A Small London Apartment’s Wall Decor DIY Is Proof You Can Be Bold on a Budget
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Name: Jenny Edwards, one cat (Gus), one African pygmy hedgehog (Horatio)
Location: Plaistow — East London, UK
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 690 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years, owned
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: As soon as I walked into my apartment I knew this was the place I wanted to live; it felt so light and airy compared to the other apartments I had seen. Even though I was originally looking for a one-bedroom rather than a studio, I fell in love with the high ceilings, Crittall windows, and hardwood floors. There was no central heating, only six plug sockets in the whole apartment, and the bathroom and kitchen needed replacement, but it had so much potential.
The complex is a former factory that was converted into flats in 1999; all of the flats have various different quirks and layouts, which really appealed to me rather than a new build where everyone’s flats are the same. I am a workplace interior designer, so I always knew I wanted somewhat of a project, but having never done any domestic refurbishments or owned a home before I think I was a little unprepared for how difficult it would be to live through building work in an apartment where you can’t shut a door on the mess! I live with my African pygmy hedgehog Horatio and more recently my disabled rescue cat Gus, who loves clawing all my furniture.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Eclectic Scandi
What is your favorite room and why? My favorite part of the apartment is the bar area with the two Hem armchairs I got for cheap as they were part of a special order someone didn’t want. The cork wall was a labor of love that I recreated multiple times as it kept falling down when the glue got too hot in the summer, before I found the right kind of tape. I change the images according to my mood and what I am feeling inspired by, usually it’s things out of magazines or art prints I pick up when something catches my eye.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I bought for my home was more plants from the market; I am constantly rotating plants as well as the other items in my apartment to see where they look best and to make sure they are getting enough light. I usually spend a long time looking for items; I already know the type of thing I want then find a variety to compare so I know I’m getting good quality at the right price, however there are some items I splurged on like my Muuto dining chairs because I absolutely love them and I knew they would be a focal point in the room.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? If I could magically change something I would probably have some extra floor space so that I could have a closed off bedroom (and floor standing bed!) without losing the living space. I put in a large cupboard when I refurbished the bathroom and changed the bath to a shower as the flat had no built-in storage space and I thought a shower would be more sellable, but I do miss my bath, especially in the winter.
Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? I would like to think that it would be someone highbrow but the fictional character that would be at home in my apartment is probably Garfield; he is lazy just like my cat and there are so many places to sleep in the apartment in the sun, none of which are actually meant for a cat.
Any advice for creating a home you love? My advice to create a home you love is to not buy everything at once; I tried to only buy the big pieces at first when I moved in (sofa, armchairs, dining chairs, bed, and I made the dining table with just some ply) even though I was so excited, then fill in the gaps with all the smaller items over time. My desk was a gift from my parents then I got the Icons of Denmark smile chair in a sample sale a few months later.
The kitchen and bathroom I knew really needed renovation but my parents advised to live with them for a few months first to try and figure out what I really wanted. I made Pinterest boards for months to narrow down the look I wanted to go for, sometimes I have so many ideas that I’m not sure how to refine it so it really helps to see the items together. I didn’t want my home to become like a furniture showroom as it can look quite cold, I think trying out some fun quirky things makes it stand out–I cut out rectangles out of sticky back vinyl to make the graphic wall on a whim one day inspired by Camille Walala, one of my favorite artists and it makes me smile every time I come home over a year later.