Lets talk about Boogaloo Boutique
I am standing in awe in the workshop of Boogaloo Boutique, smelling the paint and varnish feeling very honoured to be allowed in the space of a furniture artist. Tracy and I first met whilst working for a high street brand. Tracy was the most glamorous assistant ever and regularly caused a stir with regular gifts of doughnuts from admirers. Nobody could dress the accessory stands like Tracy either!
Tracey’s creative flair was in everything she did, and we shared a mutual love of vintage finds and interiors. Not everyone has mannequins dressed round a grand piano in their home do they! Candelabras dripping with wax, heavy guilt mirrors and the air of complete boho sophistication running through her entire home.
We though it was about time we shared our love for Boogaloo with you all through a short interview:
Tell me what inspired the start of the business?
I had just turned forty and was probably (definitely) having a mid life crises! A “what am I going to do with my life?” moment. My boyfriend (now husband) kept coming up with ideas – tattoo artist? Nursery school owner? Portrait artist? I felt like a petulant teenager saying no to each enthusiastic suggestion. Then one day I was painting my daughter’s bathroom and had a bit of a light bulb moment. I love the whole transformation process. Her bathroom was going from boring magnolia to a vibrant deep maroon and I loved every second. A few days later I was at a garden centre and spotted all this shabby chic furniture for sale and I thought bingo. That’s it I’m going to transform furniture. Not with creams and pastels thought. I wanted to create bright, colourful stand out pieces of furniture art.
And did you start off working from home?
I started off in my conservatory. My boyfriend was so encouraging and didn’t mind that I was sploshing paint all over the floor! The house was constantly full of sideboards and bedside tables whilst I learnt my trade for the first few years. I then progressed to my own studio which I love and I can splosh all I want!
Your natural talent for sourcing and refurbishing shines through on your pieces, are you self taught or did you go on any courses to help you out?
I’m completely self taught. I was always very artistic when I was younger but I never pursued it – I went down the academic route instead and did a degree in French at Manchester Uni. So now all these years later it was my opportunity to pick up where I’d left off. There is quite a bit on the internet to help but I must say it was mainly trial and error in the early days. There was a lot of blood sweat and tears initially! I am hopefully in the process of creating some on line courses so that I can pass on some of my pearls of wisdom.
When you source a piece of furniture to work your magic on does it shout out to you what it wants to look like in its new life?
Yes each piece shouts out loud and clear what it wants to look like. There are sometimes some technical issues to consider but I genuinely get excited when I chose the artwork and set about the transformation process!
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
The current piece is always my favourite piece! I’m working on a gorgeous cocktail cabinet with a jungle mural from Rebel Walls and I’m so excited because I think it look is phenomenal!
What is your keep for ever piece at home?
I don’t have a keep forever piece at home I’m terrible! I’ll change the furniture all the time. Perk of the job I guess!
Have you made any faux pas that you laugh about?
Once I did a beautiful sideboard for a client and I put all the drawers back in the wrong order and didn’t notice when I sent them the pics. It was a woman’s face so it looked very peculiar indeed! I also once wore white dungarees on tv whilst filming something about Boogaloo – I looked the size of a house!
What is inspiring you at the moment?
I’m just loving all the murals at the moment. I recently went to the Ivy in Brighton and couldn’t stop lusting over their brightly coloured jungle mural and of course the ladies toilets!
I don’t think the botanical trend is going away and I’m happy about that. I love all the colours and the wildlife. They work perfectly on statement pieces of furniture.
Colour, how does colour make you feel and have you a favourite at the moment? Anna and I have a real pink thing going on.
Colour makes me so happy . I love creating little rays of sunshine for your home. If I’m doing a monochrome piece I like to add a cheeky colour pop interior to make you smile when you open the door! I’m loving all the jewel colours – emerald green and sapphire blue although I am also partial to a dusky pink coupled with a gold handle.
Do you have a go to brand that inspires you?
I’m inspired by lots of brands – including Vivienne Westwood, Blackpop and Kit Miles. My main go to brand is Timorous Beasties. I love all their designs they are so unique and rich. They take so much inspiration from nature which I love – my favourite has to be Indie Wood. The quality of the wallpaper and material is second to none and the colours are just mind blowing. You can tell I’m a bit of a fan girl!
Are you thinking of designing some of your own designs for future furniture restorations?
I have thought about doing my own designs but in all honesty I haven’t had the time so far. I would love to collaborate so if anyone is interested and is reading this then give me a shout!
Home life, how would you describe your decorating style?
My decorating style is definitely boho and relaxed (maybe a bit messy too) I love dark walls, loud wallpaper and gold mirrors! I’m also pretty fond of my enormous pink leather sofa.
Whats your favourite room in the house?
My favourite room is the breakfast room (with pink sofa)It is the centre of the house with people coming and going. I can sit and hold court there with a glass of vino and watch my husband cook!
How do you relax?
I love reading to relax. I think when you have your own business it can sometimes be very all consuming – especially in this day and age. So instead of being on my phone in the evenings I like to read. I love going to music festivals and out for dinner . I like walking on the seafront where I live and visiting art exhibitions when I can – I recently went to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A and it was fabulous. Generally I like making the most out of life!
In terms of music, what do you have on repeat when your working?
I love listening to music and will generally listen to radio one at work but I do also love a bit of radio four. I especially like Woman’s Hour – after all I am gloriously middle aged!
Do you sing loud and proud whilst working?
I do sing loud and proud but I’m a terrible singer! Tone deaf!
Any bad habits?
Sometimes I’ll order really expensive wallpaper and tell my husband it’s from B&Q….
What do you love eating?
I love eating everything unfortunately but probably the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten was a fresh, fresh,fresh crab sandwich in Cornwall – I reckon they’d caught it ten minutes before I ate it! Yummy!
Favourite holiday destination?
My Favourite holiday destination so far was Goa in India – the colours, the sounds, the smells, the tastes were all such a sensory delight!! We’re planning on going around the world for a year in seven years time so I may change my mind after that!
…and of course Green or Mustard?
Oooh tricky one. I love both of course but if you had a gun to my head I’d probably have to go for green!
Thank you Tracy!
Here are some of Tracy’s creations: