Since opening her first store in the late 1970s, Helen Robinson has consistently been ahead of the game when it comes to cool locations for her to share her effortless sense of style. Her current project, SHOP in St. Leonards – a stone’s throw from her home on Norman Road – is no different.

In the main room, the theme of white walls and vintage items in bright and pretty colours creates a space that is both intriguing and tranquil

In the main room, the theme of white walls and vintage items in bright and pretty colours creates a space that is both intriguing and tranquil

It’s from this wonderfully diverse collection of vintage and personal objects, where all the colour in the house comes. No feature wallpaper walls here

It’s from this wonderfully diverse collection of vintage and personal objects, where all the colour in the house comes. No feature wallpaper walls here

“I had a vision for it – I wanted it as light and white as possible and open – the whole Greek light thing. It was a massive amount of work and I’d never done it before. But if I want to do something, I’m driven to do it anyway,” says Helen

“I had a vision for it – I wanted it as light and white as possible and open – the whole Greek light thing. It was a massive amount of work and I’d never done it before. But if I want to do something, I’m driven to do it anyway,” says Helen

In one corner, Helen has uncovered part of the cottage’s sandstone walls, something she has also done in the courtyard –stripping back render to the bare rock

In one corner, Helen has uncovered part of the cottage’s sandstone walls, something she has also done in the courtyard –stripping back render to the bare rock

The exposed sandstone wall with fireplace full of logs

The exposed sandstone wall with fireplace full of logs

Just about everything in the kitchen is from SHOP. This includes the rack of wooden shelves by Garden Trading and everything in them: enamel bowls and jugs of various sizes, vintage cups and saucers and cook books

Just about everything in the kitchen is from SHOP

This includes the rack of wooden shelves by Garden Trading and everything in them: enamel bowls and jugs of various sizes, vintage cups and saucers and cook books

Items from SHOP include the rack of wooden shelves by Garden Trading and everything in them: enamel bowls and jugs of various sizes, vintage cups and saucers and cook books

Kitchen implements stored in colourful empty sardine and olive oil tins... and a mix of those lovely bowls, add a cheerful blend of bright colours, also reflected in paintings

Double doors open out from the sitting room into the courtyard where Helen has decorated the space with driftwood and pebbles and bunting from SHOP

Double doors open out from the sitting room into the courtyard where Helen has decorated the space with driftwood and pebbles and bunting from SHOP

The bathroom

The bathroom

Helen’s bedroom is a gloriously pared back ‘homage to a Greek bedroom’, with white walls and shutters, a bed by Loaf, an Indian quilt and Romanian cushion and paintings from a fellow Norman Road trader

Helen’s bedroom is a gloriously pared back ‘homage to a Greek bedroom’, with white walls and shutters, a bed by Loaf, an Indian quilt and Romanian cushion and paintings from a fellow Norman Road trader

Flowers in a jug mirror the paintings in Helen's bedroom

Flowers in a jug mirror the paintings in Helen's bedroom

The spare room’s vintage arsenic green shelf has been a feature of all Helen’s homes

The spare room’s vintage arsenic green shelf has been a feature of all Helen’s homes

The bed was a Friday Ad £50 special

The bed in the spare room was a Friday Ad £50 special

Helen has planted wooden box tubs of succulents and lavender at the front of the house, enclosing a patio area with a table and chairs – a perfect spot for her to sit and watch the urban world go by

Helen has planted wooden box tubs of succulents and lavender at the front of the house, enclosing a patio area with a table and chairs – a perfect spot for her to sit and watch the urban world go by

Many of the items that Helen has furnished her home with have come straight from SHOP

Many of the items that Helen has furnished her home with have come straight from SHOP

“SHOP is not just about shifting stuff,’ says Helen, looking round her beautiful space. “We buy things because we love them and we want other people to love them. We like a free flow, quirky things that work together and we move things around all the time – change is everything.”

“SHOP is not just about shifting stuff,’ says Helen, looking round her beautiful space. “We buy things because we love them and we want other people to love them. We like a free flow, quirky things that work together and we move things around all the time – change is everything.”

SHOP sells a wonderfully mixed and gloriously displayed array of goods, in a casual perfection of chic bohemian style

SHOP sells a wonderfully mixed and gloriously displayed array of goods, in a casual perfection of chic bohemian style

The – always brilliant – set up of the merchandise is Holly’s job. Before starting the business with her mum, she worked in visual merchandising for Topshop

The – always brilliant – set up of the merchandise is Holly’s job. Before starting the business with her mum, she worked in visual merchandising for Topshop

“There’s a lot of love in SHOP,” says Helen, which is probably why it’s such a delightful spot to visit

“There’s a lot of love in SHOP,” says Helen, which is probably why it’s such a delightful spot to visit

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Helen Bratby

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