Ashlyn Gibson: The children's boutique owner on her bright and bohemian home

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The Independent Online

My bedroom is my sanctuary. It's here that I do my dreaming and wake up with ideas. The light in here is amazing. I live with my four–year-old daughter Olive and she loves this room too. She and her friends like bouncing up and down on the bed and trying on my shoes.

My style is eclectic and colourful. I love things that have their own secret history and I've been collecting vintage clothing for years. I find most of my bits and pieces for the house when I'm travelling round the world sourcing things for my shop, Olive Loves Alfie, a kids' lifestyle boutique in Stoke Newington, London. I even sell some vintage pieces for children. Quirky objects appeal to me, such as the bust, which I inherited from a friend who moved abroad.

The old suitcases on top of the wardrobe used to belong to my grandparents and remind me of the excitement of travel in days gone by. They are also great to use for storage space – I have a couple in my living-room that I keep firewood in.

The picture on the chair is my favourite thing in here. It's a very old painting of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and

prosperity. You see them in businesses everywhere in India. My boyfriend gave it to me for luck when I opened my shop.

This was my dream house. When we moved in two years ago the rooms were either untouched or the original features had been boarded up. It was the perfect renovation project as it gave me a blank canvas to work with. Since then, it's been a work in progress. I like to scour flea-markets and there are some great second-hand furniture shops in the area.

I love Stoke Newington because it's such a diverse community and there's lots of creative activity here. Church Street, where I have my shop, has a real village atmosphere.

Having a child hasn't altered my style much, though there are touches that have been made for Olive's benefit – I painted the walls outside the front door with blackboard paint, for instance, so she can draw on them. I love colour and I want this to be an inspiring place for her to live too.

Olive loves Alfie, 84 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16, 020 7241 4212, www.olivelovesalfie.co.uk

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