A Personal Journey: Tanya Gold’s Reflection on the Power of Design in Shaping Our Lives


Tanya Gold’s Unforeseen Exploration of Interior Design and Its Profound Impact

When tasked with writing about interior design, a realm I had never consciously ventured into, I embarked on a unique journey within the confines of my home.

As I walked through its spaces with fresh eyes, I sat down on my aged, dog-scented orange sofa—a cherished gift from my mother.

It was during this introspective moment that a startling revelation dawned upon me: my home serves as a tangible reflection of my passions and inner conflicts, a mirror of my very being.

The Home as a Mirror:

An Epiphany Amidst Chaos

In this moment of epiphany, I realized that a home is not merely bricks and mortar but a mirror of one’s soul.

My own abode is a paradox, a place of beauty and love, yet equally a realm of chaos and disarray—a space that refuses to harmonize with my existence.

The Journey:

Six Years in a 300-Year-Old Farmhouse

Six years ago, my husband and I embarked on a new chapter in a 300-year-old farmhouse nestled in West Cornwall.

Our affection for historic buildings guided our choice, but it also led to an unconventional decision.

The house had failed its mortgage survey, with unstable walls, compelling us to invest in renovations before making it our own.

This journey mirrored our own lives—a tad worn, much like the house—yet the hope was that by restoring it, we could restore ourselves. Curiously, none of this was a conscious choice.

The Clueless Decorators:

Design Novices at Heart

When we married, neither of us possessed any knowledge of design. My previous homes consisted of white studio flats in North London, some so small that a kitchen doubled as a bedroom.

My husband resided with his mother, equally unversed in decorating. Our decision to saturate the farmhouse with a kaleidoscope of colors reflected our naiveté.

Furniture was a mismatched collection of family hand-me-downs, relics from my mother’s second home, and extravagant personal buys, all haphazardly arranged.

Books from our pasts covered every available surface, an offering to the ever-present dust mites.

Design Chaos:

A Home Overrun with Disorder

Our home embodies chaos, and its upkeep feels insurmountable. I’ve formed personal connections with every spider, possibly to evade the inevitable cleaning.

One, in particular, residing in the guest bathroom, earned the name Charlotte. My coping mechanism involves yelling at my husband and accumulating blue tables, regardless of whether they fit anywhere.

A Design Intervention:

Seeking Guidance and Clarity

With my home in turmoil, I turned to a friend well-versed in design for assistance. She had successfully renovated holiday cottages in West Cornwall and a flat in Penzance, the Bell Tower, boasting mid-century design pieces.

Her spaces exuded peace and beauty, in stark contrast to my own. Occasionally, I had sought her advice, and it was consistently sound.

Revelation through Guidance:

Understanding the Power of Design

Through her guidance, I began to discern a way forward. She urged me to declutter ruthlessly and clean diligently, paving the way for a fresh canvas to paint with colors that truly resonated with me.

A key insight was recognizing the purpose of each room, ensuring that each piece of furniture and decor served a meaningful function.

In the process, I uncovered hidden treasures, beautiful elements long concealed by clutter.

A Visit to the Newt:

Learning from a Boutique Hotel

A visit to the Newt in Somerset, named the best boutique hotel globally, provided further enlightenment. The hotel, dating from the same period as my house, exhibited an aesthetic I longed for.

It was a tranquil and cohesive space, an environment that truly worked.

The Awakening:

Embracing Design as a Language

Leaving the Newt, I felt a sense of tranquility, understanding that my home could be transformed to reflect my newfound appreciation for design.

It’s a language I had neglected to learn, and it’s a language that now empowers me to make conscious choices in my living space.


What Do You Love? What Do You Want? What Can You Lose?

As I sit in my study, gazing at the Georgian details and the view beyond, I find myself in a space I love. The house is more than a metaphor for our relationships; it’s a relationship in itself.

We can choose to listen to it or ignore it, shaping it to reflect our deepest desires.

So, I encourage you to ask yourself, “What do you love? What do you want? What can you lose?” Embrace the language of design and rediscover your home.

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