Jen of Happy Retro Furniture in her studio

Crush Lust Stalk with Happy Retro Furniture

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Are you ready for some Monday inspiration?! Well, I have just the thing, a weekly dose of Interior Idol – Crush Lust Stalk where I track down designers, artists, makers, photographers, architects and get them to reveal things that inspire them. This week is someone who has been getting a lot of Ohs, Ahs, and “tell me more” as part of my en-suite reveal. It is the colourfully creative Jen from Happy Retro Furniture who turns unloved midcentury furniture into masterpieces that everyone drools over. All these Ohs & Ahs aren’t new to her, she’s been revamping furniture for nearly a decade. It’s safe to say that Jen has a “thing” for making a statement with colour and geometric design.

In case you forgot, here’s the beauty Jen created for me (that is simply dreamy)

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The bathroom is flooded with light and makes me smile every morning! Photo by Mairi Helena

I met Jen at one of the many Open Studio Days in Edinburgh where artists, designers and makers fling open up their studios to the public. Yes, you literally get to stand inside artists studios. It’s a great way to meet artists & creatives, hear all about their work, what inspires them, plus see (& BUY) their latest creations. It is one of my fave times of year and if you are looking for art, this is best way to go.

Jen was showcasing her latest designs and to say it was love at first sight is an understatement. Cupid shot his arrow and I was smitten. I knew we had a future, I just wasn’t sure when, where, or what it would be. What is great about Jen’s designs is that she focuses on midcentury furniture and her geometric designs are fitting for the period. Her use of colour and her colour palettes are simply brilliant. She has a keen eye for bringing together contrasting and complimentary colour with perfect harmony. The attention to detail is masterclass, ensuring that each piece is restored and will have a happy home for many many years to come. I’m a huge fan & very proud to own one of her creations.

Here are some of my fave pieces of Jen’s: (see below for details)

Jen doesn’t stop at furniture, she also does bespoke murals on a commission basis … WeMake commissioned Jen to add a touch of va-va-voom to their shutters.

So let’s get onto the good stuff, what inspires Jen

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CRUSH – Jen is planning a kitchen renovation for later this summer and is on the hunt for some amazing tiles. She stumbled upon Mandarin Stone and says “Their tiles are beautiful, a perfect mix between natural and bold! The simple geometric designs are right up my street.”

LUST – Jen says that she’s totally in love with all of Fun Makes Good home ware designs, especially their pouffes. “They’re so fun and bright, with a beautiful mix of tweeds and leather. I’d love to commission one in all my fave colours (teal, turquoise, coral).”

STALK – Who does Jen stalk everyday on Instagram? It’s none other than midcentury expert @bananaandjam.  Jen says “they have a treasure trove of mid century furniture like no other.” Jen is always on the look out for vintage pieces to revamp and says “Banana and Jam have such a great collection which is updated almost daily. I don’t want to miss out!”

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You won’t believe this – Jen lives right right on the sea side in a Victorian fisherman’s cottage. This sounds entirely dreamy to me. Her home is on the top 2 floors and she says “My bedroom is by far my favourite room, it’s all mine and I can escape from the craziness of the rest of the house!” Who else can relate to this?! Hmmm, me, except I escape to my bathroom.

Jen goes on to say, “The space is very me and the one room I feel I have firmly put my stamp on.”  The geometric wall mural behind the headboard is one of Jen’s hand painted designs where she used rich corals and soft nudes to pop against the dark moody grey and the crisp white walls. It is both light & bright and cosy. Jen describes her style as “I’m a big fan of mixing vintage alongside handcrafted contemporary pieces such as my beautiful quilt throw and cushions by Lucy Engels.”

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So where is Jen secretly heading off to?! She’s jumping on a plane to Toronto, Canada and then driving to the breathtaking Balsam Lake Scandinav.  Jen has a close connection to Balsam Lake, her friend Lija has spent the last few years renovating and lovingly preserving the property. It was built by Lija’s grandparents in the 1950s in the Kawarthas forest a couple of hours outside of Toronto. Trust me, you’ll want to click through and have a look, it is simply stunning, blending rustic cosiness and a some iconic midcentury pieces. I’d say a perfect escape.

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Jen says “It’s mind blowing and I cannot get over those floor to ceiling windows with endless views! Take me there (with wine and a full weekend of catching up).”

So what’s up next for Jen? Well she’s running a tray painting workshop in Edinburgh – so if you are looking for an excuse for some creative fun or a reason to visit our grand city, here it is! You can book HERE for July 21st workshop through eventbrite.

Jen has recently moved into a new studio at Edinburgh Open Workshopwhere she has plenty of stock to create your very own custom design. If you want to see & touch some of Jen’s masterpieces, head over to Logan Malloch in Leith, Red Door Gallery in Edinburgh and The Modern Croft in Oban.

You can also read more about Jen, how she got started and her top tips for up cycling over on Craig and Rose Paint website. Before I head off, please go on over to Jen’s Insta HERE and show her some love.

So that’s a wrap on Inspiration Monday. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, you can leave comments below. Have a FAB week all.

Cheers,

Liz xx

More details about the Happy Retro Furniture edit from above (clockwise):

  1. Jen’s signature round side table in muted greys and yellow is ideal for those wanting a scandi vibe. This round teak table is the iconic Danish Modern design of Poul Hundevad in the 60’s for Czech furniture company Novy Domov. You can purchase this at The Modern Croft.
  2. Jen’s maintained the charm of this Tall Boy Dresser with very unique square knobs and created a design that showcases its original woodgrain veneer.
  3. Small side cabinet, it’s all about twinning with her studio mate Lucy Engels and sourcing the perfect punchy blue leather handles by  Workshopaftersix
  4. Jen’s signature round side table in varying geometric designs and colours.
  5. Dresser in muted greys with all sorts of scandi vibes happening. I’m thinking this is a classic G-plan design, made in the 60s in the UK.
  6. A custom piece from last year with contrasting bold reds and vibrant blues. Showcasing Jen’s brilliant use of colour combinations and designs. The perfect statement to any room.
  7. As much as Jen loves vibrant colours, she also rocks the understated look too. Here she combines nudes and warm shades to create a statement piece that doesn’t overpower. Available at Logan Malloch.
  8. A complete set of the Poul Hundevad round side tables that fit perfectly into a larger rectangular side table. This piece is an icon and the round tables can serve as tables or stools. Jen mixes different designs to create a colourful interesting palette.

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