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Home makeover: ‘I wanted each room to have a different feel’

Take a look around Dodo's impressive Edinburgh flat, transformed from Victorian formality to reflect her quirky style

Using original artwork and a mix of high street and vintage buys, Dodo Flügge has decorated her first home – a Victorian flat in the heart of Edinburgh – in her own unique style.

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Here, she tells us all about her home makeover experience…

My story

This is the first place that I’ve ever owned. I lived in a rented flat before buying and always dreamt of doing up a home of my own exactly how I’d like. I was very lucky to find somewhere that was in such good condition with original features.

‘We tend to eat in the kitchen, so this table is used as Mark’s workspace, where he can watch the world go by,’ Dodo shares. The console is from a wholesaler called Dutch Imports & Daughters
‘We tend to eat in the kitchen, so this table is used as Mark’s workspace, where he can watch the world go by,’ Dodo shares. The console is from a wholesaler called Dutch Imports & Daughters

The neutral décor was the perfect blank canvas for me to add my own personality with lots of colour, my own artwork and vintage finds that I love to collect.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Dodo Flügge, 41, a multidisciplinary artist. You can find me on Instagram @diedododa. I live here with my partner, Mark, 35, creative director of a signage branding consultancy and our cat, Udon.

Where I live My home is a one-bedroom Victorian apartment in the centre of Edinburgh. We moved in a year and a half ago. 

What I wanted to change The flat lacked character and was a bit too formal for me, so I wanted to make it a more liveable, cosy space. 

Home makeover: 'I wanted each room to have a different feel'

My plan was to fill the flat with lots of clashing patterned wallpapers, but I lived with the space for a while before going against that idea. Instead, I went for large-scale patterns, which I think work better in small spaces.

Dodo has created an eclectic look with a mix of high street buys, including the nest of tables and colourful throw from eBay plus a clashing zebra-print cushion from H&M Home
Dodo has created an eclectic look with a mix of high street buys, including the nest of tables and colourful throw from eBay plus a clashing zebra-print cushion from H&M Home

I honestly thought I was a maximalist, but I’ve realised I need a calmer environment than I first thought. It might have been due to the stress of lockdown and the pandemic, but I think my style changed a little along the way.

A bit more about my home…

How I made it my own The flat was in good condition, so I only needed to make decorative changes. I started by zoning the living room by painting it in two distinctive colours, and then I decorated throughout, adding my own murals and artworks.

My favourite part The kitchen – I love the view from the window. The Habitat cabinets and the gorgeous red Smeg appliances were already here when we moved in and I’ve used the red as a starting point for the rest of the décor in here.

Home makeover: 'I wanted each room to have a different feel'

I have a work studio in Edinburgh where I print and produce my artwork, but I do a lot of designing here, at home, so the flat has to function as a workspace as well, which it does brilliantly.

The wallpaper in the dining area was designed by Dodo and printed by Mark’s company, Black Box Signs. The vintage cigarette ad was also printed up by Mark’s company onto metal sheeting
The wallpaper in the dining area was designed by Dodo and printed by Mark’s company, Black Box Signs. The vintage cigarette ad was also printed up by Mark’s company onto metal sheeting

I love multi-purpose rooms where I feel comfortable switching from working to relaxing throughout the day. My work as an artist is definitely not nine-to-five so I need my home to have that flexibility, which it definitely does.

Living room

‘The moment we walked into the living room I realised it could be two separate spaces. I set about creating a mock-up on Procreate, an art and design software I use for my artwork that’s also great for doing interior mock-ups. Happy with the results, I painted the room in two different colours to zone the two spaces. One end, with the rug from Matalan and corner sofa, is perfect for chilling out and watching films.

‘I love collecting things and the wire-fronted cabinets make great display cabinets,’ says Dodo. Her collection includes flea market buys and precious trinkets from her family home in Germany, including love letters between her late parents that she keeps safe in a glass box
‘I love collecting things and the wire-fronted cabinets make great display cabinets,’ says Dodo. Her collection includes flea market buys and precious trinkets from her family home in Germany, including love letters between her late parents that she keeps safe in a glass box

‘Mark works at the dining table, as he loves to watch the world go by while he’s working and it’s light and bright by the window. I matched the skirting boards with the ceiling for a cohesive look, a technique I learnt from the designer Abigail Ahern, whose work I love.

‘The neutral décor was the perfect blank canvas for me to add my own personality with lots of colour, my own artwork and vintage finds that I love to collect’ says Dodo
‘The neutral décor was the perfect blank canvas for me to add my own personality with lots of colour, my own artwork and vintage finds that I love to collect’ says Dodo

I find that white ceilings in rooms painted in strong colours distract from the artwork on display. I want the artwork to be the star of the room, so I decided to match the ceiling to the wall.’

Kitchen

‘I love the view from the kitchen window. With no building directly opposite, you can see straight across. I highlighted the view by painting the skirting and the window frame white, which really pops against the dark grey walls.

The pendant light over the island unit from Habitat was already here when the couple moved in. The pendant in the dining area is from MADE.com, which Dodo accessorised with cording from Creative-Cables. The herb pots by Ocean Plastic Pots are made from recycled fishing nets
The pendant light over the island unit from Habitat was already here when the couple moved in. The pendant in the dining area is from MADE.com, which Dodo accessorised with cording from Creative-Cables. The herb pots by Ocean Plastic Pots are made from recycled fishing nets

‘For a bit of colour and pattern, I added vibrant wallpaper from Wallpaper Direct in the little room off the kitchen, where we do the washing up. I’ve added colourful accessories, including the vibrant Rwandan rope baskets from the Fairtrade section at TK Maxx and patterned tableware, which I’ve displayed on open shelving.

A fan of the iconic labels on household brands, Dodo prefers to leave her cooking essentials out on display and make them part of the scheme
A fan of the iconic labels on household brands, Dodo prefers to leave her cooking essentials out on display and make them part of the scheme

‘I wanted this to be a multi-purpose space where we could work, cook and eat together and it definitely works on all fronts.’

Bedroom

Dodo has gone for two shades of deep blue to complement her hand-drawn mural inspired by the view outside.

‘I love the fact that I can enjoy the greenery even in winter when the tree is bare,’ she says of her work.

The wooden cinema seats are from Dutch Imports & Daughters and the bookshelf is a vintage find that Dodo upcycled. The dancer 1920s-style print and the smaller framed graphic prints are all by Dodo and can be found on her website, diedododa.com
The wooden cinema seats are from Dutch Imports & Daughters and the bookshelf is a vintage find that Dodo upcycled. The dancer 1920s-style print and the smaller framed graphic prints are all by Dodo and can be found on her website, diedododa.com

Painting the ceiling dark teal has given the room a cocooning, almost underwater feel. Dodo has added a bright splash of colour to the Terrence bed from Wayfair with a printed blanket and rug, both her own designs.

Dodo’s hand-painted mural is reflected in the IKEA mirror beside it. It’s still not finished and she picks it up whenever she has spare time
Dodo’s hand-painted mural is reflected in the IKEA mirror beside it. It’s still not finished and she picks it up whenever she has spare time

The off-centre ceiling pendant lights up the vintage desk that Dodo uses as a dressing table, while extendable wall lights from MADE.com are useful for bedtime reading.

Bathroom

‘The bathroom is very typical of Edinburgh tenements; long and narrow but with lots of natural light and gorgeous traditional features.

‘To add colour to the all-white bathroom suite, I painted the panelling in Mint Gel by Leyland. I also painted the door frame the same spearmint shade, painting an archway around it for added interest’
‘To add colour to the all-white bathroom suite, I painted the panelling in Mint Gel by Leyland. I also painted the door frame the same spearmint shade, painting an archway around it for added interest’

‘I wanted to keep it pretty simple and clean but painting the woodwork and an arch around the door has cheered the space up.

Dodo has created a fun display with her perfume bottles, surrounding the collection with moss that enthusiasts use on train sets
Dodo has created a fun display with her perfume bottles, surrounding the collection with moss that enthusiasts use on train sets

‘It’s the only room I want to change in the future as neither of us are bath people. Adding a walk-in shower where the toilet currently is would make the overall space feel more open.’

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Feature Alison Gibb. Photos Douglas Gibb. 

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in HomeStyle magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?