With some savvy upstyling, Louise Hart has been able to redecorate her 1930s semi while still saving for an extension.
Read on to find out all about her clever home makeover…
Location was the biggest factor when we decided to move from one side of Wigan to the other. With a newborn and a three-year-old, we wanted to be in the catchment area for good schools and closer to friends and family.
Luckily, we sold our previous house within a day of it going on the market. Our search area was really small, and we didn’t want to scupper the sale, so we moved into a rental property and put letters through doors while we searched for our next home.
Eventually, we found this three-bedroom semi on a quiet cul-de-sac with similar square footage to our last place, but carved up differently with a utility room and potential to extend.
Welcome to my home…
A bit about me I’m Louise Hart, a freelance product and clothing designer @houseonthehey. I live with my partner, Sean Melling, our daughter, Poppy, five, and son Cooper, two.
Where I live My home is a three-bedroom 1930s semi in Wigan. We’ve lived here since August 2018.
It was described as a ‘turnkey house’, which appealed to us with a baby, and it had bright sunny rooms.
Décor wise, it wasn’t totally to our taste, so we repainted the living room, master bedroom and Poppy’s room while we still had the rental property then did the rest bit by bit after moving in.
Overall, it’s been a pretty inexpensive project, including revamping the tired kitchen for under £500. I’d describe my style as Scandi and feminine with some Mid Century and vintage pieces.
Although I do like modern design, I’m not too minimal. I like to add layers and depth to a room so I’m always chopping and changing accessories.
A bit more about my home…
What I wanted to change The duck-egg blue in the main reception rooms and purple walls in Poppy’s room had to go.
How I made it my own I’ve given it a clean, modern look with lots of open shelves and wooden peg rails that are constantly restyled.
My favourite part Upcycling the kitchen-diner on such a small budget has definitely given the room a new lease of life. I love the light in here and the way we use the space as a family.
In the future we’d like a two-storey side extension to capitalise on the corner plot and views. This would give us a fourth bedroom, a bigger kitchen-diner and a designated study for home working, as well as more storage since we don’t have a garage. I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made this year – the house has so much scope and I can’t wait to get creative with the next phase.
As the couple plan to extend their house, Louise decided to up spec the existing Howdens kitchen as a temporary measure. ‘The yellowy cream doors were fine but the vinyl on the laminate had started to lift off,’ says Louise.
‘Peeling it off was very therapeutic as it came off in one go. Then I painted the cupboard doors in Frenchic Cool Beans outdoor chalk paint and sprayed the brushed silver handles black. It only took a day.’
Replacing the silver extractor fan with a new black design, buying a black fridge and swapping the glass splashbacks for herringbone tiles has made a huge difference too.
‘I did consider decorative monochrome tiles but felt plain, neutral ones would be a safer bet in case I changed my mind,’ she says. ‘You can create a pattern with the formation they’re laid in, rather than the design of the tiles themselves.’
‘This room was also duck-egg blue when we moved in and the couch divided the room. Since then we’ve moved it to the side, so the space has a more full-flowing open feel with the kitchen. I particularly love my low vintage couch, which I came across in a reclamation centre.
Originally it was covered in an olive-green velvet, but I had it reupholstered with a warm grey fabric to match in. Colour blocking the wall has also made a big difference. I used masking tape down the straight sides, then made a DIY compass using string and a pencil for the curves. By mixing two leftover paint colours together, I got the perfect shade.’
‘The first thing we did was paint the duck-egg blue walls white to better suit our modern Scandi style. I was worried about going dark all the way around, so we went for a feature wall in Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe.
‘Normally we prefer wooden floors and rugs, but we kept the neutral carpet in here as it’s practical with a little one. In the future we might sand the floorboards. We’ve also kept the fireplace as it’s original to the house.
‘Most of the furniture is from our previous house, including a really comfy sofa from Laura Ashley, which is similar to Loaf’s Bluebell design.
‘Although this room was meant to be more of an evening snug, it hasn’t worked out that way as the kids just go where they please!’
‘I do love a feature wall, so we opted for Railings by Farrow & Ball behind the bed in here, which has a lovely navy depth to it. We had it in our previous house, and I’d seen how well it works on Instagram, so I didn’t bother getting a tester pot.
‘As you walk in, it makes you feel cosy, but it still feels bright in the mornings for getting out of bed. A dark wall really makes artwork and accessories pop out, so we’ve painted our existing IKEA bed and cabinets to make them stand out against the wall too.’
Louise was keen to paint over the bright purple walls in here to create a more restful, neutral look. White walls and chalky pastel hues through bedding, furniture and accessories make it easy to change as Poppy gets older.
‘It’s a lovely, big room overlooking the rear garden and there’s even space for a little teepee den in the bay window,’ Louise reveals. ‘The IKEA bed has been great as we’ve extended it out as she’s grown.’
What I learned…
Upgrade what you’ve already got to save money. Painting our kitchen made it look brand new and cost less than £500. I tend to keep tiles neutral though, as it’s easier to change the wall colour with paint if you get bored.
Try to keep your colour schemes complementary throughout the house. This way you can change a room easily by moving things around. Enhance whatever original features you can and mix in some old with the new. I always like to bring a vintage piece back when I travel for work.
Try colour blocking. It’s an easy way to add drama and detail to a room, especially if you have high ceilings like us.
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in HomeStyle magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?