Haha - spinning plates! Juggling homeschooling with our two older kids (7 and 10) alongside a very energetic toddler, whilst also running a business and my husband working full time (albeit from home which has been a huge help) has made for some fairly hectic days and weeks. We have muddled through as best we can - always trying hard to retain a sense of humour amidst the madness!
And how has it been business wise?
Business has been really good, it was pretty slow at the start but picked up in the weeks following and May was a very strong month indeed. I think people being at home more has resulted in many doing work to their living spaces that may have been put off in the past. Prints purchased to fill wall spaces, perhaps not noticed so much pre lockdown and there seems to be a definite trend in people using the time at home to be a bit more green fingered, so planters have been proving popular as well. We’ve also taken a lot of gift orders. People are sending friends and relatives something to cheer them up in the absence of being able to see them properly.
Is there anything new you’ve learned about your home during the last few months?
I’ve learned how much I love our kitchen - despite the cupboard and back doors appearing to constantly be covered in small sticky hand prints, it’s a sign of how much we’ve used the space to cook, bake and hang out together as a family these last few months, which has been lovely.
The large red vintage lights in Wendy's kitchen were reclaimed from an old gym and found at Retrouvious
. Pic Dave Cleveland
One of Wendy's favourite features in her kitchen are the stainless steel worktops that are made by her dad's company back in Omagh. Pic Dave Cleveland.
Are there any spaces you are using more now than before?
Probably the garden - we lived here for over five years before getting round to converting it from a completely barren concrete backyard into what we have today, featuring a lawn bordered with terrazzo paving, BBQ seating area and trampoline (a frantic purchase in week two of lockdown before they became like gold dust!) and have thanked our lucky stars everyday of the last few sun filled months, that we got all that work done before lockdown kicked in.
The beautiful terrazzo tiles in Wendy and James' garden are from a company who specialise in architectural and design projects called Structural Skins
Any ideas on what you would change at home if you could?
Loads! We’ve been in our current house for over seven years and our style has evolved so much since doing it. We’d love to update many of the rooms, however we run two Holiday Lets (one in Ramsgate
on the Kent coast and one in Porto
, Portugal’s second city) and the last few years, all of our time and spare money has been spent renovating and furnishing them. We definitely have several more projects in us but whilst the kids are small and we have so much else going on, I’m not sure our current home is one of them, we’ll see!
What lessons do you think you will take away?
We’d like to retain a bit more of a slower pace of life and just appreciating spending more time together as a family. Although it’s been full on at points, there have been some very precious memories made during this time, which I think we will look back on fondly.
How do you see the pandemic affecting your business - and retail generally - moving forward?
It’s very hard to know and I think it could go either way. On the one hand online retail has the potential to do very well, as a post COVID world is likely to see more and more people shopping from the comfort of their homes but all the uncertainty and a pretty severe looking recession looming is likely to take its toll on the retail industry as well as many others. We do however hope that the trend in recent years to buy from and support smaller, independent retailers will long continue. We have a really brilliant repeat customer base and work incredibly hard every single day to provide the absolute best possible customer service that we can. We are incredibly grateful for those who choose to buy from small, independents like us and always will be.
Visit Wendy's shop at Homeplace
. New products, including these shell vases, from £16 each and artwork by Tiny Stories, £58, as pictured, are added all the time.