special occasions but mostly I think of them as miniature works of art; plus, I’m a magpie for a bit of sparkle!’ To do them justice, Tamsyn looks out for old picture frames – the more ornate and shabby the better – and paints them to display not just her precious bags but flowers and vintage postcards, too.
I absolutely love working on collectors’ homes, styling people’s incredible collections is a joy and an honour, and Tamsyn’s treasures were plentiful so there was certainly an awful lot for me to choose from when putting these beautiful shots together with photographer Robert Sanderson. And all three of us were totally over the moon when our combined efforts were recognised by Country Living magazine who snapped up the feature and made Tamsyn’s dreams come true with a fabulous eight-page spread, which you can now view on my website. Tamsyn proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a home that is full of style, personality and warmth; in fact, perhaps the results will be even better if you don’t.
Tamsyn works as a props/interiors stylist and offers styling and photography workshops (with fellow vintage lover Katie Sutton at The Vintage House That Could). Visit www.tamsynmorgans.com for more info on Tamsyn and her work. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
The sitting room is light and bright with collections adding colour and interest at every turn. The stunning two-tone Venetian mirror over the fireplace was from a car boot fair in East Sussex; Tamsyn paid just £30 for it. Make your own cushion like Tamsyn’s pink one with velvet fabric from My Fabrics.
Tamsyn made the two smallest empty frames using reclaimed architraving; the other pictures are car boot fair finds – the frame on the right holds some vintage brooches. She also made the two blue stripe cushions from old charity shop blankets; the patchwork is a work in progress being made from various pieces in her large fabric stash.
One of Tamsyn’s most treasured collections is her royal memorabilia displayed on a set of printer’s drawers sat below a Sir Gerald Kelly framed print; all were found at car boot fairs. Her favourite Norfolk boot fairs include those at Banham and Arminghall, and The Late One at Aylsham.
Tamsyn bought the chair, lamp and lamp base from car boot fairs for about £12 in total! ‘The chair is how I found it,’ she says, ‘with the original chintzy upholstery that I love.’ Pink chair in foreground painted similar to Cinder Rose by Farrow & Ball.
‘I use the craft room for anything and everything,’ says Tamysn, ‘home creations, projects for my blog, and I encourage the children to sit at the table and get creative with paints, fabrics, etc.’ Green drawers in corner painted similar to Ocean Ripple by Dulux.
Tamsyn in her pretty craft room which has doors out to the garden.
Tamsyn and her father built a unique kitchen with salvaged items such as the sink and taps, and used packing crates to make the cupboard doors, which Tamsyn has painted in candy stripes; try Spring Rose, Country Blue and Frosted Dawn by Dulux. The chandelier is another of her upcycling projects: ‘I sprayed it white, and hung vintage glass baubles from it.’
‘The old range in my dining room is redundant now, but I love that it’s part of the history of the house,’ says Tamsyn. ‘I’ve re-purposed it by making it into a mini library.’ All the books have been collected from car boot fairs. Over mantel mirror painted akin to Spice Jar by Crown Paints.
Not everything is painted white. ‘I sometimes paint furniture mint green, which makes it really stand out if it’s the only coloured piece.’ Try Arsenic by Farrow & Ball. Tamsyn made the & along with a whole lot more marquee lights for a vintage circus birthday party
Built-in cupboard painted similar to Pencil Point by Crown Paints. The vintage etched mirror above the fireplace in the bedroom was from a car boot fair, as was the white cabinet (under the stairs), which Tamsyn painted white and added vintage cup handles.
Panelling painted very much like Modernist White by Fired Earth. ‘The drawers were heading for a skip when a family friend offered them to me,’ says Tamsyn. ‘They were covered in brown varnish, which I stripped off to reveal white paint underneath; I then sanded back sections to reveal the pine underneath, and added glass handles.’ The mirror was £5 from a car boot fair and the basin from bathstore.com
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Decorative Vintage Styling Workshop
Tamysn says: ‘Come and join Katie and me on a one-day decorative vintage styling workshop at The Enterprise Centre, Derby University, a fantastic venue filled with natural light. We will spend the day together playing with lots of lovely props, and Katie and I will go through the following:
- How to decorate and style surfaces in your home using vintage finds
- How to style and photograph vignettes
- Sharing your pictures to social media, using hashtags
‘Katie and I both have a huge passion and love for all things vintage, so we will be loading our little cars with props, fabrics, flowers, backdrops, and all things gorgeous so you can have a fun and creative day whilst improving or even discovering your styling skills for the first time! The day will run 11am – 3.30pm, and we will provide an afternoon tea for everyone. Before we finish our workshop, we will gather the blooms used throughout the day, and everyone will get to make and take home a little posy. Everyone is welcome, and we hope you will join us on what is going to be a really lovely day!
‘Are you a crafter or maker? Bring your makes with you and we can advise you on ways to style and photograph them.
‘Tickets are £60 each, with a maximum of 20 places. Tickets are available on Katie’s website here. Full info for the day (parking, dietary requirements, etc) will be emailed out closer to the workshop. It would make a great gift for someone who loves all things pretty and vintage! You can see my post and some photographs from the Norwich workshop here.’
*Competition now closed*
Tamsyn and Katie are offering a place on their next workshop in Derby to one lucky #vintagestylingcomp winner.
Date: April 8th 2017 ~ 11am – 3.30pm
Venue: University of Derby, Enterprise Centre, 37 Bridge St, Derby, DE1 3LA
To enter on Instagram
1 Like any of my posts that mention the competition
2 Tag 3 friends
4 Post a pic of your favourite car-boot find using the hashtag #vintagestylingcomp
To enter on Twitter
1 Like any of my posts that mention the competition
2 Retweet to 3 friends
4 Tweet a pic of your favourite car-boot find using the hashtag #vintagestylingcomp