This weekend just gone, Clive and I packed up part of my little Lausanne apartment, and drove a van full of my stuff over to London. We’ve been jumping back and forth between Lausanne and London for almost three years, and we are now both so impatient to have a home that’s ours. I’m probably still going to be spending just as much time as I do currently in Lausanne for client work, but the idea is that Clive’s place in London becomes a bit more of a base for the next chapter of our lives. I’m excited, nervous, unsure, and so sure, all at the same time. I forgot how crazy emotions get when you start to shake your life and routine up like this.

Before we started to dismantle the result of two and a half years of nesting in this little home, I took advantage of a fews days when everything was looking tidy (and as finished as a space can ever be), to take a few photos to show you around properly.

I promise that I don’t usually (read: ever) have such an impressive bouquet of flowers on the coffee table. The morning that I took these photos, I just happened to receive a beautiful thank you bouquet from one of my best friends… a happy coincidence.

Now, let’s jump in… let me give you a proper look around my lovely little imperfect home.

Links to/info about items in the living room area: Handmade wreath, antique geometer’s trunk from J’aime pas les dimanches, Print from The Poster Club, Ficus elastica potted in an Artha Collections basket, Second hand IKEA Tylösand sofa, Artha Collections cushions, By Rydéns standing lamp, second hand Grange coffee table, La Redoute jute carpet, large artwork on shelf by Frida Wannerberger, little artwork by my friend Michael

Links to/info about items in the shelving area: IKEA Fjälkinge shelves, similar white storage boxes

I wouldn’t say that this space is a true reflection of my interior style, and there are a million things I would have changed had I had the time or budget, but I’ve been through so much in this apartment. This was the first apartment I ever had with my very own name on the buzzer; where the rental contract was actually in my name (landlords in Switzerland don’t particularly like renting to freelancers). I’ve worked on some huge decor projects from this space, had moodboards and sample materials sprawled all over the floor, and had friends over grouped around the kitchen island or coffee table for meals and drinks. As much as I have complained about many things in this apartment, I know that looking back at these photos will forever make me smile.

In many ways, this is a pretty typical Swiss apartment with the five finger parquet floor, roughcast plaster on the walls, a small shower room, basic kitchen, and uPVC windows. And while I dream of a house with pretty moulding, smooth walls, sash windows and large wooden floor boards, this was just the space I needed for this stage of my life. I have been living right in the centre of town so I saved a lot of money on transport, have been able to easily pop out for a bottle of wine or a missing ingredient just before the shops close, had friends pop in at all times of the day and night for cups of tea and long chats, and I’ve been able to run down Petit-Chêne at silly O’Clock in the morning to meet Clive arriving from the airport on the last train pulling into Lausanne Gare.

At times, I’ve struggled with the street musicians, especially that clarinetist who plays the same nine songs on repeat multiple times a day just below my window. In early November every year, I start to fear the installation of the flashing Christmas lights that would infiltrate through the bedroom windows despite lowering both sets of shutters. I have complained about how close the onlooking neighbours are, and the lack of natural light during the winter months. And living on the third floor without a lift has certainly had its challenges, but this was home… my own little home in the centre of a city I love, and it has served me so well.

I have come to love every little corner of this space.

Links to/info about items in the photos above: chest of drawers, hexagonal drawer pulls, gold tray, gold mirror, H&M home ceramic vases no longer in stock, dried flowers, large candle from Jo Malone London, artwork by Frida Wannerberger

I wanted to share the photos of this space because it’s imperfect, and because I am often guilty of being too critical of the space that I’m living in. I see spaces on Pinterest, I follow designers I love, and, working in the world of interiors myself, I’m often decorating spaces using much bigger budgets that I’ll ever be able to even imagine, and consequently, that’s where I set my expectations.

I do honestly believe that you can make any space beautiful, and I wanted to make sure that the spaces I’m sharing on here are representative of where I’m at in my life.

So, this is my 1600 CHF/month apartment, home to many DIY projects and lovingly transformed from an empty shell into a home.

Links to/info about items in the photos above: IKEA hack kitchen island, wicker stools, DIY kitchen shelves, recycling basket, antique ladder used as a shoe shelf

This (below) is my home office space, where I sit on the only designer piece of furniture in my home – a green canvas Vitra Eames DAW armchair that I bought from Goumaz with some money that my Grandpa Gordon left me. I occasionally walk over and open the window on the right and glare down at the clarinetist, hoping that he’ll feel my glare and move on swiftly to play outside someone else’s workspace. It never works. We always get the full nine songs.

The DIY pinboards above my desk collect all sorts of pretty things including bits of handmade paper, a Farrow and Ball colour card, fabric samples, and other bits and bobs that I like the look of.

There are dried flowers, cacti and airplants dotted around the whole apartment as they are all low maintenance, and mean I save splashing out on fresh flowers.

Links to/info about items in the photos above: IKEA trestle table legs, DIY pinboards, Artha Collections woven basket, dried flowers from L’Attribut d’Iris, Jo Malone London candle, Vitra Eames DAW chair from Goumaz

The kitchen is compact but well equipped with a big fridge, a dishwasher, and a decent sized oven. The kitchen island I made came with me from my last apartment, and provides some extra storage, and most importantly, an extra worktop and seating area. It’s a great space to have.

I have a few other stools that make their way out from under the bed, or in the cupboard on the landing, when friends come over. It’s always a bit of a squeeze but it’s cosy.

These in-built shelves (below) are a great use of this awkward space. The basket at the bottom is where the recycling goes, and other bulky things that we use frequently are kept on here.

I remember how excited I was when I bought my Smeg toaster and kettle. I’m the kind of person who will set my eyes on my ideal kettle, and rather than buying a cheap kettle while I save up, I’ll settle for boiling water in a saucepan until I can afford to splash out. I hate the idea of wasting an item like that but I can tell you, there was a lot of burnt toast and many long waits for cups of tea before these two Smeg items entered my life.

I’ve always been one for keeping things in the bedroom as simple as possible, but with great quality bedsheets. This Nina Ricci floral set are probably one of my favourite things in the apartment. If there is one thing that I encourage my clients to splash out on, it’s always, always, always on the bedsheets. It makes a world of difference.

When I was thinking of staying in this apartment full time for longer, I was planning on investing in a better quality bed, and updating the mirror and the bedside lamp as they are no longer really to my taste, and I think I’ve had them all for nearing on ten years now. The blanket ladder, however, will be staying with me for life. It has to be one of my very favourite DIY projects. I love that it was once my mum’s old garden fence.

Links to/info about items in the photos above: IKEA Leirvik bed, pink linen sheet, pink linen pillow caseNina Ricci Fleurs d’Aurore bedsheets, silver bedside lamp, DIY blanket ladder, Aerende hot water bottle

Some of you will remember the ordeal with the custom cut mirrors on this PAX wardrobe that I shared in a vlog about two years ago now. I bought an IKEA PAX corner wardrobe with the panelled doors, and ordered 15 custom cut mirrors from Jumbo to stick on with some heavy duty glue. 13 of the mirrors went on just fine, but two of them were too big and I left it an embarrassingly long time before I got them cut to size. I can now confirm that the remaining two mirrors have been stuck on and it looks great! I love how a simple idea like this can elevate an IKEA cupboard but I do really wish I had done it sooner.

Links to/info about items in the photos above: Similar wicker basket, IKEA PAX corner wardrobe with custom cut mirrors and handles, Laurastar Lift iron, dressing gowns 

As many projects as I may have spread out on the floors of the living area, this is the space that I try to keep looking a little more serene so I can totally disconnect from work. It’s always nice, at the end of the day, to go down the fews steps to my bedroom and be totally removed from the rest of the bordel that has somehow magically appeared throughout the day.

I’ve been through so much in this space that it felt right to share it on here. It feels like the end of an era really. I know I’ll love having these photos to look back on in a few years time, and I often get questions on Instagram about where things come from so hopefully this blog post answers all of those questions and links to relevant posts for any items that you can DIY.

I’m so excited and so nervous about the next little chapter… I’m really not too sure what it’s going to look like but after almost three years of doing long distance with Clive, I’m excited that we’re going to have a home together. We’ll both be back and forth between Geneva/Lausanne and London quite a lot, but there’s just something about knowing we have one home together that’s already starting to feel different… in the very best way!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this nosey around my home. It’s not always this tidy and if you look closely, you’ll see that there are all sorts hidden under the bed and the sofa, not just a spare barstool or two. I’m excited to show you all the next stages of decorating our little London home.

Have a lovely day and I hope to see you back here soon! Big bisous. xS

Selection of photos taken by Nicole Hertel, Hannah Shan & myself