My Houzz: At Home With... Karen Knox of Making Spaces
Continuing our series visiting interiors bloggers at home, Karen Knox opens up her Leeds house and talks about her inspirations
After a major kitchen and bathroom overhaul, and some time and care spent on the other rooms, the couple have a home suited to the needs and style of their family. ‘The bones of the building now work for our family of three,’ Karen says. ‘It’s a small but perfectly formed family home that’s been reconfigured, tweaked, updated, redecorated and restyled lots. We love it.’
COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN
To celebrate some of the most creative and inspiring UK bloggers and their homes, we ask each blogger in this series to choose a giveaway gift that reflects their personal style. Karen has chosen a Fish & Seaweed silk cushion from The Other Duckling as this month’s prize. All you have to do to enter is comment below, telling us what you love about this home.
It’s like my work diary, a place where I introduce new design projects – share the process and full reveals – show my own home and how it’s constantly developing, and post my favourite finds, both new and vintage… the ups and downs of working in design really.
Making Spaces focuses on achievable design for real people, living in real homes with realistic budgets. I’m a huge cynic and very northern, so like to bring things right down to earth. Pretentious is not something I tolerate.
Walls painted in Nutmeg White, Dulux. Sofa, Heal’s. Side tables; skull cushion, all Made.com. Floor lamp, BHS. Rug, i2k.
I wanted an outlet for all the design-based ramblings in my head. I have so many ideas, too many sometimes, so by writing them down in bite-sized blog posts, it’s like I’m collating all my best ones.
I’m also ridiculously passionate about spreading good design love. I genuinely believe good design at home can change the way we live and improve our lifestyle.
Walls painted in Night Fever, Crown. Black and brass lamp, BHS. Sideboard, John Lewis.
We’ve been here for three-and-a-half years now. We were looking to buy while I was six months’ pregnant, so we didn’t have much time to mess about.
Ideally, we wanted a doer-upper, but the reality was, we wouldn’t have had the time to get the house ready before the little one arrived. So we bought this house, mainly for the area and what it offered us in terms of schools, networks and environment.
This house was halfway between being done and needing a complete renovation. The rooms that really needed ripping out and redoing were the big money spaces – the bathroom and kitchen.
For the first year we were here, it so wasn’t me at all. I’d moved from a three-bedroom house with an open-plan ground floor. This house had three separate rooms, and the kitchen was both tiny and dark. The window looked onto a driveway with a brick wall, and the splashback was badly laid black tiles. It was a depressing space to be in. It also didn’t work function-wise and had dodgy wiring, bits falling down and broken appliances.
When we bought the house, we knew the kitchen would be ripped out and knocked through to the dining room, but we had to wait and save. The bathroom, however, couldn’t wait. It just all had to go. So that was done during our first summer here. After six months, we tackled the kitchen. That was hard with a one-year-old in tow, but so worth it. It was then the house truly became ours.
Dining table, Ikea. Dining chairs, Habitat. Ceiling light, Heal’s. Rug, Brink & Campman.
Discover 10 signs it’s time to stop procrastinating about renovating
It depends on what mood I’m in, I guess. It’s normally the room I’ve done most recently. But I’d say the kitchen is where we spend most of our time as a family. It’s the room we worked hardest for and, while there are still bits I’d like to change, I’m really proud of this space.
I’m a real homebird, so being at home in general makes me pretty happy. If I could get away with staying in, I’d do that any day. Having friends around for food and drinks and having the house filled with music and laughter is also pretty good, and always made better when the sun is shining, so we can fling open the patio doors and sit in the garden. I can’t wait for summer this year.
I also get a weird kick out of hearing the washing machine and dishwasher being on at the same time. Don’t ask me why!
Kitchen, DIY Kitchens.
Apart from the five design projects I have going on right now? I’d say our living room needs a little update. I’ve been wanting to add wallpaper, update the blinds and get rid of the carpet. However, I have to get the go-ahead from Pete before I can get on with stuff like that because, a) he has to cough up 50%, and b) he’ll need to actually fit the new blinds and lay the floor.
Armchair; side table, both Made.com.
I’d probably say the dining room chimney breast wall is still my favourite DIY project. I painted that whole room white two days after moving in. A white pot of paint covered everything, including the wallpapered chimney breast. The next day when it had dried, you could still see the embossed design of the wallpaper coming through.
So, a bit back to front, we then stripped that wallpaper off, and I loved what was left behind. I had to convince Pete to leave it all distressed, and my dad thought I was joking… People kept asking when we were going to finish it, but I love it.
See 11 secrets of British eccentric style
When selecting a wall colour, pick the shade on the colour strip you’d like, then move one down – one darker. Paint always looks lighter once it’s up on the wall. Colour is your friend. It’s also the most cost-effective way to update your space. But don’t scrimp on testers – have you seen how many greys there are?
Bed frame; bedside table, both Maisons du Monde.
Like 99% of the population, I check my phone. Horrible habit, although I don’t have it in the bedroom overnight and I’ve been sleeping much better since I made that small change. So I guess the first thing I do is, go and get my phone!
What do you love to do on Sunday afternoons?
Potter. Pottering is the best. Actually, pottering in PJs is the best. I do like a day a week where we don’t get dressed. The three of us lazing about in PJs, watching original 1960s Batman and eating toast. Admittedly, I’ll probably do a bit of work stuff, but I try so hard to switch off on at least one day a week.
Ekenaset armchair, Ikea. Rug, Benuta.
It’s so hard to predict things like this. There is a real pull right now between minimalist and maximalist design; clean lines versus eclectic; Pantone’s Colours of the Year light and soft pastels versus the Abigail Ahern-style turning to the dark side.
Botanical and metallics have been with us for a while now and I don’t see them disappearing any time soon. It’s a really fun time for design now actually, as it’s all so accessible – you can pick up such ‘on trend’ pieces all over the place.
Thistle Magnetic Plaster walls, Rooms Made For You by British Gypsum. Drawers, Ikea. Wall light, Made.com.
Check out more ideas for home offices
I have a few mantras; they’re scattered around the house to remind me of what’s important. Taking in moments, not wishing time away and not racing around so fast you miss all the tiny, precious memories that make up ‘life’.
Is there anything you couldn’t live without?
My fiancé, Pete, and our son, Charlie. They are my air. I wouldn’t be the me I am now without them both. I am extremely lucky.
Concrete-effect tiles, Villeroy & Boch.
Are you a UK or Irish interiors blogger? Talk to us! If you’d like to submit your home for this series, please send details to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMMENT TO WIN
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is post a comment below on what you love about Karen’s home. A randomly drawn entry from all comments that were submitted in the contest period and approved by Houzz UK Ltd will determine this month’s prize winner. Approved comments will be included in the draw automatically. The prize winner will receive a Fish & Seaweed silk cushion from The Other Duckling. If out of stock, a £50 gift voucher will be issued. Closing date 23.59pm Friday 27th May 2016. View the full competition T&Cs here.
Browse photos of more colourful children’s bedrooms