23 Apr 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: Our Castles

The "At-Home" Diaries on vickiarcher.com

Home Has never been so major.
I’m a home-maker from way back and my surroundings have significantly coloured my view of the world. From my first flat as a single girl to where I am now; I have created environments for me and my family that resonate. We all have different ideas of home and how we want it to feel and function and we also change direction throughout the years. My choices are different than they were 5 years ago, as they were 15. What remains the same is my desire to “create” a place to live that is aesthetically pleasing, ambient and welcoming to all who live and visit.

I don’t have a favourite.

There are some homes I have lived in that didn’t have me jumping for joy and others which felt heaven-sent. We have moved many times and I suspect will continue to do so. Change makes me feel alive and creating interiors for us is part of that. Where we are now is one of my most-loved homes and I feel very happy and grateful to be here right now. If I had to experience lockdown anywhere; where I am is perfect.


Our apartment is in Notting Hill and of all the areas I have lived in London; this is my absolute number one. The neighbourhood is vibrant, well serviced and charming with a touch of originality and gritty. Architecturally very pretty, the wide streets and many communal gardens make for a haven in such a metropolis like London. Our apartment is open plan upstairs adjoining a terrace which, leads to a communal garden. It’s full of light and what I like most of all is cooking in the kitchen and being able to see through our living area to the gardens beyond. Once we saw the outside space we didn’t notice much else before deciding.

It’s an old building, one of the oldest in the hood, which means ornate cornices, fireplaces and ceilings reaching forever. I like that and have learned that volume is everything when it comes to urban living. I chose the living room furniture carefully as unlike a house with many rooms, there is nowhere to manoeuver or stash an unwanted piece. Casual seating was my priority and despite the English weather I planned for any large entertaining to happen on the terrace outside; the rest in the kitchen. So far the “entertaining” hasn’t eventuated but after lockdown, the first thing I’m having is a party. Friends, music and dancing; I can’t wait.

Having new furniture is the dream but with that must sit the familiar objects. That’s what makes an interior work – a mixture of old and new, sentimental and memory triggering. Wherever I glance around this space I can trigger one of “our” life stories simply by looking and I find this, especially now, comforting. We will have adventures again, make discoveries and find treasures and I think more than ever we will tailor-make our future plans with more thought and care than ever before.

And there must be flowers and /or plants. My greatest indulgence and the one thing I am sourcing madly during this isolation life. I don’t want to go without as the way blooms make me feel is worth every penny; uplifted, happy and almost as if life is normal. Small wins mean great things right now. Every morning I clip a little on the terrace – tidy up the stragglers – and watch for the latest blooms. The tulips in the deepest plum were beautiful and now I wait for the David Austin roses to open and the climbing hydrangeas to bloom. The Hellebores did themselves proud but are just about done; that’s ok because we have lilac blooming in our garden. As one beauty fades another takes precedence; how amazing is nature?

Did I appreciate home in the same way before?

I have always been a homebody and felt more comfortable at home than anywhere else. My viewpoint is our home is our castle and should be the place we feel happiest and most grounded in. Creating a home, however simple, is one of the joys in life and a beautiful way to document the journey. Whether you swap houses like outfits or prefer to settle and grow into one with time, our homes are everything.

I appreciate mine more than ever and if anything I would spend more time pottering around and enhancing the interiors. With more time on my hands, I have dreamt up lots of ideas.

I’ll stop now – there is so much more to say – and save it for another day. xv


VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com

In This Post:




if I had to decide between an expensive designer cloth or a chic but timless good piece of furniture, it would be the latter. Everytime I enter my home I stopp for seconds and look around (you know like a first-time visitor) and feel so much joy and concealment.
Also I changed already many times (perhaps too many) my home it is very adventurous to add some new pieces and decorate the existing once in an other place. And a bunch of fresh flowers are the ice on the cake. Love the pink Parrots tulips in the pic above as I love your living room (only see from yr pics)


I think we will all find new appreciation in our homes after spending so much time… Where do you live? I like to imagine where? Tell me more… :)


I would love to see just how you place things under a cloche. I have one but haven’t used it yet. I have marbles and also shells. So how do you put this together? Using a dish? Sorry this is such a basic question! Your home sounds lovely. Mine needs some work! Goals


It’s fun to make things happen and change them up… Try this Jeanne..
I have my cloches a very flat marble table.. so the objects sit… If I want to place a few I hope the cloche on the slant and pop one in on the table and then the rest sort of on top so they are a bit irregular… like in the photo here.

If the surface is uneven I use trays – wooden, brass or even china plates as a base for the cloche and then do the same thing. Marbles look great in a pretty glass container- jar or vase – within the cloche too… sort of a glass within a glass feel…
Have fun arranging.. send me a pic :)


How do I send it to you? I took a pic but can’t seem to cut and paste it here.

Linda B

In some ways, I am your opposite, Vicki! As of this month, I have now lived in this house about half my life, since we moved to Tucson 31years ago. The furniture has evolved over time, but not much. . .The decorative elements have changed a bit more. . . But in the last year or so we have begun talking about wanting to downsize, or at least move somewhere we don’t have such big yards to care for. We are actively hoping for a condominium in a lovely small complex right around the corner. Like you, we very much love our neighborhood; and we happen to have a number of lovely friends who live in that complex.

This period of enforced time at home has provided ample opportunity to work on slowly but surely culling unnecessary possessions in preparation for a move, and also cleaning up and renewing various aspects of the garden. We want to be ready for moving when one of those condos becomes available; and we are happy to renew the loveliness of our current house to enjoy it more while we are here.


Linda… you will love the change when it happens. I have moved so many times.. big and small.. that I have become adept at it.. I never feel sad as generally, my move has been forwards and exciting. I never try and re-create the same feel..as the joy is in the new. Having my familiar pieces with me is what makes the transition less difficult.. there is always something familiar and from our past with us…
This time is really a blessing for you to change what you want in your existing home and also appreciate the beautiful aspects of it. Happy gardening :)

Lynda Seglias

Everyday I write that I am grateful for my beautiful home. Being home now, I am really noticing all the nice things I’ve done to make it a home. Things I thought were getting tiresome to me, are not now. I appreciate my style and what I had done seems timeless, not tireless. We are also revamping our garden which I had given up on but now is a pleasure planning it again. I really have been seeing some nice things from being home to be grateful for that go beyond material. Walks with my husband, good dinners together, even enjoying cooking, new interests in reading, etc. Being grateful always puts a different slant on things.


I agree 100%, Lynda… and feel the same about all these unexpected pleasures we are enjoying. :)


Hi Vicki – I so enjoyed hearing more about your Notting Hill apartment, it does sound beautiful. I know London quite well, especially Highgate and Muswell Hill where my brother lived prior to moving near Carcassonne, so have visited London often as an adult – plus many times as a schoolgirl on historic field trips when we took the train up from Devon.
You are in the perfect spot, close to everything the capital offers – and hopefully all will be open again soon and you can have your fun party!
Vicki, don’t you spend time at the olive farm anymore? I don’t recall you mentioning much about it for a while? I look at your book often just to take myself back to Provence!
Thanks for these great posts – they certainly liven up these long days being locked down.
Stay well – all your family also.
Mary x


We are in a great spot… I do love it.. and Devon… my favourite part of England and where we often go for a long weekend…
We changed properties in Provence and while we don’t have olives we have a beautiful townhouse in Saint Remy, La Maison du Village.. which is a boutique hotel.. a new “baby” to work with and another challenge :) That’s me…


Vicki, it’s so lovely hearing about what others houses are like especially as we are worldwide. I’ve loved spending time in the garden and potting up plants and planting seeds such as lettuce. I’ve brought many small branches indoors and some beautiful flowers off trees for small bud vases and find this so warming to see these round the house. I am missing my trips to St Remy though but know it will still be there and just as wonderful when we do get to travel.


Me too! But it will be there waiting for us :)
I’m going to ‘decorate” with flowers tomorrow for the weekend… not that anything is happening but it is lovely for us..

Michelle à Détroit


I’ve just received my David Austins and potted them up. I had a much larger rose garden at the old house. The new one will be a terrace garden. I’m looking forward to discovering what the previous owner planted at the front. It looks promising! I do appreciate our new home. It’s a much leaner, less complicated house.

I’m a floral designer, and I do miss the everyday bustle and the creative energy of my small business. We’ll have to trust that someday, we’ll all be bustling about again. But right now, I suspect that we are all learning a bit about ourselves and cherishing life a lot more.


Absolutely, Michelle.
Have fun in your garden and the element of surprise in a new garden is the best!
My daughter bought her little country cottage in mid-winter – it has a handkerchief garden which looked like a bare scrap at the time… I advised her to wait and see as an English garden can be very surprising. Fast forward, she has the most beautiful garden and the previous owner was devoted… the colours, the bulbs and all the combinations are spectacular. It’s simply a spring and summer show.


Good morning dearest Vicki!

I agree. My home is our castle. It is our French/English cottage but ever since the lockdown in March, it has now become our work place. I still have my comforts surrounding me, my French settees, my fresh flowers and plenty of sunlight. However, I’ve had to leave out my school laptop on my antique French table where I conduct my daily Google Meet meetings with students and colleagues, and my desire to simply do some housekeeping has grown to a new level. I have always loved housekeeping but now? I just want my home space to be separate from my work space but there is a more important mission looming overhead. I am just grateful that my husband and I have jobs and that I can call my workspace a “castle!” One colleague that joins me in a group meeting daily says, “I love seeing your home. It brings me peace.” ‘Nuff said.


I feel the same about our home and hate when my work bits escape.. or even worse, my poor boys, who are also working here… I have always worked from home, but try and keep it separate… :) My family know me… and are very obliging towards my tidy streak!


Vicki, my daughter & I had the privilege of staying in your lovely home in St Remy when we visited. It is gorgeous and was such a delight to see every day. I even borrowed a few ideas and incorporated them into my home. I would love if you did a virtual tour of your home. You have great taste!! Thank you for sharing with us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital