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Home makeover: ‘Our home is cool & quirky with a bit of edge’

Take a look inside Raya's amazing period property, full of quirky colours and pattern

Moving into her first home gave Raya Pierzak the chance to flex her creative skills and give her period house even more character.

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

My story

Finding a house that we liked and that was reasonably priced wasn’t easy, but when we saw this place in a nice, up-and-coming area, it ticked all of our boxes. The house is deceptively spacious inside, with lots of character and we weren’t even fazed by the dated décor.

‘Our dining table and chairs are from MADE.com, while our dining room wallpaper is from I Love Wallpaper,’ says Raya. ‘It worked well with the green and pink colours we were looking at for the room and we thought it was quite bold and eye-catching’
‘Our dining table and chairs are from MADE.com, while our dining room wallpaper is from I Love Wallpaper,’ says Raya. ‘It worked well with the green and pink colours we were looking at for the room and we thought it was quite bold and eye-catching’

Pretty much every room needed replastering, so we called someone in to do that, then set about transforming it from top to bottom.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Raya Pierzak, 30, a visual merchandiser. I live with my boyfriend, Aaron, 31, an activities supervisor.

Where I live Our two-bedroom semi-detached house is in Kilburn, Derbyshire, and we moved here in October 2019. I’m not sure when it was built but it’s an old house and we love its character.

Raya Pierzak

We did all the other work ourselves – with a little help from our parents – and there was no slowing us down. In fact, we managed to get most of the house to a standard we were happy with within six months.

Opposite the dining table, a compact velvet sofa from MADE.com sits underneath a selection of fun framed prints and quotes. ‘I’ve gone for a dark green and blush pink scheme with gold and brass accents,’ says Raya. ‘The drinks trolley next to the sofa gets pulled out when friends are round, but it’s small enough not to get in the way’
Opposite the dining table, a compact velvet sofa from MADE.com sits underneath a selection of fun framed prints and quotes. ‘I’ve gone for a dark green and blush pink scheme with gold and brass accents,’ says Raya. ‘The drinks trolley next to the sofa gets pulled out when friends are round, but it’s small enough not to get in the way’

The laminate flooring downstairs was awful. We were hoping we’d find original floorboards underneath, but unfortunately it was just concrete. We’d pulled too much of it up to be able to repair it, so we decided to choose a new floor from B&Q.

On the opposite kitchen wall, Raya chose Valspar’s Pink Perfection. She has a shelf next to the cooker where she displays some non-kitchen items to keep it feeling decorative
On the opposite kitchen wall, Raya chose Valspar’s Pink Perfection. She has a shelf next to the cooker where she displays some non-kitchen items to keep it feeling decorative

On the walls, we put up wallpaper in some rooms and created panelling in others, along with some paint effects, which was fun to do.

A bit more about my home…

What I wanted to change The house had lots of potential, but it had dated décor and needed new flooring and replastering. We wanted to update the old kitchen too.

How I made it my own We spent time decorating it ourselves, giving it a quirky vibe and turning it into a space that we like to spend time in, whether it’s entertaining or cosy nights in for the two of us.

My favourite part Our bedroom, because of its bohemian style and relaxing feel. It’s probably the least colourful space in the house, but it’s also the most calming. You can see more of our home @chapelstreethome

Raya's house

I’m so proud of how much we’ve achieved in under a year. We always get compliments about how stylish the interior is, which is really nice after all our hard work.

Living room

‘We tried to avoid bulky furniture to make the space feel bigger, opting for sofas with legs and a slim-framed coffee table. The pieces we chose matched our style perfectly anyway, so we were happy to go for them. This is Aaron’s favourite room as it’s so comfy and cosy.

‘I love art deco, which is why we’ve used a lot of brass and velvet furniture pieces,’ explains Raya. Walls painted in Johnstone’s Dresden Dream are the perfect backdrop to the lush navy velvet sofa and feature wallpaper from John Lewis & Partners, while shelves in the alcove provide a place for plants and trinkets
‘I love art deco, which is why we’ve used a lot of brass and velvet furniture pieces,’ explains Raya. Blue walls are the perfect backdrop to the lush navy velvet sofa and feature wallpaper from John Lewis & Partners, while shelves in the alcove provide a place for plants and trinkets

‘I actually saw the wallpaper on an episode of Interior Design Masters and hunted it down online straight afterwards. I couldn’t get hold of it as it was being discontinued but stumbled across the last three rolls in the Nottingham John Lewis & Partners, so it was meant to be! We went with a blue scheme for a similar reason – I saw this amazing baby blue colour on an episode of George Clarke’s Old House, New Home and just fell in love with it.’

Kitchen

Updating their existing kitchen cabinets meant Raya and Aaron could save on budget, some of which they put towards a
good-quality paint to revamp the cupboards. ‘We painted them in Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black, which contrasts nicely with the pink walls and gives the room a more feminine edge,’ says Raya.

Black painted cabinets in the kitchen have been given a more feminine flourish with pale pink crockery and accessories. The Star Wars print was Aaron’s choice – ‘it’s quite possibly his favourite part of the house,’ laughs Raya
Black painted cabinets in the kitchen have been given a more feminine flourish with pale pink crockery and accessories. The Star Wars print was Aaron’s choice – ‘it’s quite possibly his favourite part of the house,’ laughs Raya

‘I think it’s really important to go for good-quality equipment and paint. You may spend a little more, but the time and effort saved helps, especially in a new home. Your arms will thank you!’ The couple also did the tiling themselves, using fresh white metro tiles.

‘The LED ‘EAT’ sign is from Home Bargains. We bought the letters individually, so you can spell out any word. They add a bit of fun to the kitchen’
‘The LED ‘EAT’ sign is from Home Bargains. We bought the letters individually, so you can spell out any word. They add a bit of fun to the kitchen’

Dining room

The open-plan kitchen and dining room was a selling point for the couple as they love entertaining. ‘I like a mix of styles but I’m really drawn to art deco,’ says Raya. ‘I also love a glam boho look, so I’ve tried to accessorise with different textures, plants and vintage pieces. My dining bench was originally in an old pub and I upcycled it using wood stain and paint. We frequently go to antique and vintage shops looking for interesting pieces – I’m looking for an old cocktail cabinet next!’

A vintage leather armchair sits next to the couple’s best bargain buy – a real marble side table that they got for £3 in a charity shop. ‘It was originally a three-tier table,’ says Raya, ‘but one of the marble shelves was damaged. We took it out and it looks just as good, if not better, with the two shelves’
A vintage leather armchair sits next to the couple’s best bargain buy – a real marble side table that they got for £3 in a charity shop. ‘It was originally a three-tier table,’ says Raya, ‘but one of the marble shelves was damaged. We took it out and it looks just as good, if not better, with the two shelves’

At the end of the dining room, the couple created some faux panelling with wood beading and painted it in Dark Green Velvet emulsion from Johnstone’s.

Spare bedroom

‘We painted half the wall behind the bed in Powdered Clay by Crown Paints for a funky look and went for a terrazzo print wallpaper from B&Q on the other wall. A family member also made a large macramé wall hanging for us, which takes pride of place.

Every room in the house has lots of texture, including the spare bedroom, with wool knitted blankets, macramé wall hangings and even pompom cushion trims, giving it a cosy feel
Every room in the house has lots of texture, including the spare bedroom, with wool knitted blankets, macramé wall hangings and even pompom cushion trims, giving it a cosy feel

‘I don’t do a lot of craft myself but I’m keen to start – I’m always inspired after seeing things on YouTube and Pinterest. I leave for work early in the morning, so I usually take myself off to this room to get glam.

Raya already had the honeycomb paper decorations but realised they perfectly matched the colours in the B&Q terrazzo wallpaper. ‘I just thought, why not keep them up?’ she says
Raya already had the honeycomb paper decorations but realised they perfectly matched the colours in the B&Q terrazzo wallpaper. ‘I just thought, why not keep them up?’ she says

‘It’s girly and fun, and as it’s not a room we spend lots of time in, we felt like we could be braver in here, without going off it too quickly.’

Main bedroom

‘Our bedroom is probably my favourite room, because it has the bohemian style that I love and feels so relaxing. It’s got lots of interesting elements to it, such as the black panelled wall at one end, which adds a bit of drama to an otherwise white room.

In the master bedroom, Raya has kept the décor light, with subtle tones of blush and sand. ‘If I had to change something about our house it would be to have more natural light,’ she says. ‘It goes hand in hand with having a mid-terrace, I suppose, but I’d love more light coming in, especially in the summer’
In the master bedroom, Raya has kept the décor light, with subtle tones of blush and sand. ‘If I had to change something about our house it would be to have more natural light,’ she says. ‘It goes hand in hand with having a mid-terrace, I suppose, but I’d love more light coming in, especially in the summer’

‘Plus, our black TV almost blends in with the wall as we mounted it onto the panelling, so it isn’t as noticeable when we’re not watching it, which I’m pleased about.

‘I have lots of bits from H&M Home – they have the best accessories and always get it right,’ says Raya. ‘I also love Oliver Bonas as they have gorgeous unique pieces, and out of the supermarkets, I find that Sainsbury’s Home have some lovely bits at a good price’
‘I have lots of bits from H&M Home – they have the best accessories and always get it right,’ says Raya. ‘I also love Oliver Bonas as they have gorgeous unique pieces, and out of the supermarkets, I find that Sainsbury’s Home have some lovely bits at a good price’

‘Instead of a chest of drawers, I picked a console unit from Swoon, which runs along one wall and I’ve created a gallery wall above it with lots of fun prints and macramé hangings. Then, behind the bed, we painted an arch using Craig & Rose’s Fresh Plaster paint.’

Bathroom

‘There’s nothing in the house that we’d change, as it’s still fresh and new, however eventually we’d like to create our dream bathroom. We have big plans for it, which include some gorgeous new tiles and a stand-alone shower with a vintage claw-foot bath.

Raya believes you can never have too many plants and mixes real with faux in every room, including the bathroom. The peel-and-stick bath tiles are from Wayfair and the bath mat is from George Home
Raya believes you can never have too many plants and mixes real with faux in every room, including the bathroom

‘When we first moved in, it was wall-to-wall royal blue, from the paint to the tiles! It was never going to be our first job, but I couldn’t cope with it long-term, so we decided to give it a quick makeover.

Handy ledge space around the bath provides a place for plants or to keep toiletries within arm’s reach
Handy ledge space around the bath provides a place for plants or to keep toiletries within arm’s reach

‘We used peel-and-stick tiles from Wayfair to go over the existing floor tiles and painted the wall tiles and the walls with a Valspar paint.’

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Feature and styling Laurie Davidson. Photos Simon Whitmore. 

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