Jane Day’s online life looks linen and languid.
Words like chalky, pastel, rough-hewn and rustic spring to mind so it’s something of a surprise to discover that her home is not the renovated milking parlour or converted mill that you might expect.
No, it is an ordinary detached house built circa 1980 on an ordinary housing estate. In Billingham.
Having said that, a step inside reveals no ordinary house. Home isn’t a kitsch countrified version of those grand designs. It’s a very stylish place which reflects Jane’s life as an interiors writer for the blog Tea with Ruby and the founder of interiors store Owen & Hunter.
Ruby is Jane’s ten-year-old daughter, her companion on little journeys and adventures which make their way to her blog.
Sometimes with dad Rob, the family travels in their much-loved camper van and wherever they go they stop, look, listen and collect.
Sometimes their finds make their way to Jane’s house or find a way to be used in her work.
When we meet she is in the middle of writing a blog for a new range of paints launched by Conran.
I suppose I would call it eclectic in the truest sense. I like things in their natural state
They are misty, chalky colours: seasidy greys and myriad whites. Jane finds a clever way to write about them. Her recent beach combing forays elicited a supply of oyster shells and she uses them as the canvas for the colours, painting them in the different shades and then photographing them beautifully.
Small detail and attention to it mark out what she buys, displays and with business partner Vicky Trainor, will sell in the pop-up shop they have just launched.
“I suppose I would call it eclectic in the truest sense”, says Jane.
“I like things in their natural state rather than being overdone”, she says.
Her little house reveals an abundance of treasures.
On the walls are original leaded light window panels complete with chipped paint which were rescued from Rob’s parents’ loft.
An old flour bin is fashioned into a table, Hungarian linen sacks are chair runners.
A bashed No Parking sign is displayed on the wall alongside a couple of old tennis rackets that Jane bought for £2 each.
Simple, huge glass jars hold seed heads and dried flowers, and curtains are fashioned from simple, natural ticking fabric.
It epitomises Jane’s approach to living. Simple details, time out to look closely at them and enjoy the moment.
For now her mind is on the pop-up but longer term she and Rob are on the lookout for the perfect plot on which to create their dream ‘self-build’.