Wel­come to my home

Ideal Home (UK) - - Real Home -

Hav­ing moved 12 times in 10 years in and around south Lon­don, Anna Moumtzi­dou and her fi­ancé Rus­sell Bar­ling were keen to put down roots. While walk­ing on the Sur­rey Downs, they dis­cov­ered Reigate and de­cided to make the move to this prop­erty in 2016. ‘Mov­ing to the sub­urbs meant we could af­ford a big­ger place, but still be com­mut­ing dis­tance from work,’ says Anna.

The house was in a good gen­eral con­di­tion and com­pletely live­able when the cou­ple moved in, but had scope for im­prove­ment. ‘The rooms felt boxed-in, with sep­a­rate liv­ing room, din­ing room and kitchen,’ says Anna. ‘I wanted an open-plan lay­out that felt spa­cious and full of light. The decor was bland and unin­spir­ing, too, al­though there were a cou­ple of wacky colours, such as the elec­tric-blue hall­way and the bright yel­low main bed­room. But, over­all, the house had a re­ally nice feel to it and I knew I could make it home.’

‘We had to be sen­si­ble with our bud­get, so have tack­led the house bit by bit, call­ing in trades­peo­ple where we needed to, but do­ing what we could our­selves, such as paint­ing walls and floor­boards,’ she says. Up­stairs didn’t need much work, but down­stairs the plan was to knock through and cre­ate one large open-plan space and add bi­fold doors at the back.

Fur­nish­ing the house was the fun part: ‘I en­joyed work­ing out my per­sonal style,’ says Anna. ‘There are lots of in­flu­ences and opin­ions to side-track you, but you have to stay true to what feels right to you. Not that you shouldn’t be open to compromise, though. Rus­sell and I didn’t have any ma­jor bat­tles as he tends to leave the decor to me, but it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that re­la­tion­ships are more im­por­tant than tiles!’

Be a shape shifter

A round ta­ble helps the flow of foot traf­fic around the kitchendiner and out to the pa­tio be­yond the bi­folds. ‘The pale oak floor­ing in­side blends into the wooden deck­ing, blur­ring the two spa­ces,’ says Anna.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

In­ga­torp ta­ble, £250, Ikea.

As­cot Oak din­ing chairs,

£149.99 each, At­lantic Shop­ping

“Green­ery brings a splash of colour and en­ergy into a space that no piece of fur­ni­ture or or­na­ment can”

Use dark colours to de­fine spa­ces

With the down­stairs spa­ces so open and con­nected, they could blur to­gether, but dark fur­ni­ture such as the so­fas and char­coal­painted kitchen cab­i­nets ef­fec­tively mark out each area.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

For a sim­i­lar kitchen, try the Shaker Er­mine in char­coal, from £7,053 for a com­plete kitchen, Wren

Let the de­tails sing

‘I’ve gone for sim­ple shelves and keep ev­ery­day items on them so they don’t gather dust. It frees up cup­board space for other things.’

Tan leather han­dles give the kitchen units a be­spoke look.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

Gemini white quartz work­tops, Wren. Lack white float­ing shelves, £10 each; Oster­nas leather han­dles, £15 for two, all Ikea

Start with a sim­ple back­drop

In the liv­ing room, Anna opted for ver­sa­tile white wood Vene­tians at the win­dow; pale oak floor­ing is laid through­out the ground floor to give it a sense of con­ti­nu­ity.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

Be­spoke Vene­tian blinds, Hil­lary’s. For a sim­i­lar side ta­ble, try the Kal­lax, £15, Ikea. Alpine ta­ble lamp, £55, Next

Im­pro­vise a fea­ture

The cou­ple opened up the liv­ing room chim­ney breast and plan to fit a wood-burner in the fu­ture. ‘I’ve re­pur­posed an African plat­ter I picked up at an an­tiques shop and a bas­ket from Ikea as al­ter­na­tive wall art above the fire­place,’ says Anna.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

For sim­i­lar, try the braided tray, £9.99 and large wooden tray, £17.99, both H&M. Afaw rug, from £99, La Red­oute

Go mono for calm­ness

‘Work­ing from home, I wanted my of­fice to feel calm, airy and clut­ter­free. I’ve got a sim­ple black desk to work at with a unit to one side for stor­age. A daybed at the other end of the room pulls out when guests stay.’

BUY THE KEY PIECES

For a sim­i­lar desk, try the Fayence ta­ble, £266, Oak Fur­ni­ture House. For a sim­i­lar chair, try the Flin­tan swivel chair, £60, Ikea

Cre­ate a dress­ing area

‘I didn’t want wardrobes in the bed­room, so turned the box­room into a dress­ing room.’ Open shelves make prac­ti­cal shoe stor­age.

BUY THE KEY PIECES

Pax wardrobes with mir­rored slid­ing doors, from £477; Lack shelves, from £10 each, all Ikea. Rug, £12.99, TK Maxx

Have a ‘hero’ piece

The bath­room is plain and sim­ple in white, but Anna gave it a twist: ‘I had the wash stand cus­tom-made us­ing re­claimed, rus­tic-look wood.’

BUY THE KEY PIECES

Cus­tom-made wash stand, Ox Rus­tic Fur­ni­ture at Etsy. Laura Ash­ley Mr Jones floor tiles, £25 for nine, Home­base

WHAT I’ve LEARNED

“Great style doesn’t have to be su­per-ex­pen­sive. Bud­get buys from big re­tail­ers do the job well – it’s the small fin­ish­ing touches you add that re­ally grab at­ten­tion and give a room its char­ac­ter”

Use warm colours in sleep spa­ces

‘I painted all the walls a pale grey to start with, but it felt a lit­tle cold,’ says Anna, ‘so I re-painted the main wall a darker shade which has made the room feel much cosier.’

BUY THE KEY PIECES

Wall painted in Monument Grey matt emul­sion, £23 for 2.5L, Dulux

CRE­ATE THE IL­LU­SION OF SPACE IN A SMALL ROOM

GLASS Hood DOESN’T BLOCK THE VIEW ACROSS TOTHE DIN­ING AREA

CUT-DOWN FLOAT­ING SHELVES ADD PRE­CIOUS EX­TRA STOR­AGE TO A TIGHT COR­NER BY THE SINK

Col­umn ra­di­a­tor SLIM ENOUGH TO FLANK A BAY WIN­DOW

AREA rug ZONES THE SEAT­ING AREA

DIY Peg RAIL MADE TO FIT FROM A PLANK AND DOORKNOBS

PAINTED BOARDS EASY, CHEAP AND SHABBY-CHIC

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