Although I have a qualification in interior design, the prospect of designing a whole new show home gave me mixed feelings of great excitement, yet being mildly terrifying at the same time!
Before the launch of the show home, I felt like I was preparing ideas and mood boards, matching colours and textures, and shopping for weeks. My car and office, and other people’s offices (sorry Scott) were permanently full of boxes and I’m now on first name terms with most delivery drivers around here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a typical female and I like to shop, but it’s actually EXHAUSTING!
I’m a regular visitor to all Home Sense stores in the north west and the contents of my (several) trolleys often get comments such as ‘are you decorating your home?’ to which I reply ‘no, I’m designing and decorating a show home’ and then I get ‘ooh that sounds like an amazing job’…and it is, but….
Normally when you decorate, you’re just doing one room. I was decorating around 11 rooms plus a unique dressing area. I was having sleepless nights, worrying that I’d missed something and it wouldn’t be ready on time. When my kids were younger and they couldn’t sleep I’d tell them to do the ‘alphabet game’, where you go through the alphabet thinking of, for example, animals that begin with the letter a, then b etc. I’ve been doing this with show home items and believe me there’s a hell of a lot for ‘c’ – curtains, crockery, carpets, candles, consoles…you get the picture.
As to the actual decor, I’ve kept the palette for the 4-bed detached ‘Eden’ quite neutral with greys and beiges, introducing warm woods and a few splashes of colour in the bedrooms.
Most house builders use the same interior wholesalers to source their show home furniture which means they all begin to look the same. Thankfully Nicky (our MD) was happy for me to source unusual, potentially one-off items (Home Sense is amazing for this) and to introduce some quirkiness. The top 5 things I love (there’s loads more) in the new show home are:
- A fabulous burr elm dining table that has been handmade for us by local craftsmen, Jonathan Taylor Joinery. I wanted a rustic look to contrast with the very clean look of the ‘paint to order’ anthracite grey kitchen. This bespoke table has been designed from scratch and has stylish ‘O’ frame legs. Very much a centre piece;
- A wallpapered wardrobe and ‘bike’ furniture – you’ll have to see it for yourself as it’s quirky and fun;
- A handmade, designer headboard for the master bedroom. Take 5 lengths of MDF, pad with foam and wadding and cover with a beautiful textured upholstery fabric. Brace with a length of 2” x 1” timber. Elegant and bespoke;
- I didn’t want to forget the outdoor area, especially as we’re coming towards the warmer months. Turning pallets into seating – looks fantastic, and Aldi do the best outdoor cushions (only £5.99 each)! There’s also a great outdoor patio set (from Home Sense of course), and much cheaper than the likes of Houseology who offer a very similar product. Plants from Listers in Cockermouth – great selection!
- A handmade boot rack with ‘welcome to your new Genesis Home’ engraved on it. Try getting wellies this time of year though!
As with our Wigton show home, we’ve used local retailers where possible. We’re a young company and our budgets aren’t the same as some of the other house builders but I hope we’ve shown that good design doesn’t have to cost a packet.