The hunt to find out what makes a house a home continues with Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, an historian, broadcaster and award-winning academic.
Suzannah has written and presented historical documentaries on BBC4, ITV, Channel 5 and National Geographic Channel. Her books include 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII, A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England and The King is Dead! The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII.
You can still catch Suzannah presenting her two-part series ‘Witch-Hunt: A Century of Murder’ on Demand 5.
My Home: Q&A Suzannah Lipscomb
1. Please describe your home in 5 words.
Beautiful, comfortable, book-lined, blue, soft.
2. What inspires your home style?
Colours I love: the palette is grey-blues, cream and flashes of maroon-red. There’s quite a bit of Indian inspiration – the quilt on my bed, cushions, rugs – as I spent a long time there. Otherwise, William Morris, and Provençal style, and then rather classic pieces of furniture in dark wood and gilt-framed mirrors, but all this set within quite a modern, almost warehouse-chic, setting.
3. Do you follow trends?
No, not really; I know what I like.
4. What is your favourite ritual at home?
It’s the simple morning one of shower and coffee.
5. What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your house and why?
I love my sofa – it’s a huge blue-grey corner sofa, so comfortable. I saw it in The Netherlands and persuaded the firm, who don’t normally ship to the UK, to do so.
My least favourite part would be the piles of paper in the study – see below.
6. Which room is the tidiest? The messiest?
The sitting room is generally the tidiest – ready for impromptu guests – and the study is always a mess – full of papers and piles of books.
7. Can you tell me any interesting facts or stories about your house’s history?
I live in a two-bedroom garden flat that was a very recent conversion from a one-bedroom place. So it’s Victorian meets 21st-century and I’m the first to live in it in its glorious mixture of exposed brick walls, bay windows and quirky angles
8. What is your most treasured object and why?
Apart from that worn on me, my most treasured object is probably my sixteenth-century map of Nîmes, bought for me by my then fiancé to celebrate me getting my doctorate.
9. What’s your biggest extravagance and your thriftiest purchase?
My biggest extravagance to date is a copy of a Holbein picture that I’ve commissioned. My thriftiest purchase must be my mahogany sideboard and yew side tables bought as a job lot for £50.
10. Whose home do you most admire and why?
Griff and Jo Rhys Jones have the most wonderful London home that I’ve seen. I love the space and their art collection. My favourite space is the Indian-themed loo.
11. What is your earliest memory of ‘home’?
My parents moved when I was two and a half, but I don’t remember the first house distinctly. But our second house – I remember eating macaroni cheese – I think I was still in a high chair – and my parents sitting at a large glass dining table. And then memories of parents’ parties glimpsed through the bannisters.
12. What does home mean to you?
A refuge, comfort, a place to entertain.