A 600-Square-Foot UK Home Has Gorgeous Emerald Green Colors and Cute DIY Yard Seating
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Name: Alicia Murphy, husband Guy, and our rescue dog, Otis
Location: Liverpool, England
Size: Around 600 square feet
Type of Home: Terraced house
Years lived in: 2.5 years, owned
We were house hunting for a while, and I think we viewed every type of property on the market — from city-center flats to suburban houses. Eventually, we knew we wanted to buy a period property, so started looking specifically at Edwardian and Victorian terraced homes, and found ours after about six months of looking. The neighborhood we live in is perfect for us as we’re in walking distance to an amazing park and a local village with plenty of bars and restaurants. It’s also central to our families and friends, which is ideal.
We try to use our home as creatively as possible — Saturday nights at home rarely mean a takeaway and are usually spent with Guy cooking up a five-course feast and us splitting a bottle of organic wine (our current favorite hobby is finding out more about and sampling natural and organic wines). I’d say our home definitely reflects this side of us. An open-plan cooking and dining space mean that we can pop our vinyl records on (Guy brought his huge collection with him when we moved in) and just enjoy the space we’ve created.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I’d like to think it’s maximalist but achievable — I use a lot of color and texture without it being too “over the top.” My number one priority has always been making our home welcoming and inviting. I’ve always tried to make sure our interior style reflects us as people, too, and wanted to make a space that felt personal and very “us.” We’ve done this with touches like nods to our wedding songs, memorabilia of favorite bands, and souvenirs from some of our most loved trips.
Inspiration: Bars, restaurants, and some hotels — we stayed in Grand Pigalle in Paris a few years ago and loved everything about it. We travel quite a lot (pre-pandemic!) and are always inspired by the venues we visit. I thought about how I felt when relaxing in one of my favorite bars, and wanted to recreate this vibe at home. We’ve gone for plush furnishings (think lots of velvet), deep, dark colors (like our dark green walls — the inspiration behind my blog name “Emerald Terrace“) plus unique artworks including custom neon lighting.
Favorite Element: I love our living room, it was one of the first areas in the house that really came together. We purchased our velvet green sofa before we moved in (and often joke that we can’t remember what came first — the idea for the green walls or the green sofa) and more recently, purchased a matching green velvet doggy sofa for our rescue dog, Otis. He’s absolutely huge now and was taking up all the space on ours, so it felt only fair to get him one of his very own to curl up next to us on. Last year, I commissioned a custom neon sign to sit above the fireplace. The sign is bright pink and reads “This Must Be The Place” — it’s a Talking Heads song that was actually our wedding song, but I think the sentiment is really fitting for the room, too.
Biggest Challenge: I’d say our biggest challenge has been the size. We have overcome this by creating an open plan downstairs space, so the living, dining and kitchen are all one huge room. Not only does this create a light and airy space, it’s also perfect because we can still chat while Guy cooks away in the kitchen — he’s an excellent cook, luckily for me. We also enjoy popping a vinyl record on in the living room and heading over to the dining table to eat, and the open plan nature of our home allows us to do this.
Proudest DIY: Our proudest DIY is actually our most recent. We have a small outdoor yard that we wanted to makeover to create a bright, Mediterranean-inspired space. We couldn’t find any outdoor furniture that we liked (and that wasn’t way over budget), so we got creative and decided to make our own outdoor seating. We spent weeks measuring up and planning before ordering plenty of wood from a local building yard, and a few weekends ago we got cracking on making the pieces — two seating benches that can be moved around the yard to create a “corner sofa” effect. Best of all, the seating also contains internal storage so it’s perfect for our small space.
Next, my mum actually came on board to help us finish this project and created custom sofa cushioning to fit the benches perfectly. We went for the thickest sofa foam we could find and the softest fabric and I’m so glad we did — it’s the comfiest place to be when the sun is shining. I’m so grateful for my mum and her skills with a sewing machine!
Biggest Indulgence: There haven’t been any huge indulgences, but the most money we’ve spent in one go was when we renovated our kitchen last September. When planning the project, we looked at ways we could cut corners and save budget but there were certain aspects we didn’t compromise on. We saved a lot of money on labor costs, though, as both of our dads were on hand to help us with the fitting of the cabinets and furniture. It was definitely worth it — the completion of the kitchen finished off our open-plan living space, and we couldn’t love it any more.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Nothing too unique, but as it’s such a small space virtually every piece of furniture in our home doubles up as some form of storage. Our window bench in the living room provides hidden storage for all of our dog’s toys, our outdoor benches hide away all of the garden furniture when it’s not in use, and there’s plenty of clever under-bed storage upstairs, too.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? We recently picked up a matching green, velvet dog sofa that’s basically a miniature version of our proper sofa. Our rescue dog Otis doesn’t realize how huge he is, and he was always hogging space on our sofa for movie night, so we got him one of his own! I really didn’t want to compromise on the overall look of the room, so when I found this stylish dog version I knew it was the perfect fit. My living room neon light is also a firm favorite too — it’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time and it’s very sentimental to us, too.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Hidden storage is your best friend! Under beds, inside ottomans, etc. — I always opt for the version that gives me some extra storage space. I do allow myself the indulgence of having one room for mess in the house, and that’s my utility room. When there’s a pile of washing I can’t face or deliveries I can’t be bothered to put away, they get hidden in there temporarily, which keeps the rest of the house nice and tidy. Allowing yourself one room/cupboard in the house to hide away all of the random bits and bobs can really help to ensure they don’t pile up elsewhere.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I’d say to just have fun. At the end of the day, paint is only paint and can always be painted over. When we first moved in, our families told us that decorating a whole open plan room in dark green just wouldn’t work, but my husband and I went with it anyway and knew that if it didn’t work out, we could just start again. Fortunately, we loved the outcome and our families now agree that we were right!
Think about what works for you, and how you love to spend your time. For example, if you’re an avid reader, really invest time into creating a comfy, cozy reading nook that makes you happy every time you sit in it.
For us, we love eating and drinking so our dining room was a key focus — in here, we’ve featured a 100x140cm “Wine Love” artwork (that we sourced from of our favorite local bars) and a fully-stocked cocktail bar that’s always in use. Having little pockets of my home that feel made just for me and my needs is so important.
PAINT & COLORS
- Wooden shelving — Funky Chunky Furniture
- Copper wine glass/bottle racks — Funky Chunky Furniture
- Kitchen cabinets — DIY Kitchens
- Pink subway tiles — Topps Tiles
- Pink/white tiles — Claybrook Studio
- Chopping board — Swank & Whimsy
- Vase — Habitat
- Apothecary jars — Kuishi Home
- Kettle & Toaster — Russell Hobbs x Emma Bridgewater
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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