Home makeover: ‘I started each room with something I love’

Maxine Hale combined her favourite design trends and style ideas to give her Edwardian family home in Plymouth a top-down makeover

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'

With their two children growing up, more space was becoming something of a necessity for Maxine Hale and her husband Gareth. ‘We wanted more room and we were keen to stay in this area,’ says Maxine. ‘Beyond that, we were open to any possibilities.’

Advertisement

The couple looked at various options before picking a traditional Edwardian family house. The position was ideal and Maxine loved the elegant proportions, pretty period fireplaces and spacious, light-filled rooms.

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
The kitchen dining furniture is a characterful combination of vintage and retro styles. Metal stools from Tolix bring a punch of colour, while the upholstered bench, from Franklin and Hare, is reclaimed cinema seating

The property was a complete contrast to the contemporary, open-plan home they were living in however, and needed renovating and redecorating. ‘There were floral wallpapers, old carpets, a worn kitchen and an old-fashioned pink bathroom suite,’ says Maxine. ‘We couldn’t really keep any of it.’

Come on in…

We are Maxine Hale, 52, husband Gareth, 47, a financial advisor, and their children, Ed, 15 and Nell, 13.

Our home Is a four-bedroomed, detached Edwardian house in Plymouth, Devon.

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'

As most furniture in the house they were living in had been built-in, the couple found themselves starting more or less from scratch in the new property. That meant a bigger, more ambitious project than Maxine had anticipated. ‘At the same time it was a chance to make the whole house exactly how we wanted it,’ she says. ‘What an amazing opportunity!’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
This decorative wall cabinet from Rockett St George creates a contrast with the kitchen’s otherwise quite functional feel and is typical of Maxine’s eclectic taste. ‘I love my kitchen,’ she says. ‘There’s so much going on.’

Maxine is a keen Instagrammer (@homebirdplymouth) and loves browsing Pinterest, interiors magazines and the high street for interiors inspiration. She likes simple Scandi style, but also wanted touches of industrial, mid-century and retro looks.

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
Used as cutlery holders, these vintage-style storage tins from Rockett St George are a fun touch that give the dining area a laid-back vibe

Practical, family-friendly spaces and an easy flow through the house, were also important. ‘There were so many decisions that it all felt a bit overwhelming,’ she says. ‘I decided to pick one key item in each room and make that the starting point.’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
Pops of red break up the kitchen’s monochrome theme, and the white tiles form a simple splashback opposite the main cooking area. The wall-mounted open shelves are made from offcuts of the white quartz work surfaces and the quirky, black, cast-iron Honeycomb brackets are from Yesterhome

For the living room she chose a big, modern, geometric lampshade. The guest bedroom’s vibrant scarlet fireplace tiles caught her attention and the dining room developed from the inky blues in a huge art print she’d been given.

A bit about my home…

My favourite item Is the two-seater kitchen bench made from tip-up cinema seats. I’d been after some authentic cinema seats for ages, so when I spotted a couple in a local vintage furniture shop, I snapped them up. They’re really comfy. 

My best buy Was the big rug in the living room, which was a steal at £85 from Very. It breaks up the dark grey carpet and brings texture and light into the centre of the room.

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'

When it came to her kitchen, an essential family space, Maxine homed in on two strong features. ‘I’d seen pictures online of extractor fans with industrial-type metal tubing running along the wall and I spotted the pink pendant lights in a local shop,’ she says. ‘I just had to have them both!’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
White walls brighten the living room and vibrant lipstick pinks sing out against grey furniture. Maxine swapped a traditional fireplace for a simple modern log-burner to create the clean, contemporary feel she was after. ‘We took out the alcove shelves too, which opened up the room and created a place for the TV where it doesn’t dominate,’ Maxine explains

Maxine planned to mix her dramatic focal kitchen pieces with Shaker-style cabinets, a black-and-white floor and brick-style tiling to echo the functional feel. To bring her vision to life, she teamed up with a local expert. ‘Mark Fowdon [of Studio One South West] helped me create the kitchen of my dreams and it’s turned out exactly as I imagined,’ she says. ‘He and his team were completely on my wavelength and they went on to project-manage the whole renovation.’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
The spacious dining room can easily absorb Maxine’s large, salvaged dresser, which shows off an original mix of accessories and mementoes. She changed the painted interior from turquoise to bright yellow, picking up on the wire magazine rack and a glass-fronted IKEA display cabinet, which stands on the opposite wall

A little worried that her bold, contrasting styles could clash, Maxine knew that she needed a way to bring her different ideas together harmoniously. She came up with a solution – to repeat certain features through the house, which would help to link the separate spaces, while also enhancing the period style. ‘The key was to keep things simple and flexible, so I’ve duplicated the classic monotone flooring, white metro tiles, white walls and shades of grey to form a consistent theme,’ she says.

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
The dining room’s white walls and bold blend of modern and vintage furniture echo the rest of the house, but the dark-blue Dalsouple rubber flooring gives this space a unique atmosphere. The large Roy Lichtenstein pop-art print creates a bold focal point. ‘This is a big room that needs strong pieces with lots of impact,’ says Maxine

Some choices have been cleverly reproduced in varying ways. The checkerboard floor tiles were laid square in the bathroom, but in a diamond formation downstairs. The white metro tiles in the bathroom have matching grout while contrasting grey gives the kitchen ones a different effect. ‘Cutting down on style options saved me time and stress,’ says Maxine. ‘It also meant I could negotiate deals on large buys, such as the grey carpet in the living room and bedrooms.’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
The monochrome theme extends through the house, including the large bathroom, which was completely rearranged. The white wall tiles from B&Q are finished with a slender black gloss edging tile, creating a crisp line and tying in with the Karndean floor.

Maxine and Gareth were lucky enough to be able to stay in their old home while the majority of the work was done, but their builders were still finishing off when the family finally moved in. ‘We managed with limited bathroom facilities and a working kitchen tap but not much else,’ says Maxine, ‘There was mess everywhere, so it was hard for a couple of weeks until everything was completed.’

Home makeover: 'I started each room with something I love'
The master bedroom’s blush and charcoal grey palette chimes with the living room, bringing a sense of cohesion between upstairs and downstairs. Grey Dunelm bedlinen is elevated by Eldtörel cushions from IKEA and a soft, pink throw from Playhaus Interiors

Since then, Maxine has added furniture and accessories for colour, personality and a homely vibe. With her eclectic taste, she shops widely online, on the high street and at smaller local independents, where she is as likely to pick up vintage or second-hand items as new ones, ‘I try to buy new bits every so often just to keep things fresh, but the basics are in place now,’ she says, ‘It’s been so exciting styling this house from scratch and I’ve loved getting creative. I feel very lucky.’

Advertisement

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