‘I change it up to KEEP IT FRESH’

Shar­ron turned an or­di­nary mod­ern home into a stylish, so­cia­ble hub, where the look changes on a reg­u­lar ba­sis

Style at Home (UK) - - Detached New Build -

Christ­mas is an ex­tra-spe­cial time for us, as it’s also our son Eli­jah’s birth­day,’ says Shar­ron. ‘he was born in this house on Christ­mas Eve, just a few weeks af­ter we moved in. My hus­band David and I had been rent­ing be­fore that, af­ter a year of trav­el­ling with our el­dest son Ethan, who was six. We were think­ing about buy­ing a doer-up­per, but ev­ery­thing changed when we re­alised we were ex­pect­ing.

The pres­sure was on to get set­tled and I knew life with a small baby would be much eas­ier if we weren’t ren­o­vat­ing as well. Still, I didn’t re­ally want a bland, boxy new build and I was hop­ing for some­thing a bit out of the or­di­nary. A friend told me about a one-off house that had just been com­pleted. It had the space we wanted, and was in an area that we knew and liked. As time was def­i­nitely not on our side, we went for it.

Per­sonal touch

The lay­out was great and we loved the light and the big doors from the sit­ting room out to the gar­den. On the down­side, the house felt quite bare, with wall-to-wall mag­no­lia, and lam­i­nate floors. The kitchen was awk­wardly de­signed and lacked a fam­ily-friendly din­ing area, and the bath­room fix­tures weren’t what I’d have cho­sen. But there was noth­ing we couldn’t live with in the short term.

I was keen to make it more homely, so first we laid car­pets, then friends helped us paint the walls, just to add some colour and per­son­al­ity be­fore baby Eli­jah ar­rived. But I knew the house wouldn’t stay like that once we got set­tled.

From bland to bold

Since then, both boys have grown up and our home has evolved hugely, as I do change things around quite

of­ten. I’ve ex­per­i­mented with var­i­ous looks over the years. My cur­rent palette is greys and neu­trals, with some strik­ing wall­pa­pers and pops of colour, shine and tex­ture to give it in­ter­est. I like my home to have a con­sis­tent look flow­ing from one room to an­other. Most of the walls are white and I’ve con­nected the kitchen to the hall us­ing the same wall­pa­per in dif­fer­ent hues. I’ve also in­cor­po­rated var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als, from wood to metal, and I’m a big fan of house plants, too. Lots of my art­work fea­tures birds, leaves and feathers, so there’s a na­ture-in­spired theme run­ning through the house.

Quirky style

It’s im­por­tant to me that our home stands out from the crowd and re­flects who

we are. I use high street shops like Ikea and Habi­tat for good-value ba­sics, but then I layer on un­usual ac­ces­sories that I haven’t seen any­where else. I shop on­line, with crafters and in small in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques and I’m al­ways on the look­out for fun items that will get peo­ple talk­ing. One of my favourites is the cabi­net in the hall, which is old fur­ni­ture from a school.

I love in­ter­est­ing light­ing, too, es­pe­cially vin­tage-style de­signs, like the star-shaped metal fair­ground light from Hurn & Hurn in my sit­ting room, and our bed­side lights, which hang on fab­ric-cov­ered flexes.

Good skill set

As the house’s style changes quite of­ten, David and I do as much DIY as we can. We’ve tack­led paint­ing and wall­pa­per­ing, and I’ve up­cy­cled a few small pieces of fur­ni­ture, like the bed­room cab­i­nets and chest of draw­ers. They were made

‘layer a mix of colour, vi­brant print and tex­tured ma­te­ri­als to add in­ter­est to a neu­tral scheme’

from an or­angey pine, but i up­dated them with a tester pot of paint. We re­designed the kitchen and david fit­ted the units. He’s a plumber, so he in­stalled a new bath­room as the orig­i­nal one was quite cheap. We haven’t al­tered the lay­out, but we’ve re­placed the tiles and san­i­tary­ware twice, as the boys have grown up and my taste has moved on. The new bath­room has a con­tem­po­rary edge, with a chunky, square bath and grey, tex­tured wall tiles, ty­ing in with the smart feel of the rest of the home.

House of fun

We en­joy en­ter­tain­ing and hav­ing friends here now. it took a while to work out a so­cia­ble lay­out for the sit­ting room, but we fi­nally have plenty of seat­ing and the so­fas are at right an­gles, so it flows well.

We pri­ori­tised sort­ing out the kitchen first be­cause when we ar­rived, there were lots of cup­boards in a u-shape at the op­po­site end from the win­dow, and only enough space for a small ta­ble. it didn’t work for us as a fam­ily, or for a gath­er­ing, so we com­pletely al­tered it. i chose plain white cab­i­nets that don’t feel in­tru­sive. We put them along one side, so it feels like a so­cial space.

The new plan meant there was room for a 10-seater din­ing ta­ble, which is per­fect for a big party. i’ll prob­a­bly start think­ing about re­fresh­ing the look in the next year or so, but with white kitchen cup­boards, i can re­dec­o­rate, in­tro­duce new colours, or even change the floor­ing, and ev­ery­thing will still work.

Christ­mas is al­ways a re­ally busy time for us, but it’s also a lot of fun. Friends and fam­ily drop in, and we usu­ally have a birth­day party for eli­jah. This house is great for en­ter­tain­ing now, and that’s ex­actly how we wanted it.’

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