Photography by Garson Byer and Helen Yuet Ling Pang

This beautiful Hertfordshire home belongs to Helen and Garson. I met the talented Helen Yuet Ling Pang through Instagram (@foodieguide). And I'm often scrolling and drooling over her delicious instagram photos around two in the morning before going to bed. When she posted a few photos of her home, my jaw dropped so I couldn't resist asking her to do a home tour for Old Brand New. I love everything about their refined aesthetic. I love the textured wallpaper. The huge windows are ridiculously gorgeous. And don't even get me started on all their covetable teak pieces. Everything in their home feels carefully chosen and cherished. Their home is serene and exudes good feng shui. All photos are by Garson and Helen, taken with a Leica M8.2. Their photos make me feel like I was actually there hopping around the house with them and their two darling cats, Molly and Benny.

Anyway, let's roll along to their delightful story. Take it away, Helen! —

We moved a few years ago from leafy Highgate in north London to this beautiful, unique house in a medieval market town outside London. We chose the house, rather than the town, because of the attached lake, secluded location and unusual architectural features. It's just one of a few houses built in 1974 around a small lake which used to be a fishing club, so there are still many giant carp lurking in the water. Hardly anyone in the town knows about these houses as we are on a small private road and delivery people are always confused because the only way to enter the front of the house is via the lake! The entrance is through our back garden, so it's a sort of 'back to front' house. There are quirky rules in the house deeds, such as using only one fishing rod per household at any one time, one rowing boat per household at any one time, and having to maintain a minimum of 22 ducks on the lake. Every spring, we hope for plenty of ducklings!

The living room has wooden ceiling beams and an exposed brick wall with a small fireplace, making it very cosy in the winter. There are still a few original features, including beautiful textured wallpaper in the living room, a little gas heater, wooden wall panelling and the staircase leading up to the main bedroom. We already had some Mid-Century Modern Danish teak furniture, which looked even better in this house. Since moving here, we have bought more pieces, including a vintage teak planter where we grow herbs. We've collected more bits and pieces on our travels, and I like to display a few things around the house, such as a ceramic carafe and tea cups set from Spin Ceramics, Beijing, a vintage clock from Panjiayuan Market, Beijing, a Japanese condiments set from J Period in Omotesando Hills, Tokyo and my favourite Gotland curly sheepskin from Gothenburg, Sweden.

We're lucky to have one home office each, and our styles are quite different. Garson is a collector and so he likes to display his jazz and Brazilian vinyl and CDs, whereas I like to organise my books in a certain way. Our cats Benny and Molly also enjoy living here (Benny was born two doors down and his family still live there!). There's plenty of space for them to play outside, and indoors they have their favourite sleeping spaces, rotating between all the rooms. It's a lovely home for entertaining, particularly in the summer time when we can eat outside in the garden and have a barbecue. It's probably the best home I've ever lived in and our neighbours must feel the same way as they have lived here ever since the houses were built!

I'm a film examiner at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) (which celebrates its centenary this year and is the equivalent of the MPAA). I love watching films, so it's ideal. I also wrote a food blog, World Foodie Guide, for a couple of years, but stopped when it became too time consuming, expensive and fattening! My husband does all the cooking at home but once in a while I'll try something out in the kitchen. As he's mostly vegetarian and eats fish only occasionally, I don't usually eat meat unless I go to a restaurant, but as a result, my diet is much healthier, and all I have to do is wash the dishes...

I always feel I'm on holiday when I'm at home and can spend days here without ever wanting to leave. 


Now that's my kind of vacation! A really sweet thank you to Helen and Garson for inviting all of us into their handsome home.