As a freelance journalist, I write features about books, architecture and design for various publications, including the FT Weekend, Spectator, the Guardian, Country Life and the Economist’s 1843 magazine. Here are some recent pieces:
Inside the Twickenham villa of JMW Turner, artist and architect (FT Weekend House & Home, 14 February, 2020)
As Turner makes his entrance on the new polymer £20 note, it seemed like a good time to visit his Twickenham villa - where he lived, and which he designed himself. I hadn't realised he trained as an architect, and was friends with Soane - the villa is a fascinating and beautiful spot, and I also loved finding out about the ups and downs of its restoration.Read
Christmas past: behind the scenes at Dennis Severs House (FT Weekend House & Home, 6 December, 2019)
A treat to talk to David Milne, curator of this special Spitalfields house, about creating an unusual, unforgettable Christmas. Featuring some beautiful, atmospheric pics by Tori Ferenc.Read
Radical Renovations for Georgian Townhouses (FT Weekend House & Home, 15 November, 2019)
I really enjoyed meeting a load of architects who told me all about the radical ways they'd remodelled various Georgian townhouses. Many of them were inspired by Georgian proportions, and the good light, and often found an aesthetic that sat hand-in-hand with modernism, oddly enough. There was also the considerable bonus of unravelling layer upon layer of history, before beginning the new work.Read
Inside Auckland Castle
(FT Weekend House & Home, 15 November, 2019)
I nosed around the extremely impressive castle in Bishop Auckland, saw some unforgettable Zurbaran paintings and learnt a bit about the fascinating history of the Prince Bishops.
The Secret Life of Sheds
(FT Weekend House & Home, 8 November 2019)
The space at the bottom of the garden is the best place to experiment with bold design - I had a really fun time talking to various architects about their beautiful sheds.
What really lies behind London's blue plaques
(FT Weekend House & Home, 19 July 2019)
My first cover feature for the FT's House & Home section! This piece was a lovely comission: a chance to look into blue plaques - the criteria for getting one, unexpected hitches along the way, their value (taken to have all sorts of meanings), and what it's like living with one.
The House that Victor Hugo decorated
(FT Weekend House & Home, 10 May 2019)
Victor Hugo made Guernsey his home-in-exile for fourteen years. While he was there he wrote, a lot, and he also decorated his house in a pretty eccentric, very creative way - it's one of the most extraordinary places I've ever been.
Reading between the lines
(FT Weekend House & Home, 7 March 2019)
Sometimes the most interesting stories are the ones scribbled in the margins of books ... I went to The Vyne, a National Trust Tudor property, to discover the secret life of its library.
Artisans: Fabric wallcoverings turn rooms into cocoons
(FT Weekend House & Home, 1 March 2019)
I spent a day being utterly charmed by Molly Wemyss and her mum Fiona, as they hung fabric walling in a house in Scotland. This is a very old technique that you might spot in a stately home, but Molly's company Stretch Fabric Walling has a refreshingly contemporary take on it. Lovely pics too!
(FT Weekend House & Home, 22 December 2018)
Hidden away in a Dorset woodland, is an unusual, very special, architectural school campus, where all the building materials – and ideas – come from the wood itself.
Books on the Street – The Rise of Micro-libraries
(FT Weekend Magazine, 3 August, 2018)
While we bemoan the tragic dwindling in our public libraries, informal book-swaps - "micro-libraries" - are on the rise. I look at how, where and why.
(FT Weekend House & Home, 26 October 2018)
What’s it like to live in a museum? I met some amazing people who live (actually, for real!) amongst the exhibits and artefacts.
At Home with the FT: Elsie Owusu
(FT Weekend House & Home, 20 September 2018)
I went to the Sussex bolthole of the inspiring Ghanaian architect, who ruffled up RIBA.
Architects’ children recall the joys of growing up on a building site
(FT Weekend House & Home, 29 June 2018)
I spoke to children of various architects – from the very famous to the not at all famous – about what it was like to grow up in a home designed and made by your parents. Basically, it makes you pretty creative.
Private Libraries Make Novel Use of Booksellers
(FT Weekend House & Home, 8 March 2018)
How booksellers and private librarians assemble unusual collections for individuals.
Notes On: The Hidden Rivers that Shape London’s Streets
(Spectator, 17 September 2016)
A little piece about a little obsession of mine – London’s lost rivers.
We wish you a murderous Christmas
(1843, 21 December 2015)
Why the festive time is best for a murder mystery.
Lectures in your Living Room
(Guardian, 10 September 2015)
An introduction to Odd Mondays – a sort of low-key salon which I host, where a bunch of friends talk about odd things of interest.
Finally! A Reason to feel good about buying so many books
(Spectator, 13 June 2015)
It’s not spending, it’s investing – why buying rare editions is actually good for your bank balance.