‘christmas at ours is a time for family’
Seasonal greenery sets the scene in Amber Lilley’s chic home
We’d set our hearts on buying a home here in Harrogate as it is close to my family, and it’s also a very friendly town,’ says Amber. ‘Unfortunately, the houses in this area are very expensive, so my husband Michael and I needed to save hard to get a deposit together. We moved out of our rented accommodation in Leeds and back in with my parents so that we could save all our money. Unexpectedly, within weeks of moving in with Mum and Dad, I found out I was pregnant, so the pressure was on to find our first family home – and soon! Michael worked all the overtime he could while I made a bit of extra money upcycling vintage furniture, as well as working full time right up until my due date.
We looked at several properties, but what I loved about this one in particular was that it required very little structural work. It just needed us to put our own decorative stamp on the place. The price was way over our budget, but I put in an offer anyway. It meant we had to work even harder to save up the extra
‘ for an instant room refresh, include some greenery — i love adding plants to my interiors as they make the place feel alive’
money we needed, but I had no intention of letting this house pass us by.
We moved in two days before our son Milo was born and we had more than eight family members helping – building flat-pack furniture, putting up shelves and unpacking boxes. I’d bought the bedroom furniture before we moved in, but that was about it. My mum also gave me a few bits and pieces to keep us going.
When Milo was just a few weeks old, Mum and Dad helped me freshen up the place. We’d paint while he was napping and then stop when he awoke. We took turns painting over the mushroom colour in the living room and covering over the purple in the bedroom with a bright white. We then decorated Milo’s nursery so that he had his very own room to move into. I wanted the house, especially the openplan areas, to be painted in calm colours, especially as I love whites and greys.
We had to buy things for our home as we went, even renting the place out on Airbnb to earn a little extra money. I furnished our house with a few key investment items, like my super-comfortable retro-styled sofa, and then I dressed the rest with painted furniture left over from my upcycling days. And we were given a few items,
‘try a radiator cover — the one in our dining area is perfect for displaying candles and foliage’
such as the wooden branch table in the living room that has our initials carved into it, which was one of our wedding gifts.
By last December, we had finished the house and I was excited to spend my first Christmas here. I love decorating very simply for the big day, and each year I treat myself to a few more new decorations. We love the market in Harrogate, where I can pick up lovely food, hand-crafted gifts and mulled wine.
A few days before Christmas, Michael and I will have our family over for dinner and cook a traditional roast. My mum and sister love to cook together, and we all help to make it. It’s lovely to be able to host them as our way to say thank you for all their hard work in helping us set up our very first family home.’
white & light. ‘The open-plan dining and kitchen space really attracted me to this house. The white units reflect lots of light, even in winter’