Ever since buying their four-bedroom Edwardian semi in Southampton in 2005, Rachel Orr, 52, and her husband Chris had used the largest bedroom, which was brimming with original period features, as their master.
‘We decorated in neutral colours and this served us well for 12 years, before a roof leak in 2017 meant we had to strip the room back and start again,’ she explains.
The opportunity came at a good time, however, as Rachel was keen to give this room a new lease of life and switch the neutral palette for something a little bolder.
‘Although it was unfortunate, the leak kick-started the project and gave me the perfect excuse to redecorate!’
With the roof leak located directly above the master bedroom, the first task was getting a roofer in to fix the problem. ‘Chris was able to repair the ceiling internally, but this took several weeks with all the filling, sanding and painting that was needed’ recalls Rachel.
During this time, she began to collate ideas for a new scheme using interior design magazines and Pinterest. ‘I also found lots of inspiration through Instagram and I now have a dedicated interiors account @velvet_juniper.’
With the ceiling freshly painted and the room stripped back, Rachel decided on the colour palette by testing various paint and wallpaper samples. ‘I instantly fell in love with the flamingo wallpaper by Cole & Son and, even though I was aware that it was a trend at the time, I just kept coming back to this quirky design,’ she says.
‘We’d had a feature wallpaper behind the bed previously and I liked how it acted as a focal point in the room, so was keen to replicate this with the new scheme.’
The dark blue in the wallpaper was a close match to Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue paint, so Rachel chose this shade for the alcove wall and built-in wardrobe. ‘I struggled to find a pink that worked in the room, so, in the end, I had a paint colour matched to the flamingo wallpaper by Valspar at B&Q.’
The existing carpet was worn after years of use. ‘We didn’t have the budget to replace it, even though I was dying for something new and lighter,’ says Rachel.
‘Amazingly, we received some PPI compensation money midway through the project, which meant we could re-carpet after all!’ Rachel chose a deep-pile weave in a dove grey colour, which complements the pink and navy scheme and adds a cosy touch underfoot.
In order to stay on budget, the couple decided to upcycle furniture they already owned, rather than splashing out on new pieces. ‘Aside from the dressing table stool, everything else was ours from the old bedroom or elsewhere in the house,’ says Rachel.
‘The wooden dressing table was sitting unloved in our shed so I upcycled it with new handles and lined the drawer with leftover wallpaper.’
This creative approach allowed the couple to focus their budget elsewhere. New bedding, artwork, accessories and lighting has transformed the space and shows off the pre-loved pieces in a whole new light.