With an ethos that aims to make everyday a little bit lovelier, The Ordinary Lovely is a wonderful space in which to spend a few spare moments. From mini projects to gotta-have-it-now styling ideas – blog founder, Rachel Southern, is a veritable mine of interior inspiration and we were delighted at the chance to chat to her…
Q: Tell us a little bit about your blog, The Ordinary Lovely:
The Ordinary Lovely is my space to celebrate the things that make my ordinary life, and our ordinary home, a little lovelier. It could be savouring the perfect cup of coffee, silently cheering at finding a great hiding place in a particularly competitive game of hide and seek, thanking the gods when, at the getting-on-a-bit age of 39, I finally find the perfect shade of lipstick for my skin tone, filling my house with jar upon jar of fresh flowers, or marvelling at the most beautiful of sunsets. These are things that are right in front of us, or are so ordinary that we often take them for granted. But we shouldn't.
Q: What made you decide to begin The Ordinary Lovely?
I started my blog in September 2014 with the aim of it being an online scrapbook. I have recipe books, knitting patterns and photographs galore from my parents and grandparents all with little notes in the margin with additional tips and instructions. I see my blog as being the online version of those handwritten notes ... albeit a typed version. It's the advice that comes with trying a new recipe, putting up your very first roll of wallpaper, attempting to knit a scarf for the first time, or simply the story behind a smiling face. Hasn't everyone looked at a face in a photograph and wondered what their story was? Or maybe I'm just a bit nosy!
Q: Where do you think your passion for design comes from?
I went straight from university to working in the automotive industry, and while I can’t claim to be a car enthusiast, it did spark an interest in form and function. Later in my career, I was transferred to the European headquarters in Zürich and spent many years living in Switzerland. It was there that I fell head over heels for modern minimalism. But what the Swiss do really well is find the perfect balance between the old and the new, the muted and the colourful. It’s rubbed off on me and left me liking a mixture of eras and trends and wondering how they can all work together cohesively.
Q: Where do you look for inspiration when you are creating blog posts?
Despite writing about interiors and craft projects, most of my inspiration comes when I’m out and about. Walking through the countryside or along the beach is where I do my thinking and my mind starts whirring through potential ideas and possibilities. I need to be away from my home in order to think about it objectively. That’s why you’ll also find a few posts about country and beach life on my blog, too.
Q: Can you describe your own home?
Currently, it has a bit of a mixed identity. It’s a new build that we bought to rent out while we lived in Switzerland. It’s functional but lacks a little bit of soul. It’s full of furniture that we bought for our apartment in Zurich that we’ve now had to find a place for in a completely different room configuration. It’s definitely a work in progress that I’ll start when both of my boys are in school – my youngest starts in September.
Q: Is your interior style mirrored in any other areas of your life?
Do you know, I think it actually might be. I have a similar attitude to clothes. I buy very good quality basics (coats, bags, shoes) and then mix and match things depending on the season - and I love a pop of colour against a plain backdrop.
Q: Can you give us your top five home styling tips?
- Pop a bunch of fresh flowers in your basket when you’re doing your shopping. They immediately make a room feel more vibrant and homely.
- Plants have a similar effect, although I’m yet to keep one alive for more than a matter of weeks…
- I adore blankets, particularly at this time of year. They look wonderful draped across a bed or sofa so you get style and warmth at the same time.
- We always have different forms of lighting in the rooms that we use a lot. Lamps, wall lights, ceiling lights; it’s nice to have a choice depending on the time of day. And of course, candles create a wonderful atmosphere too.
- One of my best investments has been a selection of water jugs. I use them for their intended purpose, as vases, as decoration, to hold straws, for so many different things. Products that have more than one purpose are always so welcome in my home.
Q: Which of the Houseology looks are you and why?
I love elements of all three. The cosy knits and textures used in the Chic look are basically my festive dream, but the metallic accessories in the Luxe look are stunning, and then I have a real soft spot for concrete so the Urban look is spot on for me. It’s too hard! I can’t choose!