A Small UK Rental Features DIY Projects, Luxe Gold Finishes, and Lots of Velvet

published Jan 10, 2022

A Small UK Rental Features DIY Projects, Luxe Gold Finishes, and Lots of Velvet

published Jan 10, 2022
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Bedrooms
Square feet
732
Sq ft
732

Name: Scarlett Langdon and Xandice Armah
Location:
Brighton, England
Size: 732 square feet
Type of Home: Flat
Years Lived In: 2.5 years, renting

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Vintage pieces, DIY projects, jewel tones, gold luxe finishes, and lots of velvet… Scarlett and Xandice’s home, known as The Gal Palace, is full of their personalities. “When we moved into the flat it was our first time living together, and our first time living somewhere unfurnished where we could properly put our stamp on it,” Scarlett tells me. “I have always loved decorating my bedrooms in shared flats and I was so excited about finally having an entire flat to decorate!”

Credit: Viv Yapp

The couple has certainly made this flat their own, using their creativity and finding bargains around them. From the centerpiece of the living room — the £20 Chesterfield red velvet sofa they bagged from a photography studio that was closing down — to the dining table; which was a rough IKEA desk they improved by covering the top with some terrazzo vinyl from Jes Rose and spray painting the edges gold — Scarlett has been busy upcycling and customizing things to make them her own. “It’s so satisfying when you bring an idea to life and then you have something completely unique that no one else has! Small details can go a long way, too; I switched out all the handles in our kitchen from black to gold and it made such a huge difference,” Scarlett says. “My secret vice is my gold spray paint,” Scarlett adds, “if it doesn’t come in gold, I can fix that.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

Having a home office has been essential for the couple, as Scarlett and Xandice both do freelance work part-time from home. “We use the second bedroom as a home office space and it’s really great to have this dedicated work space in the flat,” they explain. Scarlett works in digital marketing for an LGBT charity and Xandice works a DJ and a web developer. The couple also runs Gal Pals together, a queer dance party playing music exclusively by women for women, trans, and non-binary people, with bi-monthly nights in London and Brighton. They’ve worked with artists and illustrators to create flyers for their events, and they have filled the wall in front of the desk with all these flyers.

Credit: Viv Yapp

The office also houses Scarlett’s favorite and proudest DIY item. “The wardrobe was a cheap second-hand Gumtree purchase and not particularly exciting to look at so I decided to paint it to inject some much needed color into the room. I was inspired by @househomo and the amazing murals he creates using lots of curved shapes and bold colors. I really wanted to create something bright and bold because the room felt too white with the brilliant white walls, wardrobe, and desk,” Scarlett explains. “It was a real labor of love and lots (and lots) of trial and error as I hadn’t painted something like this before. I tried so many different techniques to get the clean sharp lines I was looking for. Eventually I got it to a standard I was happy with and I’m so pleased with it; I think it looks amazing and it’s totally unique. “

Credit: Viv Yapp

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I’d say I’m a paired down maximalist. I like mixing contemporary and vintage pieces, jewel tones, gold luxe finishes and lots of pink and velvet! I don’t like too much to be out on display but I love artfully arranged clutter and collecting beautiful objects. I collect postcards and prints from art galleries, museums, and ‘zine fairs so there’s a lot of art on the walls, which isn’t even half of what’s in my collection…

Inspiration: Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace, 2LG Studios, Eaton House Studio, Margate Studio… I could go on. Photography, film, and set design have had a huge influence on my style. I like Art Deco and kitsch interiors, even though our house doesn’t particularly scream either of those things. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Favorite Element: My favorite piece of furniture in our home is the sofa. It’s a deep red velvet Chesterfield sofa and the best part is I got it for £20. A photography studio at the end of my road was closing down and they were selling all their props — including this sofa. I was walking past on my way to work and I just couldn’t walk past and not buy it. At this point I was a student living in a shared flat but I bought it anyway and I waited five years before I finally had a flat of my own to put it in. 

Biggest Challenge: The bedroom is an ongoing challenge — it’s small and it’s a difficult shape to work with (and has a built-in wardrobe that is unusable for us). The Ottoman bed that we bought leveled up the amount of storage space we have — but we do dream of a larger bedroom in the future, ideally with built-in wardrobes (we both have a lot of clothes).

Credit: Viv Yapp

Proudest DIY: It has to be the paint job I did on the wardrobe in the office. The wardrobe was a cheap second-hand Gumtree purchase and not particularly exciting to look at so I decided to paint it to inject some much needed color into the room. I was inspired by @househomo and the amazing murals he creates using lots of curved shapes and bold colors. I really wanted to create something bright and bold because the room felt too white with the brilliant white walls, wardrobe, and desk. It was a real labour of love and lots (and lots) of trial and error as I hadn’t painted something like this before. I tried so many different techniques to get the clean sharp lines I was looking for. Eventually I got it to a standard I was happy with and I’m so pleased with it; I think it looks amazing and it’s totally unique. 

Biggest Indulgence: Our TV, it’s a Samsung Frame 2021. And yes, it was totally worth it. I always hated how the old TV looked, like a big black box in the middle of the room; it threw the whole design off, but this one feels like part of the decor. The white frame means it blends seamlessly into the walls and the TV unit, and when the TV isn’t being used it displays a rotating array of beautiful art we’ve curated. I can see why they’re so popular with interiors Instagram.

Credit: Viv Yapp

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I don’t know if it’s especially unique but I love to use our house as a way to display all of the artwork we collect, kind of like a gallery. I studied photography at university and I’ve always loved art and fashion. I collect postcards, magazines, and have a little ‘zine library. We often go to independent illustration fairs and DIY art markets so we’ve collected lots of beautiful prints over the years by artists such as Laura Callaghan and Olivia Daisy Coles

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? We’re a big fan of the mustard made lockers — they’re great for adding extra storage space and they look pretty, too. Our bed is my absolute dream bed. I had been dreaming of a pink velvet bed with a scalloped headboard but I didn’t expect to be able to afford one until Aldi released this as part of their special buys. Not only is it beautiful but it’s an ottoman bed so it’s got great storage space underneath. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Decluttering is essential — if it doesn’t spark joy, or isn’t useful, it’s got to go. Make sure you declutter every six months or so; it’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate if you’re not careful. Our flat has hardly any built-in storage so we’ve invested in beautifully designed storage solutions. 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Buy things slowly and spend time trawling Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and freecycle. We got a lot of things for our house secondhand, and we’ve spent the last two years replacing old furniture that was free with pieces that we know will work in the space because we’ve lived here long enough to know what we need.

Resources

Credit: Viv Yapp

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Viv Yapp

STUDY

  • Wardrobe — Second hand
  • Plant pot — H&M Home
  • Curtains — Made
  • Locker — Mustard Made
  • Desk — IKEA
  • Lamp — Habitat
  • Chair — Habitat
  • Rug — Second hand
Credit: Viv Yapp

KITCHEN

Credit: Viv Yapp

BEDROOM

  • Bed — Aldi
  • Bedside table — Second hand 
  • Curtains — Made
  • Arm chair — second hand
  • Throw — Made
  • Dressing table — second hand
  • Stool — Wayfair
Credit: Viv Yapp

BATHROOM

  • Mirror — Dunelm
  • Shelf — Made
  • Hand towel — Orla Kiely for John Lewis
  • Bath mat — George at Asda
  • Shelving unit — Argos
  • Round mirror — Oliver Bonas
  • Toilet roll holder – Oliver Bonas

Thanks Scarlett and Xandice!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.