Best Blogger Interview: Stephanie from Life at 139a
Stephanie from Life at 139a has kindly allowed us to interview her about her life, likes and blog. Providing us with some valuable tips, and insights into current trends and the blogging world.
First things first, who are you? Where are you from? And what do you blog about?
Hi there, I’m Stephanie and I blog at Life at 139a www.lifeat139a.com where you’ll find a range of homes and interiors posts from my own home and garden and our latest project, and from gardens I visit. We’re also a year into our allotment stewardship so I share how that’s going too - the short update is the weeds often win! We’ve recently come back from a cycling trip in the Loire Valley so I’m sharing peeks into the many chateaux we visited at the moment too.
I live and work in South London and we’ve been in our current home for fourteen years now, which is amazing and one day maybe we’ll finish it, or maybe not!
You've been blogging over 3 and half years now. What's been the toughest most challenging period to date?
That’s a tricky one, because I’ve always got something to say… I think the trickiest period could be about to happen as I’ve just started a new job, so I think my challenge will be to find time to do everything. Let’s hope I’m wrong though.
What did you do previous to blogging (occupation)?
I still work full-time, although I did take some time off after I stopped my daily commute to the City, which I’d done for thirty years. That gave me some time to do whatever I wanted and part of that was to develop my blog further. Since then though I’ve gone back to work, first with a driving commute and now a walking commute through Greenwich Park. So I think I’m finally getting the hang of a better commute. I don’t talk about the details of my job on my blog, so don’t think I’m being vague.
Floormaker: Yeah of course, nudge nudge link link
Did any other blogs inspire you to start blogging? Who are the current blogs you think we should watch out for?
I wasn’t inspired to start a blog by any in particular. I started to blog when we were undertaking a major redecoration programme of our house, both inside and out, including a new kitchen and a new patio and my personal Facebook statuses, even to me were too much! I wanted to record our trials and tribulations as well as successes as I never believed those TV shows where the householder cries because it’s all too much. Having experienced it, I now believe it because, unfortunately not everything went to plan with our work either.
Now though there are many blogs I read regularly and my favourites are wide-ranging but include:
- The Twinkle Diaries - Caro is another yellow fanatic, and we have to stick together.
- Mammasaurus - Annie has a beautiful blog, and she’s a beautiful lady in real life too.
- Podcast Dove - for Charly’s beautiful photography, and cheeky daughter.
- Margot and Barbara - because it’s a great name for a blog, and yes it refers to that TV programme, and because Elizabeth writes heartfelt posts.
But these are just a few of the many blogs I read these days!
Floormaker: That's our holiday reading sorted then!
You must have a favourite blog that you have written? Any particular reason this stands out?
I love this one from our bedroom, mainly because decorating it was a long time coming and because while I wanted to share it online, I still wanted to keep it private too. So by sharing snippets I found the compromise I was after and it’s quite a bold colour scheme too - black, grey and gold (yellow).
And we still love it - phew!
What’s in and what’s out in the interior design world currently?
I think there’s so many styles around right now that everyone can find something they like to match their theme. Copper is still going strong, and that’s something that’s growing on me the longer it’s about. Brass too, is on its way back but again, it’s not something I’m overly keen on. I think that’s down to Saturday morning brass cleaning though when I was growing up -that was at our church and at home where we had a brass door step.
I like colour so it’s good to see lots of that about, I think we should all be braver with colour. But really I think we should all go with what makes us happy, rather than what’s in fashion.
You follow us on Twitter - thanks! What's your fav social network to use and blends best with your blog?
My pleasure - I dip in and out of Twitter, but find it moves oh too quickly so can become quite overwhelming. I love Instagram though as I think it provides a good snapshot into daily life - mine and everyone elses! I don’t mind some styled shots, but there has to be some real life too to keep me interested. Floormaker: We've recently launched our Instagram too - it's an interesting network. We'll follow you if you follow us back!
You've blogged about flooring before and in particular engineered flooring. Do you have hardwood flooring in your home currently and do you have any tips or tricks on flooring design for our readers?
I’m a wooden flooring convert I have to say. I never thought I’d live in a house with wooden floors, but now we only have carpet in one room - our bedroom. All of our living space has wooden flooring; downstairs there’s parquet flooring, sadly not the herringbone pattern but the more modern square blocks. And in our other bedrooms and landing we have sanded floorboards. When we redecorated our second bedroom, we had the floorboards sanded instead of replacing the carpet. And while the floor needed some repair, it worked really well and the character of the floor really shines through.
In every room where we have wooden floors we also have a rug because I think they really do add something to the flooring. Getting the size right though is important as you don’t want to completely cover your lovely wooden floor, but you don’t want a postage stamp of a rug either.
To work out what size you think works - or to check the size of a rug you’ve seen - lay out newspaper on the floor to match the size of the rug then you can see its size more easily. It sounds a bit odd, but it’s way better to visualise this before you bring it home and realise it’s wrong.
Also on wooden flooring, I’d go for as natural as possible as that’s most likely to stand the test of time in interior trends and be the best value for money. And spend as much as you can afford to that makes a difference, but always negotiate on the price if you can, or at least payment terms. My dad always says “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and often he’s been right.
Of our flooring and now rugs (cough cough) can you pick a favourite? Ah a chance to look through some rugs, I’m on it… Actually you have one that’s very much like one I have already and that’s the Red Shaggy Deluxe Rug, Rugs like this are a great way to add texture into your decor, something that we often forget about.
I can have two on my list, right?
Floormaker: You can now!
Your dream home. Describe it for us?
A bit cheesy but right now I’m living in it. When we bought this house fourteen years ago it was a bit of a stretch and bigger than either of us had before (both MOH and I owned our own properties). And that’s paid off. It’s built around 1890, but has no character features (sadly) although the spiral staircase and enclosed storage more than makes up for that, as does the wood floors and the large garden.
We held our wedding reception in the garden too, so that makes it pretty special. Although it was a bit of a mad rush to tidy it up before the wedding. We didn’t make it either as the main bathroom didn’t get finished so our guests had to traipse up to the top floor to spend a penny!
One day we will move from here, but not yet.
Although if you’d asked me that last year I’m not sure I would have said we’d move. But then I fell in love with a house I’d never seen and I realised that in the next ten years or so we’ll probably move out of London and was reminded that sometimes life throws things at you to help you grow.
And finally - what happens to your blog if you move?
Ha! I clearly didn’t think my blog name through did I, as we will move one day. I guess I have two choices - only look at houses that have the door number 139a or create a virtual 139a. I’m not sure I could go through with renaming my blog, that sounds super stressful and we all know moves are that anyway!
I think limiting myself to other houses numbered 139a could seriously limit my choices and get me at least one or two funny looks from MOH, let alone any estate agents. I think the way to manage this will be to create a virtual 139a; it’ll have my values, my personality and my family (real and online) - and that’s all I think I need.
Floormaker: Yep this is true. With website hosting you can always re-direct to your new site, not sure this works with real life physical addresses!
Stephanie is our first interviewee in our 'best blogger' series.
Forthcoming interviews include - MiaFleur & Sidestreet Style.
We'd love to hear any comments you have below. If you have any questions you can ask us and we'll pass them on or you can contact Stephanie via her various social media channels.