A Place Called Home


‘There is hope in honest error: none in the icy perfections of the mere stylist’.
– Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 to 1928)

Event recording

What’s it about?

Most of us have spent so much time at home since the year 2020, so let’s hear this story about home.

When Professor Christina Preston moved into her new home 40 years ago she realised that the house was built in Arts and Crafts style. This interior design approach emerged in the 1880s and continued up to the First World War. However, the two families who had lived there before the Prestons had made some changes that were not sympathetic to the Arts and Crafts style. Luckily many of the original features still existed.

She decided to restore the house as far as possible to the design principles embraced by a key proponent of the international Arts and Crafts movement, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This multi-talented Scottish architect, designer, water colourist and artist invented the white fitted carpet in his own home in 1880. He believed that a house should reflect the same design principles of simplicity throughout. But Christina’s family did not want to live in a museum so comfort and utility came first in the 21st-century refurbishment.

The storytelling includes these sections:

Section One – Art Styles: The similarities and differences between Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles.

Section Two – Audience Participation: A quiz: Can you distinguish between these styles?

Section Three – A Photo Tour: The restoration of the Preston’s Arts and Crafts home.

Section Four – Audience Participation: We hope the international participants in this interactive talk will be able to share information about the unique styles of their own homes. 

Who is hosting this?

Dr Christina Preston has retired from her role of Professor of Education Innovation which focuses on the ways in which technology can assist in making teaching and learning more effective – a key topic for teachers in this Covid pandemic.

However, she has always been interested in interior design and her love of these early approaches to making an ordinary home both comfortable and beautiful has been reinforced by her membership of the Rennie Mackintosh committee over many years. Working so much in Prague after the Wall came down also gave her an opportunity to see this beautiful city come to life as it was restored after the Communist regime.

Want to know more?

1. Eric Knowles, the antique expert, interviewed Christina about her collection for the BBC programme.
2. Christina’s 2020 lockdown project on Style – All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go