‘I furnished our house ON A SHOESTRING’
Stylist at Home Katie, 39, has created a unique and beautiful interior full of vintage charm
y first house was a Victorian end-of-terrace with original features and I decorated it traditionally, with a red living room and wallpaper,’ says Katie. ‘My husband Martin and I wanted a more rural location for our children, Olivia, 15, and Kian, 9, and we must have viewed 20 houses before settling on this cottage, which is very light and open, and retains its period features.
When we first moved in, we painted the walls white and that was the start of a new style for me. White is a blank canvas, so you can keep changing what’s in the room. If I want to bring in another colour, I do it by adding cushions and decorative bits.
MCreating the look
My passion for interiors goes back to my childhood, when I’d rearrange my bedroom weekly – I also painted blue spots on the ceiling! I adore vintage style, as I like things that have a story. My look is eclectic and isn’t all from one place – and that’s all part of the attraction. I buy from antiques fairs, vintage shops, ebay and car-boot sales, and I even forage in skips!
I’ve always loved hunting for unusual objects and I never spend too much on anything. It’s not particularly about the money – because I do it this way, I can change things later without feeling guilty. I follow a lot of people on Instagram who have shops and they sell items on there, too. It’s brilliant because you don’t have to pay any selling fees as you do on ebay.
If I do buy things new from shops, it’s usually from H&M, Cath Kidston or Wilko. With vintage style, I think it’s important to keep a room from looking too traditional, so bringing the odd modern element
such as copper or geometric patterns into the scheme keeps it fresh.
Weõve been really lucky with this house, because we havenõt had to do any building work or major improvements, as it had been taken care of so well. We also had to replace some rotted wooden sash windows with the same design in UPVC, but you really canõt tell they arenõt made of wood, and weõre so pleased with them.
The handmade kitchen was already here, but it was bottle green, and changing the doors from dark to white and pale blue was quite a mammoth task that involved hours of sanding and layers of paint. The kitchen is definitely the room I like the best because it has so many of my favourite objects in it, and I love how all of the colours and patterns have come together.
Not long before we moved in, the bathroom had been refurbished, so it
‘I made my own runner for the dining table using a length of deck chair canvas – It’s cheap and has the vintage look I love’
already had the bath, toilet and panelling in place. The old shower had been made from a tiled stud wall, but it had developed a leak, so we knocked the wall out and fitted a new shower enclosure. We also had the bath re-enamelled for £375 and painted the exterior in duck-egg blue, and now it looks like a brand-new tub.
Floorboards are quite key to the vintage look, but we lived with carpets in the bedrooms for about four years, because we lived in fear of discovering the boards underneath were in poor condition. It took a lot of gentle persuasion for me to convince Martin that we needed to look under the carpets and find out. Luckily, the floorboards turned out to be in a decent state, and we painted them with Ronseal Diamond Hard White satin floor paint, which has lasted brilliantly.
Most of the downstairs floor is concrete, so we had to save up for an engineered wood floor to replace the old carpet. I was
‘I’ve filled our home with many salvaged Items – It’s a good thing I like pieces to look slightly battered and worn!’
after a dark one to contrast with the white walls, but now I want it white!
Furnishing on a budget
The dining room still has the original floorboards and is one of my favourite rooms because it has a lovely light and is a great space for showing off my retro treasures. It cost less than £150 to put this look together, as lots of my furniture – here and throughout – is from antiques fairs or vintage shops. They are all well-made items and will last a lot longer than modern pieces. One of my best furniture-buying tips is to go to fairs and car-boot sales and wait until the end of the day. Traders often don’t want to load things back into their vans, so I have done some great deals by making last-minute offers.
I often paint the furniture I’ve bought to make it fit somewhere. You don’t need to use the expensive chalk paints because normal matt emulsion is just as good. I use
whatever paint I have lying around the house, or I buy tester pots and mix my own colours, sometimes adding acrylic paint.
I never feel as if the house is finished because it’s constantly evolving and that’s the way I like it. I’m always adding new things, moving pieces around and painting furniture and I think if I didn’t, I’d become bored with the place. The only problem is that I’m starting to run out of space, particularly in the dining room, which doubles as my studio and is often full of my event props. maybe it’s time to build a workshop in the garden!’ get clicking and go to housetohome.co.uk/ styleathome for more inspiring house tours.