'Something I learnt very early on in our property search is that I’m a go-with-your-heart kind of girl,’ says Natasha, the owner of this two-bed terrace in west London. ‘After making the decision to buy, eight years into mine and my boyfriend’s relationship, I got a little swept up in the romance of it all, imagining how our lives would look in each house we viewed, and made the mistake of becoming too attached to every one.'
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'And sure enough, it never panned out quite how I saw it happening in my head. Until we found what we both felt sure was “the one” and came to an agreement with the seller. Sadly, after we’d spent three months waiting, the seller dropped out, leaving us exhausted, fed up and – even more annoyingly – in the peak of the house price increase.'
'We’d had our eye on our ideal area for months, as both of our parents live within walking distance, but we’d been priced out and our previous experiences had left a sour taste in my mouth. So, when my mum called one morning, shrieking that she’d found us the perfect property, I wasn’t all that enthused. Mum and Ryan took on the joint responsibility of viewing the house, but while I trusted their judgement, I didn’t have high hopes.'
Natasha's mum explained that the property had potential but one less bedroom than they’d hoped for. So she put off viewing the property for as long as she could. 'Eventually I succumbed to their pleas and gave it a shot. Just as I’d expected, I knew it wasn’t for me within seconds of seeing it. I didn’t like the area or the road, and the all-magnolia decor gave me a headache.'
'Weeks and many more viewings later, though, I had a change of heart. It became clear that, despite how much I’d disliked it, it was the most promising property we’d viewed in a long time in terms of its space, potential to update and proximity to our parents. So, with that, I swallowed my doubts and we bought the house.'
'Of all the colours on the spectrum, beige is probably my least favourite. Unluckily, it was also the one colour that featured in every room of the house – even the washing machine had a beige rim! Redecorating and adding some much-needed vibrancy was top of my to-do list, but we’d all but blown our budget buying the house, which meant in order to rid it of the magnolia quickly we’d need to get creative. Thankfully, I’m quite savvy when it comes to low-cost decor updates, so we weren’t short on ideas.'
'The hallway is the first area that guests see, so it had to be unique and interesting, says Natasha. It's also the first opportunity to take in her chosen theme. 'I decided to go with a jungle theme, as I get all my inspiration from natural textures and raw materials, but that aside the only requirement I had was that in order for a piece to become part of the scheme, I needed to 100 per cent love it, both for the sake of our small home and our even smaller budget.'
'I stuck with it and, slowly but surely, the bare walls became intricate gallery walls full of memories and treasures, the shelves became explosions of unique and eclectic finds and my houseplant obsession took hold.'
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The biggest change was made in the living room. 'Gone are the lifeless walls and drab floor – now, it’s a homemade jungle that’s equal parts vibrant and calm,' says Natasha. 'We wanted a warehouse-meets-jungle vibe with heaps of texture variety and greenery.'
'As a flea market and antiques fair fanatic, I’ve spent years collecting and storing homeware that would eventually see the light of day in my very own home. That said, much of what I’d managed to accumulate was just trinkets and accessories – not to mention a swing chair I bought from a second-hand shop four years earlier that had sat in storage since – rather than actual furniture. And we had a whole house to fill!'
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‘Despite words of warning from family and friends, I chose to paint the grubby laminate flooring white, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.’
‘This teak cabinet was one of my best buys that we found at Chiswick car-boot and snapped up for a tidy £19.’
In the kitchen, Natasha painted over the tired tiles and cupboard doors for a fast fix, and gave grubby laminate flooring elsewhere a whitewash, which made the rooms instantly brighter. ‘Instead of shelling out on a new kitchen, we gave the doors a refresh with white chalk paint and copper cup handles,' she says.
The original black splashback tiles sucked the life out of the room, so Natasha gave the kitchen a low-cost lift by painting them white.
'I regularly travel to Amsterdam, where I bought nearly all of my decorative kitchenware.'
‘I wanted our bedroom to be a tranquil oasis, full of botanicals and textures that both soothe and revive us,’ says Natasha. For balance against the bold feature wall, she has chosen plainer bedlinen.
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'As we don't need a second bedroom yet, it made sense to use the space as a dressing room. Rather than I've just let the clothes and accessories do the talking,' says Natasha.
'My idea was to create a boho-store vibe. I used to own a vintage fashion stall, so I revived the metal clothes rail.'
‘Until we have the budget to replace the bathroom, we’ve made do with painting the floor tiles,' says Natasha, who has repurposed a pine crate as a rustic planter.
'The scheme grew without any formal planning or overthinking, and I think that’s why I’ve eventually grown to love this house,' says Natasha. 'To an outsider, my home might look like a bit like a botanical garden but, to me, it’s much more than that. They say that plants make people happy, and I couldn’t agree more. I'm happiest when I’m at home in my jungle, surrounded by life, greenery and beautiful things. I feel a sense of escape when I walk through the front door, and am almost instantly at peace.'
'Plus, it’s this home and my passion for interiors that kick-started a career change for me. I worked for years in a job where I felt unfulfilled, but now, I’m a content creator and influencer @la_sidhu, and I’m living my dream.’
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