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Meet Ella’s menagerie

Meet Ella's Menagerie When we moved into our new house it was our mission to create a little menagerie of cool animals and characters – admittedly they are almost all ceramic, fabric or wood, but Dr B and I love them nonetheless and have invented back stories for all of them.

We have a collection of characters ‘protecting’ every room; here is a selection of our favourites…

Ceramic Bulls (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Ferdinand and Isabella
We met this couple of bulls at Judy’s Vintage Fair in Bethnal Green. We got them for a song (I think a fiver for the pair). The mother and son duo are from Pamplona in Spain, Isabella is a bohemian pacifist and really didn’t want her boy getting into bull fighting so she came to East London after hearing that was where the art was at. However when Isabella heard about Wivenhoe’s amazing artistic heritage and community she was convinced this pretty estuary town was the perfect place to bring up her son – especially when she read about Wiv’s connection with Richard Chopping, Dennis Wirth-Miller and Francis Bacon in this article here.

Ceramic Bulls (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Ceramic Cats (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Henry and Matilda
This Anglo-French couple were first introduced to us at Divine Intervintage. Theirs is a beautiful story of love beyond the boundaries of class. Henry is a good East End boy, poor but honest with a musical hall past. Matilda, on the other hand, went to the finest Parisian finishing schools and dined with the créme de la créme of French society. According to Matilda the duo met when some cad had left her stranded outside the Royal Opera House in the rain. Henry was passing by and charmed her with his ready wit and impeccable manners – he has certainly charmed us!

Wooden Sparrow (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
Cedric the Sparrow
Standing proud and resplendent in maple, Cedric may be a beautiful wooden turned Sparrow by designer Lars Beller Fjetland but what isn’t so well known is that Cedric’s also a leading academic. He has given lectures all around the world and is an expert in Egyptology – in fact he was working in the Cairo Museum of Antiquities when it all started kicking off in Tahrir Square. He prefers doing his research in the modernist masterpiece that is the Essex University Albert Sloman Library.

Wooden Sparrow (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Wooden Figure (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Thoreau
Cedric is very close to our resident poet Thoreau, an Alexander Girard handmade doll. He’s had a fairly colourful life, spending time in Havana, San Francisco, Ibiza and a period with Andy Warhol at the Factory. However he is notoriously discreet so he’s rubbish for getting gossip out of. But BRILLIANT for screenprinting and film-making tips!

Wooden Figure (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Cloth Cat (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Ian
This cloth cat has been friends with us for a long time. We met him at Family Tree in Exmouth Market. Ian’s life has been, well, eventful, and while he is mostly sober, sometimes we have been known to find him in a smoke-filled haze listening to Black Sabbath or hard-core nineties rave very loudly on his headphones with a thousand-yard stare on the go – we don’t judge him. We love him.

Cloth Cat (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Wooden Owl (C) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Mark
Luckily Ian has Mark. Mark is a Christian and, while DrB and I are not ‘believers’ we respect this wooden owl’s views. He has a qualification in counselling and is very understanding of Ian’s erratic behaviour having worked in various hostels around the country.




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7 interiors with salvaged wood

Birds by Guy Taplin via essexlifemag.com http://www.ellasplace.me
Via essexlifemag.com

Where I live, by the creeks and estuaries in East Anglia, salvaged wood turns up in many people’s homes – crafted into sculptures of the wading birds that dot the shorelines in winter. Foremost among driftwood bird sculptors is Guy Taplin, who made the birds above. He’s sometimes known as the Bird Man of Wivenhoe. Along the river banks between his studio and Ella’s Place you’ll see upturned tenders (the little rowing boats that carry you out to the larger sailing or pleasure boats anchored further out on the water). Many of the houses are weatherboarded in the vernacular East Anglian style, too. A good friend of ours says it looks more like New England, USA, than Olde England.

The reclaimed and salvaged wood trend has been everywhere in interiors this year, too, cropping up in all kinds of editorials and ads. Used well to complement other materials and colours, it doesn’t need to overpower and can look chic, rather than just shabby.

Here are a few examples of the trend I’ve found recently.

Reclaimed salvaged wood accent wall http://www.ellasplace.me

1. The neutral and earthy tones of reclaimed – salvaged – wood can help to soften a room when used carefully. The accent wall above is complemented by the stone, steel and leather, but allows the pop of a red armchair and yellow pouffe to stand out.

Reclaimed salvaged wood headboard http://www.ellasplace.me

2. As a headboard, above, it provides the colour-pop on its own, jumping out to contrast with the colourful wall.

Recalimed wood headboard http://www.ellaspace.me

3. The weathered boarding, above, adds notes of outdoor wilderness to a small space, without turning the room into a log cabin.

Reclaimed salvaged wood kitchen http://www.ellasplace.me
Via atelieram.com

4. Reclaimed wood units and shelves make for a stylish kitchen, above, that also helps to bring the outdoors in.

Reclaimed salvaged wood cupboard http://www.ellasplace.me
Via homedecoranddesign.com

5. A lighter touch in the kitchen with the trend comes with the addition of a single reclaimed wood cupboard, above.

Reclaimed salvaged wood wall http://www.ellasplace.me
Via CarlaAston.com

6. For a calming space, the natural tones of wood look great when set against clean whites and complementary shades. To mix things up, try bringing in different textures instead of colours.

Reclaimed salvaged wood accent wall http://www.ellasplace.me
Via juliarobbs.com

7. And remember that wooden panels can still be painted, even if they’re salvaged. The fun pops of colour above really help to lift the room.