Gorgeous Paint, Art, and Tiles Turned This Old Bungalow into a Cheerful Abode
Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox
Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter
Name: Lj, partner Nick, and their daughter Olivia
Location: Somerset, UK
Size: 1300 square feet
Years Lived In: 2 years, owned
Living in sleepy Somerset, Lj and her partner Nick have converted this former bungalow into an airy and light family home. She’s been documenting her progress on Instagram, where she shares hands-on tips, from how to add wood paneling to the walls, to cladding bathroom cabinets, to creating her own light shade inspired by one that she saw in Anthropologie. “It took quite a long time to make and my hands ached good and proper by the end of it,” Lj tells me, “But I am really chuffed with the overall effect now and would do it again in a heartbeat. It saved me over £200, which is a winner, right?”
One of her other latest how-tos is the paneling in her bedroom, made from… PVC pipes! I was really surprised by what a modern look it has created. I asked Lj where she gets her clever ideas from. “Instagram has been a huge source of inspiration. I enjoy the overflowing melting pot of ideas and hacks that are so widely accessible on Instagram. It’s easy to take a seed of an idea and turn it into something unique and special.”
Having said that, Lj tells me that she also finds inspiration everywhere she goes. “I believe inspiration can be found literally anywhere if you have your eyes open to it. I was recently influenced by a particular burger bar that we enjoy visiting. I wanted to capture some of the atmosphere and essence of the place and emulate that in our kitchen renovation.” So she invested in some beautiful green Alalpardo handmade concrete tiles from Bert & May. Even though it was one of the most indulgent purchases in the house, it certainly gives out that diner vibe.
Lj and Nick have pretty much transformed the whole house, and their next project is the garden. “I’ve been mentally planning out the space. Things I’m certain will feature are: funky colorful tiles, a wooden pergola with some trailing wisteria, and a gas fire pit is a must! We really want to inject some color into the garden and create an overall extension of the inside of our house.” It all sounds fabulous and I’m sure Lj will be documenting some clever hacks and tricks of their garden renovation on Instagram.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Our interior style is what I would call a happy “Medium” style—a realm between minimalism and maximalism with a dash of color. Let’s call it “vibrant Middlemalism.”
Inspiration: My interior inspiration really kick started when I travelled to Venice two years ago. The timing by chance coincided with our house move. The colorful Venetian architecture and the overwhelming vibrancy of the city really gripped me. My trip encouraged me to bring color and warmth into our home.
Favorite Element: Light. Light. Light. Gimme all the light. The first thing that caught my eye when I first viewed our house was how airy and uplifting every room felt. Luckily our house is south facing. No matter the time of year it always feels bright and I will never get tired of that. We are extremely lucky to have multiple rooms in our home with dual-aspect windows, which lets the light pour in. Double patio doors on both our living room and kitchen are also a huge winner.
Biggest Challenge: Replacing our roof at the same time as renovating our kitchen and bathroom, oh and then throw in a pandemic for good measure. It was pretty full on. Our roof needed a total overhaul and it came quite unexpectedly. We had not budgeted for it so when we discovered it needed replacing immediately, our hearts sunk. It’s meant our plans for the garden have been delayed. But having a watertight roof is pretty crucial so it had to take priority.
What Friends Say: “How do you keep all those houseplants alive?” Our friends have been nothing but complimentary, commenting on how fun and cohesive our rooms are. My mum recently said that our house has a Cuban vibe, which I find very interesting considering we’ve never been.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our garden. It is a horror show out there. It’s a shame as the garden really lets the whole house down. We have plans to spruce the outdoor space up next year and I literally can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Proudest DIY: I am really pleased with our paneled walls. I tackled these projects all on my own. I was really surprised at how quick, easy, and affordable they were to create. I had the majority of the MDF cut at B&Q, which saved a lot of effort. Paneling has added some character to some awkward walls in our house. It has built in a little more interest and texture.
Biggest Indulgence: It has to be our green Alalpardo handmade concrete tiles from Bert & May. At £137.50 a square meter they really were an indulgent purchase, but one I couldn’t resist. I searched for months and months for the perfect feature tiles. When I found ones I loved I had to go for it. Luckily the breakfast bar is a small area and didn’t require too many tiles.
Best Advice: Trust your gut and go for what makes your heart sing. Trends come and go but if you buy what you truly love you will be much happier for much longer.
PAINT & COLORS
- Hallway walls and paneling paint — Farrow & Ball “Pink Ground”
- Hallway ceilings and walls — Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt “White”
- Kitchen Walls — Wilkinsons Durable Matt “Chalk White”
- Kitchen Paneling paint — Farrow & Ball “Setting Plaster”
- Living Room walls — Valspar v700 “Magic Touch”
- Living Room Ceiling — Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt “White”
- Playroom — Valspar V500 “Renaissance Fresco”
- Ceiling — Dulux Magic White Matt “Pure Brilliant White”
- Bathroom — Dulux Bathroom+ “Pure Brilliant White”
- Bedroom — Walls – Valspar V500 “Seven Sisters”
- Bedroom scallop walls — Johnstone’s paint “Crushed Pineapple”
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.