Photo credit: all photos used with permission from Beth. Find her on instagram at @my_home_impression
No matter how old you are when you finally get the keys to your first home, the feelings are pretty much the same for all of us. Excitement, pride, relief, dread and joy are all normal and to be expected - but when coupled with a dose of decision making and financial levelling-up, it can all feel really overwhelming.
That's why this home tour feels particularly lovely. Beth bought her first home - a new build in Newcastle - a couple of years ago, and as a woman in her mid-twenties with 18 months of living it in under her belt, she and her home represent everything that's brilliant about having a pad of your own... the ability to paint over those magnolia walls, the freedom to set up a mini-bar in your own home (Beth did!), and the independence to have a swampy dark bedroom with a flamingo print on the wall if you want!
Beth kindly agreed to show me around, room by room. Take a look...
Hi Beth! First, please can you introduce yourself to everyone?
Hi! Well, I'm 26 years old, I live in the North East (Newcastle) - I bought my house in December 2015 and it's my first one. I moved to Newcastle for work - I currently work for a global technology company.
Congratulations on buying your first home! Can you tell me a bit about your interior design style?
I have no idea how I would describe my style... My house is kind of “just what I like”. I do take a lot (if not all) of my inspiration from Instagram, I love animals, and they influence me and my style in my house. I do think there are a lot of pieces which are quite ‘quirky’ - but I’ll let you be the judge of what my style actually is!
How old is your home, and what kind of condition was it in when you bought it?
It’s a toddler in the world of homes: I bought a new-build properly and I got the keys on the 18th December 2015. Because it is a new build, it was pretty much perfect (bar the usual snagging that happens - which you just work through). I moved into a blank (magnolia) canvas with no idea what to do next... it did mean that I got to select my flooring, kitchen, tiles etc., so they were all done when I moved in.
What has been your favourite DIY/home improvement you've made?
With a new build, there definitely hasn’t been anything drastic happening! But, I did sand down all of the staircase and paint it, Pitch Black by Farrow and Ball, and then wallpapered two walls and the ceiling using grey brick paper... it looks as if it creates one enormous wall, it makes the landing spaces feel far bigger than they actually are.
Any mistakes along the way?
Always, and I’ve only lived here 18 months! I originally did the ‘snug’ room downstairs as an office (I didn’t work, I was too far from the kitchen!), I’ve had bright yellow walls and some dreadful silver wallpaper, I created a gallery wall that I instantly hated the second I put it up… I could go on but my Instagram is like a history of what not to do – I hope I don’t feel the same way about current choices in a years’ time! (gulp).
That's inevitable though, right!? And it's good that you've been willing to experiment and change your mind! So, which is your favourite room to spend time in and why?
I feel a little like I’m cheating selecting just one above the others! With friends, it has to be in the bar with the music on loud. On my own, probably my living room with my feet up. But I’m actually in a point where I love (just about) every room in my home. I’ve still got quite a few to change, and I guess my office is a lot like work, but it’s nice to sit in especially when doing things like this!
I'd have a hard time choosing too! Where do tend to shop for your home?
It’s such a combination of places so I thought it would be best to split them into three groups! I’ll start with the obvious ones. My favourite high-street stores are Barker and Stonehouse and Next - I love how easy they both are to shop with. For unique independent stores, I have two – one is the Imaginarium which is in York and I discovered when I studied there (I first found the artwork from Adrian Higgins in there which I now collect). And the second is a local store called Lillian Daph. Finally, my favourite Instagram stores would have to be Violet and Thistle for interiors pieces, and I love the Cotswold Candle Company too.
You've mentioned Instagram as a source of inspiration or homewares a few times... is there anyone you really admire, or any Instagram accounts you think I should be following?
That’s such a difficult question. I’ve just checked my Instagram and I currently follow 760 accounts – so I’d say all of them, but going on to my search function (risky) I can see whose profiles I have been eyeing up recently, so here they are:
Greg Penn - @manwithahammer
- Chloe Watts - @clobow315
- Sharon Hornsby - @hornsby_style
- Sue Miller - @madcowinteriors
- Claire Harwood - @houseofharwoodandrose
Thankyou! I'll check them out (a few names and faces look familiar already). So wrapping things up now - what do you like most about the location you live in?
I can’t pick one thing – I’m not sure if you can sense how indecisive I am? So here’s three (in no particular order):
1) It costs me £4 in a taxi to get to Newcastle city centre for a night out
2) I can get onto the motorway super quickly, which means it’s an easy drive home to see my family
3) My next door neighbours are awesome
If you could go back to 2015 and give yourself some advice about your home, what would it be?
Don’t buy everything up-front! I was one of those people who once I’d exchanged contracts on my new build I started buying and collecting things in the garage over a 6-months period. I think you really need to live in a house first – this is my first house and I guess I had no idea what ‘style I liked’ I think I’d probably pick things very differently now.
LOVE that advice! And finally, if money were no object, what would you like to do to your home?
I wouldn’t live here! I love my home, but if money were no object I’d love to buy a plot of land and build my own house… One day eh?
Beth - thank you so much for sharing your home with all of us, and for answering all my questions with so much warmth and honesty! It was a pleasure to nosey around. If you'd like to follow Beth, hop on over to her Instagram account @my_home_impression.