Interiorssneak peeks

Florist Anna Potter’s Sheffield Home

by Grace Bonney

Growing up, I was never one of those girls who longed to live in the English countryside and feel like I was part of a Jane Austen novel. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it was just never my style or aesthetic. But then I discovered Anna Potter of Swallows of Damsons and my long-hidden desire to run away to the English moors appeared. Anna’s Instagram feed is a treasure trove of beautiful photos (and flowers) from her life and work in Sheffield, England and, after getting a peek inside her romantic studio and shop, I found myself wanting to see more and more of the gorgeous spaces she inhabits. Thankfully Anna and her husband Dan, an illustrator, were kind enough to share their home with us here today.

Anna and Dan moved into their Victorian-style Sheffield home 10 years ago. Along with their two sons, George and Albert, Anna and Dan loved the location of their house. Perched at the top of a steep hill between Sheffield’s city center and the English moors, their house felt like “the perfect place to raise a family and start a business”, Anna explained. While the family likes to spend as much time outdoors exploring the countryside, they wanted to create a space indoors that had character, but enough simplicity to let the things they love, mostly inherited and antique, shine. While their space looks as if it was always this put together and lovely, Anna says they made a few design “mistakes” along the way, including a questionable 70s orange paint color, but she’s accepted that the process of creating their home never stops ad is always evolving. I’m so enchanted by the current evolution of this family’s beautiful space and am so honored to share it here today. Thank you to Anna, Dan, George and Albert for welcoming us into their home. xo, grace

Photographs by India Hobson

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Anna and Dan's master bedroom showcases a beautiful vintage wall map. It details a holiday location in the French Alps, Lake Annecy, that's near and dear to their hearts. The 1950’s Jielde lamp was a 30th birthday gift to Anna from Dan.
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The bedroom's walls are painted 'Lamp Room Grey' by Ralph Lauren Paints. Anna loves that it acts as a great base color to display the detail, color and pattern in the map and their Persian rug. "It provides a sense of calm amongst the busy nature of all our collected items, and our busy lives!", Anna explained.
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This chest of drawers was passed down through Dan’s family and Ann was overjoyed to own such a beautiful inherited item. The two wooden sculptures on top were purchased on the couple's honeymoon in Sri Lanka from an sweet older man in town.
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The copper terrarium on the bedroom dresser adds a sense of life and greenery to the room.
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On the opposite wall in the bedroom is an antique collectors cabinet that houses Dan’s illustrations. The framed artwork above, ‘Patience and Discipline’ is a collaboration between artists Xavier Casalta and Rémy Boiré. The crow illustration was done by Dan.
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Anna that it's been a "long struggle" to make their tiny bathroom work. "I had an obsession with cast iron roll top baths and made it my personal mission to find one that would fit in the space. After a long drive to a farm in the middle of nowhere to pick up the bath, after years of calling plumbers and while I was 8 months pregnant with Albert, it’s one of the best-loved rooms in the house. The boys call this room ‘The Jungle'".
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Anna's bathroom has an enviable collection of beautiful plants. "The only place I remember to water the plants", she says.
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Anna's "current favorite" succulent plant. "The upper side of the leaves look like they’ve been sprayed with copper paint. Perfect with the navy tiles."
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The infamous cast-iron tub that took years to find.
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The living room is the brightest space in Anna and Dan's home, it was the only space Anna says she could get away with bringing in a darker tone on the walls. "The dark grey also acts as a nice backdrop to ALL the children’s toys that find their way in here!", she explained.
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Every picture tells a story, and this old photo of a bus crash on the family's wall is Anna's favorite. "The bus collided into the hedge of my Dad’s house when he was 12. Amazingly my Mum, only 8 at the time, was on that bus and ran home terrified!"
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A beautiful flower arrangement in the living room alcove.
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Anna and Dan say the dining room is the heart of their house. "So much goes on around this table. We kept a lighter shade of grey/blue on all walls to reflect light and there is generally some sort of oversized flower arrangement on the table obstructing everyone's view."
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The dining room's framed pictures are by English book illustrator Arthur Rackham, and were found in an amazing bookshop across from York Minster Cathedral.
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In what may be one of the most modern captions ever, this is where Anna takes most of her Instagram photos. "The light in this corner of the house is so incredibly beautiful and painterly", she says.
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The dining room's vintage wine cabinet is the first item of furniture Anna and Dan bought together, from a junk shop just a few doors away from their flower shop. They carried it home in a taxi and noticed fleas and mites jumping all over the place. After SEVERAL good scrubs, it took its place in their home. Boris, the deer skull, was a Valentine's present from Dan. Anna says that, "skulls are a much more welcome sight than flowers to a florist on Valentine's Day." Albert, their son, on his third apple of the day, runs in front.
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The view from the dining room into the kitchen.
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Anna working in the kitchen.
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The kitchen holds Anna's collection of blue and white china. She collects and gathers it from charity shops, her grandparents and travels in France.
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A detail from Anna's kitchen work surface.
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Peppercorns about to make their way to dinner, in Anna's Grandparents' old measuring spoon.
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