Claire's Sustainable and Stylish Family Home

Claire's Sustainable and Stylish Family Home

Lizzie Ford
Sep 17, 2013

Name: Claire Kennedy
Location: Scotstoun; Glasgow, Scotland
Size: 2 Bedroom Victorian Terrace
Years lived in: 8 years; Owned

Claire’s family home is a reflection of the way she lives her life. Her years spent working for an environmental organization in France laid the foundation for a life spent passionately up-cycling and experimenting with sustainable yet stylish living. It was her frustration with the misconception that ‘eco-friendly’ automatically had to mean hessian sacks and hairy armpits that spurred her to build her beautiful business Rapa Nui Gallery – a celebration of design-led, contemporary style that keeps the environment in mind. As a result, Claire’s home is bright, cheerful and full of charming, guilt-free little luxuries.

The house itself was built in 1904 by an altruistic and wealthy land owner who wanted to build quality affordable housing with gardens on his extensive estate. He even made one street with larger gardens for his own gardeners. I like the sound of this chap. Top designers and developers of the time traveled from all over Europe to visit the area and draw ideas and inspiration from his ground-breaking terraced architecture, which has stood the test of time — it's still an incredibly desirable spot to raise families today.

Claire’s home is full of the personality and memories of her family — the old tins were the only item she and her husband brought home from their honeymoon, and the house is full of photographs from special moments and terrific artwork from their two beautiful children. It is a relaxed, colorful and real space, proudly flying the flag for family-friendly, sustainable design.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: the total antithesis of an expensively furnished white minimalist box! Nothing is there because it matches, nothing is particularly expensive. I like to be surrounded by things which have a history – bits and pieces that I’ve collected over the years like photos, children’s artwork and gifts from friends. Warm, contemporary and with a bit of personality.

Inspiration: My friend Lesley. From her bedroom in her parents' house when we were at school in the 80s through various Glasgow flats — even the dilapidated one during the impoverished student years with mushrooms growing through the floor — and now in a beautiful cottage deep in the Highlands, she always manages to create a homely, arty space on a minimal budget . It’s all about the atmosphere she creates, and not about the individual pieces.

Favorite Element: My original 1960 Ercol dining chairs, upcycled by Fiona Robertson, who exhibited with us at a pop up shop last year. I love that she’s kept one spindle on each unpainted.

Biggest Challenge: It’s a family home, often with a lot of kids running around, and I love that. I’m relaxed about drinks getting spilled or little greasy handprints appearing on walls. Having said that, it is a challenge keeping the tidal wave of disorder at bay — I think most parents must identify with that!

What Friends Say: That they feel comfortable.

Biggest Embarrassment: It was until recently the glue-y stain of an entire bottle of Calpol in the middle of the living room carpet. We finally got round to sanding the floorboards last year.

Proudest DIY: I’m afraid DIY isn’t my forte! Though I do love my floor to ceiling bookshelves in the dining room (the product of somebody else’s handywork though...)

Biggest Indulgence: I love my Ashley Cooke screenprints, which I bought with birthday money from the Glasgow Print Studio. The images are quite surreal and dreamlike, yet bright and playful. I love them.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with things that make you feel good.

Dream Sources: The flea market at Clignancourt in Paris. Choc-full of great finds from vintage Ricard pastis tumblers to kitchen enamelware to original film posters – it has everything. Prices to make your eyes water though…

Resources of Note:


  • Front door – Glasgow Architectural Salvage
  • Coat hooks – Gallop and Rivers reclamation yard, Crickhowell, Wales
  • The 39 Steps poster (print) –


  • Screenprints by Ashley Cooke – Glasgow Print Studio
  • Sofas – (very old!) Habitat
  • Wicker pouffes - Ikea
  • Self coloured cushions – John Lewis
  • Printed cushions – Rapa Nui Gallery
  • Screen printed dog lampshade – Massey and Rogers


  • Dining chairs – original 1960 Ercol, upcycled by Just Braw – Fiona Robertson
  • Oilcloth on table – John Lewis
  • Wine rack (in shelves) – old milk crates from thrift store, Belgium
  • Old tin cans (used as vases), with flowers by Lavender Blue, Glasgow


  • Orange leatherette 60s stools – Love Me Again, Glasgow
  • Old SNCF (French railway) sign – salvage store, Paris
  • Coffee pot - Bialetti
  • (on shelves):
  • Flower burst coffee cups – charity shop, Glasgow
  • Ricard carafe, old advert panels, mini porcelain espresso cups – ‘vide grenier’ (car boot sale), Paris
  • ‘Tower block’ upcycled teapot – Rapa Nui Gallery
  • Glass storage jars – Ikea


  • Bedspread and pillow cases – Laura Ashley
  • Printed cushion – Rapa Nui Gallery
  • Bedside lamp – B&Q
  • Vintage dictionary prints – Rapa Nui Gallery

Thanks, Claire!

(Images: Lizzie Ford)

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