Design writer Eleanor Cording-Booth’s Barbican flat is filled with meaningful objects – we take a look at some of her favourites
Eleanor Cording-Booth, better known by her handle on Instagram, @aconsideredspace, is a design writer and interiors stylist who also happens to rent a beautifully put-together apartment in the Barbican Estate. A regular contributor to House & Garden and the Evening Standard, Eleanor knows a thing or two about how objects can tell stories.
She was always creative and studied fashion marketing at university, but she discovered a love of interiors almost by chance part-way through her degree. “I bought a Terence Conran book from TK Maxx that’s still here on my shelves somewhere,” she says. “I didn’t grow up surrounded by inspiring design so the penny hadn’t dropped before, but as I flicked through the pages I realised, ‘oh God, I’ve made a mistake. This is what I love!’” The rest, as they say, is history.
Her apartment, which she’s lived in for three years, is as elegant as any you’d expect to find in the Barbican Estate, sympathetically designed with touches of retro flair. It’s cosy, but not crowded, and everywhere you look there are details that jump out. One of Eleanor’s most precious possessions is an ultra-realistic ceramic conker made by Penkridge Ceramics, which she keeps on her bookshelf. “I’d wanted one for about 10 years and then a friend surprised me with this out of the blue – I’d helped her with something and she trawled through my Instagram feed to find things she knew I’d love. It means a lot to me.”
Lighting highlights in Eleanor’s living room include a pair of dark blue ‘80s vinyl lampshades from eBay, atop a pair of vintage brass column bases that she snapped up on Facebook Marketplace, plus a Noguchi standing lamp. “I love a paper lamp – they’re the kind of classic piece I’ll never go off,” she says. “But, there’s a year-long lead time on these as they’re handmade in Japan. Luckily, I found one in Aram Store in Covent Garden and snapped it up.”
With so many lovely things at hand, how does she curate her home? “I try to follow my gut feeling,” she explains. “If I like something, I make the conscious decision that I’m not going to care what other people think. When you’re constantly bombarded with images on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s easy to get swept along, so you’ve got to ask yourself: ‘do I really like this? Or, have I just seen it in the home of someone else whose taste I admire? You can appreciate someone else’s choices without being swayed from your own personal style.”
What, then, are her tips for decorating a rental property? “Generally, I buy lightweight artworks that I can hang with Command Strips, so I don’t need to make holes in the walls. You can make a room look completely different by changing the curtains, and if you don’t like the flooring, buy the biggest rug you can. Soft furnishings add a huge amount of character to a place, as does a coffee table stacked with books.”
“Decorating anything is all about trial and error,” she adds, leaning against her Vitsoe shelves. “Experiment and move things around until it feels right to you. I’ve bought things and tried them in 20 different spots until I’ve been happy with their placement. One word I’d use to describe myself is particular!” There’s nothing wrong with that in our book.