As an interiors blogger and stylist Jane Day is constantly re-arranging her accessories, making cushions and thinking up new ideas for displays at her home in Billingham. ‘I’m always reading interiors magazines, blogs and making moodboards on Pinterest,’ she says. ‘Things like cushions and stools get changed around every week, and I like cosying things up with blankets and throws in winter.’
Jane’s eclectic style has evolved organically since she met husband Robert and they bought their first home together in 2002. ‘We chose the area as it was close to work and handy for the A19,’ says Jane. ‘But the house itself was a horrible 80s throwback that needed lots of work. It had a dated yellow and blue colour scheme with wallpaper borders in the lounge, mock-wood internal doors, curtain swags and lots of artex, rag rolling and stippleeffect paintwork. It was like someone had been watching Changing Rooms and tried all the paint effects at once!’
The pair set about making it liveable during their first year before gradually updating each room as money allowed. One of the first things to be ripped out were the old carpets. In the hallway, the dark terracotta carpet was swapped for hard-wearing sisal, with softer jute in the living room. ‘I wanted the flooring to have a natural element to it,’ explains Jane. ‘And the underlay is made from recycled old jumpers so it’s eco-friendly.’
They’ve also had a new handmade pine kitchen installed, to which they’ve added lots of accessories and artwork including a vintage advertising sign found in Robert’s grandad’s garage. ‘The old kitchen was dated with dark oak doors that were hanging off their hinges,’ explains Jane. ‘We stuck to the same layout as there wasn’t much scope for changing it dramatically, but we wanted something built with integrity that would last. Even the carcasses are wood.’ A few years after moving in, Jane had daughter Ruby, now nine, and decided to leave her IT job to become a full-time mum and focus more on her passion for interiors. ‘I started doing china hire, then took an interior design course and started my blog teawithruby.co.uk, which just took over,’ she explains. Through the online interiors community Jane met fellow interiors enthusiast, maker, and owner of The Linen Garden, Vicky Trainor. The pair became best friends with a mutual love of ‘treasure hunting’ at vintage fairs and car boot sales, which led them to set up owenandhunter.co.uk. ‘We sell homewares at fairs and pop-up shops, and we’re in the process of developing an online shop,’ says Jane. ‘We have slightly different tastes, but when you put them together they just work. We just bounce off each other really well.’
These days Jane’s a big fan of French linen, vintage signs and upcycling, finding many pieces at car boot sales, reclamation yards and on eBay. For instance the lounge features a vintage ‘No Parking’ sign, old tennis rackets mounted on the wall, blinds made from French bed sheets and a stained glass panel from Robert’s grandma’s house. Her style is epitomised in the guest bedroom which features crates customised with vintage maps and a painted chest of drawers from her sisterin- law that Jane has re-painted white. In the master bedroom she’s gone for a more dramatic look having painted the walls a rich red to show off the ornate gilt picture frames and beautiful antique French bed.
Although Ruby’s bedroom is compact to say the least, she loves the cosy space which has furniture from The White Company, bunting and a crate customised with pretty bird wallpaper. ‘Like many people we’ve gone for a make-do-andmend approach, doing bits and pieces to the house as and when we could afford it,’ says Jane. ‘Although ideally I’d like to change certain things it would be quite an expense so we’ve worked around what’s already here.’
The bathroom is a prime example of this approach. They’ve kept the simple white suite, but updated it by ripping up the laminate flooring, painting the walls and floor white and adding French-style accessories such as a grain sack bathmat. ‘I love grain sacks as they are so versatile,’ says Jane. ‘As well as a bathmat, they can be used for bench cushions in the kitchen or re-upholstering chairs.’
As for the future, Jane and Robert would love a bigger place, but with Ruby settled at school they’ll undoubtedly stay put for now. ‘We often talk about building our own modern open-plan house,’ says Jane. ‘So maybe if we find the right plot of land we’ll end up in the countryside.’
Originally posted 2016-05-17 13:22:21.