Byline: CLARE NOLAN, Words SARAH STEWART
Writer Josie Curran, 33, lives in a houseboat on the River Thames near Hampton Court, Southwest London, with her partner Barney Girling, creative director at a production company, and their eight-month-old son Herbie.
Melody Two is a clapboard 'house with a hull' with four bedrooms and a large open-plan living space that opens on to a balcony downstairs. The couple moved in two-and-a-half years ago after falling for the location, but it took them time to find it.
'Nothing ever came on the market so we posted handwritten notes on lampposts appealing to potential vendors to call us - and it worked!'
Josie has always lived a country-style life, even when in London - her jams and sloe gin are legendary - and she and Barney chose a houseboat not just for the sense of peacefulness and community, but 'to live with the best of both worlds - country and city'. Most weekends, their friends are packed into the spare rooms: 'It feels like you're on holiday the whole time, but it's only half an hour outside London.'
Josie's bright, simple and relaxed sense of style comes from a medley of mismatched items - from the freshly painted kitchen chairs to the enormous number of brightly coloured cushions scattered throughout. 'It's not designed really; it happened by reusing and updating what Barney and I had. It's very easy to live with as it's almost impossible to keep a squeaky-clean house with Otter, our enormously muddy german pointer. Soon enough, Herbie will be joining in...'
Josie is the author of the Organised Fun book series. To find out more,call 07977 137456,or visit organisedfunforeveryone.blogspot.com .
ABOVE Josie's mother's boat makes a picturesque addition moored alongside the idyllic-looking Melody Two - and acts as a cosy extra guest bedroom
BELOW Josie, Barney and baby Herbie on the riverside balcony that adjoins the lounge area. 'It's incredibly private,' says Josie. 'If we walk on to our balcony, the neighbours might come up for a chat, but otherwise we only get the occasional Japanese tourist taking our pictures - they can't believe we live on a boat with a baby'
BELOW CENTRE The living space opens on to the garden and summerhouse, which Barney uses as an office. Josie bought the rug from Habitat (Shinto from the current collection is similar, [pounds sterling]449, tel: 0844 499 4686, habitat.co.uk). The leather ottoman and antique surveyor's tripod (used as plant stand) were both rescued from a skip. The Reclining Nude sculpture on the ottoman is by John Huggins (tel: 01454 260688, johnhugginssculptor.co.uk)
BELOW RIGHT Josie and Barney's garden is about 100 square metres in total - complete with stream and Thames-water pond - and leads to the deck where they keep their retro speedboat Skidaddle
ABOVE Josie on the balcony - the perfect spot for a morning coffee. …