Property Secrets: Professional organiser Tracy Ross
Herts Ad Property team
- Credit: Archant
Professional organiser Tracy Ross, of Blissfully Organised, lives in St Albans with her husband and two sons. She shares her love of cycling, effective storage and mid-century chic...
Where are you from originally?
Cheshire, where I lived with my mum, dad and younger brother before going to university in Coventry when I was 18. I moved to London in 1991.
When did you buy your first property?
After renting for many years, I bought my first flat with my husband Andrew in 1999. We had the first floor flat in a two-storey Georgian house in Streatham. I loved the large light rooms, and we had a magnificent magnolia tree in the front garden. We renovated the flat room by room, which was a fun project. Unfortunately, we did not have access to the garden, which was a shame. We lived there for six years.
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Why did you decide to move?
We both took a sabbatical for six months (three months in South America and three months in Asia) and on returning decided it was time for a change and started searching for a new place to live. It took us a while and we eventually moved to St Albans in 2006 when my oldest son was 18 months.
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Have you ever lived overseas?
I have lived in Paris for a year. We are keen travellers and love exploring new places.
Where do you live now?
Bernards Heath, St Albans, with Andrew and two teenage sons, Alistair and Vincent. We have lived in St Albans for 15 years. We rented in Bernards Heath for 18 months and decided to buy in the area as we really liked it, and at that time we were looking for a school. Bernards Heath has been a fab school for both my boys. I love the area for its proximity to town, easy walk to the station, the open space on Bernards Heath and easy access to the country lanes for cycling.
Have you changed much about it?
Yes, when we first moved in we had to do a complete redecoration, then four years ago we completed an extension to make the space work more effectively for us. Having lived in the house for several years we had a clear idea of what we needed. We have also recently installed a garden room as an additional office space both for Blissfully Organised and my husband working from home.
What did your extension involve?
Opening up the space for a large kitchen diner/living room. It took about six months to complete and was worth it. The space works well for our needs. Also, being a professional organiser I wanted to create a kitchen that would provide the space for the things we needed to store. Bramptons worked with us to create this vision. Knowing what you need to store in your kitchen can really help get the design right.
Is there anything you’d still like to change about your property?
We need to complete the garden now after the garden room installation. There is always a little project list on the go – I am a professional organiser after all. Mostly it’s just refreshing the decoration, as we have effective storage.
Where do you shop for interiors items?
I am a big believer in buying well and loving what you buy for the long term. We have quite a few pre-loved furniture items. I love the mid-century and Scandi styling. We recently restyled our bedroom and took inspiration from a trip to Stockholm a few years ago.
What’s the best thing about your home? And the worst?
The best thing is spending quality time as a family and all those shared moments. Always a lively conversation at mealtimes.
The worst thing is that, living closer to town, it's not always easy to park. Oh, and I dream of having super-fast fibre broadband. This would greatly help us as a family and in my business.
What are your favourite local parks and shops?
Clarence Park. It reminds me of a mini-London park.
We are lucky to have lots of independent shops locally. I love Chloe James Lifestyle for fashion, Cositas for gifts and home items and Eve & Adam for beauty.
What about your favourite restaurants?
Hatch for breakfast and lunch, Tabure and Per Tutti for dinner and my favourite takeaway is Lime Face – Sook makes the most amazing Malaysian food.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Oh, this is such a good question. I have often thought about where I would like to live. Hertfordshire is a great county to live in and St Albans is such a lovely city. We also have London on our doorstep, plus access to great countryside for walking and cycling (my favourite).
I do miss being near the sea and climbing mountains. Luckily for us we have family in Scotland so we can always pack in a few challenges on our visits.
I often dream about living a Californian lifestyle with a consistent climate where you can swim in the sea, do yoga on the beach, go cycling every day and do lots of hiking.
Do you have a dream road locally? Where is it if so?
There are so many pretty roads in St Albans that it is hard to choose. I always enjoy the walk back from St Michael's village to town.
Do you see yourself moving on in the near future?
I think we are pretty settled here while the boys are still studying. We have plans to travel a lot when we have more time.
Where would you like to live next?
I would like to live abroad again one day. We also like the idea of having a flat in London as we love spending time there.
What would your dream home be like?
For me, simplicity is key. I want to have a home that is easy to mange with great storage. I also value having outdoor space. I am a city girl at heart but also love cycling in the countryside. I live in a period house now but my preferred style is modernist with a swimming pool.