We had always loved visiting my grandma in her little house in Fife,’ says the owner. ‘But when it came to discussing the possibility of us living in it when she had to move into a care home, my husband and I had mixed feelings. There were so many memories of good times spent there with her, but everyone was determined to keep the house in the family, so after much soul-searching, we sold our Victorian flat nearby and moved in.'
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'The fact that my brother and his family, as well as our parents, live nearby, made it feel like the right thing to do, and Grandma was delighted knowing that we were moving in. Once we were actually here, we began to get excited about doing it up. It’s a very bright house with big windows and a great layout. And it’s also got a conservatory which is a nice addition in chilly Scotland.'
'We were pleased that the house was in sound condition when we moved in. My husband works full-time, I’m self-employed and we have three-year-old, so we didn’t want to undertake a radical renovation. Giving this already pretty house a fairly superficial facelift was more than enough for us. The improvements we’ve made have all been cosmetic, which suited our available time and budget.'
'We had a good idea of what we wanted to do and didn’t hang about. We laid new flooring throughout and decorated all the rooms straight away. I know that the standard advice is to live in a house for a while and get to know the light and how you use the space – but we knew the house well already. Plus, I tend to know what I want and just go for it.'
'Next, I made mood boards for every room. I used Photoshop and put them together on the computer. I chose five or six colours for each space and sourced suitable products to add in, cutting and pasting them onto the image. You could do this just as easily using paper and card and cutting pictures out of magazines. I swear by this method – it’s a great way to experiment with your decor without making expensive or time-consuming mistakes.'
'Our aim was to transform the house from a smart modern bungalow into a picturesque seaside cottage, which we planned to do by adding character through colour and pattern. We wanted to thoroughly personalise the space.'
'The next task on the list was to paint the outside, which made a dramatic improvement. The exterior walls are now brilliant white and the woodwork is a soft teal. Neutral colours just don’t do it for me. I love bold, Mediterranean hues – yellows, greens, blues and reds – and I’ve used plenty of these liberally throughout the interior. Warm tones help to make a house feel more homely and cosy, and layering patterns and colours together is much easier than people think. I also tend to choose vivid colours and patterns as they can make brilliant backdrops for art and collectables.'
'I’m a great believer in buying directly from artists and makers rather than through larger chain stores. It’s invaluable support for them and a guaranteed way to add individuality to your home. I buy as much as I can at craft fairs and rarely from well-known chains. I shop around a lot online for bargains on Amazon and eBay, too, and occasionally, I have to admit, I fall for something from a far-flung seller that’s not so much of a bargain once you include the cost of shipping! However, I reckon the odd extravagant purchase can really lift a house out of the ordinary.'
'Our friends and visitors love what we’ve done, although I do understand this much colour and pattern isn’t for everyone. One friend asked how we slept at night with all the stimulation going on! The truth is, I find rich colours and vibrant patterns incredibly soothing. I feel enveloped by their warmth. I’m not sure what Grandma would have made of the decor, but with her blessing, we’ve made her house our home and we absolutely love it!’
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Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.
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