Magpiehomes: Moody, pops of colour and vintage

Sometimes I have a clear idea…Sometimes I just surf the world wide web and find pictures that make my heart skip a beat. Often ‘the see how we get on’ approach has left me with the most beautiful feedback and the ones I really worked hard on have had the opposite effect.  Funny old thing…..writing.
Whilst staring into our garden, trying to come up with something to write, I noticed 2 magpies. I haven since seen them more often so think they might like it and are here to stay. Seeing the birds reminded me of the definition and the reason for me naming my business and blog “Mapgiehomes”.


*) a bird with black and white feathers and a long tail: Magpies are attracted to small, shiny objects, which they carry away to their nests

*) someone who likes to collect many different types of objects, or use many different styles

When I consistently noticed two Magpies (not just the one) in our garden I had to think very long and hard, whether this was a good or a bad thing. According to an old superstition, the number of magpies one sees determines if one will have bad luck or not. And I couldn’t remember which of the 2 it was. My Scottish aunt used to make me salute Magpies and in our mad world of superstition this made sense …..  Superstition was a normal thing growing up and now in our home it is too. Although if I am honest, I am the one ensuring we follow the rules of superstition. I make my husband and kids walk round ladders, I don’t allow them to put new shoes on the table,  I make my husband say “bread and butter” when we walk and a lamp post comes between us etc. I could go on….really. So I had to check whether the number of magpies would bring me good or bad luck. I surfed the fabulous web and found the following rhyme about magpies, which was first recorded around 1780 in a note in John Brand’s Observations on Popular Antiquities on Lincolnshire with the lyric:
One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death.
One of the earliest versions to extend this was published, with variations, in Michael Aislabie Denham’s Proverbs and Popular Saying of the Seasons (London, 1846)
Going by the rhyme, it seems like I am OK with our 2 magpies! Let’s hope they don’t make more friends and 2 become 4! If I want to be absolutely sure I should probably salute the magpie when I only see one of them. ‘Spying a single magpie is considered an omen of bad fortune and saluting it is a way of showing the proper respect in hope that the magpie won’t pass on some of the misfortune that follows it. As magpies usually mate for life seeing one on its own is a sign of sorrow because it’s lost it’s mate, whereas if you see two it’s is a sign of joy as it’s with it’s mate. “Good morning Mr. Magpie. How is your lady wife today?” is how to salute a single magpie. When you see a single magpie you ask after it’s wife, thus suggesting it has a mate and is in fact happy – hence the rhyme one for sorrow , two for joy!’*
It was important for me to establish whether any bad omen of fortune could potentially impact my blog or my business. We are alright!

Now that we spent some time on why the name Magpiehomes came about and what other relevant (or not so depending on your views on superstition) meanings it has, I wanted to truly go back to the basics. What does Magpiehomes really stand for? On several occasion I have tried to explain how to characterise my Magpiehomes style. All the other components such as glam, Hollywood regency, eclectic, design etc. still stand. However whilst browsing the net to find some great photographs I realized a trend about what kept drawing my attention. My ideal interior – as you know by now – has a moody and dark feel to it. But there are 2 other ingredients I realize I really need for it to work and they are: 1) pops of colour and 2) a good vintage piece. I think what helped was looking at some of Graham Atkins Hughes’ work. His photography is great and really provides that warm yet moody look I love. My Magpie ingredients are:

  1. Moody, slushy dark walls or panelling
  2. Pops of colour – but don’t go over the top – 1 or 2 items in a good colour such as Emerald green, Orange or Striking Pink
  3. A good vintage piece – a lamp or designer chair works a treat

First have a look at some other photographs and then take a look at one of my favourite photographers:

Below is a good start: Not dark and moody enough, but at least a dark colour on the walls, great pops of colour and lots of vintage!

Beautifully moody, deep dark panels and sofa. Not heavy on the pops of colour but plenty of vintage!

Below photographs are by Graham Atkins Hughes:

I think all below photographs speak for themselves: Dark, moody, great pops of colour and beautiful vintage…. –  photography: Graham Atkins Hughes – photography: Graham Atkins Hughes

photography: Graham Atkins Hughes

I could honestly live in any of these rooms, with or without superstition….



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