When Vikki Savage wants to switch off and relax, she picks up a paintbrush and starts decorating! ‘All my spare time is spent painting rooms, upcycling furniture or thinking about interiors,’ she says. ‘It starts whenever I buy a piece of second-hand furniture and then, before I know it, I’ve painted the walls a different shade to match my new find.’
Originally, the living room fireplace was dark brown and had a cream faux-marble insert and a gold grate. ‘I hated it so painted everything I could black and wrapped the hearth with black plastic wrap.’ Above it hangs a mirror from Soak.com. The little stool, which is being used as a side table, is from IKEA and lighting up the room is a glass pendant fitting from Next
When Vikki and her husband Will bought their three-bedroom semi around six years ago, it was in dire need of love and attention. Every inch of their new home was covered in layers of cream paint. Vikki particularly remembers the fussy curtains that blocked out precious daylight, but all of the original features had either been removed or boarded up.
A curved alcove was one of the few original features left exposed in this 1930s house. ‘My husband put the shelves up for me so I can display my growing collection of plants, artwork and picture frames’
They also had to fix lots of botched DIY jobs, including holes that had been stuffed with newspaper and then painted over. Despite its flaws, Vikki loved the house instantly. ‘As soon as I walked in, I knew this was the one. We loved the proportions of the rooms and the layout. Although the place looked a little tired around the edges, I could see beyond the dated décor,’ she says.
Come on in…
We are Vikki Savage (@little_savage_life), 34, and my husband Will, 41. We both work for the NHS, and have two children: Findlay, four, and Alice, two.
Our home is A 1930s three-bedroomed semi-detached property on the outskirts of Shrewsbury.
Previously, the couple had been renting a city-centre apartment that they couldn’t decorate. When they bought their first home together, they were eager and excited to add some personality to the place. Within a year of moving in, Vikki was pregnant with their first child, Findlay, so they had to forge ahead with their decorating plans to make the home ready for their new arrival.
The chairs were gifted to Vikki and she painted them black to match the rest of her décor scheme. The table and bench are from RCC Furniture
‘We tore down the curtains and had shutters installed for a cleaner look. They were the first big purchase for our home,’ says Vikki. ‘We concentrated on the downstairs rooms and then moved upstairs to start on the bedrooms and nursery.’ As the couple had no DIY experience, Vikki’s father was on call to help out.
Vikki painted her second-hand IKEA cupboard black – it holds her dinnerware and wine glasses. The wall hanging is from Echo Designs
‘One day, Dad and I took a hammer to the dining room chimney breast. We revealed the brick fireplace, which had been boarded up with chipboard. We ripped up the carpet in what later became Alice’s bedroom and discovered a pretty, yellow-tiled hearth,’ she says.
‘Will was never sure what project he might come home to find me taking on. I could be up a ladder painting, on the floor ripping carpets up or knocking holes in the walls.’
Vikki painted the white radiators to match the woodwork, giving them a contemporary look. She started with a specialist radiator/metal primer and followed that with a coat of a heat-resistant black paint
Vikki admits that her first attempts at creating schemes for the rooms resulted in a few horror stories. ‘I can’t believe that I filled the living room with purple accessories. It was horrible!’
To make all her junk shop finds match, Vikki painted them all in the same shade: Gentlemen’s Club by Frenchic Paint. Above the bedside table hangs a plug-in light and the face vase is from H&M
She also painted the kitchen walls a sky-blue shade, which she detested immediately because it clashed with the cupboards. ‘I’ve decorated most rooms about three times since moving in. It’s only now that I’m finally happy. It’s taken time to work out what colours work in this house and find my own sense of style.’
More about my home…
My best bargain is The set of dining chairs I got for free and then painted black.
My advice is Buy things for your home that you truly love, not because they match your décor choices.
Although their new home was structurally sound, the bathroom was in need of attention. It was a separate toilet and washroom, which they knocked through to make one large family bathroom.
‘We struggled to find a company that would do what we wanted. Lots of firms had preconceived ideas of the design and layout. In the end, we hired a local plumber who was more open to our ideas.’
A kitchen extension is in the pipeline, so for now, the couple painted the kitchen cupboards grey and installed a new oven and taps. The dramatic walls are painted in Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball
Other areas of Vikki’s home have been given short-term fixes. One day, they plan to open up the back of the house and knock through from the kitchen into the dining room.
The children’s cooker was from IKEA and given a coat of the leftover kitchen paint. ‘The ‘PLAY’ letters are from Hobbycraft, which I painted in a geometric pattern,’ Vikki says
Not wanting to waste good money on updating her kitchen, Vikki has given it a temporary makeover. ‘We bought a new oven and taps, but kept the worktop and units, and I painted the walls to freshen up the space,’ she says.
‘The wall cabinets overcrowded the room and Will kept hitting his head on them. We took them down and replaced them with shelves made from scaffolding boards.’
Inspired by Dulux’s colour of the year, Vikki painted her bedroom in Tranquil Dawn, creating a panel effect around the room and up and over the bed. The lampshade above the bed is by Sian Elin
When the couple’s second child, Alice, grew out of her cot it was the perfect time for Vikki to give her daughter’s room a makeover. ‘There used to be a double bed in there, but we got rid of that to turn it into a proper bedroom for Alice,’ she says.
Originally, there was a wall dividing this room in two. The bathroom took about two weeks to complete from start to finish. ‘I love the idea of taking a long bath, but the kids actually use it much more than I do!’ says Vikki. The vanity unit and illuminated mirror are both from
With her craft and now-impressive DIY skills, Vikki did everything herself in the room – the grid-effect wall, the wooden house, the floral wallpaper and the cute canopy are all her own handiwork. As her home style has evolved over time, Vikki has grown more confident taking risks with her interior decisions.
Swapping the usual chrome for brushed-brass fixtures and fittings gives a luxe, on-trend feel. Vikki’s are by Crosswater
‘If I see a design idea that I love but can’t afford, I work out a way to make it myself. I get a real enjoyment out of upcycling and painting. But I have to be careful because, before I know it, I’ve accidentally redecorated a whole room.’
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?