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'We were living in a small, three-bed house when I found out I was pregnant with twins,’ says the owner of this four-bed Victorian terrace in Kettering. ‘We continued to live there for a short while after the girls were born, but we’d hugely outgrown it. We desperately needed more space, but struggled to find a property that we could afford.' That was until the couple stumbled upon this place.
Although immaculate and finished to a high standard, the interior decor just wasn’t to the couple's liking. 'We favour colour and creativity, while the house was completely "vanilla" style-wise. The bathrooms had peach floral tiles, the kitchen was basic and cheap-looking and every wall had been painted magnolia. And let’s not discuss the beige carpets in the bathrooms…' says the owner.
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'While I’m certainly of the belief that a home should flow and have some sense of consistency to it, I wanted each room to have its own individual character,' the owner says. 'I like a healthy clash of colour and pattern – anything else is too contrived for me.' With that in mind, the couple started chipping away at the house, slowly but surely adding their own personal touches to each room.
'I’m a keen upcycler and my husband is a dab hand at DIY too, so we tackled most household tasks together, without needing to hire any help,' the owner says. You’ll find revamped furniture peppered around the house. 'I’m forever repainting pieces that I find in charity shops and at reclamation yards, giving them the ‘beige is not a colour’ treatment. That's been one of my mottos since beginning the redecoration process!'
The owner is always on the hunt for home inspo and indie interiors brands on Instagram, where she also posts photos of her own home (@beige_is_not_a_colour). 'There’s actually a running joke with our friends that every time they visit, something in the house has changed,' she says. 'In fact, it’s rare that husband will return from work to find the house in the same state it was when he left.'
When the family moved in, the house had been refurbished so all the major work had been done. 'But it wasn’t to our taste, so it needed a complete style overhaul,' says the owner. They applied the same approach to the exterior as the interior. 'Be bold, be brave and remember it’s your home. Who cares what anyone else thinks of it?'
The couple laid durable laminate flooring in high-traffic zones such as the hallway, kitchen and living room. The knocked-through living room has been painted in dramatic, dark grey, which is the perfect backdrop for highlighting vibrant art and accessories.
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'In the kitchen, we kept the original cupboard carcasses, but replaced the doors of the wall units with white gloss ones and installed new base unit doors that my husband made using reclaimed floorboards,' she says. 'He also created the splashback from the same second-hand floorboards, and made door handles using lengths of copper piping. It only cost around £50 in total, so his nifty handiwork saved us hundreds!'
Top tip: The owner had her heart set on a beautiful – but very expensive – wallpaper that she couldn’t afford. So she recreated it using copper snail tape that she bought from Home Bargains for £1.49 per box.
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The couple added a slender conservatory to the right-hand side of the kitchen and knocked through to make it one large, open-plan space, which meant they were able to comfortably accommodate a large dining table and extra storage. ‘I’m so glad we built the conservatory to extend the kitchen. Now there’s plenty of space for the whole family to gather and enjoy a meal – or just a chat – together,’ says the owner.
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Buy now: Similar Dante dining table, £299, Made.com (opens in new tab)
Most of the furniture in the master bedroom was bought from junk shops or found on the street and upcycled. The wall behind the bed has been panelled and painted a bold turquoise to create a bright focal point and draw your eye to the bed.
The children's bedrooms are just as creative, and also feature plenty of upcyled pieces. ‘We used reclaimed corrugated iron to make a feature wall in my son's bedroom. It only cost £10!’ the owner says.
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'We installed a plywood floor and feature wall in my daughter's room. She chose to paint the floor emerald as it’s her birthstone’
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Buy now: For similar artwork try the Queen Fleur print, £16, Hilary & Flo (opens in new tab)
In the bathrooms, the couple battened and clad the walls with wood, and buried the existing peach tiles beneath sleek metro ones. Bright accents such as the upcycled cabinet and graphic shower curtain add fun and character. ‘The cabinet was the first thing I upcycled 10 years ago, and as for the bath, I bought that for £1.04 from eBay!’ the owner says.
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Buy now: Similar Halo shower curtain, £45.95, Juniqe (opens in new tab)
And the owner isn't done yet. 'Although our home is now ‘finished’ as far as decorating is concerned, rest assured that accessories will be be rearranged and items will be moved from room to room as I experiment with displays,' she says. 'I’m so proud of how hard we've worked together as a team, to create our truly unique home on an extremely tight budget. I think that by being pushed to our limits, having very little money to spend and being forced to think outside the box, it’s made us more creative than ever.’
Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and also edits its sister title Style At Home. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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