Rosanna Rothery visits a Barnstaple home steeped in nostalgia.
KIRSTIE Allsop exclaims: "Forget free love, this is about loving free". Her latest TV series urges us all to fill our homes with free stuff sourced from house clearances and websites like Freecycle. Buzz words like "up-cycling" or "free-cycling" are suddenly on the lips of everyone wanting to do up their house on a shoestring.
If, however, you are dubious about how effective creative recycling can be, just take a look at these pictures of Lucy Kniel's funky, retro Barnstaple home.
Lucy didn't furnish her house entirely for free but she knows a stylish bargain when she sees one. The mother of two has a knack for picking out interesting pieces from the past that hint at retro glamour, nostalgia and humour.
Quirky, fun rooms nod to the sleek Scandinavian lines and bright colours of the Fifties, as well as to the funky furnishings of the Sixties and early Seventies. Her whole home is a playful mix of vintage and reproduction.
"Sometimes when you look at the designs of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, they are very futuristic," she says. "Often they are plastic, something that had only just started being manufactured. This looks good mixed with today's furniture, giving an eclectic look which is popular now."
Lucy, who owns Retro Junkie in Bideford – a shop specialising in items appealing to nostalgia enthusiasts – isn't at all surprised that people are attracted by stylish pieces from past decades.
"From the Fifties onwards, when everyone had recovered from the war, manufacturing meant it was possible to design unusual styles in bright colours. These items are still attractive, even more so if they have a bit of wear."
Lucy believes retro style is particularly cool in our modern age of reuse and recycle.
"Right now we are embracing recycling and, also due to austerity, we are keen to save money. People also love to see things they remember from their childhood."
Lucy's own artworks adorn her rooms, some of which have a pop art vibe reminiscent of old album covers. She likes to keep her walls and floors plain so she can change the feel of her living space to match her mood. She does, however, try to be disciplined about recycling.
"I am always changing my furniture and my son gets mad when I bring in a find that I just can't resist. It's true, though, if you get something new, something has to go. I don't really change my rooms for the seasons but will set things out differently to give a different feel to the room: lighting, candles, flowers and table setting."
Her exuberant creativity often leads her to refresh and customise pieces that other people might overlook. For Lucy, secondhand is definitely not second best.
"Things that are now collectable retro are so because they were brilliantly designed and are still as attractive today. There are many retro items which no one wants to revive so that leaves you with the pick of the best items from that era."