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.’
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.
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.
‘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.
‘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 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!’
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.’
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.
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.’
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.
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.
‘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.’