Laura and Mitchell's previous home had been a spic and span-new build, so a dilapidated Victorian terrace that needed a lot of work was a big undertaking.
The house had been left empty for nine months and had an overgrown garden, nicotine-stained walls and a damp problem that required immediate attention. The couple had dreams of opening up faux walls and finding original fireplaces or dreamy tiles. Instead, they found crumbling concrete and a lot of bodge jobs.
Their Victorian dream needed plenty of work, but room by room...
The couple were keen on a monochrome scheme, and have incorporated this throughout the house, with pops of colour to add warmth and personality. They started in the living room, painting the walls a 50/50 split of black and white.
‘It took me months to persuade Mitch to paint the bottom half of the walls black,' says Laura. 'But I think it was definitely worth the wait and we both love it now.’
‘The hallway was so dark when we moved in. I couldn’t wait to paint it a fresh, bright white – and added polka dot stickers, of course. I have a real affinity for polka dots!' says Laura. ‘I won the May Rose Vintage Uma Thurman cushion in a competition on Instagram and she goes seamlessly with our living room.’
Next they started work in the kitchen, which was old, tiny and a bit dingy. 'We knocked down walls to create a longer and brighter galley kitchen idea, with plenty of light flooding in. This IKEA kitchen was exactly what we were looking for and I fell in love with the faux marble worktops.'
'We decided to go for open shelving instead of upper units as it makes the space feel bigger and saved money. It’s also a great excuse to buy new accessories and houseplants!'
Next on their list was to have the dining room replastered. 'Once the dust quite literally settled, it became clear that we needed to replace all the floors – so we fitted new flooring throughout the downstairs ourselves to keep costs down. It was back-breaking work, but so rewarding at the end.'
'I painted the hallway wall with tiny black dots which makes a lovely frame for the dining room as you enter.'
They then ripped out the bathroom and continued with the monochrome palette for its replacement. The couple got professionals in to finish the job, to ensure a really polished professional finish, before adding greenery and accessories.
‘House plants bring a real sense of nature and can make a room feel so relaxing. The tiger print towel from H&M Home emphasises the jungle vibes in here too,’ says Laura. Speaking of the bathroom plant idea she adds,‘I mix and match real and faux house plants in our bathroom as not all of the real ones survive!’
We refreshed our bedroom, going from a dark botanical wallpaper to a calming mural from Rebel Walls. We also put down a super-soft carpet after years of having exposed floorboards – something Mitch was very excited to see the back of.
'With all the money saved in lockdown we’ve been able to complete all the rooms, including the conservatory, which, to no one’s surprise I painted black, to compliment the monochrome aesthetic.'
'It really connects the space to the house now and is a lovely spot to have breakfast in. I think we’ve found our niche of monochrome interiors with splashes of colour. You can see more of my style @lifeatthegreyhouse.'
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