Interiors: Morningside mews house

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

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‘When we moved in to our first house I was coming up with lots of projects to make it more of a personal space for us.

I’d started a craft blog at university and added these projects to it, while my fiancé Tom [Waddington] built a website round my blog with the idea of adding step-by-step tutorials. Before we knew it, Cut Out + Keep was born,” explains Cat Morley of the couple’s online community craft website.

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

The website launched in 2008 and has since grown into a successful company that the couple both work for full time. After a number of years in London, Cat and Tom decided to make the move back home to Edinburgh.

“After returning from a six-month road trip across America, we were looking to settle down and enjoy some creature comforts after spending night after night in different motel rooms. We felt spoilt for choice and space when property hunting in Edinburgh as compared to London our money could go much further,” says Cat.

They moved in to their spacious mews home in Morningside in February 2012. “Our last home was a mews too. We love them as they are quiet and full of character. It was really important to us to find a place that would be a great space to work in, but we also need room for crafting and supplies,” Cat says.

The property was built in 2000, won a Saltire Award in 2003 and consists of two bedrooms and three bathrooms split over five levels.

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

The kitchen on the top floor overlooks the living room that Cat and Tom also use as their work space. Underneath there are two en-suite bedrooms on separate levels, with a small garage and bathroom on the ground floor.

Cat and Tom share the same taste in interiors and the house now reflects their style. They have either collected or made the practical and distinctive pieces in it.

“We like our home to be colourful and cosy with a mix of both of our tastes. Because you can see across the open-plan room, it’s important that everything looks nice and tidy, and as our job is so creative, it’s useful to have things around to inspire us,” Cat says.

Collectibles range from a world map of everywhere the couple would like to visit to an inspiration board of latest ideas. In terms of furniture, the couple prefer to stick with plain functional pieces that can be brightened up and embellished.

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

Cat Morley and Tom Waddington's Merchiston Mews house. Picture: Neil Hanna

“Doing things like arranging items in the colour of the rainbow has become a theme, and customising pieces with chalkboard paint is both practical and attractive,” Cat adds.

The open-plan layout of the mews lends itself to the couple’s creative nature with lots of space to display personal items. “We added five tall IKEA bookcases to the living room to hold all of the craft and cookery books that we get sent from publishers to be featured on the site. “We couldn’t resist arranging them in a rainbow to help brighten up the room. We also cut pegboard to fit the space above our craft desk,” says Cat.

“It’s the perfect solution for hanging tools and supplies without drilling in to the wall, and it’s also really easy to rearrange the hooks, hangers and shelves.”

Most of the soft furnishings have been hand sewn, from the cushions in the living room to the quilts and pillows in the bedroom.

“It might sound like a lot of work,” Cat says, “but it’s worth investing the effort as they’re accessories that we see and live with every day.”

On the staircase, the couple cleverly constructed a light-up frame incorporating an old destination display from an Edinburgh bus that shows local place names.

“Our favourite project is an illuminated Cut Out + Keep logo that we made to decorate our office.

“It’s constructed from frosted plastic, black card and fairy lights, but it looks really professional when it’s lit up,” Cat says.

As well as making their own accessories, Cat and Tom customise furniture to create something unique and more suited to their needs.

“I love IKEA ‘hacking’, where we’ll customise and alter basic IKEA furniture to create something unique. I was struggling to find a nice dressing table, so we took two side tables and fitted a desk to the top. Tom then put together a starlet-style mirror using three lightbulb strips.”

Cat and Tom’s attention to detail make this mews property work as both a comfortable home and a practical but inspiring office space.

With a book deal currently in the pipeline, the couple are returning to America soon, to continue their search for quirky finds and crafty ideas.

Cut Out + Keep (www.cutoutandkeep.net)

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