“‘…wherever you are is my home—my only home.’” ~ Jane Eyre
Today’s post is a long time coming!
I’ve been dreaming about and imagining decorating my own home since I was in high school. This was around about the time when I was convinced that I would be leaving for England after my undergraduate degree, to study Victorian literature abroad and complete my PhD. Amongst my daydreams about walking the grounds of Oxford and sitting in ancient libraries were scenes of me curled up with a cup of tea, in my own flat, surrounded by massive bookshelves, piles of comfy pillows and blankets and murals of my favourite quotes from my cherished novels. I had this distinct image of what my flat, my home, would look like, and since then, I have been collecting home décor ideas, following blogs by writers with similar styles to mine and filling my Pinterest page with boards that represent a very clear and unique aesthetic.
When I met my fiancé, SS, and particularly when we became engaged and began to seriously talk about where we wanted to live together, I started to accommodate SS’s interests and style into my home décor ideas, brainstorming ways to blend our passions into an aesthetic that would be all our own.
Now, fast forward to a year after our engagement, and here we are, in our home, the first ever space that is wholly and entirely our own. SS and I started collecting trinkets and decorative pieces only a few weeks after we got engaged, already anticipating the sort of decorative scheme we would desire, and on the day we actually moved into our little space (which I am choosing to call a flat to follow the British terminology that I have always been partial to), we stayed up until 4:30am unpacking all of our boxes and placing things exactly where we wanted them. A few things have shifted around in the last two months that we’ve been living in the space, but for the most part, our décor is exactly how it was on that first night, and our flat has genuinely become a home that I look forward to returning to every night.
So, with all that said, I thought it was time to unveil some of my favourite areas of my new home here on the blog. SS indulges all of my fantasies and dreams, so he gave me a lot of freedom in decorating and encouraged me to make our space as literary and regal as I wanted. However, at the same time, I also made sure to incorporate many of his interests into the space, from superheroes to martial arts, and we’ve already made heavy use of his remarkable artistic talents in arranging our furniture and painting some key symbols on our bedroom wall. 99% of the art pieces we have on the walls were made by SS, either as gifts to me or in preparation for moving in, and I am overjoyed with how every aspect of our home, from the living room art wall to the giant bookshelves, expertly blends our two personalities seamlessly.
Here we go…come along and see all of JNG’s new home…
The parlour, or den, is the first room you see as you enter our flat. This is the room that we instantly chose to transform into our library. SS and I each had a large bookshelf in our bedrooms prior to our move, so SS decided to paint them black so that they matched. We’ve filled the bookshelves with basically every literary text I own (with a few exceptions that I will mention in a moment), as well as all of SS’s comics and graphic novels and the POP! Funko figurines we’ve collected over the years, depicting everyone from Cogsworth to Daredevil. Many people who have visited our place have asked how we chose to arrange the bookshelves, and to be honest we didn’t adhere to any organizational scheme. This is surprising for me, but we truly just opened up the multiple boxes of books and started unloading them onto the shelf in a manner that made sense aesthetically and visually. There is a distinct Victorian literature shelf, and SS’s comics are mostly contained in one spot, but other than that, we unloaded the books and placed them where our instincts told us to at the time. And, so far, I really like that things are natural and unstaged and that all of my favourite characters are getting to know each other and mixing and mingling together.
In terms of decorative features, my favourite elements of the parlour are my Phantom of the Opera poster (which we picked up in a garage sale and apparently came directly from the theatre where the play was originally performed in Toronto), the massive Batman art piece that SS made for me for my birthday a few years ago, and the regal and Victorian red chairs we stumbled upon when my neighbour was throwing them away despite their excellent condition. In true Victorian fashion, we also have a handmade Persian rug on the floor of the parlour – this rug was made for SS by his grandmother when he was born (SS is, after all, of Persian descent), and I think it is so fitting that we have this beautiful and ornate rug in our own library, similarly to the way many Victorian households would have.
Moving on through our space, we come to the bedroom. Just outside the bedroom door we have an incredibly unique poster of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, which SS picked up for me years ago and which I have been dying to put up ever since. I think it is so cool and badass, and I spend an absurd amount of time staring at Audrey and Marilyn’s tattoos.
The wall that this poster is on leads into our bedroom, which is the most serene and peaceful space in our whole flat. I always knew I wanted a white comforter because I wanted the other accents and details of our bedroom to stand out, and I really think they do. By far my favourite part of the bedroom is the symbol that SS designed and painted on our wall. It reminds me so much of Victoria and Albert whenever I look at it, and it is just the most subtle and elegant touch in the space. SS painstakingly drew out the symbol, created stencils and hand painted them onto the wall, and it turned out exactly as I imagined. I just love waking up and opening my eyes to the King and Queen’s crowns every morning!
The Living Room
Moving out of the bedroom, we come to the living room, which is arguably the space we spend the most time in and the most time looking at.
There are so many elements of this room that I adore, from the coffee table that SS painted black and which features a gold border, to the solid wood TV table we picked up at a furniture store in downtown Toronto. The wood chairs are also favourites for me, because they also feature this gorgeous Victorian-esque design on them. SS also hung his katana on the wall, which he received as an award at his high school graduation. I think it looks so cool and unexpected amidst the more old-fashioned furniture!
Having said all that, I do have two clear favourite spots in the living area. The first is the small bookshelf we placed just underneath the kitchen counter, facing into the living room. This bookshelf we decided to fill with trinkets and tokens we’ve picked up throughout our relationship. We have teacups and teapots and my old copies of Jane Eyre. We have the Belle ceramic figurine my grandmother bought for me and the antique camera SS got me for a birthday. This bookshelf just incorporates so many styles and ideas that sum me up as a person, and that represent us as a couple, and I cannot help but look at it about a hundred times a day!
The other feature of the living room that I absolutely love is the wall that our TV is on. This wall is filled with floating bookshelves on the left side, featuring my favourite novels (including The Time Traveler’s Wife, Angels in America and The Hating Game to name a few). The right side of the wall is the showstopper though, and it is quickly becoming my favourite wall in the entire space. This wall features art that SS and I curated and collected which depicts all of our favourite fictional characters. It also features two of our own engagement photos (you can see a collection of them by following this link), and it fills me with such joy to see us among our dearest friends.
From top to bottom/right to left you will see: myself and SS, Spawn (one of SS’s favourite comic characters), the Gotham sirens (Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn), SS and myself again, my favourite quote from The Time Traveler’s Wife, Feyre and Rhysand of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, Daredevil, and Eliza Doolittle. I seriously have not been able to stop looking at this wall since we put all the pictures up and it is a piece we’d like to expand over time, as we collect more pieces of art we like and once we get our wedding photos. It’s just the perfect summation of everything SS and I are, of everything that has made us into the people we are today.
There you have it! Thanks for touring around my new home with me – I hope you liked it! Let me know which aspects you liked best and what decorative suggestions you may have in the comments below.
Janille N G
Girl with a Green Heart