As Marketing Manager for Pinterest, we knew that our visit to Zoe Pearson’s home would be accompanied by cries of ‘cute’ ‘that’s so Pinterest’ and ‘house goals.’ Twinkling fairy lights, thrifted trinkets and colour-coordinated bookshelves galore, we’re still dreaming about getting creative in her craft corner and stroking her adorable cat, Leno.
Sourcing most of her unique and quirky homeware from car boots and thrift stores, Zoe shared with us her favourite pieces, her ideal weekend and the story behind her Positive Pigeons.
UO: What’s your favourite piece in your house and what is its story?
Oh this is a hard question… I probably have too many favourites! If I had to choose, then my favourite would probably be our cowboy print ‘naughty’ chair.
The chair came to us, by way of Freecycle, and in its previous life had been a child’s naughty chair. This meant the springs were knackered – she’d obviously jumped up and down on it a lot. But with a bit of love and some cowboy print fabric, it got a second life as a cosy chair. We still call it the naughty chair though.
UO: What items do you love to collect/hoard? Tell us about them!
I collect all manner of things as I’m essentially a thrift addict. I used to collect vintage china, art deco mirrors, glass jelly moulds and colourful tin globes. Right now, I appear to be collecting vintage coronation mugs, the quirkier the better. Usually I don’t plan what I’m next going to collect, it just seems to start happening!
UO: What should no home be without?
For me, it’s my other half and my cats. I learned a lot about what I could do without when we first moved to London as I left most of my possessions (and wardrobe!) in Edinburgh. And they were the only three things I couldn’t do without.
That said, I’m a firm believer in blankets. I swear by having a good blanket to make a space cosier or cover up an old couch.
UO: What’s your favourite piece and where did you get it?
If not the chair, then I’d probably choose the 60s daybed which I got on eBay. It was local pick-up only and it turned out the owner lived in a house he’d built himself and was a major collector of mid-century things. Instead of being the straight-forward pick-up I’d imagined, him and his wife treated us to a cup of tea and talked about how he got into collecting! It was such a fascinating story that I felt like I’d been at a theatre show afterwards.
UO: Do you have anything that’s absolutely useless, but can’t bring yourself to chuck it out?
Weirdly, most things seem to have a purpose… we even tend to use the roll-down maps when we’re planning trips, even though they’re a little out of date! I also recently have stopped eating eggs so the egg cups are now planters for cacti instead.
For a hoarder, I’m weirdly unsentimental, if something doesn’t have a purpose for us then I tend to give it away. Maybe that’s something have a London-sized flat has taught me!
UO: We love your craft corner – what are some of the craft projects you’re working on right now?
I’m currently upcycling our dining room chairs – so one is done already, and the other one is still to go. I used to say that I’m like a frustrated artist, I can’t paint but I can paint furniture. I really love the way a lick of paint or new fabric can transform something.
I also have a list of things I want to make – from cushions that we have cuts of fabrics for and even a more attractive cat scratching post.
You can spot some of the things I want to make next here
UO: We love your positive pigeons. Can you tell us more about them and how the idea came about?
When I first moved to London, there was a day when I really just felt like going home. It was one of those blue moments when everything seems too hard. To cheer myself, I went to a little coffee place near the museum, grabbed a table… and there on the table was a little origami dinosaur. It wasn’t much but it really made me smile. And it got me thinking that even something really small can help turn someone’s day around…
From that thought, Positive Pigeon was born. As the pigeon is a symbol of London at its grubbiest, I thought it was a good symbol to do something nice with. So myself, my other half, and now a few other people leave little origami pigeons with positive messages in them for other people to find.
A few times I’ve been in the cafe or place long enough to see someone find one… and seeing someone else smile, probably like I did when I found that dinosaur, makes my day all over again.
You can read the full story of the positive pigeon here
UO: Where are your favourite furniture / homewares hunting spots?
I usually start with charity shops and then thrift shops. In Edinburgh, I used to go to a regular car boot sale that had great bargains (vintage typewriters for £2).
The funny thing is that I tend not to plan on hunting for things. So we’ve had a few afternoons of having to get a piece of furniture home by public transport! One of the times was when we spotted the ‘mermaid’ chair (the one with the curved under legs). It was in a vintage store in Shoreditch. The seller had a few of them, all more than we could afford, and then I spotted another one tucked away in the downstairs. It was missing a screw and needed a little love so I thought it might be worth asking if it was less the others. “Oh that one? You can have that one for free.” It’s moments like that when I have to remind myself not to hug people – and checking he was definitely sure, we stepped into the street with a new chair. Rather than go straight home, we carried it to lunch with us – and had some very funny, on the street conversations with people that day!
UO: Where do you seek homewares inspiration?
Well, as I work by day for Pinterest, I obviously see a lot of inspiration on there. At the moment, I’m Pinning for a future London home when I can paint the floorboards and put up wallpaper. I love our flat but having our own down here is the dream.
Other than that, a lot of my homewares inspiration is a happy accident… I just see things that I like and then hope that they’ll fit somehow!
UO: If you could invite someone over for dinner, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Oh a total mix. I’d invite Bjork, as I’ve been a huge fan of her music, creativity and attitude for as long as I can remember. Joan Didion, her book ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ affected me like no other book before it. And Edith Piaf, the French singer who sang ‘La Vie En Rose’ and ‘No Regrets’, as she had the most amazing, humbling life. Hopefully they’d do all the talking and I’d just get to listen and learn.
UO: If you had unlimited budget, what would your dream home look like?
It would probably look pretty similar as I’m a somewhat thrifty sort. I might splash out on a designer lamp or a really cool chair. But if budget is no option, then I’d have a massive garden with a cool treehouse in it! Oh and maybe a roof garden too.
UO: What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend at home?
Ideally, it’s a rainy day so I don’t feel guilty about not leaving the flat… and then it would be an afternoon of loud music (sorry neighbours), good coffee, just baked vegan banana bread, possibly some chair painting, followed by some reading (with loud music still)… and then a good Sunday dinner, with some Cards Against Humanity on the side!
My favourite time of day is… dusk, just as the sun is going down.
I’m currently reading… Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.
My favourite vinyl to spin at home is… The Velvet Underground & Nico.
The best way to spend Saturday morning is… snoozing, followed by pancakes!
If I was a colour, I’d be… a rose gold pink.