Real homes: Over the rainbow

Continuing the series in which Chloe Grimshaw meets creative young home owners who have produced their own domestic style. This week: Iris Palmer, ex-m odel, soon-to-be art student, who shares a rented flat in west London. Photogra phs by Josh Pulman

Iris Palmer, editor-at-large of [itals]Cheap Date magazine and ex-model, has been renting a dilapidated house in Portobello since June 1997 which she shares with sisters Poppy and Daisy de Villeneuve. It is a cheap rent for the area because the house is quite run-down. Iris, who starts an art foundation course at the Prince of Wales Institute in London next month, is in the process of doing the house up, which is why some of the rooms still took quite messy. The style of the house is cheap and cheerful, reflecting Iris's passion for thift chic and Eighties style (she buys lots of clothes but tries not to spend more than 50p on each item). Poppy, whose bedroom is painted chocolate brown with a white s hag-pile rug, has completed a Foundation Course at Chelsea Art School.

"I decorated everything with my mother: my mum and my grandmother made the curtains and my brother helped paint it and his friends and loads of people. I used green for the grass, blue for twilight and then Naples yellow for sunlight. I tried to get twilight by putting purple around the edge, just at the edge so that it looks like its fading. Gloss on the doors and then the red, like Gypsy red you know.

I like sticking things on the wall, whatever they are. This colour blue is a really good background for anything. I collected those pink and green glow stars because I didn't think you could get them. I love colour. Iris is the goddess of the rainbow and has the key to let the soul out of the body when they die. The soul can't get out of the body unless I unlock it with the key, and then I fly off over the rainbow and they go with me. Messenger of the Gods. I dress my room like I do myself. My room inspires me and I inspire my room. The other day we put this whole outfit together that was all the same colour, it was so cool. It was all mustard yellow, with all these accessories and everything was the same c olour. It was like collecting colours like objects. It's quite oppressive, though, being such a collector, like everything comes in on me sometimes. I would never throw anything away. My mum always tries to make me throw stuff away but I say that when I'm 40 I'm going to have the ultimate installation piece, because I collect every single little bottle top - everything that I think would be useful fo r anything and stick it all to the walls. I'm going to get this room, a huge room, and have it as an art piece. I was thinking of colour coordinating it all round the room in a wave of colour, with every single little thing that you refuse to throw away.

Can you give an example of dressing your home like you dress yourself?

When you buy things, is it important that they're second-hand? I buy second-hand things because it's like a free choice. It's pot-luck what's going to be in the shop, whereas all other shops are controlled by what fashion is going on at the moment. You can either join in with that and just manage to get the clothes that are in, or you can get a big choice of everything to make up your own stuff, which is much more interesting and really cheap. It's quite a good hobby but I've given up on clothes now, I'm moving on to ?? (unable to read)

What's your favourite thing? I like my poster from Hollywood, of the life size basketball girl. I love that poster! I love those cheerleaders with their pom-poms! They're cool. My favourite thing is my carpet, it cost me quite a bit of cash and when I move out I'm taking it with me and the kitchen sink.

Iris (above left) in yellow: 'The other day we put this whole outfit together thatwas mustard yellow. It was collecting colours like objects.' Above right: Poppy's spray-painted bedroom door; everyone who comes in the room adds something to it. Far right: Iris's bedroom: 'I like sticking things on the wall and blue is a really good background.' She buys a lot of clothes (right) but tries not to spend more than 50p on any item

The collectors in their sitting room (detail, above), Iris (main picture, right) with flatmates Poppy and Daisy: 'I dress my rooms like I dress myself. I buy second-hand because It's pot-luck and you make it up yourself so It's much more interesting than following fashion and really cheap'

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