Buying for the Home with a Purpose and a Conscience

Interior & Design, Styled Space

I feel like we’ve been purchasing a lot for our home lately. It tends to happen when we move into a new place. The configurations and the size of the homes are different, coupling that with our children getting older and their ever changing needs. At these times we find ourselves donating things that we no longer have use for and adding what is missing. Usually we find that the purging has outweighed the adding, so moving a lot has been good for us over the years. This time, it has been different.

The other night over dinner, Guillaume and I got talking, and I started to have a little guilt attack about how much we have bought lately. I questioned the overall sustainability of buy, buy, buy. But then we realised a few things: Over the past six years we have moved from a 100 square metre apartment to a 135 square metre house and now a 180 square metre apartment. We’ve also more than doubled the size of the family since Guillaume and I bought that first apartment before we had three children. It’s normal that we need more things, although I’m sure that there are people who would challenge that.

But it’s no secret that I love creating a home that I’m happy to live in. It is one of my passions and to me having a place that you are proud to come home to and creating an ambience that you love, is good for the soul. But having this idea and passion along with being a blogger exposed to so many amazing new products comes with a responsibility. So how can I deliver that?

In our conversation, we started to look at what we have in our home and realised that we’ve mostly been doing that. We both agreed that the apartment is not cluttered, we don’t have too much stuff and we only have things that we truly love. Interestingly, a huge chunk of what we have was bought second hand and what we bought new are quality items that we will keep, will withhold their value and possibly become more valuable over time.

Our Stockholm apartment is big, however it actually has only two purpose built bedrooms and crazy as it seems, three large living areas! So we were quick to figure out that one of those living areas would make a perfect bedroom for Guillaume and me. This left us with one room for the living room and then the other room, which we felt was much too large for just a dining table. We decided to divide the room into two and make a sitting area by the bay window. This little spot would have to be our favourite little adult hang out area in the home (while the kids overrun the living room). We pass most evenings here talking over a glass of wine with the candles burning on the windowsill. This is our little oasis but it was completely empty when we moved in, so we hit the online auction sites.

I admit that after spending the past fifteen years in the southern hemisphere, you really need to control yourself when the only thing between you and the crème de la crème of vintage designer furniture is the “bid” button. I can’t tell you how many times we resisted big time and missed out (sigh) on the Spanish Chair, the Safari Chair and Swan Chair. We didn’t even bother bidding on the Egg Chair. Vintage doesn’t always mean you’re going to get a bargain, though sometimes, if you’re lucky and usually persistent, you’ll get an item at a really good price that compares to something new in a high street store. That’s what we’ve been doing. What we’ve ended up with is something that is certified, beautifully made and will withhold its value. It’s also something that can be passed for generations or sold at a later date if we so wished. So that brings me back to my point about sustainability and responsibility. If looked after, these purchases should never end up in landfill.

I want to freshen the home with new design. When I’m at that stage I always look for practical and beautiful designs that I know care has been put into the production process meaning that it will stand the test of time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with mass produced things that fall apart, break or chip so easily. The other things I go for are either handmade or something that serves a good purpose. This is what I have and alway will stand for.

I’d love to know you thoughts on this and any ideas that you have about creating an inviting home that is put together with purpose and a conscience.

Much love,

Mel x

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  1. Stephanie

    What a good read, Mel. Your words made me think. I’d say, I totally agree with you but on the other hand I go and buy Ikea stuff again – just did so with two wardrobes for the twins.
    My motto has become ‘old and new’ recently. I love my old furniture that envokes memories and has quality but I’m smitten with new design as well. The kids called me old-fashioned these days (mom you mostly like old stuff, don’t you?) . Trying to give them what they like and need then takes me to Ikea because it’s beautiful and affordable. Not so durable, though. In terms of moving the stuff to another place I’ve made best experience with my old furniture.
    Love your style, you created a very comfortable home in Stockholm.
    xx, Steph

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    It’s funny that you should mention Ikea. I’ve had good experiences with them (and a few bad). We bought a bed and study for our eldest and honestly, the quality is there. I feel like they’ve upped their game lately, they are also giving guarantees on their products up to 25 years on kitchens. I’ve also bought some ottomans that pull out to beds that have been a godsend so that goes down to having a purpose. BTW, some of the vintage Ikea have been going for a small fortune!!! I hear you with new design, there are a lot of beautiful brands making this to last. Have a lovely day Steph and thanks again for sharing this post. It’s an interesting conversation to have, especially for our industry.

    Reply »

  2. Lolly

    Hi Mel
    Great post! love the light fittings…. lighting being my weakness….. I’ve said it before, but what a wonderful light space. I love the space around your objects, allowing you to enjoy each item. Clutter free! Just how I like a house to be. Appreciating each piece, which in turn is a part of you….. I totally get the approach to buying. I can’t deny that there are new things that call out to me. But what I’ve found as I’ve got older (particularly turning 40 a few years ago), is that I do question my purchases.
    Our home is a mix of old, second hand and specific design pieces, which we collected. I love the fact that I’ve had many pieces of furniture since my twenties, handed down from family members. That mixed with new objects, definitely creates a very personal space and one that we continue to take pleasure in!!
    Have a wonderful day! :)xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thanks Lolly! The light fittings are a bunch we grouped from Menu. I totally agree with you about lighting, it truly makes a space. It sounds like your home is filled with things that reflect you and your life’s story, which is so important I feel. Thank you for your kind comments always Lolly. xx

    Reply »

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