‘As with most house purchases, the process for us had plenty of twists and turns along the way,’ says the owner of this three-bed in Southampton. ‘At the time it felt like a bit of a nightmare with all the setbacks, but it just goes to show how things can work out for the best in the end. This house, it turned out, had everything we were looking for.’
Having reserved a townhouse on a nearby new-build development, the sale of the couple’s flat fell through on the day of exchange, meaning they lost the property that they’d had their hearts set on. Back to square one, they managed to secure another buyer for their flat and in the meantime this three-bedroom terraced house on the same development had come back on the market after another sale had fallen through. ‘I wasted no time booking a viewing and actually ended up reserving it the very same day!,’ says the owner. ‘There was something about it that just felt right and I’ve not looked back since.’
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The owner and her husband had just returned from 14 months of travelling and couldn’t wait to get in and put their stamp on the property to make it feel like home. Luckily, they were able to liaise with the developer about the flooring as this part of the build wasn’t yet finished and it worked out much cheaper to source and fit it themselves. The owner’s husband installed the B&Q laminate downstairs and they used a local carpet fitter to tackle the upstairs.
‘With the property being a new-build, it meant we had a completely clean slate to work with and the fun part of decorating could begin straight away,’ the owner says. ‘I definitely started out with a minimalist approach but, as time went on, I soon found myself introducing more pattern and texture into the mix to build up a look that has a slightly bohemian feel.’
‘We live in a three-bed mid-terrace new-build property in Southampton,’ says the owner. ‘We bought the house in September 2015. When we bought it everything was shiny and new, which was a big attraction. It was an empty shell that needed lots of work but we could see its fantastic potential.’
After moving in, the couple decided to focus their energy on decorating the living room, as this is the hub of the house, so their priority was to turn this into their cosy sanctuary. The owner has always loved Scandinavian interiors so she’s channelled that sense of simplicity in the way she’s decorated – using clean lines and a cool palette as a base throughout.
‘I found Instagram to be a great source of ideas, too; there are so many accounts packed full of style and personality – I could sit for hours scrolling through the feeds!’ says the owner. ‘I now have my own dedicated interiors account, @caffeineandcacti, where I share lots of inspiration and can chat all things interiors with other like-minded people.’
As the layout of the house doesn’t allow for a separate dining room, the owner created a dedicated dining area in the living room. ‘The open-plan feel works perfectly for us, especially in the summer when we can open the doors onto the garden,’ she says. ‘My aim in this space was to make it somewhere we could kick back and relax, and host friends and family.’
‘I’d say I’m naturally drawn to a more muted colour scheme and embrace Scandi-inspired styling by using lots of white, grey and natural woods,’ says the owner. ‘I wanted to keep the house feeling light and fresh so we decided to stick to these colours throughout, adding touches of blush pink and green accents with furniture and accessories.’ To help keep costs down, she and her husband and took on most of the DIY themselves.’
‘We’ve certainly learnt a lot during the process!’ she says. ‘There was one occasion when my husband accidentally drilled into a live wire in the wall – thankfully he was fine – so we have since invested in a wire detector.’
When it comes to furnishings, the owner is a bit of a bargain hunter and has found a lot of pieces for the house through websites such as eBay, Facebook groups and Gumtree, particularly for products that were out of stock or discontinued. ‘Ikea is my go-to store for affordable, stylish furniture that has a Scandinavian feel and I even admit to enjoying building flat-pack furniture now and again!’ the owner says. ‘H&M Home and Matalan also have some gorgeous ranges and my favourite higher-end retailers have to be Made.com and West Elm.’
Having seen geometric painted walls on Pinterest, the owner had a go at this technique herself in the living room where she created abstract shapes to lift the plain white walls. ‘It was actually much easier than I thought it would be and using FrogTape meant I could play around with the design before painting,’ she says. ‘The guest bedroom design was a little trickier, however, as I had to use a level to make sure the line was straight all the way around the room. In the end, the half-painted design worked out really well and it’s a great way to add colour without overwhelming small spaces.’
The owner loves upcycling furniture and has revamped several pieces around the house, including two mid-century chests of drawers that are now in the guest bedroom. ‘I purchased them from Gumtree at a great price and painted on a geometric design to give them some character. I’ve also taught myself the art of macramé and have made lots of plant hangers, wall hangings and the light shade in the hallway,’ she says.
‘The “get naked” bathroom mat from Urban Outfitters is one of my favourite pieces,’ says the owner. It really pops in the all-white bathroom, where a wood shelving unit and wall art helps to add character to the simple space.
Get the look
Buy now: ‘Get Naked’ bath mat, £25, Urban Outfitters
‘Making the house personal to us has been a natural process and I only buy things that I feel drawn to, not trends that shops tell me I should buy,’ says the owner. ‘Transforming our house from an empty shell into somewhere we can call home has been worth the wait and I now can’t imagine living anywhere else! The living space, in particular, has come together over time and it’s my favourite place to unwind and kick back after a long week.’