‘This house is quite different from our previous place, which was an older property with original features such as fireplaces, cornicing and tiles. It was a beautiful home, but it had a small garden and the location wasn’t convenient, so I was keen to move somewhere nearer the children’s school and with more outside space.’ The owner designed everything herself, and it took a year to finalise the plans. She’d renovated the last home, so the idea of DIY and builders didn’t worry her. ‘We had a few weeks without a kitchen, but as it was summer, it wasn’t a problem. I’m also lucky to have skilled friends and family who helped with wiring, plastering and decorating, which definitely made my finances go further.’
'I always knew I'd make major changes to the ground floor. The original layout was traditional, with glazed doors dividing the living room and dining area, and a small separate kitchen. I didn't particularly need a large space for cooking, but I liked the idea of a more family-friendly downstairs space for our kids.' Here white walls and polished wooden floors offer a calm background to keep swirling patterns, crocheted throws and low-level furniture looking fresh and simple.
Patterned prints, throws and a retro lampshade give the space plenty of personality. 'For the end of the room, I wanted a small sofa, although I couldn't resist layering on some fabrics.' The changes have transformed the way the house functions. There's now a multipurpose living space, and the kids can easily play outside.
A drop-leaf table is perfect for a small space. You can open it to create a dining nook when you need one, then fold it to the size of a console table when its not in use.
Similar dining table
There are elements of Scandinavian style, too, some fun pictorial wallpapers and a few retro touches. 'Instead of replacing the stair carpet, I decided to paint them instead - it looks bright and fresh.' The owner has also hung cards, wrapping fabrics and pictures on the wall for added effect. She picked up free fabric and wallpaper samples from high-street shops or online for these small craft projects.
Made In Design
The owner installed a statement worktop in a vivid hue for an instant hit of colour. 'I chose my kitchen for the neat handleless cabinets, which give plenty of storage.' The boiler, dishwasher and fridge are hidden so it looks sleek and organised. 'Too stop it from being too predictable, I perked it up with purple worktops and green tiling. Apart from the bright scheme, it's a simple design as gadgets and fancy fittings aren't for me. I'd rather treat myself to some new prints, wallpaper or fabrics.'
Geometric prints that feature pops of bright colours set an energised tone in this home office. 'After replastering all the rooms, I started the decorating process. My taste is quite mixed but I love vibrant colours and crisp patterns.' The owner inherited the chest of drawers from a friend, and put her own stamp on it with a fresh coat of paint and some wallpaper scraps.
In a sun-filled bedroom, bright colours really catch the light and lift the mood. 'A friend gave me some yellow curtain fabric, but there wasn't quite enough so I added the dark purple for a contrast.' The vibrant shades have been emphasised by the crisp, white bedlinen.
Wallpaper is another big feature and it has been used to decorate furniture and the walls. 'I jazzed up the fitted wardrobes with this fun wallpaper.' The rest of the look has been kept clean and simple with white-painted floors and crisp white cotton bed linen.
Here the owner has been bold with colour combos and haven't shied away from punchy shades. Retro style is all about combining patterns and prints to make them work together. White walls and storage punctuate this powerful design, and help to prevent the room looking cluttered.
Graham & Brown
Right Price Home
The owner hasn't been afraid to use colour in a small bathroom. Here, a vibrant blue floor pairs well with the white fixtures and fittings and yellow accessories. She has kept things simple and contemporary with a circular, freestanding storage unit, which can be moved around at will. The square basin gives the bathroom a sleek, modern edge and has built-in storage.
'While decorating this house, I've never worried about sticking to a style, instead I'll always find a place for any bits and pieces that come my way. There are just so many lovely things around to inspire me.'