Caroline is a journalist, photographer and interiors lover whose neighbour is the North Sea. Her beautiful repurposed kitchen and overall approach to interiors is honest and inspiring. Caroline loves her Falcon because it’s practical to use and beautiful on the table alongside other vintage pieces she owns. ‘It makes the table look simply stylish and I swear the food tastes better for it’...
AN EDWARDIAN SEASIDE HOME
Can you tell us a bit about you and your seaside home?
Our home is a double-fronted Edwardian terrace facing the North Sea. There is nothing between us and Denmark (and Germany and Norway and Sweden and The Netherlands depending on which direction you face!) but miles and miles of blue-grey sea. It’s south-east facing so we get the most beautiful sunrises in the morning, and light at the front of the house all day. In the winter the wind can be so strong it takes two of us to close the front door! It’s a minor inconvenience when you consider the sandy beaches just on our doorstep. Oh, and those ever-changing glorious skies! We’ve been here for almost eight years and its the only home our two children can remember. Over the years we’ve added a new kitchen extension, but packed it with reclaimed pieces that all tell a story. Next up will be our attic conversion which will give us a master suite and even better sea views! I can’t wait.
Do you have a favourite room in the house, and why?
The kitchen because (cliche alert!) it is the heart of the home. When I’m not working it’s where I spend most of my waking day and it's where I’ve invested most time creating a space I love. There’s the parquet floor that came from my son’s school (I love to think about the number of children we’ve sat on that floor…. including our 76-year-old neighbour when he was a boy!), the serendipitous original Victorian kitchen we found at just the right time, glassware I have collected over the years, and furniture I’ve found on Facebook Marketplace that was just meant for me. You could say it has soul.
You've been a photographer for many years, what do you love to shoot most?
Two very different things - interiors and people! But always, always in a good light. Light makes or breaks a photograph. Learn to understand light and exposure and you’re on your way to creating photos you love. One thing I’d like to shoot is my home interior on analogue film. My iPhone and my Canon DSLR might be my 'go to’ cameras for Instagram, but my medium format camera is my absolute favourite object in the world. In terms of the final image and the experience of shooting, it is second-to-none. When the Universe gives me a free day I’ll go for it!
What’s your favourite Falcon product and what do you use it for?
Hand on heart I love them all…I’m an enamel aficionado (try saying that quickly!) It ages interestingly, and my numerous Falcon products sit beautifully with the vintage pieces I own. The large jug in Mineral Blue is a winner as it works so well with the colour of the original glazed Edwardian bricks we have in the kitchen. And it is so versatile - from serving drinks to using it as a vase for freshly cut flowers. But the item I use most of all is the Prep Set. Making an effort with the presentation of a midweek meal can lift it from ‘meh', to an experience. Take Greek salad and chicken kebabs, or a cauchoise salad… I think I use every piece! From washing the leaves, to presenting the salad and dressing in the different sized bowls, all on a wooden serving board. It makes the table look simply stylish and I swear the food tastes better for it. And then there’s the teapot for my morning tea. Fill the pot at 7am, pour, and I’m good for the few cups of builders it takes me to open my eyes in the morning.
Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
There are so many here in the north-east. Northern Rye for amazing bread, Block and Bottle for meat, and Jesmond Food Market for pretty much everything. There’s an incredible tiny restaurant in Whitley Bay called The Roxborough which is a foodie heaven - well up there with the Michelins of this world, but in the most unpretentious of places. I love the local spot Kork for a simple night out with friends, a cheese board and a glass of wine. And of course Riley’s Fish Shack right there on the beach. Cookhouse in Newcastle… I could go on.
How have you been keeping during this time? Do you have any tips for creatives and small business owners?
Stay creative or crafty no matter what! That’s my advice for small businesses and individuals alike. It doesn’t have to be anything big, or fancy, and you don’t even have to keep it. To me, creativity is key to the soul, key to our individuality, and key to finding our unique place in the Universe. I’ve really gotten into seaweed pressing since I moved here and through it I’ve learned so much about the rockpools opposite our home and the life within them. Some pressings end up in frames, others turn to mush and end up in the bin! It really doesn’t matter… It's the process of doing something that takes you out of yourself that is important. It's the same for drawing, redesigning a room, wandering around flea markets… make time for whatever makes your heart sing.