Two weeks after moving into a house with no garden and very steep stairs, Suzy Broome discovered she was expecting twins.
‘The house was totally impractical for starting a family and we were desperate for more space, but we managed with a bunk-cot for the boys until they were three,’ says Suzy, 35, a speech therapist and designer-maker at suzybroome.com.
In 2015, Suzy and her husband, Iain, 39, a writer, found a three-storey, four-bedroom Victorian home in the bohemian Meersbrook area of Sheffield, which had been fixed up by a developer. ‘It was so bright and open compared to our tiny little house and had views towards the Peak District,’ says Suzy.
As the couple wanted their twin boys’ shared bedroom to be ready quickly, they stayed up all night decorating, wallpapering and putting up pictures while Seth and Jasper, now six, stayed at their grandparents.
The following year their daughter, Frida, was born and the smallest bedroom was turned into her nursery, which left another double bedroom free for guests. Then, in January 2020, their fourth child, Peggy, was born, which meant moving three-year-old Frida into the guest room – and giving the room a new look.
As Suzy loves getting stuck into everything from tiling and wallpapering to furniture upholstery and building storage, she really enjoyed redecorating Frida’s bedroom while pregnant. ‘I’m happiest when I’m painting or laying floors during nap times or late into the night,’ she admits. ‘I have a very impulsive character so if I get an idea in my head then I won’t stop until I’ve done it.
‘I wanted to get the room done before Peggy came along too, so Frida didn’t feel like she was being booted out by her sibling.’ After stripping off the old cork tiles that covered one wall, Suzy re-painted the room white. ‘It’s probably the first white room I’ve done,’ she says. ‘The rest of the house is eclectic, bold and bright with some mid-century influences.
‘I wanted Frida’s room to be a bit more grown-up than her nursery and move away from the vintage theme towards a bright circus theme. Using the colours of the rainbow is a great way to go gender neutral too.’
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Working to a tight budget forced Suzy to be creative. A lot of the items came from charity shops and antiques centres or were handmade, while several pieces are from Frida’s old bedroom, including the bed and rainbow poster. ‘I love using second-hand items as they kind of dictate the style of the room,’ she says.
‘I don’t mind things not matching perfectly either, as they express our tastes and experiences rather than any particular style or trend. In a kid’s room you can be as imaginative and creative as you want. The wilder you go the better, so they’re surrounded with things to stir their imagination.’
As they were losing their guest bedroom, Suzy bought a new sofa bed in a sale, which pulls out into a small double bed. The boys’ bunk beds have also been turned into a triple bunk so that Frida can share with them when guests stay over.
Suzy also upcycled a second-hand pine wardrobe and drawers by painting them in stripes and circus colours, finishing the wardrobe with a pair of striking peacock handles costing £15 from an antiques fair.
‘I wanted it to be really bold and contrasting,’ she says, ‘so I painted the edging in yellow with blue, white and red stripes that I designed as I went along. My only mistake was using cheap tape to begin with, so the paint bled and I had to do a lot by hand.’
The stripy colour scheme has been repeated on shelves, a mini chair and Brenda the rocking horse to tie everything together. ‘I did consider striped curtains but kept the existing plain green ones in the end,’ says Suzy. ‘I felt there was a lot going on elsewhere, so it might be a bit much.’
Now, the room is the perfect space for Frida, who loves dressing up, drawing and crafting. ‘Frida’s so proud of it and always wants to show people her room,’ says Suzy. ‘It’s also nice and practical, with plenty of space for playing.
I pride myself on reusing, recycling and repurposing. Making things to save money and create a space is what I love doing, so showing people that interiors can be wonderful without costing the earth is ace.’
Haru small sofa bed in vintage pink velvet, £329, Made.com. Black knitted footstool, £39.99, Homescapes, is similar. A4 leopard print gold foil rainbow art print by Susie Cutie Designs, £18, Not on the High Street, is similar. GALphabet flash cards, £12.95, Boss Babs. VFENG 3ft x 8ft gold metallic tinsel foil fringe curtains, £5.99, Amazon. Rainbow feather boa, £2.99, One Fancy Dress on eBay. Flamingo garden ornament, £18, Dunelm, is similar. Ziggy doll, £39; bespoke children’s name signs, from £60; fierce tiger A4 print, £18, all Suzy Broome. Rainbow and gold tassel garland, £4 for 1.5m, Hobbycraft. Crochet baby blankets, from £12, eBay are similar. Vintage wooden fruit crates, £6.49 each, Silvershadow63 on Etsy. Elegant brass peacock door handles, £40 for two, Rockett St George. Green patchwork shopping basket, £19.95, Trouva is similar. Stoy white wooden rocking horse, £37, Alex and Alexa is similar.