3 weeks before the birth of our first son we moved from South to North London in search of a family house we could afford without assuming a debt the size of Germany's GDP. We left behind many of our closest friends who were die hard South Londoners and thus regarded Enfield as a spot on the map somewhere near outer Mongolia. I was, therefore, a bit worried that it was just going to be me and the baby with Mr Tumble for company.all day. So when we arrived for our crash NCT course in an old Quaker Hall I was desperately hoping to meet some kindred spirits to avoid becoming overly acquainted with the contents of Mr Tumble's spotty bag. After an uncomfortable first 90 minutes of the class when the word vagina was said about 113 times more than I wanted to hear it in the company of 10 strangers, we took a tea break. It was then, over an intensely stewed cup of PG tips and a soggy Rich Tea that I met Sally, my kindred spirit. It turned out that as well as both drinking our teas black and both being able to name all of Jordan and Peter Andre's children we also shared a love of vintage homeware.
After the first intense period of motherhood passed when conversation revolved around shades of shit rather than chaise lounges we got our non baby produced shit together enough to think about pursuing our passion for all things old and interesting (excluding Des O'Connor to be clear) and took a stall together at a local vintage market. We enjoyed it is so much that inbetween getting Sally to tell me, for the 417th time, the story from her BBC runner days about when she blow dried Nicky from Westlife's hair, we started to dream about putting together an event of our own in the Quaker meeting hall where we had first met.
A couple of years passed and although our pelvic floors got weaker as we gave birth to our second (and in my case third) children, the dream just got stronger. Enter Beth. Her stall was often opposite ours and featured a beautifully curated mix of quirky curiosities but whilst we ogled it from afar it wasn't until we got chatting during a drop in trade one Saturday that we realised that she too lived in Winchmore Hill and, in a happy piece of coincidence, used to both edit the wonderful Selvedge magazine and organise their fairs which are renowned in London and beyond. Suddenly the idea of organising our own event started to look a little bit less like something Duncan Bannatyne would laugh out of the Dragons Den and more like something Peter Jones would give a serious ponder.
Several Monday night meetings around our three kitchen tables later, the Occasional Home Store was born. An event which will bring the best in both vintage and contemporary homeware to our little corner of North London along with some delicious food and drink to sustain you whilst you shop. Over the last few months Beth has grappled with Wix to build us a lovely website whilst Sally has become an overnight expert in event licensing, insurance, food hygiene and pretty much every other sensible thing that i forget to think about when I am getting overexcited about how great it is all going to look on instagram.
And as for me? Well I have been working my way through our wishlist of dream vintage sellers, contemporary designer/makers and interiors shops we would like to pop up at the OHS and spent a lot of time pinching myself as one by one they have all said yes. All my Modern Rustic Christmases came at once when Kay of Kinship Creative DC (aka the Modern Rustic Madonna) said she would love to come along and run a workshop for us on how to blend Scandi and Vintage pieces to create a Modern Rustic home. But it didn't stop there, within a fortnight that workshop had become a double bill with Kate Watson-Smyth aka superstar interiors blogger Mad About the House who will be imparting ten top tips to improve any room for those lucky enough to have bagged one of the limited places available.
The final icing on the cake came when Vicky, the owner of the beautiful home and body brand Plum & Ashby, said she thought our event sounded great and that they would love to collaborate with us on putting it together. So on the 9th of September, in association with Plum & Ashby, the doors of the first Occasional Home Store event will be opening at 10am in St Peter's Church Hall, 10 Langham Gardens, N21 2DN. Our OHS venue is just 2 minutes away from Grange Park overground station which connects to Finsbury Park in just 10 minutes from where you can access the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines. It is also just 10 minutes drive onto the M25, North Circular or M11 so wherever you are coming from we should be within easy reach (unless you are coming from the Isle of Skye in which case I admit the transport might be more tricky). We are feeling equal parts hugely excited and hugely terrified at this point in time so I would love it if you guys could come along and hold my hand for the day.
Until then (to give you an incentive to come along that doesn't involve my clammy hands) I wanted to share with you just a few of the amazing sellers we have coming along on the day and to give you a peak into some of their homes so you can see how their style translates from stall to semi-detached. Look out for more glimpses through the keyholes of our fabulous stallholders in future blog posts.
Of Special Interest
Of Special Interest is a Crouch End interiors institution. Offering a prodigious range of elegant pieces for the home, the store has grown from its early incarnation as junk shop. Over the last two decades owner Belinda Fulton has taken over two neighbouring shops as their owners moved on and then the annex behind when it came up for rent. Her loyal customer base (including me!) can choose from antique European furniture sourced in Holland, stylish lighting, mirrors and irresistible impulse buys in the form of candles, kitchenware and faux foliage. Her home is every bit as stylish as her shop and if you would like to see more of it be sure to have a look at Malmo & Moss Meets: Belinda Fulton
Beetle & WILDE
Beetle & WILDE is a vintage emporium that delights in blurring the boundaries between art, anatomy, natural history & design - adding drama and intrigue to interiors with an eclectic mix of cultures, periods, styles & scale - from Victorian wunderkammer curiosities to mid century classics and quirky modern finds. If you’re the kind of person who longs to linger in the Natural History Museum past closing time you will love what Beetle & WILDE have to offer and I am certain you will love owner Caz's sultry, darkly sexy home even more.
Wicker & Weft
Baskets are definitely in the category of “items you simply can’t have too many of” – they are just so useful. And they last – a toy basket can become a home for a yarn stash, a picnic or a pet! Since becoming a Mum, Mim English Morgan founder of Wicker & Weft feels more aware of society's 'throw-away' nature. “I want to play a tiny part in preserving skills and teaching the value of using something beautiful with a story." Her traditional handcrafted goods are sourced from workers paid a fair wage; not out of pity, "but because their time and skills are worth it.” Mim's home is a 1960s bungalow which acts as the perfect neutral backdrop for her beautiful baskets. Whilst there are big renovation plans in store for the future, I love how calm and serene it feels already.
To see more details of all of our exhibitors hop over to our website www.occasionalhomestore.com and make sure to follow @occasionalhome to hear all of the latest announcements. Over the next month I will be out and about sourcing more finds for my own Malmo & Moss stall and trying not to keep everything that I buy for myself instead #failedvintagemogul. Here are just a few of the things I have hunted out to bring along so far.
Hope that has helped wet your appeitite. Sally, Beth and me and my clammy hands very much hope to see you on the 9th of September when we open the doors of the Occasional Home Store for the very first time! If you have any questions at all about the event please do drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM @occasionalhome and make sure to check out our website www.occasionalhomestore.com