Maxine Brady’s home makeover: ‘I’ve used sunny colours to create a happy home’

Maxine Brady called on her décor know-how to transform a neglected house into a stylish home filled with colour and pattern. Take a look inside...

Maxine's Brighton home

When interior stylist and TV presenter Maxine Brady purchased her Victorian terrace house in Brighton, she knew she was buying a complete wreck.

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Transforming her home over the past five years has not only been her passion project but it was also the inspiration for starting her award-winning lifestyle blog and an interior design studio.

Maxine Brady house, Brighton
Maxine went for an L-shape layout in her kitchen to make it more sociable and had a window installed to benefit from the garden view and allow sunlight to flood in

‘My house hadn’t been lived in for seven years and it looked very unloved. As an interior stylist, I knew I could make it beautiful, even on a tiny budget,’ she says.

Welcome to our home…

Our home Is a two-bedroom 1850s Victorian terrace in Brighton

We are Maxine Brady, 43, an interior stylist, TV presenter and blogger, and her Maltese dog, Teddy

Maxine Brady

‘At the same time as the renovation, I decided to launch my interiors blog to chart my home’s renovation journey and show others in the same boat as me that you don’t need to have lots of money to have a beautiful home. I wanted to inspire anyone else who plans on renovating a small house.’

Rather than having wall units that would overwhelm the space, Maxine made the shelving out of scaffolding boards and copper piping
Rather than having wall units that would overwhelm the space, Maxine made the shelving out of scaffolding boards and copper piping

She moved into the house in March 2016 and had a long list of projects to take on. The garden was overgrown, with a large climbing bush, which blocked the back door.

The bathroom dated back to the 1990s and it was leaking into the kitchen below. The kitchen was also so damp that it attracted snails that would trail across the floor.

The living and dining rooms were originally separate spaces, so Maxine blocked up the doorway and knocked down a wall to create an open-plan living area
The living and dining rooms were originally separate spaces, so Maxine blocked up the doorway and knocked down a wall to create an open-plan living area

‘All the rooms needed attention – windows, doors, carpets, roof – so there hasn’t been a bit of this house that I haven’t worked my DIY magic on,’ she says. ‘The layout needed reconfiguring too, so that it worked in a smarter way.’

‘As soon as I saw the Laura Ashley wirework art at a press show, I had to have it as it’s so unusual. It’s a statement piece and adds drama to my open-plan dining area,’ says Maxine
‘As soon as I saw the Laura Ashley wirework art at a press show, I had to have it as it’s so unusual. It’s a statement piece and adds drama to my open-plan dining area,’ says Maxine

Maxine decided to live in her home for six months before embarking on any large renovation projects. ‘I wanted to get a feel for the space to see how I used my home and work out what I wanted to change.

A bit more about our home…

My top tip Use rugs to add instant colour and pattern to every room

Shops I love La Redoute, Homesense and Zara Home

My best idea Was making the kitchen handles from plumber’s copper piping

The biggest challenge Was having to do all the building work at once

Maxine Brady house, Brighton

It was awful living with the dreadful carpets and draughty windows, but it saved me making costly mistakes,’ she reveals.

Most of Maxine’s art is picked up from junk shops and trips abroad. The framed Miles Davis record belonged to her parents and adds colour to the scheme. IKEA shelves and black frames from Habitat complete the wall.
Most of Maxine’s art is picked up from junk shops and trips abroad. The framed Miles Davis record belonged to her parents and adds colour to the scheme. IKEA shelves and black frames from Habitat complete the wall

Her original plan was to do the house up bit by bit, first by making it watertight by fixing the windows, roof and guttering before dealing with the damp.

However, after a disastrous leak from the bathroom taps, when water poured through the kitchen ceiling, Maxine realised she couldn’t wait any longer.

Although not original to the house, Maxine has kept the Victorian-style fireplace that she dusted with white paint to highlight the ironwork details. The artwork is by Lumitrix.
Although not original to the house, Maxine has kept the Victorian-style fireplace that she dusted with white paint to highlight the ironwork details. The artwork is by Lumitrix

‘My builder suggested I should tackle the bathroom and kitchen, then knock down the living room wall all in one go,’ she says.

‘It was super stressful with a puppy who put his nose into everything, and the dust was so intense that I ended up moving out for a few weeks. But it meant that all the messy stuff was done in just a few short months.’

The bedroom is next on Maxine’s to-do list. Her ottoman-style bed from Button & Sprung is dressed in fresh linen sheets from scooms
The bedroom is next on Maxine’s to-do list. Her ottoman-style bed from Button & Sprung is dressed in fresh linen sheets from scooms

Once the living areas had been refurbished, Maxine took on one big job a month and tried to do as much as she could herself.

‘I had a to-do list as long as my arm but broke it down into mini-projects. I finished one area before moving onto the next and I could see the house taking shape,’ she explains.

The vintage wardrobe was a Gumtree find. Maxine painted it with Annie Sloane white chalk paint, so the furniture blends seamlessly into her room
The vintage wardrobe was a Gumtree find. Maxine painted it with Annie Sloane white chalk paint, so the furniture blends seamlessly into her room

‘Weekends were spent stripping off woodchip wallpaper, smashing out cheap fitted cupboards or digging in the garden.’ Maxine restored the original features and replaced anything that wasn’t in keeping with her home style.

Making the most of every inch of space, this handy cabinet was a 1970s TV stand in a former life. Maxine added hairpin legs and painted it with Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue
Making the most of every inch of space, this handy cabinet was a 1970s TV stand in a former life. Maxine added hairpin legs and painted it with Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue

After two years of hard work, Maxine moved on to the décor of the house. ‘My style is very considered. As I live in a tiny house, every decision I make has to be practical as well as stylish. I don’t tend to follow trends and I only have things in my home that I truly love as this keeps clutter at bay.’

The guest bedroom is decorated in Great Waves wallpaper by Cole & Son, which is now discontinued. ‘I’ll never take it down as this wallpaper is irreplaceable,’ she says. ‘It’s always sunny in here, so it’s a happy room for guests to stay in’
The guest bedroom is decorated in Great Waves wallpaper by Cole & Son, which is now discontinued. ‘I’ll never take it down as this wallpaper is irreplaceable,’ she says. ‘It’s always sunny in here, so it’s a happy room for guests to stay in’

Influenced by global style and her travels abroad, Maxine loves to bring back items that will work in her home. ‘I’ve brought a light fitting from Spain, rugs and ceramics from Morocco and art from New York and San Francisco,’ she says, ‘I’m also heavily influenced by my vibrant hometown, Brighton.

Maxine’s biggest indulgence was her roll-top bath from Bathroom Takeaway. ‘It’s always been my dream to have one,’ Maxine reveals. The ceiling had to be raised to fit in the shower, which cost an extra £1,000 on top of her budget. ‘But it was worth it for my dream bathroom,’ she says
Maxine’s biggest indulgence was her roll-top bath from Bathroom Takeaway. ‘It’s always been my dream to have one,’ Maxine reveals. The ceiling had to be raised to fit in the shower, which cost an extra £1,000 on top of her budget. ‘But it was worth it for my dream bathroom,’ she says

The exterior of my house is painted in a peppermint colour, which is the same shade as the seafront’s promenade. It’s a sunny colour that makes my house a happy home.’

Wall shelves by Dowsing & Reynolds make for a pretty display space. Filled with plants, artwork, candles and accessories, they help to add character to the bathroom
Wall shelves by Dowsing & Reynolds make for a pretty display space. Filled with plants, artwork, candles and accessories, they help to add character to the bathroom

Maxine admits she will continue to make changes, but she feels very much at ease here now. ‘When I open the front door, I feel relaxed,’ she says. ‘I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in five years and – the best bit – it’s never finished! I keep making adjustments so my home feels like new all the time.’

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Feature Erika Radford. Photos David Giles. Styling Maxine Brady. 

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