Research & Inspiration · The House

Inspiration & Research: The Basics


What inspires us and where do we look for ideas?

A lot of people have asked me where we get our inspiration from, often they’ve been looking themselves and have struggled to find the reference images they need. So here the first in a series of guides on where to look, what to look for and also some of the images I’ve used for research!

The Basics

First things first, if you have an internet connection then simply Google it! If you’re coming up with loads of shabby chic options (and that isn’t what you want), try moving away from phrases like “vintage house decoration” and try instead, “1940s home interiors“.

Once you’re coming up with images that are relevant to what you’re looking for, make use of that ‘Related Images’ section… that’s where you get the real gold from!

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Google can get you a long way, all it takes is know what search terms to use. [And on that topic, if anyone can help me find results relevant to ‘row of cottages for sale’ without coming up with search results pertaining to places and/or estate agents named row, I’d love to hear from you!]


A Store of Information

Another tip is that after a time you build up a bank of images in your head and can call to mind small details. If you spend enough time looking at images from a certain period, you start to recognise and ‘get a feel’ of what fits in and adds to, rather than taking away from, the authenticity of structure and decoration.

If you’re just starting out on your retrospective journey, keep in mind that every little helps! If it’s primary source material, secondary, non-fiction, fiction or even modern films/TV dramas… it all adds up to create a wider and deeper source of knowledge.


So feel free to enjoy programmes like Home Fires!


A Good Place to Start

After you’ve filled your boots with all those fiction books and TV dramas, Trevor Yorke is the next best place to go to. Yorke is the go to historian for period exteriors and interiors. His focus is on the architecture, and his books are fantastic bite-size accounts. I recommend (if you have a period house) to get the books detailing the architecture of the period of your house, and the subsequent books up to and including your chosen era (if your favourite era differs from the period of your build). Yorke is incredibly well researched, and includes his own hand drawings. He covers the kind of tiling used, the structure and shape of window frames, the types of door knocker and fireplace surrounds. Everything you need to get those vital details, before decoration. However his drawings also include fully decorated rooms so you can really see his impression of how rooms would have looked.


There is also a 20% discount on his books if bought via his Publisher Countryside Books (instead of Amazon) so you can get each era for around £6 each!

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After reading these books, I have found myself even noticing differences in brick laying, Flemish or English style for example! Little details can tell you much about the history and era of a building and really help you on your way to getting that research and inspiration spot on for your house.


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