Happy Wednesday budget decorators!
I’m glad to be back with another “In the Trenches” interview today. To be honest, this interview was scheduled to go live well over two weeks ago, but my crazy offline life really threw a wrench in my online plans. For that I offer my sincerest apology to you, my dearest readers, and to Kristy, who has been waiting so patiently to see her interview go live!
I ran across photos of Kristy’s home while browsing for inspiration for baby Elizabeth’s nursery and was immediately charmed by every photo! I could rave on and on about how I’m ready to move in any time she offers an invitation, but instead I’ll keep my introduction brief and let you discover the lovely Kristy and her home for yourself…
Let’s start off by finding out more about you… I know you’re an extremely creative stay at home mom of four. How would you describe your decorating style?
I live just on the outskirts of Manchester,UK in an Edwardian house that needed total renovation from new bathrooms to complete redecoration. Partly due to financial necessity I have become addicted to thrifting, but I must admit that I just love vintage pieces so much. I love the history and the integrity they hold. I would say that my decorating style is definitely ecclectic. I am too much of a vintage loving pack-rat to stick to any one style or era for decor. I want my home to look like it has evolved rather than been staged and I really don’t like matchy matchy things. Any imperfections would drive me mad!
One of the things I love about your home is the way you intermingle vintage pieces with more modern/contemporary pieces. I think if I tried to do that, my home would just end up looking like a hodge podge of mess; your home, however, feels so pulled together and charming. How do you manage to create that balance?
I try only to buy things that I really love or make me smile. I think the best decor advice I was given was to always buy things you love when you see them. Don’t worry about where they will go. Eventually you will find a home for them. Don’t be scared to live with something for a while and move it around until it feels right. That’s the joy of many thrifted pieces as they really are affordable. I love the juxtaposition of a vintage piece next to a hopefully modern classic. Like my edwardian armchairs next to my glass coffee table. I love vintage pieces or modern pieces but I really don’t like modern pieces pretending to be vintage.
I also try to keep in mind certain colours for each room. So for example my kitchen is based around the colours of my collection of 1940’s china (that we use everyday by the way)- pastel pink, yellow, green, and blue against a white background. The same way a lot of people feel you should always have an element of black in a room, I always include a little red. It’s a colour that really lifts my mood even in very small doses.
I have to admit that while exploring your Flickr photos, I became completely fascinated by the images from your inspiration books. Will you tell us a little bit about them? How/why did you start them and how do they assist you in designing your home? (And just for my own curiousity, are they made from altered books? I noticed type written words in the background of several pages…)
My inspiration books are one of my most valuable decorating tools. I love interior magazines but got really fed up having to flick through them to find the images I wanted. I decided to start a scrap book of torn out photos. As I tend to look for a vintage option before a new one I picked up a couple of old household encyclopedia for a pound in a charity shop. I ripped out about half of the pages (otherwise it gets too thick to close) and kept any interesting pages. I just stick my torn images directly onto the pages and build them up randomly. It is so good to be able to flick through them and they really highlight exactly what I like. Themes and colours emerge naturally and keep me focused.
What would you say has been your greatest challenge decorating your home so far? Is this a challenge that you’ve conquered? If so, will you share how you managed the challenge? If not, do you have any ideas about how you’ll tackle this challenge?
Most rooms have had to go back to bare brick so I guess the biggest challenge has been raising a family in a building site! My girls are a dab hand at avoiding pots of paint and the odd tool lying around. Specifically though I think that the kitchen renovation was the most major undertaking. It had been heavily remodelled between the 60’s and the 80’s and had been stripped of all its character. It was just a box with ugly units and dark appliances. We reinstated the chimney breast and restored the doors and windows back to their original positions. The ceiling was also raised to it’s original level. Even the floor had to be taken up and relaid.
To keep my sanity I insisted on keeping my dishwasher plumbed in throughout the whole renovation. It caused many raised eyebrows from tradesmen but helped me so much. I did have a very clear idea in my head of how I wanted the room to feel but was flexible about how to achieve that. The best advice I can give when tackling such a big job is to research and plan then plan some more. Shop around as there is always a more economical alternative. Always try and see the funny side of any catastrophies (of which we had many!).
Another thing that I love about your home is how family friendly it is. You’ve managed to create a place that looks comfortable for everyone, male/female, adult and child. What tips can you share on how to create an attractive yet comfortable family home?
I am constantly juggling the balance of aesthetics versus practicality. To create a family home that really works, storage has to be your top priority. If the storage looks good then you are halfway there. Everything needs to have a place. I utilise lots of baskets and boxes. You can never have too many!
Ours is not a show home, it’s a family home that really has to work hard for us. My personal taste has to be blended with the rest of the family especially my aspiring minimalist husband. He doesn’t always have the first choice but he always has the last word and gets to say what stays or goes. It’s important not to fall into the trap of compromising each individual taste too much. If you do, then you end up with pieces that nobody really loves. I have my own little corners that are just mine and hubby has a few statement pieces that he loves too. The girls get to input lots of ideas in their own spaces and I love to display their artwork alongside those purchased elsewhere. It gives them a sense of belonging and adds a relaxed feel to schemes.
I know that you are a very crafty lady and have recently begun an etsy shop to sell your creations. Do you find that your crafting interests influence your design of your home? If so, in what ways? Are there areas of your home where you can see the colors or style have definitely been influenced or inspired by your crafting interests/style?
I think that my home is more heavily influenced by the creativeness of others. By all the fantastic artwork available through etsy especially. Also through seeing other peoples homes in blogs and on Flickr. My mind is always sparked by other peoples decor ideas and how I can interprete them in my own way.
Finally, if you were asked to share 3 tips with someone who was just starting off decorating their home on a budget, what would you say?
1. Always buy what you love and if you can’t find it in your price bracket then wait. You’ll either save up for it or an affordable alternative will turn up.
2. Regularily check out your local charity/thrift shops, car-boots, yard sales, freecycle etc. It always amazes me just what people are willing to give away.
3.Look at as many decor images as you can so that you can work out what you like and, just as importantly, don’t like. It will help define your own style. That way you are less likely to buy things you really don’t like or need.
As usual, I had a really hard time narrowing down the choices of photos to accompany the interview, so you HAVE to go visit Flickr to see more of Kristy’s beautiful home! You can also visit her blog, Vintage Pleasure, to learn more about this sweet lady, her family, and all her great bargain hunting finds. Kristy, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your home with my readers or for being so patient to see this post go live!
Until next time – Shauntelle