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Situated in Glasgow’s West End, this two-bed flat in a modern block felt like home the instant the owner walked in.
Purchased in 2011, the property was in good condition but the decor was very neutral and lacked character and warmth. The flat was bought with the help of the owners’ parents while she was at university in the city.
‘It’s in a really vibrant part of Glasgow, just a stone’s throw from lots of independent shops and cafes, and the area has a real sense of community. I had always envisaged it being a temporary move, but I’ve ended up living here first with flatmates and more recently with my boyfriend.’
The last owner had made some updates and put in a new kitchen, opening it up to create a more open-plan space, but the flat needed a bit of soul, so the owner has made it look more lived-in with personal touches, accessorising with high street finds and adding colour by wallpapering and painting.
‘One of our biggest challenges was decorating and furnishing the flat on a budget. If I see an item I like I try to find something similar elsewhere that costs a bit less – I find it pays to shop around.
'We've also done most of the painting ourselves and even had a go at wallpapering. With your first home, I think it's about working with what you've got and what you can afford, allowing your style to develop slowly.'
The previous owners had already updated the kitchen with simple cream units and butcher's block-style worktops. A stainless-steel extractor and clean white tiles add a functional streamlined look, while colourful pink accessories, floral crockery and a heart-shaped light introduce more personal touches. The open-plan space is great for parties or when the owners have friends round for dinner or a glass of wine.
Having shared the flat with girlfriends for a number of years, the owner has introduced quite a few feminine touches, including hot pink and raspberry shades alongside floral accessories. The modular sofa works well in the open-plan space, creating a boundary between the kitchen and living area. The curtains from Laura Ashley are the owner's pride and joy. 'I splashed out on the curtains, but then my aunt made me some cushions to match - they are a lovely personal touch and cost a fraction of the price of shop-bought versions.'
Finding a suitable place to work from home can be difficult, but this simple white desk and storage boxes give the space an uncluttered feel. 'I've always known I wanted to work for myself and I'm lucky to have the space to be able to operate my business from home. As there's a breakfast bar in the kitchen, it means that the area where I might have had a dining table can be used as an office.'
This framed print of vintage men's hats adds a masculine element to the predominantly feminine decor. It's easy to create your own personalised artwork on a budget by simply framing unusual old posters, vintage ephemera, off cuts of interesting wallpaper and quirky wrapping paper. Try charity shops, car-boot sales and vintage markets for affordable picture frames too.
The floral wallpaper in the spare bedroom is from Cath Kidston, bought for a bargain price when the owner worked for the store part-time while at university. 'My decor style was initially quite feminine. Growing up in the countryside has probably been a big influence on my taste and I've always been drawn to shops such as Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley for inspiration.'
A built-in basin makes practical use of the space in a compact bathroom. Don't be afraid to mix and match tiles of different styles and sizes to help define the boundary between the bath, shower, basin and loo, then add a fun element such as this colourful beach-hut shower curtain and matching towel.
The modern block was built in the noughties in a vibrant part of Glasgow, right next to the Botanic Gardens. 'There will come a time, I'm sure, when we'll feel the need to move, perhaps to one of the beautiful Victorian tenement apartments this part of Glasgow is famed for, but for now, this flat suits us down to the ground - we're more than happy here.'