In the bath with:

Jess Contomichalos: That’s Yummy Mummy

Today we’re “In The Bath With” Jess Contomichalos, interiors stylist, journalist and editor of the ThatsYummyMummy blog.

With four fab children, how do you combine design and practicality in your own home?
With four children I’ve learnt very quickly that things need to be wipe cleanable, I don’t have lots of shelving and ornaments that collect dust and believe it or not I have dark grey carpet in the living room and grey sofas (to hide spills) – there is no room for fabulous minimalist white in my house…every thing needs to be mop-able! I also have a good selection of oil cloth table coverings for easy cleaning at our big kitchen table!
Do you have a design inspiration hero?
I love Le Corbusier and Eames – really iconic design pioneers – but if I am truthful…if not a little corny, I have to say that I adore everything that Martha Stewart touches…looking through her Living magazine used to make me drool when I started out in interiors…I wanted desperately to be as stylish, innovative and clever with ideas as she was….I also am a big fan of Cath Kidston – although I remember her when she was very new on the interiors scene and it’s all a bit samey now…Laura Ashley was an absolute guru and I loved her quintessential romantic British appeal….one of my favourite one stop design shops though has to be Rockett St George – I covet all their products!
You inspire us with your tips on organising your home. What’s your top tip on keeping family life shipshape?
I think the most important tip is investing in a cleaner, organising family life on a large calendar that everyone can see so there are no double bookings or forgotten appointments and making sure you have a system that works – each child should know how to store their clothes and where to find them. Colour co-ordinate towels so that you keep hygienic in the bathroom. Until recently I was doing washing in batches of colours/lights/darks – I now have a laundry basket in each bedroom and do it per person – this avoids odd sock syndrome and half a football kit being washed (last weekend 14 yr old had clean socks and shorts and no shirt – 17 yr old had shirt and no socks…eek!)
Describe your own home in terms of design approach or aesthetic.
Our house is an organic project – it constantly changes and evolves (I do lots of makeovers in our home so rooms have all been made over up to three times each so far!). It is a family house with lots of junk and clutter but it is eclectic and a little bit odd….nothing like the stylish shoots I have to put together – it is an amalgamation of oddities that we love and call home!
What’s your next design challenge?
Our bathroom is currently being ripped out and a new one put in – on a budget – which is a real challenge!
If you could only take one possession to a desert island, what would you take?
Probably my iPhone (complete with charger)…(imagining that you don’t mean my children or hubby!) 
We’re hosting the “Affordable Design Awards” this year. What purchase for your home has turned out to be the wisest investment?
The wisest investment we’ve ever purchased was our astro-turf lawn from Tiger Turf – this product changed our lives and improved our outdoor life no end. We used to struggle to keep the grass from turning into a mud bath – now we only have to leaf blow it occasionally -the boys can play out in bare feet and don’t get dirty – or socks and so no muddy footprints through the house and the garden looks green all year round – like living in the Truman show!

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