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Skye McAlpine

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Skye’s gorgeous cookbooks inspire us in our kitchens on a daily basis. So perhaps it’s no surprise that her home is also an incredibly special place that uses colour, pattern and her gift of visual storytelling to create a warm and inviting world that’s her very own.

You already know her as the brilliant self-taught cook whose delicious take on Italian cuisine, illustrated in A Table in Venice and her latest triumph, A Table for Friends, has given so many home-cooks the confidence to prepare delicious food with abandon and enjoy the process of feeding our friends and family. Now that we’ve been invited inside her gorgeous home, we feel it’s safe to add interiors muse to that list of achievements. Skye’s dreamy London home sees her gift as a storyteller extend to beautifully patterned walls, delicate jewels that evoke memories, vintage finds she has treasured for many years, statement pieces with playful details and the most-impressive edit of flats we’ve ever seen. Here, she shares the provenance of her favourite pieces and places inside her home.


“I try to organise my wardrobe by category, then by colour, so that it’s relatively easy to find things – though inevitably everything tends to get jumbled up. Then, once or twice a year, I’ll take everything out, edit it and start again.”


“I love that our bathroom/dressing room is really light: we wanted it to feel like a small living room with a bath and a wardrobe in it! The top and trousers are Emilia Wickstead – both sale finds on Matches last year. It’s the kind of outfit I would wear for a lunch or breakfast meeting, probably not in the kitchen, though.”


“The grey boxes are full of small bits and bobs, like socks, gloves and other small accessories. It helps keep me organised. As for all the flats: I love walking and also have terrible bunions, so I like to wear comfortable shoes when I can. My favourite flats are the Charlotte Olympia Kiss Me Darcy ballet pumps… I have five different pairs in three different colours.”


A hot bath is my favourite way to relax after a long day. My dream bath set-up is an Acqua di Parma scented candle, Aromatherapy Associates bath oil, a splash of magnesium salts to help me sleep better, and listening to a really good audiobook. At the moment I’m listening to Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, read by Jeremy Irons – it’s bliss!”


“I bought these pink Manolo Blahnik shoes in Liberty ages ago, to celebrate a really good work meeting. They were so uncomfortable at first that for years I just kept them in my wardrobe and admired them from time to time. Eventually, I wore them in and now they’re my go-to when I want to jazz up an otherwise simple outfit. I just love the colour.”


“I have been longing for an occasion to wear this dress by Markarian, which I bought at an online archive sale earlier this year. I love vintage, ’50s silhouettes. I find them very flattering and love that each piece feels unique. The sofa is covered in Jean Monro ‘Rose & Fern’ fabric – I’m obsessed with it.”


“I bought the Victorian jewellery box on eBay. I love quite delicate, antique pieces that have a story: charms on light gold chains or small bracelets. It’s the kind of jewellery that I can wear all the time. The piece I treasure most is my engagement ring, which I never take off.”


“This Prada dress was a splurge a few years ago and I still love it every bit as much today as when I bought it. I was obsessed with the feather trimming: it feels like something Ginger Rogers might wear! It’s the perfect party dress for the festive season: comfortable to wear, long sleeves (so I don’t get cold) and a touch of fun!”


“I always stick things up on the wall in my study: to-do lists, pages from magazines, recipes, pretty pictures, swatches of fabric, a beautiful label, postcards, and printed papers. It really helps me to plan out what I’m thinking and to visualise things more fully. The images here were all pictures that ended up being inspiration for my book cover.”


“I love my Charlotte Olympia heels and have built up quite a collection over the years! I love that they’re classic shapes and always feel glamorous to wear, but also a little playful with details like a bunch of tropical fruit or red lips – it’s just something a bit different that stands out.”


“This is one of my favourite pieces: a pair of culottes from Delpozo. I saw them in the shop a few years ago and fell head over heels for them, and then my husband gave them to me as a birthday present. I love the fabric, which is almost like Christmas wrapping paper, and that they feel super dressy – like wearing a long evening skirt – but because they’re trousers, you can also wear them more informally.”


“Headbands just dress everything up, and if I’m having a bad hair day or a slouchy home day, I find that a headband instantly makes me feel more put together. I buy lots from Anthropologie, but my all-time favourite is a gold one with laurel leaves that I bought from a souvenir shop in Greece a few summers ago. The vintage Christmas brooch is a gift from a family friend – I always wear it around this time of year.”


“I wear these Alex Eagle shoes with evening dresses for parties and trousers during the daytime. I love them! They’re ideal for travelling, too, because they go with everything and work for pretty much every occasion. They’re so comfortable I can walk happily in them, and I love the velvet and bow details.”


“The walls of our bedroom are covered in a fabric print from GP&J Baker. I happily sit in bed for hours just staring at it! The blouse is Emilia Wickstead (I just love the floral print and the big billowing sleeves) and the skirt is The Vampire’s Wife (the thick corduroy makes it perfect for the winter months).”


“This charm bracelet is full of memories. My parents gave it to me with one charm on it when I was seven years old. Then, every time they went travelling somewhere, they would bring back a charm for me to add to the bracelet. As I got older, I started adding charms from my own travels.”

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