Welcome to our latest interiors inspiration feature "A Story of Home". We are consistently inspired by the unique homes we've discovered on Instagram and the lovely folk behind the these little squares. Our new series of blogs delves a little deeper to discover the stories behind these beautiful homes and the talented homeowners who have created them.
Today we are truly indulging our own passion for dark interiors as we learn more about a home we have drooled over since we first opened up the Instagram app, welcome Rachel aka @raspberry_flavoured_windows
Pop the kettle on, kick back with a cuppa and prepare to be wowed with a tour of one of the most dramatic homes we have ever cast our peepers on.
Hi I’m Rachel, a serial decorator with a penchant for gold, I’m a full time carer to 2 of my sons who are autistic. I share the house with my husband and three sons. The family joke is that we must had a different milkman for each son as one is blond, one brunette and one ginger (sshhh, he hates that word). Oh, and I can’t forget Buster, our elderly, cantankerous, ever so slightly senile Rottweiler. He was a stray and the most untrainable dog we have ever owned. After 12 years I can finally get him to sit but only if I bribe him with food.
How long have you lived here and what type of property is it?
We moved in when our eldest son was 6 months old and I can’t believe he will be 23 later this year! Where has the time gone? I feel well old. The house is Victorian, it was built in 1896, it’s detached and has 4 bedrooms with outhouses which were originally the local veterinary practice. There’s still a sink in one of them.
Did you fall in love with your home instantly? What was the one feature that sealed the deal for you?
I’m not sure whether I would describe it as falling in love exactly. We sold our previous house on a whim. You know one of those let’s put it on the market just to see how it’s received. It sold within 3 days for more than the asking price. The only downside was the new owners needed to move in within 6 weeks. Basically I had less than a week to find a house and have an offer accepted on it. In the end it came down to the house we are in now or a three story wing of a mansion house. In the end this one won out because we couldn’t be arsed with all the steps and didn’t want to have the worry of party walls and joined roofing.
Had you mentally redecorated before moving in or did your scheme come together over a period of time?
I’ve been here so long I’m not sure I remember. I think it was natural that initially the colour schemes reflected the furniture and accessories that we already owned. In the 22 years we’ve been here though it’s had many different incarnations.
Where do you seek your inspiration?
Lots of people have asked me this over the years and I find it an almost impossible question to answer. I find it everywhere around me. When I have an idea it normally just pops into my head. It’s as though my brain suddenly puts pieces together from scattered memories. I’ll scratch my head for day, weeks even and then, ping, an idea pops into my head.
What was the first job in your home you tackled?
There were two jobs that we tackled almost straight away. Firstly we fitted a new bathroom. It was a cheapy and we lived with it for 10 years until we could afford to do it properly but there was no way I was going to wash any part of me or my six month old baby in that bathroom as it was. It was disgusting! The other thing was that I had to rip all the carpets up. About three weeks after we moved in our son developed a rash that steadily got worse and worse. He was covered
Were there any surprises during the revamp/renovation?
I think there are always surprises with an old house. Be it a fix that takes ten times longer than you anticipate or a job doing that has a knock on effect. One thing always leads to another. Whatever your budget you always end up spending more. The biggest initial surprise for us was a letter from the local council dropping on our doorstep to say we were in breach of planning consent about six weeks after we moved in. I was like how? We haven’t applied to do anything! It turned out we had planning consent for a driveway but the previous owners then had a row with the next door neighbours where the drive entered the road. Rather than reapply for planning consent, they just moved it. So we had consent for a drive but not where it was. That was a huge expense as we had to apply retrospectively. Though I have to say the local council tried their best to help as they realised it wasn’t our fault.
What do you think has been the most successful area of your interior?
Oh, goodness, I have absolutely no idea. Possibly my recent kitchen revamp? I so wanted a new kitchen but couldn’t afford it so I went at it with a tin of paint and a paintbrush. It reminds me that a successful interior doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive one.
Are there any failures in your design/DIY that you care to admit to?
I’ve had plenty of them over the years. I think failures are an important part of learning. I once thought dark red was an excellent colour for a bathroom. It was like bathing in a uterus! And in no way relaxing.
Which is your favourite room?
My favourite room varies from day to day depending on my mood but it’s usually the one I’ve completed most recently. At the moment it’s my hall, stairs and landing.
Do you have a favourite object in your home?
I do, it’s our jukebox. I bought it secretly on Ebay for my husband’s birthday years ago. I even managed to get it transported to us. It was a bargain too, just over £100. Sadly it has wiring gremlins at the moment and won’t pick a record up. If you know anyone in Devon who can fix them do let me know.
Any golden nuggets of advice to share to anyone undertaking their own revamp/renovation, did you learn any lessons?
Measure twice, cut once. I dread to think how much I’ve thrown things away because of this mistake. And believe in yourself. A lot of jobs can be tackled yourself even those that seem scary at first. You tube has a plethora of ‘how tos’ out there. And the interior bloggers know a thing or two too.
Do you have anywhere in your home that doesn’t make it onto Instagram?
I think you have all seen more or less all the rooms that are completed. Even the loos! The one place you definitely will not see for a while though is the garden. I think there are a least two lost tribes out there and several new species as yet to be discovered. Hell ‘Stig Of The Dump’ would turn his nose up at it in its current guise.
What’s the next project you have planned?
I have two. I’m just in the middle of renovating my eldest son’s room. The plaster has caved in and it has 4 very large holes in the walls. And then it’s on to my middle son’s room. It’s a mammoth task and the whole room needs stripping back to plaster for some more essential wall repairs but I’m looking forward to it. I’m currently waiting though for that light bulb moment of inspiration to hit. As yet I have no idea what I want to do with it. That is apart from the ceiling. I have special plans for that.
Thank you Rachel for sharing your home stories with us. I absolutely love Rachel's style, her bold scheme of black & gold throughout her home has created a dramatic look that is just one wow factor after another as you go from room to room.
Rachel has business ideas in the pipeline and if you want to follow these and her home stories you will find her on Instagram as @raspberry_flavoured_windows and you can follow her blog with an excellent
"How to" section for DIY lovers.
Until next week, bye for now