Images: Sandra Baker //
Where: West Yorkshire, UK.
Residence: Sandra, Chris, and their two daughters- Polly and Kitty.
This tour takes place in Wharfedale, a small village in West Yorkshire, UK.
Sandra Baker- a commercial lawyer during the day and a 24/7 interiors enthusiast, is the owner of an eclectic Victorian house, that you are all going to fall in love with tremendously.
When the couple had their second daughter they decided to move to a bigger house.
And just like when finding your soulmate (where you immediately understand that you’ve found your lobster!), Sandra immediately knew that they’ve found their lobster house, just by looking at its interiors.
And it’s pretty understandable, because it does look like a gorgeous Victorian fairytale.
However, Sandra admitted that the interiors were not her cup of tea, and that she quickly realized that a massive but gradual renovation is required.
A gradual renovation is a great thing when you have patience and you don’t want to compromise a thing.
You save money for every room and renovate the hell out of it once you’ve hit your savings goal.
However, it can be a bummer in some aspects, but as you’re about to see- it was completely worth it.
What is your tip for people who work in a different profession and want to bring out their creative side before having the courage to renovate their own home?
“I work as a commercial lawyer but have always been creative – I think my that side of me got stifled a bit after I left school and started to study law, and you can lose confidence after a while if you don’t keep up with it.
Quite early on in my career as a lawyer, I did a night class in interior design. I didn’t actually feel it taught me much I didn’t already know, but it brought out my confidence and gave me a good grounding in the basics of color, texture, spatial planning, etc.
I’d recommend trying a similar course to anyone who wants to bring out their creative side – it doesn’t have to be a serious course with a qualification at the end, just a night class or even an online course. Pick the brains of the teacher as much as you can!”
What’s your advice for people who want to renovate their homes by themselves but lack the professional knowledge?
“It’s so easy nowadays to find inspiration and advice online, you don’t need professional knowledge!
Look for inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest, make a mood board of all the images that make your heart sing.
You’ll probably find that a pattern emerges and you can nail down exactly what you want to achieve in your own home.
For example, I’m always drawn to floral patterns, velvets and artwork featuring faces!
Follow the blogs of some great interior designers or interiors Instagrammers, both professionally trained and self-taught – so many share great tips and tricks.
Again, Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube are great resources for advice.”
The challenge of creating a maximalist space that won’t look messy and poorly executed is a struggle for many! How do you do it? What’re your guidelines?
“I genuinely don’t (consciously!) follow any guidelines in my home! I decorate by instinct! I’d say start by buying or including things you really love, and that make you happy. That’s always a good foundation.
Think first about what wallpaper or paint you want to use, and take the color(s) of that as your starting point.
Google color wheel theory and see which colors complement or clash (clashing is good!) with it.
Mix up vintage and modern pieces, it’s so much more visually interesting than buying everything from one place.
Create vignettes with your ornaments and artwork, layer and overlap them (odd numbers look better than even) on shelves and cabinets, rather than lining them up with gaps between them.
And if it looks messy, take everything down and try rearranging it – it doesn’t matter how long it takes, the fun is in the process and you’ll get a look you love in the end.”
I genuinely don’t (consciously!) follow any guidelines in my home! I decorate by instinct! I’d say start by buying or including things you really love and that make you happy.
Which room was the most challenging to renovate and why?
“Every room we’ve done has brought challenges. We live in a Victorian property, so each room involved stripping the walls back to basics and patching them up, new electrics, adding appropriately powerful radiators… the list goes on.
I’d say the biggest challenge so far has actually been the hallway and staircases.”
“The house has 3 floors, and various stairways and corridors. I fell deeply in love with my House of Hackney ‘Artemis’ wallpaper and bought enough to cover everywhere.
A massive investment. It was a few months before we got decorators in to hang it, but they came in, prepped the walls and then unrolled the first roll of paper.”
“It’s designed as a mural (so better for simple, rectangular spaces) and printed in strips, not as one continuous roll.
They said it was impossible to hang it in the way I wanted, plus my walls were too wonky for the pattern to match up properly.
It took a good few days of heartache, backup plans, and frantic phone calls, but we eventually found a way to build up the walls and plan out the pieces of the mural, and up it went. I definitely gained a few grey hairs during that project.”
For more Victorian snaps follow Sandra on Instagram @my_idle_hands
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