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Feathering The Empty Nest {With Elle Wright}

Author: Lauren Coleman

When I was first introduced to Elle’s blog I was struck by the Leonard Cohen quote she shared,’There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.’ Let me tell you never was a truer word spoken. Elle’s beautifully written story is one of enormous heartbreak, healing and home-making and I’m honoured to share her journey with you today. I know I’m not the only one who will be sending her wishes of love and light.

When I became a mother to our beautiful baby boy, Teddy, last May; I simply had no comprehension of what was about to happen over the course of that week; or indeed since then. Teddy fell ill during the night after he was born; thus, we spent three days in a NICU unit, before we returned home, with no baby. Our son had died.

What happens when what you had envisaged happening following the birth of your first born, doesn’t happen? What do you do when the universe makes you think it’s all going your way, and then takes all of your cards from your hands and throws them up in the air? What do you do when you have your beautiful, long awaited baby boy; and then he dies? I never imagined we would have to answer any of those questions. The universe, however, had some ideas of its own.

After losing Teddy, I have spent the last nine months of my life navigating a new way through; devising a new plan for when the old one seems laughable. Working out what to do next, where to go from here, and what my purpose is if I’m not the Mummy that I had planned to be? I have always loved our home; since the moment we walked through the door to view it almost two and a half years ago; I knew this was the house I would make a home. I never thought that this home would, quite frankly, save me.

My passion for interiors and for feathering our nest began long before Teddy arrived. He was always there in my planning though; “When we have a baby we’ll need this room” or “We should probably move this to here for when we have children.” What was different then was that I never needed that passion; it was just an interest, a hobby; something I fitted in around the day-to-day goings on in our lives.

When we returned home from hospital empty-armed and broken hearted; I simply did not fathom that it would be our home that helped to heal me. What I have discovered over these months is that throwing yourself into a “hobby” that is as creative as it is rewarding, really can help you in more ways that you knew possible. Admittedly I have had the time to pursue things that I never would have made time for if I had been at work; or if indeed, Teddy had lived. I have made lampshades, footstools, painted (and re-painted) pretty much every piece of new and existing furniture in our house. I have sat at my sewing machine in some of my darkest moments. I just kept on sewing.

Some days it has been all I can do to drag my sorry-self out of bed and make myself leave the house for some fresh air. I know I always feel better when I do, and thankfully my little sidekick Boris is the perfect excuse that I need to make sure that I do just that (Besides my husband he is the second love of my life. A pug.) This home (and Boris) have given me reason to get up, get out, and keep giving this life everything that I have each day.

Truthfully, I have found the process of planning, making, creating and then being able to enjoy our home something that focuses my mind again. It gives me the “purpose” my life was missing after Teddy died, the purpose I so desperately needed when I felt as though purpose was entirely lacking from my life. I have been able to lose myself in antiques markets and home fairs; relishing in the anonymity that they brought. The freedom to just indulge in something I loved without the stares and whispered words from people who knew what had just happened in my life. It made me feel like me again; no awkward conversations or silences, just the freedom to enjoy something.

It has been a true therapy to immerse myself in my home. I feel like I am creating a nest for happier times to come (and I know they will come), as well as finding a way to overcome what life has handed us. I feel so lucky to have been able to find a way to occupy my mind in the day and help me sleep at night (Without so much as a trip to the doctors!).
We still have so many plans for this house; we are already busy with the next stage of the renovation; planning my long-awaited kitchen-extension-of-dreams. It’s not our forever home, but that’s not to say that I don’t want to feel like we’ll be here forever. This home has wrapped itself around me in my hour of need, and I feel as though it’s my turn to repay the favour by continuing to lovingly restore and renovate it until it’s “just right”. So, I am going to do my very best to do just that.

If you want to read a little more about me, my home interior adventures, or my darling boy Teddy; you can find me on Instagram or over on my blog, Feathering The Empty Nest.

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62 thoughts on “Feathering The Empty Nest {With Elle Wright}

  1. How inspirational your story is Elle and what a beautiful home you have created out of a nightmare situation. My daughter is in hospital at the minute with a possible ectopic pregnancy I feel helpless and I think I know a little of your home bringing you through it all I kind of understand.Much love to you xx

  2. Good God. In tears at my desk…I can’t even begin to imagine. Your story is an inspiration and puts everything in perspective. That’s all I can say. Much love to you.

    1. Thank you Nancy for such lovely words. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read about Teddy. (I’m also sorry for making you cry!).
      Elle xx

  3. Elle, am sat here at work in tears. What a truly inspirational person you are. I can’t even imagine what you’ve had to go through-do go through- on a daily basis. What a lucky little boy to have known your love even for a short while.
    Your home is beautiful and clearly a reflection of its wonderful owner. ❤️

    1. Thank you Rhiannon, that is so kind of you to say. I’m glad you enjoyed reading and thank you for your lovely words about our home. Elle xx

  4. Elle, I totally get it. When my father died last March I spent many an hour painting our garden furniture bright colours-subconsciously brightening my world I guess.
    Having this hobby is an excellent way to cope with the sadness and helps distract the mind somewhat.
    Sending you and your family lots of love and happiness – which, as you said, will come xx

    1. I’m glad you know the joy of this distraction too Siobhan, and I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad. Sending love and light to you! ❤️✨

  5. What an inspirational person you are. I can’t even imagine what you and your husband have been through and your story brought tears to my eyes. Sending you lots of love and the happiness you deserve

  6. Total inspiration!
    I’m so glad I found her insta when the lovely Charlotte from The Home That Made Me asked her to be her guest blogger. Like you Lauren, that Leonard Cohen quote has stuck with me- I’m going to get it printed… I just got to find a space on a wall/shelf to hang it!

    1. Thank you so much Jolene. I’m glad you love that quote as much as I do, I was sent it as a foiled print by a lovely lady I’m friends with on Instagram, so I have it on the shelf now too! Sending lots of love to you.❤️✨

  7. I found your gorgeous instagram just yesterday, Elle, and then, today, here you are on one of my fave blogs! ❤ I love what you’ve done to your house and how you’ve used it as a way to help your healing. Teddy was such a beautiful little boy (I’ve stalked your Insta!) and his memory lives on in your gorgeous rooms. Also – how jealous am I of the town you’re in, I’m up the road in much-less-attractive Woking! Thanks for sharing your story on here xx

    1. Thank you Kate. I love that you’ve taken the time to look at photos of Teddy too, thank you! Oh and you’re just down the road! Sending love to you ❤️Xx

  8. I’ve tried to type a comment a couple of times, but can’t quite find the words. So just wanted to send you lots of love Elle, and thank you for bravely sharing your story xx

  9. Yes to all the above. I did a similar thing when we lost Alexandra although your results in your home are far more impressive (I’m married to an overly cautious Scot so change happens slowly!)

    1. I’m so sorry to learn of your loss of Alexandra. I’m glad you’ve found comfort and solace in your home too. Sending love xx

  10. Thank you for sharing your story, Elle. It takes courage in a world of filtered perfection to stand up and portray your grief. I imagine a loss like yours will be with you forever but so also will your love for Teddy and I think that’s evident in everything you have done in the hours, days, weeks and months since, and will continue to do so as you live your lives and make plans.

    I’m grateful to have found your blog and will be immersing myself in it in the coming days. You live not far from me actually.

    1. I am so very grateful for you taking the time to read the blog Lucy, thank you for your lovely words. Lovely to hear that you live nearby too! Elle xx

  11. I too discovered your instagram last night Elle and was just overwhelmed with emotion as I am this morning reading your story again. You really are an inspirational and very brave and strong woman. Lots of love x

  12. Elle you are such an inspiring and talented lady. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and thoughts with us today x

    1. Thank you Charlotte, and to Lauren for letting me share my story and write about Teddy. Oh and writing for RMS…..life goal achieved right there! ❤️?? Xx

  13. Thank you for sharing your story today Elle, and for telling us about your beautiful boy Teddy. I have spent this morning reading your blog and learning more about your family. Your house is gorgeous (and I especially love Teddy’s room), but what shines out from every word is the love you and your husband share with each other and for Teddy (and Boris!). It’s amazing. xxxx

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog Sian. It means so much to me that people are reading and writing Teddy’s name; so thank you! Elle xx

  14. This is devastating, I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through but what an inspiration you are. Your home is beautiful, you’ve created an amazing space here and I wish you many happy times ahead xxx

    1. Thank you for your well wishes Laura, and for reading. I’m looking forward to happier times ahead too. Xx

  15. So inspiring that youve managed such creativity through such darkness. I can’t even imagine how one would deal with such a tragedy. You sound incredibly strong xxx

  16. Elle, I am very emotional reading this post and words are insufficient other to say I’m so terribly sorry to learn of Teddy’s passing and wish you are your husband all the positive thoughts and brightness for the future. x

  17. Elle I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you’ve gone through but I am in utter awe of you, of how you’re dealing with everything that has happened to you and how you’ve managed to channel your experiences into such a creative outlet. Thank you so much for sharing. Sending you so much love xxx

    1. Thank you so much for reading Lolly. I’ve found sharing my experience very cathartic indeed, and I can’t thank you enough for your lovely words. Xx

  18. Truly heartbreaking for you and your beautiful boy, sending you lots of wishes for now and for the future Elle. Your home is beautiful. Following a far lesser trauma earlier this year I have also found some distraction and pleasure in ‘feathering the nest’, almost without thinking. It must be instinctive, self preservation or therapy in some way. You are incredibly brave xx

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you write so beautifully. As many others have said, it’s inspiring that you’ve created such a gorgeous place to call home in such a heartbreaking time. I too find a lot of comfort ‘feathering the nest’ when I’m struggling or overwhelmed, although I cannot imagine what you’ve been through. I’m now going to be regularly checking your instagram and blog for inspiration and wish you so much happiness for the future! X

    1. Thank you Sian, I’m glad you find comfort in it too! Thank you for your lovely wishes too. Sending love and light to you. Xx

  20. Sending you lots of love Elle ❤️ I am so moved by your story and how you had dealt with it all. Really puts life into perspective. Thank you for sharing it and your beautiful home. Wishing you and your husband all the very best for the future. x

    1. Thank you for your lovely words Natasha. I’ve found (as you can imagine) it’s put so much of my life into perspective, I can only thank Teddy each day for coming into our lives and teaching us what matters.
      Sending love back at you! Elle xx

  21. What a heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry for your loss. But what a beautiful home! How lovely to use your energy and memories of teddy to move forward and create such a lovely home. Lots of love xx

  22. You write so eloquently Elle. I am so sorry that life has dealt you, your husband and beautiful son such an heartbreaking blow. You honour your beautiful Teddy’s memory with your words. x

    1. That’s so kind of you to say Michelle, thank you. I know it sounds cliche, but I live each day with Teddy in my heart and constantly on my mind, and I think I’m a better person for it. Thank you for reading. Elle xx

  23. Dear Elle,

    What strength you have, such a beautiful and heartfelt piece that puts everything in perspective. Thank you for summoning the courage to write this and open your heart about losing Teddy, it has completely moved me.

    Jess xxx

    1. Jess, thank you for such lovely words. I cannot thank you enough for reading Teddy’s story and for writing his name in your comment. It makes my heart smile each time I see it written. Sending love to you. Elle xx

  24. I came across you on Instagran and started following you because your house looked similar to mine and I was inspired by your renovation work. My house has been in the family for generation and I love it too. I am so sorry to hear about your story. Happier times are definitely on their way to you. Take care xxx

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt words and positivity. I hope that you are enjoying your renovation project as much as we are! x

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