MADE WITH LOVE
By tackling much of the work themselves, this couple were able to revamp their once-outdated house in Whitley Bay
The impetus for Jen and Greg Lambert’s property search began when their landlord decided to sell up. ‘ We were tired of renting and ready to get our own place,’ says Jen. ‘We wanted something near our children’s schools that needed some work. This house was a bit further out than we had hoped, but we were able to get a lot more for our money here.’
With a tight budget and another baby on the way to join siblings Joel, now 10, and Brody, six, the couple knew this house had the potential to be a springboard to bigger and better things. ‘It hadn’t been touched in years but I negotiated a really good price so it made financial sense,’ says Jen.
The couple were able to save money by tackling lots of the work themselves, too, including laying flooring and tiling. Their carpenter friend, who runs Ely Rustic Furniture, also helped out, making the shelving and a new mantelpiece for the faux logburner. ‘I was six months pregnant and stripping wallpaper,’ says Jen, who completed a degree in interior design after Lake, now two, was born. ‘A lower budget can work if you’re prepared to put in the hours yourself.’ Once the essentials were in place, such as new electrics and central heating, Jen painted all the rooms in neutral shades to freshen up the space.
Opening up the kitchen has had the biggest impact of all. ‘There was
a tiny entrance hall, which led to an awkward L-shaped kitchen so we removed the dividing wall,’ says Jen. ‘ We then repainted the units, added new worktops and tiles, replaced the sink and tap, and swapped some of the wall cupboards for shelves.’ Jen is particularly proud of the kitchen island created from the base of a Welsh dresser and finished with an oak worktop and castors. ‘We use it as a giant butcher’s block,’ she says.
Revamping rather than replacing is a mantra that served the pair well in the bathroom, too. ‘It looked horrible before, but we just changed the bath panel, fitted new taps and flooring and added a cabinet below the basin,’ says Jen. ‘Grout pens were lifesavers!’
With a penchant for raw materials and botanicals, Jen describes her style as a blend of boho, beach and Scandi. However, since starting work at Cathy Dean Interior Design, she has been lured over to the dark side, which is evident throughout the property. ‘It began with the kitchen,’ she explains. ‘I had originally painted the units duck egg blue but the room seemed too washed out. Now the dark blue makes a statement and gives the room a real element of drama.’
As Jen’s style keeps evolving, so does the interior of the Lambert home. ‘We’ve been changing the decor as we go but now I’m much more adventurous,’ she says. ‘And our house can only benefit from that.’
1KITCHEN- DINER Painting the units blue and the stools white has transformed this room. Kitchen cabinets painted in Blue Shale eggshell, £21.98 for 2.5L, Valspar. Feature wall painted in Pigeon estate emulsion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Simple Value solid wood kitchen stools, £29.99 for two, Argos. Asiatic Onix zig zag mono rug is a match, from £69, Rugs Direct2DINING AREA A monochrome scheme with touches of greenery and natural wood is a fail-safe combination. ‘The dining chairs were inherited from my grandma so I can’t bear to part with them,’ says Jen. Oakham dining table, from £859, Barker & Stonehouse, is comparable. Safavieh indoor/outdoor rug, £ 47.99m, Wayfair, is a close match. Skogsta bench (repainted by Jen), £ 40, Ikea. Allispretty print, from £5 unframed, Chelsea Prints
2LAKE’S BEDROOM Patterned textiles bring personality to the neutrally decorated room. Forest camp duvet cover, £17.40; tissar wall hanging, £9.60, both La redoute
1SITTING ROOM Using a mix of paint and wallpaper helps zone the multipurpose space. walls painted in black heron emulsion, £21.98 for 2.5L, Valspar. herringbone wallpaper, £63.90 a roll, Cloudberry Living3MAIN BEDROOM Personal touches add character. blackout curtains, from £50, Next home. Cushion, £13.99, Ideal home range at Very
4JOEL & BRODY’S BEDROOM This sophisticated scheme suits all ages. Catherine Lansfield skulls double duvet cover, £19; curtains £32, both Very
5BATHROOM A wooden vanity warms the space. westbay under-basin unit, £99.99, Very