Welcome to our new Interiors blog feature "A Story of Home".
For those of you who follow our Instagram feeds you may recognise @a_story_of_home as my personal account name, it's a space i get to indulge my love of interiors with a community of equally obsessed folk. There's only so much cushion design and paint colour chat your friends and family are willing to listen to without glazing over, so for me Instagram is a great platform to engage with like minded people who could talk interiors 24/7. It's one of the best aspects for me, making a genuine connection with the person behind these little squares and your shared love of a design style or colour crush.
Instagram is also fantastic for discovering independent businesses you may never normally stumble across. I love discovering indie brands and their stories - products made with love created by people who are passionate about what they do and the beautiful spaces they call home.
Our new feature will take a snoop around some of my favourite homes from the Gram, with stories of renovations, tales of DIY projects, design inspirations and get to know a bit more about the people & the businesses behind theses squares.
So want to see our first home share?...take a look below.
A Story of Home - @gareth_at_31
So lets meet @gareth_at_31. Tell us who lives in your house?
I’m Gareth and live with my partner Paul, two house cats (Jake and Tilly) and a house rabbit (Benny).
How long have you lived here and what type of property is it?
We moved into this house in November 2016. It’s an Edwardian three-bedroom semi-detached house on the edge of the Peak District and Sheffield border.
Did you fall in love with your home instantly? What was the one feature that sealed the deal for you?
Absolutely. I fell in love with the house the minute I saw it on Rightmove. I still remember clapping eyes on it for the first time and not being able to get it out of my head. At first, we were divided. It is on a very busy main road, which was what was putting Paul off. But when we walked in for that first viewing we both fell head over heels. For me, the hallway with original features was so welcoming that I instantly knew I could be at home here. After that, every room and the garden just had me.
Had you mentally redecorated before moving in or did your scheme come together over a period of time?
We absolutely loved it the way it was. But then when we moved in we couldn’t help ourselves and had to getting ‘faffing’ almost instantly. But, over the last year, my own interest and confidence in interiors has grown, and therefore the whole house remains in a constant state of flux. I think I’m now starting to be able to work out my ‘style’, which I’m taking throughout the house as I can. I am not sure there’s a name to describe it though.
We also bought the house knowing it had potential for a good-sized extension. So everything we’re doing at the moment is mainly aesthetic, as we try to work out what a more substantial update might look like.
Where do you seek your inspiration?
I get inspiration from a variety of places. I used to be an avid scroller of Pinterest, but since joining Instagram a year ago, that’s taken over as my main source. I also subscribe to House Beautiful, which is a nice way to see what is trending. However, I am trying to keep a longer-term vision for my home and not focusing too much on trends.
What was the first job in your home you tackled?
We decided we were going to use a smaller bedroom at the back of the house as our main bedroom. So we decided to bite the bullet and strip the woodchip off the walls. Which meant we needed to have it all replastered. So that was the first major job. Since then we’ve had a new boiler, new double glazing throughout (except the rooms we plan to renovate in an extension) and redecorated throughout.
Were there any surprises during the revamp/renovation?
Not really. We knew pretty much what we would need to do when we bought the place. We didn’t think we would do some of the things quite as soon as we did, but we felt that we would get the most of out of things such as the new boiler straight away, so we just went for it.
What do you think has been the most successful area of your interior?
It has to be the living room for me. That’s the one room that feels fairly finished. While we plan to have it replastered and new plug sockets and flooring in time, we’re not in a rush. So that’s the room where we’ve really expressed ourselves and build up our confidence of dark wall colours.
Gaining colour confidence taking the dark blue wall all around the room
(Hague Blue Farrow & Ball)
Are there any failures in your design/DIY that you care to admit to?
I had the home office replastered. I am attempting to do the skirting board myself. After a few unsuccessful mitre saw encounters, the wood is now stacked behind the wardrobe and I can’t bring myself to look at it again. But the room won’t be finished until I do. So I need to pluck up the courage soon!
Which is your favourite room?
This is a tough one. Decoration-wise it’s definitely the living room. And that is also a lovely room to unwind and relax in. But I love the dining-kitchen. First thing in a morning the sun streams through, and it’s a nice spot to sit with my first coffee and book before kicking the day off.
Do you have a favourite object in your home?
I love most things I bring into my house. I am starting to make it that everything is either functional or makes me happy. But I have two sentimental pieces. The first is the bureau in the living room that was my great grandad’s retirement gift from the police force in the 1930s and has remained in the family. The second is my bookcase/dresser in the hallway. This was made bespoke for us to fit that space and was a gift from my grandparents for passing my PhD. Both these pieces mean a lot to me. And therefore and the only two pieces in the house that are immune from my paintbrush and chalk paint!
Any golden nuggets of advice to share to anyone undertaking their own revamp/renovation, did you learn any lessons?
My advice with a revamp would be to be brave. If you like something, but are scared of trying it, just go for it. Most things can be undone. Slapping Hague Blue on our walls was not a thing I thought I would ever do. But there’s no looking back now I’ve done it. And it’s just made me feel so much more confident and inspired to run with themes using colours, textures and objects I love, rather than what feels safe.
Do you have anywhere in your home that doesn’t make it onto Instagram?
The aforementioned home office. It needs decorating, skirting boards fitting, floorboard painting, boiler boxing in. At the moment it’s such an eyesore. The other room is the bathroom. It’s featured once, a while ago. Whilst it’s not awful, it’s not the prettiest. I might brave it and put it back up again soon. It will be heavily styled and ‘faffed’ though!
What’s the next project you have planned?
I’ve got a huge tin of Green Smoke paint for the front bedroom, continuing my shift to the dark side. So that’s next. I can then get some artwork up that’s currently waiting for that space to be decorated.
Do you run an Interiors business?
I have my own blog, ( www.designat31.com ) which I’m hoping to get going with soon. I also have an Etsy shop ( Circa Whenever ), which is woefully under stocked at the moment, but interested and willing to do furniture upcycle commissions.
Thank you Gareth for sharing your home with us. I am a huge fan of dark decor and have enjoyed following Gareth's journey towards dark interiors, and love how he's created a warm cosy home filled with layers and textures.
To follow Gareth's interiors story find him at www.instagram.com/@gareth_at_31
Read Gareth's blog www.designat31.com
For furniture upcycle commissions contact Circa Whenever