Yūgen – a peek into our travel inspired home

Something a little different today, but it struck me when walking through our house how much we are inspired by the places we visit, near or far, and incorporate so many ideas into our home. We like the pieces in our home to have a story and spark memories of the places we have discovered on our travels.

Our house was a full renovation project, with my dad being a combined builder/plumber/electrician and Dave’s dad being our bespoke quirky carpenter. I loved learning and picking up DIY skills along the way. I may do a detailed renovation post one day, let me know if that’s something you would like to read!

When we are home with dreams of our next adventure, we love being able to sit content in our own little world that we made around us.

So without further ado, this is a tour of some of the corners of our home!

The living room

Our living room has so many references to our favourite country of all time, Japan. There is a lot of colour, a lot of plants, and a lot of items we have collected along the way either from Japan or that are inspired by Japanese life.

Hanging behind our sofa is one of my favourite items, a framed sketched map of the Studio Ghibli Museum which we got in the programme when we visited. It was one of the most exciting days, and I smile everytime I look at this print with the memories. My other favourite print hangs above the Ghibli map, and is an illustration by South Korean illustrator, Puuung. I absolutely adore her work, and have her book ‘Love is…’. Puung makes the most down to earth touching scenes of real moments in a relationship. South Korea is high on our bucket list to visit (so watch this space!).

I visited Morocco years ago and loved the pouffes I saw in the souks. With no room to bring one back in my case, I was excited to find this one no further than my local antiques market!


We love collecting masks from places we go (pictured below) the top one from Barcelona, the second from Japan, and the third a gift. We love the history that masks have, and look out on our travels for paticularly old ones.


One thing we try and do in our home is recycle materials where we can, and a particular favourite is using pallets. This is such a sustainable way to furnish your home, recyling or thrift shopping. We also love to collect beautiful books on our travels, which we display where we can. I have numerous books in languages I unfortunately can’t read but they always remind me of the countries I picked them up in and flick through the imagery.


We use our shelving as places to display items we have collected from our travels, and also gifts from my family when they have been away. We have a traditional puppet from Prague, a hand painted egg from Poland, Russian dolls that have been in our family for years, a crazy hanging fairy from Bruges, a Daruma doll from Japan, and Day of the Dead figures from Mexico to name a few.


One of my prized possessions is this stool which was my Grandma’s, passed down to me. I used to always sit on this seat when we visited her, and it always makes me think of her. We use it as a telephone table, making this cosy corner under the Yucca plant. I miss the days of telephone calls, the world of texts can take over and it can never quite beat being curled up on a comfy armchair having a good catch up so we wanted to recreate that space (though this ends up being our cat’s climbing frame!).


Our table was made by Dave’s talented Dad with recycled wood. It’s so colourful and we adore this piece of furniture.


Dining Room

One of my favourite rooms I think. It doesn’t have any natural light, so we couldn’t put any plants in here but instead kept all the artwork botanical themed to give it a leafy feel.

In here there is more artwork we have collected from our travels mixed with pieces created by our friends. Displayed along the back wall are also two fans, the top one a traditional fan from Seville, and the one below is made from paper on a bamboo frame and was from a beautiful shop in Asakusa in Japan. As we visited Japan in the Autumn, I collected a few autumnal leaves to display in a Nkuku frame. These frames are great for displaying sentimental things such as tickets or photos.

Our 70s sideboard was a thrifty find, and we have a few items of pottery that we bought in Japan. The lace tablecloth beneath the record player is from Dubrovnik, bought from a lovely man selling various lace wares on the Jesuit steps.


This Japanese screen was an absolute find at Derwentside Mill in Belper for under £20! We adored all the screens we saw in Japan and didn’t have any way of bringing them back, so we were very excited to find this and for such a bargain too.



Another pallet creation, this time to hold our records. This beautiful fern leaf print is by my wonderful friend Natalie (Pencil Pusher) and I adore it.

As mentioned in my Moorlands post, we spotted this chair at the market and was sold on it straight away. Again, it has a very old Japanese feel to it, slightly taken over by our cats, but one of my favourite vintage finds! It sits perfectly next to our indoor window which is one of the many quirky parts of our home.



Our kitchen still has a few elements that need finishing (skirting!), but is the room that has definitely gone through the most change. We decided we didn’t want a fitted kitchen, and wanted to try and keep costs down and recycle, so off we went to timber yards and vintage shops!

We like to display most items if we can and use the shelves to display all of the things we have found on our travels. This ladder was found in a reclamation yard and hanging from it is a traditional corn sweeping brush which we found in Japan.


The shelves display various kilner jars and also old tins which we keep stock cubes in! There is the tagine dish on display that I brought back from a holiday in Morocco, a beer bottle from the Ghibli Museum with dried flowers from our garden, and an empty Sake barrel.



Again recycling materials, our cupboard doors were expertly made by Dave’s dad using wood from an extremely dilapidated shed that we knocked down in our garden. The spice rack is made from pallet wood by Dave.



I love this corner of our kitchen. We really take time with cooking and enjoy it and so like to have corners to sit in and catch up on our day, and of course they have to be adorned in greenery! I absolutly adore all things wicker, our chair is from Rhubarb Jumble in Bristol, and our wicker table from Snooper’s Paradise in Brighton along with the wooden carved elephant table.

The lantern was purchased in the kitchen district in Japan, apparently it says ‘Teppanyaki’. The print to the left is of Ghibli characters and found in a shop in Brighton, and the print to the right is from Fundacio Gaspar in Barcelona. We bought this great fabric picture from Japan which we got framed and has images of chickens on it.


Adding a little something extra to our splashback behind the sink, we added this collection of Mexican Day of the Dead tiles.


This is our little ‘tea’ station. In Japan they make such a special place for tea and taking your time with it. We wanted to created a nice leafy space in which to drink tea and look out into the garden.




This print I bought after watching the Flamenco in Seville. I loved the passion of the Flamenco and wanted a reminder of watching our first show.

When we renovated this wall, there was a missing brick which reminded us of the ‘worm’ scene in Labyrinth… so what else to do in our rather quirky kitchen than add those exact characters in there!?



And yes another pallet project! With such a tall stairway, we felt it needed a statement, and so pulling apart numerous pallets, we sanded and painted and sanded some more, Dave then braved his fear of heights and this was the result!


We have a huge gallery wall in our hallway, so many prints with so many stories and memories attached.





Our headboard was recycled from our Shed, and is infact the Shed door! Our bed was made by Dave’s dad and is an absolutly beautiful piece that I know we will always have.


When going through a challenging time recently, I saw my friend Holly put this piece on her Instagram as it reminded me so much of myself at the time! She very sweetly sent it to me as a surprise in the post to cheer me up and it always makes me smile next to my bed. (Holly Maguire)

And I have Totoro here watching over me as I sleep all the way from Kiddyland in Japan!


One thing we always miss so much when we go away, are our two cats, Zen and Toffle! This is currently their favourite corner and can be found here snuggled together.



Now this wardrobe is my wardrobe of dreams from an antique shop in Leek called Timeless Treasures. Bought when we were renting a previous flat, when moving into this house it wouldnt get up our stairs! But enter my Dad, forever my hero, who took it apart, got it upstairs, and then put it back together successfully. It was a tense moment! Adorned in Devil’s Ivy, Ivy and a Peace Lily, I just love this piece!


My wicker mirror behind the palm plant is from my parent’s home and I love it and had to save it when it was going to be thrown away!!


My bedside table makes me smile every day with its Japanese picture, it reminds me of tranquil places.


Yup, more Japan references…


And more! Also another Puuung print , alongside a glass Nkuku frame with pictures of our time in Japan. There is a Tintin postcard from Bruges and a framed jigsaw from Japan. Our lucky bamboo rake, Kumade, we picked up when in Japan at the Tori-no-ichi festival.


Another thrift find, we bought this up-cycled piece at the Bristol reclamation yard and it reminds me of our first apartment together.


My sanctuary! We were lucky enough to adopt this bathtub with the house, but after a lot of work we completly changed the layout, added our own quirky sink and a shower.


With a love for moroccan style interiors, we wanted to create that kind of feel in the bathroom. We found this sink on ebay, and created the wooden structure for it to sit on copper piping. We wanted to carry on the copper/gold feel so found the rest of our fittings online after alot of searching past all of the chrome taps and shower heads (why isnt gold more common?!).





This basket hides all of the bathroom products that we don’t want on display, and when in the bath these plants give a real jungle feel to it.


Dressing Room / Yoga Space


And from one sanctuary to another, my jungle room! I have this open leafy space to practise Yoga and it fills me with so much calmness and tranquility.


This fabulous wallpaper is from the Versace Wallpaper Collection and was a bit of an investment! But such a feature and one I know we won’t be changing (for an extremely long time anyway!!).

Our cupboard and wardrobe were adopted from my best friend’s Grandad’s house when he was moving and I treasure them. I love furniture that feels it has a history and story to them. I have my little ‘positivity’ collection of photos, of all my loved ones and memories.

Below the cupboard a pair of moroccan sandals, picked up when I visited there years ago.





I had to beg my very modest boyfriend to let me put this piece of artwork up, not a fan of putting his own work up but is an absolute favourite of mine and reminds me of the nearby Peak District (http://www.davidhazelgrove.co.uk)


Being a keen gardener, I have my array of gardening books here amongst the numerous cacti and plants that live here!



And there we have it, an insight into my little world and style. We love creating a beautiful space full of memories of places near or far, and taking inspirations from the places and things around us, whether it be cities or nature or different cultures. I hope you enjoyed!

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