Anna wears Ren London's Delphine kaftan.
Marloe Marloe's Stevie vase styled with @shida_preserved_flowers
Renovating & Curating a Conscious Home with Anna Barnett
With so much time now spent inside, we at REV think there has never been a better time to curate our homes consciously, and create spaces where we feel truly happy and ‘at home’. In this editorial we had the pleasure of chatting to Anna Barnett all about the curation and renovation of her new East London home, which she is doing in the most sustainable way possible!
“Within the realm of renovating, sustainability is really about creating something that will last and something that has minimum impact on the environment.”
First of all, where is home for you now?
Home is still East London – we feel very grateful that we’ve somehow managed to stay around here.
We have loved watching you renovate your new home! Can you tell us a bit about where you found the inspiration for the decor and vibe you were going for?
We’re still very much in the early stages of planning it all out but for me the goal is to create a calm space that feels like a home. Natural materials, soft textures and a collection of things I love in amongst it all. I pull a lot of inspiration from the house by the ocean that we’ll one day have…everything is geared towards where the light comes in and how it affects the space. I always want to maximise the daylight and work each space around that. After natural light, my second love might be lamps. I pull a lot of inspiration and buy pieces from Copenhagen based brand Menu Space – they work with incredible designers and create beautiful spaces and statement pieces using a lot of natural stone.
How have you incorporated sustainability into the design and execution?
This is something very much on our agenda. It’s all about repurposing where possible, upcyling what we already have and being mindful of the products we use. On a very base level nothing is thrown away and we try to use natural materials wherever possible purchasing from sustainable suppliers. We’re currently working with Stitched to create blinds for our Georgian townhouse in a bid to make the house more energy efficient. Stitched are a company that manufacture entirely in the UK and use sustainable fabrics with a neutral impact on the environment so this felt like a great fit for heat-proofing the house. We’re also using a lot of natural paints and lime washes. Bauwerk is my favourite lime wash brand.
What have been the most difficult parts of trying to renovate a home sustainably?
I think naturally the challenge is to avoid throwing out an old kitchen or bathroom straight into landfill. We always aim to carefully remove any fitted furniture so it can be reused or passed on as a priority. I think also investing in pieces that will last and weather the trends is important. Buying quality over quantity and making sure everything is a considered purchase. When we moved, we hired large stackable plastic boxes and used recyclable bubble wrap and packing paper, which we’ve also saved and passed on for someone else to use. The waste and packaging when moving can be so excessive so this felt like the first hurdle to overcome.
And what have been some of the easier things to do sustainably?
Painting and using eco products to decorate feels like the easiest way to overhaul a space into something entirely new. We’ve also found paint bases that mean you can rework the colour of synthetic cupboard doors, again avoiding removing completely.
For anyone looking to curate a more sustainable space, do you have any advice?
I think plan it out and research the products you’re going to use and the footprint that comes with them. That way you’ll only do it once too!
“It’s all about repurposing where possible, upcyling what we already have and being mindful of the products we use.”
Any amazing green home companies you have found you can share with our audience?
Bauwerk natural lime wash paints (see image above). Stitched for curtains and blinds. Upholstering is another way or reusing old furniture. Lick paint is another great brand. Their paint has great coverage and they also have sustainability at the forefront of their business, working with 4ocean and One Tree Planted.
What are the environmental issues that concern you the most and how do you personally go about tackling them?
Landfill and global warming is a huge concern. When it comes to renovating I’m very much mindful to upcycle and throw away the absolute minimum. In terms of day to day, I aim to buy locally, fruit and veg boxes, direct from farms, great quality meats and fish (in minimal amounts).
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
Morning yoga in the sunshine and our daily dog walk along the canal and into the park.
What is making you feel optimistic at this time?
Signs of spring…
Finally, what does sustainability mean to you?
I think within the realm of renovating, sustainability is really about creating something that will last and something that has minimum impact on the environment. Something that you respect, have worked for and will maintain well for many years to come.
Anna styles her Marloe Marloe vase with a gorgeous arrangement from Shida Preserved Flowers – one of our favourite services offering long lasting preserved flowers. These flowers are a beautiful and sustainable option that can be enjoyed for more than just a week or so!