Grace McCloud

A woman smiling and lying in the park

The managing editor of Condé Nast’s The World Of Interiors shares the pieces that have transformed her space

Grace McCloud is a Babington House member and the managing editor of the magazine The World Of Interiors. In addition to writing about design, she recently bought (and helped build and design) her first house with her brother. Below, she shares the pieces that have transformed her space.

Folk art
‘I’m a total eBay addict. It’s a treasure trove for tchotchke fiends like me. God knows what made me think I needed an old wooden shoe last, a Staffordshire figure promoting temperance, or a collection of commemorative royal mugs from the 1980s (just the right side of naff… I hope), but I’m glad I have them. I’m really into folk art at the moment, such as this dalmatian-print diorama or retablo [below left]. I think it might be Mexican. I love the story it almost tells – who lives at the top of those legs?’

Craigie Aitchison picture
‘I could look at Craigie Aitchison’s work all day, particularly the ones of his Bedlington terriers – their quietude, their colour, their bittersweetness. Their stillness is often tinged with sadness, as in this one, “Candy Dead” [below right], which hangs by my desk. I’m always saving up for the next – I’ve wanted one called “Wayney Going To Heaven” for a long time.’

Daffodils in a vase
A painting

‘Nobody needs lecturing on the importance of lighting, but it can be hard to find affordable things that look nice. My solution was to do a lampshade-making course. My fingers now feel like pincushions, but without it I would never have been able to have a lampshade covered in an amazing fabric like this Namay Samay linen [below right]. I made it specially for a green faux-bamboo base from Etsy. When I do buy lampshades, I try to get them from independent makers: Samarkand Design’s pleated sari shades and Compton Marbling’s bases are my favourites.’

Stripey bin
‘So often utility and ugliness collide, but if you use and look at something every day, why wouldn’t you want it to be appealing, even if it’s just a wastepaper basket? I painted this stripey bin myself [below]. I’m a real one for details, so while the process took a while, I think it was worth it. The same is true of the velvet-trimmed curtains behind, which I made to hide a jumble of shoes that I hated having to look at. The fabric is an old Sanderson print from eBay – I’ve got a great love of chintz. I’m not afraid of the unfashionable and the feminine. Used in the right way, it can bring real beauty to a room.’

A curtain
A lampshade