I find Hannah Johnson to be a warm, welcoming, charming and interesting lady. And I would describe her home as a reflection of these qualities. A flying visit to her abode one day, made me so curious to explore it more. Things like vintage tea cups and interesting artwork always catch my eye, so I invited myself back and found out a bit more about the home that is Hannah's.
Hannah is the owner and designer of delightful jewellery brand Dorothy Love. Amongst other creative projects, she hand makes jewellery from reclaimed wood and other lovely materials, and this this the space that inspires her work.
As I approach, there is the sound of the clacking of a typewriter from her house, with a backdrop of laughter and kids playing. Part of a block of 6, all the neighbours seem to know one another, and there is a sense of community as she describes the families and people that live so close by. This has its challenges, but I'm sure it has contributed to Hannah becoming the compassionate and open woman I've come to know.
The front courtyard is leafy with vegetables and herbs, and Hannah says it is a lovely place to sit and watch the sunset. I am thinking the same thing as I find my way to her front steps. I enter into the cosy and charming little unit. Filled with books and magazines, crocheted rugs, figurines and sayings, this has been Hannah's home for 3 years.
The things she loves about the space are the worn wood floors, 1940's style and original details. On the flip side of that, it means there is very little storage, and a badly designed kitchen, but this doesn't mean she doesn't love it. Her former house mate referred to her as "space saver Hannah" for her ability to utilise the little space they had. It often takes some time to adapt to a home, and work out how to function best in it. Hannah's occupation of this little unit is so natural, it's obvious she has been here for a while, and truly made it her home. The main multi purpose space... ie living room/studio/office is surprisingly functional and would be such a nice place to work, if not a little toooo comfortable, although I'm sure in future Hannah will enjoy having separate areas for this.
"I like the way the cupboards are still original. I love to bake, so when I get in my BZ (baking zone) in my apron, I feel like I might be in a 1930's apartment in New York... I pretend Im a eccentric poet with wild hair (true) and a searching soul, sipping red wine and listening to records (by records I mean my computer... its a fantasy ha ha)."
"The little boy next door often comes and pokes his head in and yells "DOG!" at my stuffed toy. I try to tell him that he needs to let his mum know he's here, but he just welcomes himself in. He's very cute."
She says she is not overly sentimental, but loves to keep things that mean something to her, ( I think thats a little bit sentimental ;)) and has an obvious leaning towards objects from bygone days. She hosts a collection of lovely trinkets and objects, which express very obviously her creative heart.
One thing that caught my attention was this beautiful mask hanging on her bedroom wall. This was made for her by a friend, Elke Art Creations, for a roving performance at Woodford Folk Festival. It is just so detailed and beautiful, it actually reminds me of something from the ballroom scene in Labyrinth. It gave platform for a child like character that Hannah says was so genuine and relatable by kids at the festival, she found herself playing games all day.
"Sometimes you just need a buddy to walk with you..."
This wall hanging belonged to Hannah's mum. Illustrated by Betesy Clark, what appeals to her is the innocence of the art and the meaning as a sense of friendship, and she hopes that others will see that when they visit. I know I did.
Thanks so much for welcoming me in Hannah. Please be sure to look at her Dorothy Love facebook page.