I was at a complete loss as for what to write this month since, as you know, we are between homes at the moment. While I feel at home here at my parents' house, it's not our home. Then, last weekend, we visited nearby Fort Nelson, a Royal Armouries museum: "Home of the Big Guns!" It was quite interesting if that's your thing - John, the kids and my Dad loved it. I wandered around thinking that all things military start to look very similar after a while until we came to two rooms, the mess and the kitchen. I stood in these rooms for ages, taking photos, leaning over the rope barriers, trying to take in the thoughtful restoration and exhibits. I think that, fundamentally, I am much more interested in how people live than how people kill each other.
These rooms are not homes, but they were your nearest thing to home comforts if you'd been stationed in this fort as a soldier in the 1890's. The mess is the room the soldiers used to eat, socialise and, judging by this room, sleep in. Look at the long sash windows, and the little fireplace in the corner. That battered wooden trestle table and the benches, the gas lamp, the sepia photographs and pictures, the utilitarian crockery...well, they wouldn't look out of place in an interiors magazine of the pared down, home-spun style.
Here is the laundry area. Oh, that scrubbed pine table and painted chair! The tin bath tubs and enamel sink, the washboards and wringer... it reminds me of one of those shops who specialise in reclaimed and salvaged vintage homewares.
This is the kitchen area. Note the beautiful dresser, full to bursting with glazed earthenware pots; admire the cast iron stove and saucepans (how heavy they must've been when full of water); admire the vintage clock and charming rocking chair.
Now, I don't for one moment imagine the army kitchen looked anything like this when it was a working room, but I certainly appreciated the attention to detail in the representation that was on display.
(I don't mean to keep on, but will you look at those lovely old clothes irons above the fireplace. The row of wooden dolly pegs! The vintage kitchenalia hanging on the walls!!)
This style of plain, old fashioned kitchenware and furniture is very popular at the moment, and please don't think I'm mocking it - I love it as much as the next person. It's not very colourful though. But then these things weren't meant to be decorative, they were all about function: black, white, brown, cream, grey, (and the odd flash of copper, very "on trend"). And there lies the secret to their enduring popularity today - they are absolutely neutral. Whether your style is English Country, Modern Country, Rustic, Industrial, or "Scandi Chic" (I shuddered when I typed that), something from these rooms will no doubt fit in perfectly with how you choose to decorate your home.
I do wonder if the people who once used these everyday objects would fall about laughing at the thought that someone might want to spend £10 on a battered, chipped enamel spoon in a gorgeous little shop, or pay £25 for an old wooden fruit or bottle crate. I think the less an item was considered valuable or covetable then, the more we seem to value and covet it today.
Look at these earthenware pots below. I'm sorry about the quality of the photo, I had to zoom in quite a bit. I love these, love their warm colours and gently rounded shape.
My mum has stacks of these pots. She's been collecting them for about twenty years because she likes them. Most are plain, some have writing on from when they held contents like ginger beer, and she has a jug which I seriously have my eye on. I've told her they're really popular at the moment and that, if she want's to err...refine her collection, then I'll happily home some of her rejects. Just as soon as I have a home of my own that is.
Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.