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We didn’t have to travel far to visit the home of House Tour #11. Ria moved here with her husband two years ago, with puppy Stanley coming along once they had settled in. A charming 3-storey townhouse located south of Norwich, Ria explains it wasn’t initially what the couple thought they would be after.
“We had always planned that our first home would be an older property that needed completely renovating, but I fell in love with the house from the moment I saw the listing on Rightmove. It had the ideal layout, was neutrally decorated and had a south-facing garden. The only problem, it was already sold. After months of searching only to find that nothing quite matched up to the ‘dream house,’ our luck changed. It was re-listed on the agent’s website! To be honest, I nearly put an offer in there and then, but my husband insisted we look round first. So we booked a viewing and my love was confirmed, it was perfect for us. Two years later, we still love it.”
With an evident love for design and interiors, Ria explains they made the decision to live in the house for a while before making any changes. ‘Initially, it was quite overwhelming to know what direction to take, but I think it’s important to match the interior with the exterior. The architecture is quite classic in style (I always think it’s quite handsome!) so we wanted the interiors to reflect this.’
Decorating a 3-storey townhouse seems quite the daunting task then, but by living in the house first, Ria tells us it was nice to be able to redecorate at their own pace. ‘The house was neutrally decorated and had been well looked after. We knew we wanted to redecorate it to our taste and, at some point, change the kitchen and bathrooms, but it was completely liveable so we could move straight in. It felt like home instantly.’
Continually surrounded by an abundance of interiors inspiration – from Instagram feeds to Pinterest boards – sometimes it can be difficult to hone in on just one decor style; but we completely agree with Ria when she explains: ‘I think a home should be a reflection of what you love, not the latest trend. As much as I love a very modern minimal interior, it wouldn’t have felt true to the house; so we decided on a classic mix of old and new.’
Using platforms such as these can be incredibly inspiring, especially if you feel a little lost on what you want the style of your home to be. Plus, it’s always exciting to see different interiors and how people make the most of difficult corners or introduce more daring colour schemes; but it’s equally important to keep it personal and true to what you love. ‘Our style has definitely evolved,’ Ria tells us. ‘We’ve learnt to be braver and as a result, we’re less influenced by Pinterest/Instagram/Houzz now.’
Ochre Iona Velvet Cushion | Shop our Clover Buttoned Coffee Table for a similar style | Bumblebee Piped Cushion
Although they spend most of their time in the snug just off the kitchen – ‘I love that the open-plan design allows us to be together and the space is so flexible’ – Ria tells us that her favourite room is actually their lounge, or the ‘booze room’ as she calls it! ‘I just love the dark walls, and it always feels welcoming. It’s a great room to watch films and we often use it when friends come over.’ The dark painted walls perfectly complement the brass accents to exude a sophisticated and elegant feel too, and we love the pops of yellow here with our Bumblebee Piped Cushion and Iona Velvet Cushion in Ochre.
Set across three floors, Ria explains it was important to make the rooms flow and feel co-ordinated when decorating began. ‘It would have been easy for the spaces to feel disjointed, so I collected concept images for each room and made sure that they all sat cohesively together. This really helped us to avoid going off on any tangents, especially as we were decorating each room individually.’ Moving across the second-floor landing from the lounge to the master bedroom – which has an elegant boutique feel to it – this cohesiveness and eye for design really shines through.
~ Shop our Laurie Upholstered Bed range for a similar style ~
With the downstairs cloakroom their latest project, Ria reveals she and husband, Fletch, take on most of the work themselves. Although this often takes longer, Ria tells us the sense of achievement always makes it worth it in the end. ‘That hexagon floor tile might not be perfectly laid but we did it and it’s a special memory! I really want to enjoy creating a home so we try not to stress if something takes a long time, I don’t want it to feel like a chore.’
Keen to mix the old with the new, Ria reveals she loves wandering around second-hand furniture shops too – ‘I can easily spend hours looking at all the treasures, it totally fascinates me. Most of our furniture is second hand as I just love that it has a history and often a special story as to how we found it. I also have a lot of pieces that belonged to my grandparents, I like feeling that they’re part of our home in some way.’
Without another big project currently on the horizon – ‘the bathroom needs a complete makeover and hallway/landings but I think we’ll tackle these projects next year… or even the year after!’ – we asked Ria what’s been her favourite makeover to date. ‘Ooh I’m not sure… probably the kitchen! We both love to reuse where possible, so we gave the existing kitchen a makeover. The cupboards were in good condition so we had the doors sprayed a new colour and reconfigured the layout slightly. New tiles and a worktop transformed the space. I was nervous that it would feel like a compromise and that we would regret not starting from scratch but we both really love the before and after story and it feels like more of an achievement.’
Recently reaching the impressive 10k follower mark on Instagram (@ria.fletcher), Ria tells us their living room always proves very popular – ‘but I try and post a mix of everything.’ And when she’s in need of a little inspiration, Ria reveals there are a whole host of accounts that she enjoys following, but @mylittlevictorianhome, @blunty_and_blooms, @editbysusielawrence and @all.thats.pretty are amongst her favourites.
Basking in the midst of a glorious heatwave here in the UK, Ria tells us that for her, flowers and candles always help her decorate their home for the different seasons. ‘I always try and have fresh flowers in the house, I have a strong floral love! Scent is also really good and I light different candles depending on the time of year.’
In addition to blooms and candles, Ria shares with us that there are three things that really make a house a home for her: people, photos and organisation. ‘1. The people in it… including the dog! …wherever they are is home. I love hosting Christmas and other special occasions – we are so lucky that the open-plan space and garden work really well for large family gatherings. 2. Photos – we have so many photos, probably too many! But we both love being surrounded by the people that are important to us. 3. Having a place for everything. After renting tiny London apartments for so many years, it is so lovely to have an organised home. We have tried to incorporate as much storage as possible so everything has a space and keeping the house tidy is easier. It may sound silly, but just knowing where everything is, really makes this house feel like home.’
Ria’s beautifully organised home office space certainly reflects her last point – after all, they do say tidy house, tidy mind!
Lastly, we were keen to ask Ria ‘what does home mean to you?’; and we just love her response: ‘Sentiment. Home for me is about the people in it and our values. I want to surround us with things that provoke positive thoughts and memories. It’s about what we love rather than what’s on-trend. I wanted to create a space that we would always want to come home to, that fills us with happiness while still being practical for how we live.’