A huge chunk of my time is spent browsing magazines and websites admiring and referencing beautiful spaces. It’s my porn! More often than not though, I’m blown away by how creative and interesting my friends and acquaintances homes are. So, instead of looking online and raiding Pinterest, I thought I’d look at real life instead (there’s a novel thought!) and bring you a series of snoops into my friends’ homes.

And where better to begin than with the Ladyland ladies? As the instigator of Ladyland Emma is a flurry of artistic and creative spirit – her quirky style is never off, and when you combine this with her equally creative and recent DIY-convert husband Tom, you have the makings of a wonderfully inspiring home.

Emma’s dad used to work at a natural history museum making the exhibits. “Whenever I’d visit him in his workshop there would be something bizarre,” Emma says. “I once opened a drawer to find a whole collection of resin hands. Another time I went in and there was a dead albatross spread out on the table ready to be taxidermied! He once had to make a giant pre-historic wombat as big as our car!”

Emma’s mum is also an art teacher, so it’s no surprise that curating comes pretty easily to Emma. Everything has a story, and as a visitor to Emma and Tom’s home you will never get bored – there are so many little discoveries and anecdotes behind each object. But drink these pictures in, people, as it’s all change in the house right now. Emma and Tom have decided to re-model and extend their place so we might have to visit next year for an update.

EMMA: “My husband Tom built these shelves from used scaffolding planks. I love them because they form a little museum for the trinkets that we’ve collected from our travels.”

“The jungle chair was Tom’s grandpa’s ‘smoking chair’, which we inherited and reupholstered. The pouf was a Ladyland project, (and is secret storage space for a duvet) and the Eames rocker was a ‘push present’ from Tom.”

“The print above the mantle piece is by the artist Marco Suarez, and I bought it on Etsy. It’s of the Scottish Highlands – Tom and I both have Scottish heritage, so it’s a nod to our ancestors.”

EMMA: “The puppet is from our wedding in Sri Lanka, we gave them out as wedding favours and had one on the back of each guest’s seat. He’s wearing some stone Moroccan beads which I’m looking forward to wearing when I fully succumb to the ‘art teacher look’ as an older lady! The two figures of Tom and I were made by fellow Ladylander Ruth, and were the figures on top of our wedding cake. The painted ceramic dish with pears on it was made by a late relative and is our most treasured item.”

“I am a serial art buyer, but I rarely have much to spend, so our collection is a mishmash of amateur charity shop finds and local artists. The sardine painting above is by a local artist from Circus in Brixton market. I treated myself to it after Marghe and I made our fortune selling ‘Kate Loves Willy’ tea towels back in 2012.”

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EMMA: “This is our gallery wall, a combination of gifts and works by friends and family. My mum is pretty thrilled that she’s hung next to a Damien Hirst – I used to work for him so the artwork was a wedding gift. The collection also includes my son’s first painting (top) and baby footprints from the day my daughter was born.”

“It’s fair to say I’ve got a bit of a boho vibe going on with my soft furnishings. You can never have too many colours and textures – one day I’ll have a beautiful Persian rug to add, but not until my kids are much bigger!”

EMMA: “I can’t cook anything unless it involves toast, so Tom’s the boss, he sorts out the meal plan. The kitchen is a combination of Tom’s need for perfect functionality and my need for trinkets. The cabinets are from Ikea, but we added wooden knobs that we made ourselves, vintage wooden furniture and Spanish encaustic tiles so it didn’t feel like your regular modular kitchen. We bought the table for each other for our 5th wedding anniversary, five years is wood. It gets pretty beaten up, but we’re not precious about it, we want it to become part of the family as it ages and for the kids to leave their mark on it.”

EMMA: “The wall unit cupboards are also customised Ikea units, we wrapped them in iroko wood and made the shelves. It serves as a shrine to Tom’s addiction to recipe books, and my addiction to charity chop ceramics!”

EMMA: “These cats are salt and pepper shakers and one of my favourite possessions, I used to have a collection of about 30 of them but I’ve had to part with them gradually over the years due to house moves, toddlers, and real cats knocking them over. These two remain. The salt, sugar and crack jars were a housewarming gift from a friend.”

EMMA: “Frida and Elliot share a bedroom – we have built Elliot’s bed on top of some reclaimed wooden school lockers. We painted the room Hague Blue ( by Farrow & Ball, how predictable!). The deep colour really makes all the bright bits and pieces pop. I love this print by my favourite illustrators, Lab Partners, and the ‘Les’ the rabbit lamp is from Caravan in Shoreditch, one of my favourite shops – the owner Emily Chalmers is one of my favourite interior stylists. She’s a big inspiration.

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EMMA: “We have limited floor space, so I’ve made the high space in the room exciting with big paper lanterns from Ikea and these paper flowers from a previous Ladyland post which are really good for hiding storage boxes as well as adding a fun element to the room. The Eine number print is Elliot’s. We have bought each of the kids an art print from the year they were born as the first pieces in their very own art collections. Frida got an Oliver Jeffers print. The little orange mirror was a gift from Margherita, which I have hung really low so Frida can see herself. It’s decorated with Frida Khalo headpieces that I made us for her first birthday party.”

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EMMA: “When we moved in the space under the stairs was a broom cupboard that failed to make use of the space, so we remodelled it as a study nook. (This will be a post of its own at some point). There’s a pull-out section behind the desk with a wardrobe in it as well. So where there used to be room for eight coats and a hoover, there’s now a study, a filing cupboard, a wardrobe and a broom cupboard.”

“I am also a scavenger for street finds – the Cherner chair is my best yet. I found it in a pile of rubbish outside a storage unit in Brixton and I nearly fell over when I found out it was worth about £400!”

EMMA: “The rest of the house is really busy and full on so I like the bedroom to be a bit of a sanctuary without too much clutter otherwise I can’t sleep! It’s the only room that’s painted white and we just have a few simple bits an pieces. I commissioned our friend Hendrik to do this painting of Frida from an Instagram photo, we just love it. He paints lovely portraits. She’s wearing a smocked dress that my mum made for her high school sewing project.”

EMMA: “Above our bed I’ve made a grid of Instagram shots from family holidays and framed them in big Ikea frames. We change them from time to time. I have a drawing by the bed that Elliot did of a stripey zebra. He stuck it there himself as a present for me.  The cupboard is a 50s tall boy on loan from Celia… I’m hoping she forgets I’ve got it, but after this post, she’ll probably want it back!”

CELIA: “Only if I can have all the items you have displayed on it!”

We love sharing our sanctuaries with you – why not tell us about the little things that make your home special? 

Photography: Kate Berry
Styling: Emma Scott-Child