Heart & Home

Morning everyone!  I have been really looking forward to sharing another blog post with you, and today I want to share about influence and inspiration in my life.  I guess this post must begin from my “Heart & Home”

“Heart & Home” is the modern translation of the “Household and its inhabitants”. I mentioned last week that my dad has been the major influence on my career path so far. I guess this is normal progression in most households, as children tend to learn through imitation, what they are surrounded by and immersed in during those young formative years.  For me at my stage in life it is about nurturing my own children and creating a loving and warm environment for them to grow within our hearts and home.  We are just about to start building our forever home out on my parents farm.  I cant tell you how excited we all are to be moving home. The photo’s below are of my dad, Naomi, Ella and Jessie the dog on our site, I cant wait to blog as the build gets underway!

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I also mentioned last week my passion for Design History, well one of those passions was writing on the subject.   The person I want to tell you about today is Charles Francis Ansley Voysey, he is one of my favourite Arts & Crafts architect/ designers. He is also someone I feel akin to in that we share so many similarities in family life, and passions in professional life.  Today I want to give you a glimpse of him as a person and a designer, and how upbringing can influence on each one of our career’s and home life.

Although an unfamiliar name to many today, C.F.A Voysey, was one of the most influential and independent architects and designers in Great Britain at the turn of the 20th century. His work was less decorative in comparison to his predecessors, simplicity and functionality where of greater importance to him.  His childhood and formative years were steeped in an inherent and long line of family tradition and strong religious beliefs. His upbringing, like mine was the foremost influence in his life and work.

Charles’ father was a Methodist Minister.  A typically Victorian man with strong moral and religious views on life and the up bringing of family. I have to say my Father was very similar, he would have made an excellent victorian lol. I, like Voysey had a Methodist upbringing, and quite a strict one at that.  I was always donned the “mischievous one” but I like to think I was just expressing my creativity and individuality lol.


Voysey’s Dining chair of 1898

This chair was used extensively throughout his interiors, it has a high back, and rush seat. It incorporates the heart motif, which was to become a trademark of Voysey designs.

I want to tell you about the symbolism of the heart motif in Voysey’s work.  The heart symbolises the core of one’s life, or the centre of feelings. All dreams come from the heart and Christianity tells us God conceived the world in his heart before creating it through spoken word. I believe this is how Voysey interpreted his work by first conceiving it in his heart, and then incorporating this into his designs. It is the Christian belief that the spirit and the heart are intertwined, and at the moment of salvation one receives a new heart and spirit, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” Voyseys faith was fundamental to his work and this shows profoundly in the symbolism of the heart. The wood used is oak which was also a consistent material used during Voyseys career. He like myself championed “supporting local” He believed in using local materials and leaving them in a natural state when finished. “Simplicity of thought and perfection of proportion.” This was the rule Voysey fervently adhered to throughout his life.  Voysey was always led when designing, by human emotions and his beliefs gained through his Faith. He considered these of foremost importance during the design process.

We must ever depend more and more on the human faculties of reason, conscience and love. Let us apply these faculties to all that is done in the name of art. Let every man judge furniture from the point of view of reason. Let us ask, is it fit and thoroughly suited to the purpose for which it is intended? Does it express qualities and feelings consistent with its owners and its surroundings? Is it faithful work? And for love’s sake ask, is it proportioned, coloured, and disposed as the natural beauties in creation? Are its lines and masses graceful and pleasing? Do any of its parts quarrel? Does it express sobriety, restraint, and purity? From the emotional point of view there are countless questions to ask.

Comfort, friendship, warmth, welcome and the security of family life, are all human needs, which Voysey embraced in every part of his working life. To achieve this, furniture and interiors were always to be comfortable and reserved. All his efforts and works were directed in particular to this end.  A sense of simplicity was seen as the base on which to build towards these ideals. Simplicity didn’t mean plainness; simplicity meant true richness and honesty to the materials.  


He also enjoyed a little bit of decorative painting (like myself) Im sure he would have just loved Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan™  for its incredible versatility and environmental friendliness. The motto in the photo above ‘Head Hand and Heart’ is taken from an inscription used by Charles Voysey, which became the motto for the Society of Designers in 1896. These three words are the keys to understanding Arts and Crafts: ‘Head’ for creativity and imagination, ‘Hand’ for skill and craft, ‘Heart’ for honesty and for love.

I guess the current day term “Less is more” might be Voyseys modern term of phrase if he lived today.  I have to agree, too often we over think our interior decoration or as I term it our “veneer of life” (I will blog that meaning another time).  I believe we should keep things simple, thus creating an uncluttered environment within which we can simply relax and enjoy being in the presence of those we love…

Voysey would be happy today with the current trend in the use of hearts in the home. I placed quite a few orders this week with my suppliers, (including Christmas ALREADY) and hearts are EVERYWHERE!!! We love to include them as decoration in our homes, and we sell lots of them in our shop daily.  Maybe next time you look at your own decorative hearts hanging on the door, or on the kitchen dresser, remember the connection to family, friendship and love. We are all simply trying to create a place of warmth and happiness for those who occupy  our own “Hearts & Home.”

Follow my “Interior Design” board on Pinterest to gain inspiration for simple homely interior ideas.

Thank you for reading again today, see you back here next week…


Jill xo


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