Introducing Julia Grant, the woman behind Winter’s Moon – an online store we’ve recently taken quite a shine to. Selling everything from beautifully upcycled furniture to vintage trinkets, Winter’s Moon is a treasure trove of goodies from days gone by – all given a new lease of life. We caught up with Julia to get a few tips on upcycling and find out a little more about our new favourite store…
Hi Julia! So, tell us a little about Winter’s Moon and where it all started?
‘Winter’s Moon began as a very casual venture with a friend. I was working for a furniture company (art directing their photography), and used to buy second-hand props. Friends started taking a shine to some of the items, and that was the start of it all!’
Tell us a little about you and your background. Where did your interest in vintage homewares begin?
‘Textiles have always been at the heart of my working life. I have a degree in constructed textiles and have always worked with them, from cutting samples for a very upmarket furnishing fabric company as a graduate, to styling the furniture shots that led to Winter’s Moon. My mother had a sewing shop and she was always busy stitching or knitting, with far greater technique than I have sadly been able to acquire, but am sure it all rubbed off.’
What is it you love about recycling furniture and accessories?
‘I like the potential for reinvention, and giving a well-worn piece of furniture a new lease of life so it doesn’t end up at the tip. I only look for furniture pieces that have a really good style and never do anything too drastic.’
How would you describe your personal style? And how have you integrated it into your home?
‘I think my style is quirky, homely, colourful and a little worn round the edges. Nothing is too pristine, as that only leads to disappointment in my experience – but colour is key. We have soft pink in the living room, bright yellow in our study and pattern on the walls in the kitchen and bedroom. And of course there are lots of cushions and textiles – in terms of pattern co-ordination I adhere to the ‘more the merrier’ rule of thumb!’
What’s your favourite recycling project that you’ve worked on?
‘That would have to be our vintage fabric trays. I use old fabrics, and spend ages cutting out rectangles to making sure that the pattern layout works well and there are no stains. The fabric is then sent off to Sweden to be laminated onto birch ply. I like the fact that the fabric is preserved and can be displayed in an unusual way in the home.’
Where do you source your second-hand furniture?
‘I mostly buy direct from house clearance men, and also at Kempton Antiques market and the occasional visit to Ardingley Antiques fair. Lots of early starts, not such a great job in the winter!’
What do you look for in a piece of furniture?
‘A perky leg is a requirement for most furniture pieces as they just look more stylish and make living spaces feel more airy. I have definitely become more particular over the years and have learnt to walk away if an item is too worn or the colours just aren’t quite right. I mainly buy from the 50s and 60s, and look for good colour and pattern and something I would love to have in my home too.’
Any tips for readers planning to recycle second-hand furniture?
‘Always check it over carefully before you buy it or start the project, to check it is structurally sound and worth spending the time and money on. Also, don’t stray too far away from the era that the piece originates from. For example, if you are using fabric, go for a pattern with roots in that era.
Favourite places to shop for homewares?
‘Car boot sales and antique fairs. The thrill of the chase is hard to beat, especially when you strike it lucky.’
Designer or high street?
‘High street – we have a new Habitat concession that’s just opened near us, and it’s got some really great pieces.’
Vintage or brand-spanking new?
‘Vintage – I don’t like feeling precious over homewares, it’s so much easier when they are a little worn already!’
Wooden floors or carpet?
‘We have wooden floors everywhere, but I do hanker after a bit of carpet in the bedroom for winter mornings.’
Curtains or blinds?
‘Blinds – I like a clean and simple window treatment!’
Paint or paper?
‘Can’t I have both? We have mad floral wallpaper in our bedroom, and it’s the thing I would probably miss the most if we moved.’
Best accessory to make your house feel more homely?
‘Paintings, prints and photos on the walls. I never understand completely bare walls.’
Your best-ever buy for your home?
‘A good quality wood floor throughout the downstairs - it just makes such a difference to the feel of our home.’
Biggest decorating blunder?
‘Leaving my husband home alone! He decided to rip up the nasty laminate floor in the kitchen without a plan, so we lived with horrid hardboard on the floor for about a year!’
SS or AW?
‘AW as I will finally get a chance to use the item mentioned in the next question.’
The last thing you bought for your home?
‘A Charnwood wood burning stove. It was installed in June, so I haven’t had a chance to use it yet.’
The next thing you’re planning to buy for your home?
‘We need a new oven, but it will start a whole chain of work that basically ends in a complete remodelling of the kitchen… so don’t hold your breath!’