Living rooms, parlours & drawing rooms

When I was a child my mum’s dad lived with us, they lived at 173 Warner Road. After the war she moved back to help look after her mum until she passed away, then her dad sort of stayed there, and my mum and dad moved in with him. So when I was a child what was I suppose the parlour or the front room, we called it, they had a put-you-up, so they would sleep in that, and then if we had any guests, the put-you-up would be put up. But I can remember that room always smelt really damp and cold, and it had a musty smell about it because you only used it at Christmas, and when you were entertaining, and it was freezing cold, you’d sit in there entertaining people and shivering.

Sylvia, Keith Road

I had both of our children at home, so whenever I’m in the back bit of the front room it’s kind of where they arrived, where the dining table was, so that’s nice, and on their birth certificates it’s got our address, which I don’t know, it just gives me a huge sense of satisfaction somehow.

Fiona, Northcote Road

I do change them here and there, from time to time, the corner shelves. This area both sides we had corner shelves, three corner shelves, and I had photos in the corner shelves, and that family photo was right in the middle, and I had another unit in here. And we thought ok let’s move, when I had my little one I needed a room to put all the toys in and stuff, so we re-arranged everything again. We re-arrange quite often to be honest. We are planning to put the TV on the wall as well, but I’m scared, the walls aren’t really strong enough in here. As soon as you put one nail in everything falls down.

Gnanamani, Leucha Road

Off the hallway we’ve got what we refer to as a front room and a back room, and we use the front room as a sitting room and the back room as an office. The other thing we have done which is a bit ironic, is that there was no open fireplace downstairs, and I love open fireplaces, so we’ve had an open fireplace put back in, in the front room. And the guy we bought it off who used to be up in Walthamstow Village, did say that it had probably come out of a Warner house or flat, so we’ve put back in a Warner fireplace into a Warner house, so I guess that’s not a radical change but we did do that.

Lucy, Pretoria Avenue

The front room has gone through a few decorations and there’s a hole right now where the fireplace is, and that’s because it used to have a burner, a boiler there, and that broke down about 3 years ago, it was emitting carbon monoxide, so British Gas came round to service it and shut it off for me so I had to replace it, so it’s got this hole right now, and I haven’t got round to deciding what to do with it yet. But surrounding it I’ve got this wallpaper which once upon a time someone thought was really nice, I wish I could describe it, it’s got flowers, it’s some kind of print in brown and beige, which maybe it complemented the trees so they put it in, I’ll get to it at some point. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, maybe I’ll just skim some plaster over it and level it all out, leave the hole itself, and that’s it, so you’d still have that rustic element to it, the actual fireplace would be used for storage or the cat den, that’s where he sleeps.

Terence, Warner Road

The reason why we put the thick carpet in the living room, is that in Islam we have a branch called Sufism, so we basically practice Sufism so we have colleagues and friends coming here once a week or once a fortnight, we sit down in a circle on the floor and read the Koran and chant some sort of Sufism things. So it’s more comfortable sitting on the floor with the carpet. That’s why you’ll see in there it’s all empty, I don’t have settees there, you take your shoes off, sit down and relax and recite things. So that’s one of the reasons why we had to have the large space as well.