Home makeover: ‘I’m obsessed with moodboards’

By opting for light colours and industrial touches Charlotte Knowles has given her first home a fresh new look

Home makeover: 'I’m obsessed with moodboards'

When Charlotte Knowles and her husband Jonathan moved out of their rented flat in Jesmond, Newcastle, and bought their first house together, they had zero experience of renovating.

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However, they soon got to work knocking down walls, adding wooden shutters and respraying the existing kitchen units, and the result is a beautifully light and airy home with period features and industrial touches. Here, Charlotte shares her home makeover story…

My story…

‘As Jonny had inherited some money, we had a good-sized budget for first-time buyers and were able to afford a five-bedroom house in nearby Gosforth. I grew up in an old terraced house, so that’s the style I was drawn to.

Boho cushions from Next on a blue sofa
Boho cushions from Next work well with the industrial-look copper floor lamp from Wayfair. ‘Most of the artwork was found online and printed off for free,’ says Charlotte

‘We viewed some lovely properties, but none quite had the character of this one. I particularly loved the high ceilings, bay windows and lovely open- plan kitchen-diner space.

‘The location is great too, as we have shops on the doorstep yet it’s within easy reach of the seaside and Northumberland.

Welcome to my home

A bit about me I’m Charlotte Knowles (@gosforthhome), 28. I live with my husband Jonathan, 31, and our two dachshunds, Austin and Magnus.

Where I live We live in a five-bedroom three-storey Victorian terraced house in Gosforth, Newcastle, which we bought four years ago.

Charlotte Knowles

‘The house was generally in decent condition apart from the outdated bathroom, so we tried to maintain the original features where possible while giving it a modern, industrial twist. Apart from remodelling the bathroom, which took months and was an absolute nightmare, the work was mostly aesthetic.

‘This included knocking down the dodgy wall at the front and building a fence, having the porch and windows restored and painted, adding wooden shutters in the bay window and respraying the existing kitchen units.

A kitchen-diner with a rustic dining table and bench from furniture village
As the kitchen-diner had already been extended into the side return by the previous owners, Charlotte and Jonathan benefited from a lovely, light spacious room. Perfect for entertaining, it features a rustic dining table and bench from Furniture Village teamed with black IKEA chairs for definition

‘I’d say my style is a mixture of old and new. I love old industrial pieces, mixed metals and dark wood paired with bright whites and modern touches.

‘I love bringing a look together with plants and a few pops of colour here and there. I love a good bargain too and can often be found hunting in charity shops, strolling around Tynemouth Market or finding something a bit different in HomeSense and TK Maxx.

White kitchen units and black dining chairs
‘Although the kitchen was relatively new, I didn’t particularly like the colour. There was a lot of grey in the room and we wanted to break it up, so we sprayed the outer units white to make it even lighter and painted the handles black’ explains Charlotte

‘It helped that I subscribed to loads of interiors magazines when we moved in and I followed lots of Instagram accounts for decorating inspiration. I’m pretty obsessed with moodboards too, as I do them a lot with my job as a textiles teacher. I always start with a colour or a main piece of furniture and work around that.

‘Eventually we’d love to move to a house with a bigger garden and take on a new challenge, but we’d be gutted to leave our first home.’

A bit more about my home…

What I wanted to change Some of the rooms felt dark and the floral bedroom wasn’t to my taste. It was the dated bathroom that needed most work though.

How I made it my own We’ve lightened up most of the rooms with white paint, resprayed the existing kitchen units, added new flooring and replaced the bathroom. Copper and black accents give the house an industrial feel.

My favourite part Our new boutique hotel-style bathroom. 

Charlotte Knowles

Living room

‘The living room was pretty dark when we moved in with grey walls and dark woodwork. At first, we painted one wall dark and the others white. Then we scrapped that and did the whole thing white before adding colour through accessories. The first thing we bought was the blue sofa. It was a total impulse buy, but we worked around that for the whole room. It really makes the living space, along with the shutters from Shuttercraft.

A blue statement sofa
Style idea! Sticking to monochrome cushions with a colourful statement sofa is a fail-safe option

‘I didn’t want to have standard matching furniture, so I love that each piece is individual. Now the room feels so much lighter and brighter, but at the same time very cosy and homely with the fire. The only thing we might do in future is paint the beautiful ceiling mouldings an off-black colour to make them stand out more.’

Kitchen

‘Although the kitchen was relatively new, I didn’t particularly like the colour. There was a lot of grey in the room and we wanted to break it up, so we sprayed the outer units white to make it even lighter and painted the handles black to match our other furniture and stools.

A cream kitchen island with decorated glass pendant lights
‘I decorated the pendant lights above the island with fake plants and flowers,’ says Charlotte. ‘It was an idea I got straight from an IKEA showroom’

‘At one point I considered changing the dining area into a more informal sofa zone, but that would’ve meant putting the dining table into the snug next door and we quite like having a separate snug.’

‘We replaced the dark brown laminate flooring in here for a light grey design from B&Q, which works much better’ says Charlotte
‘We replaced the dark brown laminate flooring in here for a light grey design from B&Q, which works much better’ says Charlotte

Master bedroom

‘This room just wasn’t me before, with its ultra-feminine blue floral wallpaper. I wanted to bring in some mixed metals like in the living room, so we bought a few random photo frames to create a gallery wall. We also repainted in pale grey with a mauve feature wall, replaced the curtains and bought new furniture.

A headboard made out of books
‘My favourite part of this room is the showstopping headboard. I made it from old books we already had and nailed them to the wall,’ says Charlotte. She bought the bedside table from IKEA and the lamps from Next. ‘To finish it off, I added in some pieces of faux trailing ivy from IKEA’

‘Since moving in we’ve actually changed our bed a couple of times and ended up getting a low one so the sausage dogs can climb up! The only thing left to do is add fitted wardrobes to the alcoves. In future we may even knock the bedroom and dressing room together to make a bigger space with a dressing area and en suite.’

Ekenäset chair from IKEA
‘I created a gallery wall above the original fireplace, which includes a dreamcatcher one of my students made for me and a framed key from our first flat,’ says Charlotte. The Ekenäset chair is from IKEA

Guest bedroom

‘This was another very floral and feminine room that needed a refresh with some white paint. The previous layout – with the bed the other way around – made it look small, but now it even has a king-size bed in there.

A guest bedroom with a copper bed from Next
Charlotte has threaded copper elements throughout her scheme, like this bed frame from Next. The artwork is by Surfacephilia and the geometric cushions from Primark. The low unit is from IKEA

‘We went for a neutral backdrop with lots of copper teamed with industrial-style furniture. I also tried my hand at painting the wall and gave it an ombré effect with black and white paint. It actually looks like wallpaper, but I always make a point of telling people I painted it!’

A Hollywood dressing mirror with lights around the outside
‘I particularly love my Hollywood dressing mirror with lights around the outside’ says Charlotte

Bathroom

‘This has been the biggest transformation in the house. It was so bare and boring in here before with a wooden floor, cream walls and dated bathroom fittings, including a random washing machine! We ripped the whole thing out and started from scratch, opting for an industrial but luxurious look.

A boutique style bathroom with hexagon wall tiles
Although the hexagon tiles were tricky to fit, Charlotte loves the luxurious look they bring to her new bathroom. British Ceramic Tile has similar hexagon wall tiles and Tiles Direct has similar mosaic floor tiles
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‘The step up to a built-in bath, copper taps and hexagon tiles make the bathroom feel like a fancy hotel. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, as the work was supposed to take a month, but ended up taking six as the tiling was so tricky. I love the new space and I may even consider painting the walls black or covering an entire wall with fake plants.’

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