Name: Tif Fussell
Location: I’m ‘a Brit living abroad’ in the northwest of America, just outside Seattle
Square Footage: 3,000 sq ft surrounded by an acre of moss
Years Lived in: 1
Rent or own: own
Describe your style: vintage with a smattering of midcentury modern, thrifty finds and ikea
What's your favorite free/found item?
This is tricky; I’m thinking very hard if I have ever found something for free. I have to say my ageing brain cells are not allowing me to recollect such an event… so perhaps I should say my husband. I found him at 16 and he has lived with me for 24 years, that’s a long time to hold on to something, so I guess he must be my favorite find to date.
What's your favorite purchased item?
Kathleen’s cupboard. When my friend moved to China several years back, she sold me her Danish cupboard that I had always coveted. I took it home, painted it white, hung dottie angel slips from it and never looked back.
What has been your biggest obstacle in decorating/design?
I am quite sure my husband would say “practicality” and he is right. I often wear my ‘rose colored’ spectacles when it comes to decorating and design, totally driven by the aesthetics of something and not really seeing the actual practicality of it. for example, a kitchen stool with metal legs and a seat so small it hurts to sit on. He, on the other hand sees only the practical side of things. That considered, he really is very good about living amongst all my decorating whims.
Is your design style organic or planned?
Interestingly I’m a bit of both… every item in my house is placed, it’s all part of a master plan (what master plan that is, I am not sure but I think I must have one and that is what makes me shift stuff around constantly). When one piece is bought in, this often causes a ripple effect throughout the house, I then spend my time moving and shifting things around until I feel a balance again. It is always evolving; nothing seems to stay in one place for long… if I stopped thrifting it might help.
What is your favorite spot in the house?
I have two places, is that allowed? First place is when I open the front door and am greeted by my hall way, it cheers me up no end.
The other place is the kitchen nook, a small area between my studio and kitchen, next to the back door. Sitting in my 1970’s swivel chair I found on Craigslist with a back drop of Orla Kiely wallpaper looking out on Gladys, our airstream trailer… it doesn’t get much better than that.
How has your style changed in the past 5 years?
Our last house was brand new so it was all about clean lines and modern furnishings. This home is older and has more character. It appears to embrace an eclectic combination of design styles happily, which pleases me greatly.
What is your favorite resource or store?
The thrift store, without a doubt. Not knowing what’s waiting for me when I walk through the door makes me addicted to thrifting. I am also quite partial to checking out Craigslist under ‘midcentury modern’ or ‘vintage’ furniture. There’s not a week that goes by when I don’t find a piece that I would love to own.
What is your biggest decorating/design pet peeve?
I would have to say carpet in the bathroom. Apart from that I really don’t think I have any.
What has been your favorite design trend?
Well, quite simply it has to be wallpaper… I love the look of white walls combined with one wall papered. A lot of the walls in our home are textured, so I haven’t been able to unleash my passion for wallpaper on most of it. However, I have succeeded in papering a wall in our kitchen/studio area and our hallway. There is one wall still waiting patiently upstairs for its ‘coat’ of paper, which my lovely friend is sending me from England.
What is the biggest influence on your design/decorating style?
dottie angel… she is my alter ego; she appeared several years back and slowly but surely I have become her. Most things that I do are ‘dottie angeled’ in some way, be it a doily on a cushion cover or an airstream in my back yard, it’s all down to her influence. Adopting the chickens is next on the list. I’m only getting six, she would no doubt have at least twelve… it’s the same with children, I only have four but dottie has eight. She likes to wear a vintage slip on view every day, I usually tuck mine under my skirt… you have to admire her.
What in your home dictates how you design/decorate?
It has to be the low ceilings and being surrounded by tall pine trees (that block out some of the daylight). I am forever striving to make our home the lightest and brightest it can be. We have installed sun tunnels upstairs as a way to bring in more natural daylight, combined with white walls and light furnishings, it all helps to make a dark place into a happy, bright space.
What is the simplest thing you have done that has made the biggest impact?
Quite simply it has to be paint. This house was full of dark wood and dingy walls when we moved in. Over the past year we have painted three coats of ultra white paint on ceilings, walls, doors and skirtings. The cupboards in the bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen have also received facelifts. You really can’t beat paint for the quickest, most effective way to make a difference to a room and as I mentioned above, our house is now a bright and cheery dwelling that I feel very fortunate to call home.
all photos courtesy of dottieangel