‘we’ve MADE THIS house our own’

Style at Home (UK) - - Inside… -

Crafty up­cy­cling and bar­gain buys helped Lau­rie Reay trans­form her stop-gap home

Lau­rie, 33, used cost-ef­fec­tive ideas and clever DIY skills to cre­ate a har­mo­nious home

Stylist at Home

Although my hus­band Ben and i orig­i­nally chose this house as a stop-gap, we’ve re­ally set­tled in,’ says Lau­rie. ‘the area has good schools for our chil­dren ri­ley, ruby and Flinn, and we’re near the beach, so it’s per­fect.

Be­fore, we owned a two-bed­room house, but it be­came too small for us. We let it out, so we could rent a larger place for our­selves, but af­ter three years, we sold our pre­vi­ous house and started search­ing for a new home. To find the space we needed on our bud­get, I knew we’d be look­ing for a “do-er up­per”.

Pe­riod de­tails

I wanted a Victorian house be­cause I love their spa­cious rooms, high ceil­ings and char­ac­ter. We looked at a few pos­si­bil­i­ties, but as soon as I walked into this place, I felt sure it was the one. The decor wasn’t for me, but the lay­out was ideal and the orig­i­nal fire­places and pic­ture rails re­ally ap­pealed. There was a lot to do, though. The kitchen was quite ba­sic but neu­tral, so we knew it could be up­dated eas­ily, but the dark carpets, heavy colours and loud pat­terned wall­pa­pers had to go.

Trans­for­ma­tion time

Ben and I are both pretty hands-on and we’ve done nearly all the work our­selves, which saved huge amounts of money. We stripped the flow­ery wall­pa­per in the liv­ing room al­most straight­away, and pulled up the old car­pet, as I was go­ing to paint the floor­boards un­der­neath. Un­for­tu­nately, I found con­crete in­stead of wood at one end of the room so we ended up lay­ing a new car­pet on that part. We also needed to lay new hall floor­ing, as there was just

con­crete un­der­neath the grotty vinyl. I wanted to use the orig­i­nal boards wher­ever pos­si­ble, and as the liv­ing room ones were in good con­di­tion, we sanded and var­nished them. The bed­room floors are all painted white. They have a few nail marks and dents, and with day-to-day life, they get a bit bashed, but for me, that’s part of the look. Noth­ing in my home is too per­fect and that makes it very easy to live here. With three young chil­dren, it’s a good idea to keep things sim­ple and re­laxed.

Pas­tel scheme

Light and fem­i­nine was the feel I wanted to achieve in my home. The walls are mostly painted plain white, which is cost-ef­fec­tive, and very easy to touch up if needed. I love pinks though, and I’ve got lots of painted fur­ni­ture in pas­tels, off-whites and greys.

Pale shades can re­ally lift the rooms, although it took four or five coats of white paint to cover some of the very deep wall colours. The bath­room walls were strong teal green with yel­low gloss wood­work. Chang­ing them to gen­tle taupe and clean, matt white has made a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to the light and sense of space.

We couldn’t af­ford to do much to the kitchen, but luck­ily the floor and wall tiles were plain and neu­tral and I’ve painted the cab­i­nets. They were an unin­spir­ing, wood ef­fect and I’ve primed and painted them in pale grey, and then var­nished on top. They’re hard­wear­ing and quick to clean, and it all looks much brighter.

Find­ing trea­sures

I don’t re­ally have a fixed style – it’s all a bit eclec­tic and mis­matched, and I of­ten move stuff about. I like pretty pieces and an aged, weath­ered look, and we have a lot of sec­ond-hand items that I’ve re­stored and painted. Car-boot sales are bril­liant places to browse and buy fur­ni­ture and the kids en­joy them as much as Ben and I do,

we of­ten find amaz­ing trea­sures. i go for at­trac­tive shapes and in­ter­est­ing de­tails, and i’m not put off if some­thing’s a bit dam­aged, i’ll just try to fix it rather than dis­card it. Paint can to­tally trans­form a tired old piece of fur­ni­ture, and if you can man­age some ba­sic up­hol­stery, too, it re­ally does make all the dif­fer­ence.

Bar­gain hunt

i’ve found some in­cred­i­ble deals on­line as well. The liv­ing room man­tel shelf was a fan­tas­tic buy and has be­come one of my favourite features in the house. it was orig­i­nally a com­plete fire sur­round, and cost £20 on ebay. When we got it here, it was gor­geous, but it didn’t fit the fire­place. Af­ter some thought, i re­alised we could cut the up­rights off and just use the top as a man­tel shelf. it’s very dec­o­ra­tive and all my can­dles and lanterns look lovely around it – it re­ally makes the room.

We’ve got three bed­rooms, so ri­ley and Flinn share a room, which is fine for the mo­ment. As the chil­dren get older, we may think about mov­ing house, although we do have a mas­sive at­tic that could be con­verted into a lovely fourth bed­room. if we ever did de­cide to leave this house, i think i’d find it quite dif­fi­cult to move out. We’ve made it just how we want it and have put so much of our­selves into it.

We didn’t have much diy ex­pe­ri­ence to be­gin with, but we’ve learnt so much as we’ve gone along, and picked up vi­tal in­for­ma­tion and skills from watch­ing on­line video tu­to­ri­als. There aren’t many tasks we wouldn’t tackle our­selves now. i’m re­ally proud of what we’ve achieved in this house, es­pe­cially as we fit­ted it all around our fam­ily and our jobs.’ See in­spir­ing house tour videos and ideas at house­to­home.co.uk/ styleath­ome

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