Moving into her first home gave Raya Pierzak the chance to flex her creative skills and give her period house even more character.
Here, she tells us all about her home makeover experience…
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
‘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 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.’
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.
‘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 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!’
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.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Feature and styling Laurie Davidson. Photos Simon Whitmore.