Getting all up in MoseyHome
Emma: Mary, tell us about MoseyHome.
Mary: MoseyHome is about sourcing pieces, big and small, that I hope people will want to have in their homes. We’re a bricks and mortar shop where we focus on talking to and meeting our customers, as well as an online shop. Our USP is putting vintage and antique together with new and contemporary design, so you’ll find 1970s sideboards displaying newly-made vases alongside a 1950s light with a contemporary artwork hanging above.
Robyn: And what are you looking for when you buy for the shop?
Mary: Finding pieces for the shop is a constant. I’m looking for a variety of things from one-off unique pieces to things I know people are on the hunt for. So I look for timeless objects that but also ones that reflect or work well with colour and style trends that are happening. I love an object with a story and a good patina gained over time. And I love finding pieces that can be up-cycled, refurbished and given a new lease of life.
Emma: You used to work for the V&A. Do you think that stood you in good stead for a career in interiors?
Mary: Certainly! I worked for over twelve years at the V&A organising talks, events and courses that ran for anything from a day to a year. Not only did I hear many, many talks about art, decorative art and design from experts and curators, I gave a few myself and worked with a team to offer a big programme for V&A visitors. We devised for example, a series of talks called Designing the Decades (my fave being the 1970s), or a whole year course on twentieth-century design, or study days relating to the museum’s exhibitions.
Emma: You mentioned how hard it can be running a business as a one-woman band.
Mary: Definitely. I do miss is working closely with a team. Sometimes it can be hard not to have a colleague to bounce ideas around with, to share the load and to discuss how things are going. I worked closely with a few amazing people at the V&A and I felt very loyal to them and our work. I am hoping to find a ‘business soulmate’ who has similar passions and outlooks as me, but also a different eye and different ideas that would work well with mine and MoseyHome.
Robyn: With so much beautiful vintage furniture in stock, you must get to hear so many stories about where the pieces have come from. What were some of your favourites?
Mary: I remember one house being cleared out that was a mid-century gem, from the spiral staircase to the wood panelling. I came away with a desk that had been custom-made for the family, so a complete one-off. It had this curved floating top and a swivel-out ashtray! The other exciting thing is finding pieces and then discovering what they are after I’ve got them to the shop. I remember before I was familiar with Merrow Associates I picked up a coffee table only to discover that it was designed by Richard Young for Merrow! And of course this took me down a whole new design area to learn about. I was also lucky enough to buy some huge limited edition reissued canvas prints by Robert Stewart who designed amazing fabrics and art in the 1950s, including for Liberty. He was the Head of Printed Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art. Definitely one to grab if you come across his work – I wish I had kept a canvas for myself!
Emma: When you’re styling your own space at home, how do you approach it; are you a planner like Emma or a buy-it-for-the-joy person like Robyn?
Mary: I’m a bit more buy-it-for-the-joy when it comes to furniture and accessories. I do really have enough stuff which I move around every now and then. So then I’m always super-happy when I discover we actually need something – my daughter needs a new chest of drawers at the moment because hers are broken. Then I always look at vintage and second-hand for furniture first. When it comes to painting and decorating, though, I am more of a planner. I try to think about the continuity of colour and tones throughout my home, but I do experiment a little and hope it works!
Emma: We’re all about understanding how homes affect our mental health, and vice versa. Is that something you’re conscious of for yourself when planning or styling a space?
Mary: I am. I guess some people might be more sensitive to, or affected by, the way their spaces look and feel; I certainly am. I love to walk into a space that feels balanced, that has pieces that I love in it, that has interesting parts to look at. A space that’s both relaxing and energising at the same time, if that makes sense? I’m definitely in the camp of tidy house, tidy mind. I find it hard to think and relax if my house is a mess (however I have a family that spreads their stuff and I don’t always have the energy to tidy, so it is relative!). Also, I don’t actually like a pristine, ultra-‘finished’ house; I like the layered, put-together-over-time, slightly worn look. I’m bad at caring about perfect finishes when it comes to decorating so I call our home the Frayed Edges House!
Robyn: Do you have any top spots for picking up great vintage pieces?
Mary: Well there are always big car boot sales outside London; Sunbury Antiques in Kempton Park has a good reputation. I was recently at an antiques centre in Huntingdon which was great, and when I visited Hastings I found a number of lovely vintage places to rummage through.
Emma: You run a business, you have a family, you have a website – is it a balancing act, or do you pretty much have it down to a fine art?
Mary: I’ve never worked as hard as since I started my business! It’s not always an easy balance and sometimes things get missed, dropped or have to give. It truly is a rollercoaster and sometimes things get tough, but when things are good it’s a real high.
Robyn: Sum up your interiors style in three words.
Mary: Eclectic, mid-century, 70s-boho (in a Victorian house!).
Emma: How can people can get involved with MoseyHome?
Mary: I’m working with Sarah Jane (@nua_nu), a professional upcycler and trained artist, to offer a three-hour Neon Art Workshop. It’s a brilliant opportunity to boost your creative skills and be guided in making a piece of art on canvas with paint and neon lighting. It’s on Tuesday 30 April 2019 at 6pm and costs £75. We still have some spots left and you can book on the website or by ringing the shop (020 7263 5292).
Mary gets up in our spaces about getting up in her space
Mary: What do you find appealing about going into interiors and vintage shops?
Emma: EVERYTHING. I love wandering a space that gives me new inspiration or sparks new ideas. And shopping. I love shopping. In vintage stores in particular, I love the hunt – that moment you happen upon the perfect something and just have to have it.
Robyn: Oh yes, I bloody love it. Like Emma says it’s the hunt – you could find real treasure in a vintage shop. Plus the fact that you’re going to get something that no-one else has (relatively) and that’s had a whole life before you. There’s a romance to it. Interiors shops generally I’m getting more and more into because, on a very basic level, I’m an old fart and they’re always tidy and easy to navigate. I just can’t deal with a busy Zara late on a Saturday afternoon. Stuff. Everywhere. •shudder•
Mary: I would find it difficult to style or live in a space that was full of only modern pieces or only pieces from one period. How about you? How do you style vintage, antique and modern together in your homes?
Emma: Hmmm, I think I approach interiors the same way I do fashion – if everything’s from one period or in one aesthetic it can look costume-y. I like an overall look that’s then accented with pieces that give it depth and interest.
Robyn: I block things by colour or style so they all make sense. If there’s a GPlan vibe I go for lots of teak or similarly toned wood, paired back pieces, nothing too flouncy. Or complete opposite pieces so it doesn’t look jarring like the rattan hanging chair in my bedroom is not surrounded by exclusively rattan stuff (though I dearly wish it was, I am dangerously into rattan) but sits by a yellow wardrobe that’s weirdly undateable. I’d date it though. Emma wouldn’t – she can’t abide that wardrobe.
Mary: Having asked that, do you find yourself always gravitating towards a particular look? Is there a style or period you particularly like?
Emma: I’m consistently drawn to clean lines and plain finishes, and I struggle to have anything in the crap flat that could be described as an ornament – everything needs to have a function – so I guess I’m a modernist at heart. Though now I’m questioning myself… Does a piece of art have a function? I suppose that depends on who you ask. I need to stop debating myself.
Robyn: Hmmm it’s a total mashup – I love THINGS and the more the better so there’s mid-century, there’s ancient taxidermy and victorian portraiture. There’s a definite 70s and 80s feel to some of the art but then the kitchen gives you 100% 1920s railway station vibes. So all. I’d say my style is all things from all periods. Except 90s Changing Rooms.
Mary: I often have customers who have their memory triggered by vintage pieces in my shop. I get to hear how they associate objects with loved ones, childhoods, or people who have passed away. Do you think objects from someone’s past can be a good thing in the grieving process?
Emma: Ooo, toughy – I think this totally depends on how you grieve, because everybody goes about it in different ways. I boxed a lot of the emotion I had when my Mum died, so objects that reminded me of her then would have felt like a slap in the face and a shame for not ‘grieving properly’. But with a little distance and a LOT of therapy, I’m able to look at the things she had and feel connected rather than gut-wrenchingly sad.
Robyn: I’ve basically made tiny little inconspicuous shrines to my Nan dotted about. There’s so much that came from her or is inspired by her in this house and I think that’s me trying to recreate the notion that she was always there for me, a huge steer on my life. Cos she is still always there winking away from the sideboard or her dress hanging in the wardrobe ready to wrap you up. And it’s not just her, there’s little bits that are a memorial to friendships that have puttered out or pieces from exes and things like that. Bits that ground me in a very particular time that’s gone now. I like those little emotional signposts.
Mary: Tell us what your thought processes were when doing Style My Shop – for example, did you find the key accessory objects that you liked first and then build from that, or did you start with the furniture? What made you change your mind and swap stuff in and out?
Emma: I know we’re both going to be wildly different for this. I looked around the shop, getting a feel for an aesthetic that I thought could make work, made a blurry picture in my head of what that might look like (some might call it a plan) and then got the bigger pieces of furniture in place as a foundation, before I started on the accessories. Then it was a case of balancing out the white space in between those pieces with vases and so on that offered different heights and textures.
Robyn: Well you gave me a massive head-start Mary cos the colours you’d put together blew me away so I just stuck with the core pieces and added a lot of accessories around it. I just faffed, wandering around and picking up things to add until every surface was filled. There was very much not a plan but I know I can usually instinctually feel my way through creating a space. It’s the editing down I have a problem with – that’s why there’s a geisha, a ceramic owl and a Portemerion teapot in there.
Mary: I guess styling my shop is different from styling your home. Are there any ideas that were new or new tips that could translate to home styling?
Emma: I actually realised that I’m fond of a draped blanket, which has since made an appearance on my Instagram grid.
Robyn: I think you are really good at styling from ceiling to floor because space is an issue so I was very aware of not popping everything in one area and leaving dead space. I think I can definitely use that – to jam more goodies in Foxberry Towers.
Mary: So were each of your MoseyHome spaces wildly different or could you find some common ground? What did you love about each other’s spaces?
Emma: Wildly, wildly different. I’m always going to love the way Robyn styles her spaces – the absolute joy with which she rushes into things is excellent to behold. And I love that she took all the colour, so I had my favourite palette left to work with.
Robyn: The very opposite. Emma’s work always impresses me cos it’s stylish without being sterile. It’s got character but also feels accessible – like she could be a interior stylist in a way I just couldn’t cos she gives such consideration to pieces and making coherent spaces that work while looking damn fine. I just want pantomime. Only Sue Pollard would hire me to redecorate. I wanted her chair, her table, her prints. She did some top notch VM-ing.
Mary: How does it make you feel to style objects, find new ways of putting them together and having a finished newly balanced room or space?
Emma: SATISFIED. There’s a moment when you get things just right in your own space and it’s like something clicks into place. I’m forever rearranging things that haven’t quite clicked yet.
Robyn: Right, I’m going to level with you. I never move stuff really. Once it’s there, it’s there. And then I move house. But recently Emma told me to move some paintings about to make a little colour pop gallery on my living room wall (yeah, I know, VERY unlike her) and it felt so good to repurpose them and give them more impact by grouping them together.
Mary: It’s a couple of weeks since you styled MoseyHome. If you shut your eyes and think back, which are the objects that you most remember? Are they ones you could live with in your home?
Robyn: Ok. basically everything. The palm tree print and the Portmerion teapot. All the chairs. The owl. The unit behind. You better have an alarm system cos I’m planning to cat burglar you and have away with them!
Emma: The one I keep thinking of is the minimal wall art that your brother painted! I love it and would definitely have it at home. That and the sculptural bowl I put on the coffee table. And the coffee table. And the little white vases. And the chairs. And the little rug. And the blanket and the books and the coasters.
Mary: It is brilliant for me to have guests coming to do Style My Shop. It offers a fresh new look for my products and is a chance for me to collaborate and talk with interior lovers and of course to have a little fun. How important is collaborating and in this crazy world of Instagram, blogging, businesses and interiors?
Emma: Robyn is the Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to my Linda Barker – we are opposites in almost every way. I’m all about quiet organisation and ideas actioned on a 10-point plan, whereas Robyn has no fear and approaches new people and situations with wild abandon. So we’re kind of fielding our own parts of the blog and Insta journey, and that’s why it works. Plus, we really like each other, which always helps.
Robyn: I literally cannot put it better than Emma did. She’s beaten me to to it cos she wrote her answers about a week ago and I’m doing it a few hours before we post. Which perfectly illustrates her point.
Mary: It is fantastic to see the great relationship that you have with each other. I am still looking for my business soul mate and have a lot of ideas for things to do with a partner. Can you suggest any ways on how to find the right people to work with?
Emma: This is tough, as our working relationship has come out of a long friendship. I think it’s about connection; authentic, genuine connection, and finding somebody you can be really honest with, without fear of reprisal. And if you’re open to opportunity and are networking on Instagram and with similar businesses, I would hope that the right people find each other. And, for what it’s worth, I think the right person sometimes has a wildly different approach to yours, that scares you juuuust a little.
Robyn: Again, what she said. I think Instagram is amazing because it opens up a whole world of people to you and you inevitably end up finding your tribe. Like attracts like, at the core and you’ll end up connecting with people on the same trajectory as you are.
So thank you so very much Mary for letting us play Barbie Dream House in MoseyHome, it was such a treat to get our hands on all your amazing wares and we’ll be back very soon. Though we promise not to shift everything about next time.