[This post is part of a paid campaign with Made.com]
So a few weeks ago we got an email. An email unlike any other. It made us gasp with joy. It was Made.com and they were all like ‘wanna curate a window each in our flagship store as part of our new Happy Place campaign’ and we were all like ‘sure, no biggie’ but then we did a lot of screaming and jumping and holding-our-hands-over-our-mouths-in-amazement. So, turns out it wasn’t all a cruel joke. It really happened. Our windows are really there in the Soho branch, being very much the opposite of each other and winking at tourists and locals alike. Watch out for our interviews on Made.com’s channels, lots of exciting faffing (Robyn’s going to floof those cushions every day on the way to work) and THE BIGGEST GIVEAWAY THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN coming up over on Instagram. Seriously, this is better than getting gifted a pony, and it weighs roughly the same. So join us, as we show you how we both made our own Made.com Happy Places, which you can actually really sit in, if you so choose.
Robyn: my happy place
After I stopped freaking the freak out, which took roughly a week, it was time think logistics. We had to come up with our respective happy places and having the whole of Made.com at my disposal was a major exercise in self control. Let’s just say it’s a miracle I didn’t ask for a series of mezzanines to hold all the stuff I wanted to jam in there. I approached my window like I approach any of my decorating projects – I found a big colourful thing, this time the Supermundane Rug, and then created a room out of the threads of that. So for me choosing the super-jazzy rug meant pulling things back from the brink of pantomime with lots of luxe accessories and then popping in a couple of contrast patterns to keep the eye engaged and the room feel slick, stylish and still full of personality.
Emma: my happy place
Guess what? My happy place is a beautifully calm one. It’s the kind of space you come home to after a long day at work when your boss has been a dick and the tube was a nightmare and you somehow lost a shoe, and you take a deep breath and know that you’re home and everything’s ok. It’s about comfort and cosiness and texture and tones all working together to create one harmonious whole – a sanctuary from the world you can retreat to anytime. Doesn’t that sound dreamy?
Robyn: my hero pieces
I’ve mentioned the Supermudane rug already so you know that was the basis of the whole room but I knew I needed to create the bones of the space, starting with the sofa. I went for the Jarrod as it’s classic and will work with a room over time if you just switch up the accessories. It also looked super comfy and had a slightly 70s vibe which I was clearly channelling. I could not resist the Knox chair – cobalt blue and pattern for days, what’s not to love? Then the storage, cos you have to have somewhere to put your one million accessories, right? The Anderson bookshelves offered all the vintage feels but with a glam flash of gold to make sure they felt fully Studio 54.
Emma: my hero pieces
I am seriously feeling the chunk right now, and that Berko sofa is chunky in a way not even a monkey could rival. I love its oh-so singular form that all but grazes the floor; the line of the arms that look like they’re splurging out over the seat. It looks (and is) comfy as hell. And that grey! Just the right shade of not-too-blue, not-too-dark – like the mist over Bristol. Does Bristol have mist? Let’s pretend it does. Then there’s the coffee table. As a renter, I’ve developed an acute addiction to storage. Nothing makes me happier than having places to Put Things Away, so the obvious choice for a coffee table was the Flippa in lovely, warm oak, with its ingenious lift-up top for cramming all your shit in. And because I work from home a lot (I am writing this lying down) I found the most beautiful desk of all time to work at, and popped a pet bed for my imaginary dog right down beside it, because no happy place is complete without poochies.
Robyn: the finishing touches
Oh man, this took literally hours. I wanted everything. But I had to be sensible. I tried to mix up texture and prints – popping Julius velvet cushions with Erol stripes and the Haddie, a Mongolian fur number, on the sofa but toning it down with a subtle and snuggly Marlow throw. Dressing the shelves fused a bit of practically – amazing Ewer lamp and the greatest Flip clock of all time with a lot of just aesthetic wonder as I rammed vases in there like it was going out of fashion. And by keeping it eclectic and mixing shapes, colours and patterns it still felt like it had personality. The Briz lamp had to go in cos it allows you to take those lights down and get your romance on [insert Barry White here]. I also had a couple of Corolla planters for the wall, which is painted exactly the same as my hallway cos I’m a massive ego, but cos the paint was wet they had to wait. They will look mega when they’re up though, I’m certain and give a little much needed greenery. My biggest triumph though was the matchy matchy Ryker cushion on the Knox chair which is, weirdly, my favourite bit of the whole thing – I love the pattern on pattern with the Cassar yellow blanket. It’s delish.
Emma: the finishing touches
Ask Robyn what my main shopping vice is and she will shout, ‘VASES’ in your face. So I think I did really well to only use one in this whole set-up. And that vase kind of sets the tone for the rest of the accessories – natural finishes and textures in a palette ranging from beige to grey to slightly darker grey and back again. I wanted a really comfortable feel, so stuffed the place with blankets and cushions (I am never happier than when under a big pile of blankets, on a big pile of cushions), then brought in harder textures like unfinished concrete and powder-coated metal to create a bit of structure and edge. As always with me, function was very much a consideration, so I found the beautiful Badden bookends to keep the desk organised, and the minimal-as-heck Zinnia watering can for the myriad plants. Two of my favourite pieces? The Osaka mugs, which come as a set of four and are crying out for a coffee, and the Akiko marble noughts and crosses board, which might be the most decadent after-dinner games situation of all time. Also, shout-out to the Reginald Rigby Off To The Zoo print, which is part of a vintage series in partnership with Transport for London, and was once the artwork at Regents Park tube station. The only real dash of colour in my space, and an absolute delight. We couldn’t put it up on the night as the paint hadn’t dried, but if you go down to the showroom, it’ll be there, waiting.
Robyn: the big night
Operating on a 10/10 level of excitement we both charged into the store, bellowed ‘get these normals out, I need complete complete silence to create’ and then chain smoked while rubbing our temples…. no we didn’t. The set up night was all kinds of wonderful. There was the kid-in-a-sweetshop element of being in store after hours. There was the utter joy of working with the incredible VM team. There was the fact they’d bought us all the sugary sweets in the world to keep us going. We, of course, went and got in a bed for a bit. It was bliss. But is was also work so after watching about eight big strong dudes carry the old window pieces out and ours in we had to get started on some of our trademark faffery. I’m so happy with how it turned out – it’s pretty textbook Robyn, an awful lot of absolutely everything all squeezed into one small space. Plus the fact we got to experience the shop, and London in such a unique way felt pretty damn incredible so all in all, one for the memory bank.
Emma: the big night
I won’t lie to you – I had a bit of a wobble before we got to the store. All my confidence disappeared and imposter syndrome took over. Luckily, Robyn gave me a good talking to in the street, plus some sweets and a can of gin and tonic, and we went on our merry way, full of excitement and sugar. If you’ve never been to the Made.com showroom, it is vast. Space and furniture as far as the eye can see. So getting it to ourselves was pretty fricking sweet. It was awesome to see how slick the team were, building the blue frames and unpacking all the furniture like it was no big deal. Once we’d ascertained that I had in fact ordered way too much for my space, I set about finding ways to just make it work. And by Jove, I did. There was much painting of backboards and moving of things and shuffling, and wandering and pilfering things from other displays (I even managed to get Grillo Designs’ book in there) and styling and re-styling and moving of blankets for health and safety reasons, all under the watchful eye of several rowdy drunks outside. Styling this space was a bit like when you have a massive clear-out at home – there’s always a moment where you look around and think, ‘What have I done??’, but now it’s all in and done and ready, I am in full love with it, and am so proud of us both for pulling it off.
We are both so so so so so so SO happy to have been invited to work on this campaign with Made.com. Seeing the way each of us attacked – and we use that word almost literally – the same catalogue of product in our own individual ways has been such fun, and being let loose in the store for a night was even better still. The windows will be on display on Tottenham Court Road until mid-October, so you have a while to get yourself down and see them. And we’re so proud, you might see one or both us in there, swatting customers away. If you pass the windows, snap a pic and let us know what you think @thecrapflat and @almost_everything_off_ebay. And go find out more about the campaign, here!
From the Experts: because we are very much plucky amateurs, here’s Made.com’s Design Director Ruth Wasserman to tell you what she looks for in a happy space and how to create one of your very own.
Where is your happy place? I have an imaginary dream home in the desert with lots of cacti in a wild landscaped garden. Generally I love dry desert areas so anywhere on the med, by the ocean, with family and friends.
Where do you start planning a happy place? The internet of course! I’m a big fan of Instagram and Pinterest and use them endlessly for inspiration and then for mood-boarding and to start the creation process.
Do you think there are universal elements to a happy place that you can add your own style to? Honestly I think that what makes each person happy is so unique to them that there isn’t such a thing as universal elements.
What’s your favourite piece in the current collection? I love the hand painted body part illustrations on the new Salo collection of planters and dinnerware.
How do unify lots of people’s ideas into one cohesive collection? It’s really about story telling. We treat our inspirations and inputs a bit like a creative writing starter sentence, and go from there.
How do you replicate the happy place vibe in the workspace? Well I have two tiny little cacti on my desk. But in reality, the people at MADE are what replicates the feeling of being around family and friends. There is a friendly and creative team of wonderful people who make working at MADE a joy.
Who would join you in your happy space? My husband and son, and lots of great friends.
What’s the soundtrack to your happy space? I have a country playlist that I love full of bluegrass and folky Americana like Towns Van Zandt and a new introduction, Jake Xerxes Fussell, who has reworked his father’s archive of ‘arcane folk and blues tunes into vibey cosmic laments’.
If there’s one thing you’d suggest people could do today to make their space happier, what would it be? I’ve just discovered scent diffusers, after much persuasion from a couple of members of our home accessories team. Nice smells = Happy Place.
And finally, here’s a visual summary of the Herculean effort that went into making our windows happen on a rowdy Friday night in the West End.
All photos by Kevin Lake.