My grandmother Milly and aunt Lulu (of beauty uniform fame) live together in a fishing village in Cornwall, England. Lulu moved there a couple years ago to help take care of Milly. We got lots of sweet requests to show the house they live in, and we’re so happy to oblige. Here, Lulu gives us a peek inside…
On hosting visitors: It’s a really good family house. You can have a lot of people staying and it absorbs all of us. Kids will sleep on the floor or we’ll do army cots. It functions really well as a big house with lots of people rattling around in it.
On a beloved hobby: Milly embroiders pillows all the time. All the pillows in the house were done by her. We call them ‘millows’ instead of pillows. She just made one in a week! I ordered four more! It’s a very expensive habit! She likes to give them to people she loves.
On family photos: We’ve got loads of pictures we haven’t framed but we still want to see, so we always put photos and cards on the mantle. It’s crammed with pictures and cards! They’re three or four deep.
On the memory of my grandfather: All through his life, my father was always making something — cooking big meals or sometimes we’d go into the kitchen and there’d be a dollhouse or wooden boat smack bang in the middle of the table. All his model planes and cars are still around the house.
On nightly meals: I always say, ‘Mummy, what would you like for dinner?’ And she’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m fine with just an egg on toast.’ But then I make her a big dinner and she scarfs the lot! Tonight we had baked chicken thighs, with all sorts of vegetables around it, like tomatoes and mushrooms and some lovely fresh beans. We sometimes have smoked mackerel and salad and cauliflower soup for lunch. Mummy always has ice cream, too.
On a measuring wall: We have a height wall that everyone measures themselves on. You see the kids shoot right up!
On harbor views: I don’t draw the bedroom curtains at night (I hope no one has a telescope!). The town lights are all twinkly with beautiful reflections in the water; and I wake up in the morning to the harbor views.
On bedtime rituals: I watch Netflix until 10 p.m. The Crown is coming back any minute — and then I read. I have three books on the go, including the new Bill Bryson. And of course I watch Queer Eye! I looove that one.
On a family dollhouse: My father made the dollhouse. It’s all lit up with electricity and wallpaper and even loo paper! As a gift, you could always buy him something for his dollhouse, like a person or a broom, he loved anything. He made all the little paintings by clipping out pictures from magazines and putting them in tiny frames. Nowadays, when a child visits us, they just sort of disappear, and they’re up there playing with the dollhouse for an hour.
On a personal photo: I recently hung my father’s photo (which used to be downstairs) next to her bed, and she absolutely loves it up there. She says good night to him at night.
On dressing up: Milly wears the same clothes every day (trousers and a loose sweater), so her way of dressing up is to brush her hair and put on a necklace. The necklaces hang from her pictures. When we were younger, she would kiss us good night before going out and she’d be wearing Dioressence perfume. It was so glamorous. Now, at night, she puts her hair down — a lovely white curtain of hair.
On a love of marmalade: Under the table, we have jars of marmalade and chutney. We take a jar when we go to someone’s house for drinks. We made 80 jars of marmalade last January and they’re all gone except one! That shows how many drinks parties we go to! We also sold some at the church fête.
On grandfather clocks: We have an old grandfather clock, and at the moment it’s doing a very slow chime. It goes ‘dong…dong.’ But I love a clock, it feels like you have a heartbeat in the home.
On the family matriarch: Milly always says, ‘I’m so spoiled. I just love this house and love it here.’ I feel the same way.
Thank you, Milly and Lulu! We love you so much.
P.S. More home tours, and our England vacations, if you’d like to see more photos.
(Photos by the wonderful Belathée for Cup of Jo.)