Our passion for vintage, retro, antique furniture & interiors inspires us to travel the world in search for unique and expertly crafted items. Our loyal customers appreciate that our products and collections are original and each piece has a story and history that makes it special. What sets Scaramanga apart is that our vintage furniture and interiors are all handpicked, will last for generations to come, and are very affordable, often priced less than reproductions.
Sooz Gordon is a graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and has been working as an Interior Designer, stylist and maker for the last 10 years in and around Dundee. Sooz Gordon has developed an eclectic interior style that blends various periods and references to create a living space that tells a story and creates a lasting experience. Here, Sooz shares with us her top tips for making a house a home.
You will be relieved to read that it doesn’t take much to make a house a home. Ultimately, to make a home you need to display and showcase your style and personality through an accumulation of things, like furniture, soft furnishings, pictures, books, crockery etc. Also, it needs to look like you use the things you have accumulated as well as living in your home, it is not just for show! I have wooden floors in a most of my rooms and they have scuffs and indentations. That is the beauty of wood; it ages well and takes on a lovely character through time.
So my first tip is to buy materials that age well, materials like wood, leather, enamel, metal. As well as ageing well, they are practical and will last forever. We are a generation so bogged down with buying new, following the latest interior trend, what matches and where it will go. We end up buying the wrong thing, and then wonder why we don’t like a particular room. You need to follow your gut instincts, think about places you like going, why you like to eat in certain places, or when you go to a hotel you feel at home? It is because you connect with something. Is it the colour, the furniture
they have used, the smell? You can replicate these things in your home. Remember to keep a note of the things you like, take photographs, start a Pinterest board and build up a visual reference of how you would like your home to look.
My next tip would be to take your time; you don’t need to complete every room in record time. It can be daunting if you have just bought a house and you are trying to put your stamp on it. I would suggest that you live in your house for a bit and get to know every inch. What doesn’t work? Do you need more sockets? What side does the sun go in the afternoon? These are all important discoveries you won’t realise until you make a meal, use a hoover or sit down at the end of the day with a nice glass of wine. Make a list of the major changes and figure out what you are going to need to spend to get each room how you want it. If you go in and rip everything out without getting to know your home, you might end up losing some of the character. When you are at the stage of buying things for your home, be wary of trends; they don’t take into account your home or style. Go with the items that make your heart skip a beat, the items that you will love year after year. It certainly is one of life’s pleasures purchasing something you love, the one that makes you smile every time you use or see it.
My next tip would be to go shopping with a checklist and the dimensions of your room. This means you can take advantage of any sales or be ready if you have stumbled upon a second hand piece of furniture and are not sure whether it will fit in the alcove in your lounge. Have photos on your phone of all aspects of each room. This will avoid expensive mistakes! I am sure you all have a favourite shop to purchase interior items but widen your search. What’s available locally? Speak to the owner of independent shops, maybe they could source something for you, it’s worth asking.
Scaramanga is an independent outlet and always on my list when I am looking to purchase interesting and individual pieces that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Scaramanga’s considered stock means you can easily find something that suits your budget, preferences and taste. The owner, Carl, makes trips a couple of times a year to India, where he spends time sourcing and finding out about the history of the items, so you are always getting a great representation. The life span of handmade/high end manufacture means it can be passed down the generations. All the items for sale at Scaramanga have a common theme; they are made by hand, use good quality materials and are well designed.
Other places to look at are auctions, markets and craft fairs. However, going down this route means investing time to find out which places are worthwhile for your tastes and because stock will vary considerably, they are not always going to have what you are specifically looking for. It is still worth investigating as I have discovered absolute gems in the past. I do love the high street for interior pieces, but without a doubt mixing new and old makes for a more interesting and layered home.
Go homemade. This can be done in two ways: Do you have wooden furniture, that has an interesting shape and well made, but you don’t like the colour? It could be it just needs a handle fixed. If that is the case, consider painting it, fixing broken handles or replacing with new to fit with your preferred style. If you are not confident to jump right, there are so many dedicated websites and blogs about upcycling and if you follow the steps, do the necessary prep and use the right products for the material you are working with, it can be a simple afternoon project. You can end up with a unique and affordable piece of furniture that will reflect your personality, as well as a genuine sense of achievement. The second option is to buy handcrafted, bespoke artisan pieces. I love using crockery that has not been mass produced. When using a plate or a cup, the experience of that daily ritual is all the better.
My final tip would be to buy for life, like previous generations did. I am an advocate for buying good quality. However, I am aware that this might mean spending more, and this is not always practical if you need to furnish a whole room/home. But as I have mentioned earlier, you can pick up vintage pieces in all manner of places: auctions, independents and charity shops for a bargain. You are safe in the knowledge that they will last your lifetime and will look as good as they did when you bought them. On a personal note, I am very much a designer who doesn’t follow a particular style; I love the challenge of finding a special piece, either for myself, a client or for a friend. Combining inherited, found, borrowed, commissions, souvenirs and presents makes for a more interesting interior.
Home for me is about being surrounded by personal, meaningful objects. I am drawn to pieces that have character and have an interesting narrative. As a designer and maker, I look for quality materials and appreciate craftsmanship and artistry. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bargain as much as everyone and always work to a budget. I don’t expect my home to be the way I want it immediately, you have to let it evolve and develop your style as your home develops. I guarantee by following some or all of the tips above you will achieve the home you deserve.