‘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
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.
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.
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.’