The Home Tour Series #5 Kat Mannell

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Situated on the edge of the picturesque Epsom Downs, Kat and her family’s three-bedroom Victorian semi has undergone plenty of change since they bought the property back in 2012. Describing themselves as ‘keen DIY-ers’, Kat and her husband, together with their two girls and of course, not forgetting Harry the Cockerpoo, have created a beautiful, Scandinavian-inspired home with plenty of cosy and unique touches.

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Renovating the entire property from top to bottom over the last six years, Kat explains that it needed lots of updating, having been rented out for many years before they bought it. “We were thrilled to find period fireplaces in the bedrooms and living room, despite one of them being painted purple!”

“We took our time on the renovations and put up with the tiny kitchen and freezing downstairs bathroom for quite a while before we started on the big jobs. These were adding a new bedroom and bathroom by converting the loft, followed by knocking through the cramped dining room, kitchen and bathroom to make one larger kitchen/dining space.”

Our Rope Handled Basket provides the perfect home for throws and cushions.

Adopting a dark scheme in the living room with the help of Railings by Farrow & Ball, Kat admits she uses Pinterest and Instagram for lots of interiors inspiration and ideas. To complement its striking blue-black tone, Kat has paired it with light wood grains, soft textures and lots of greenery for a cosy and welcoming snug.

Inspired by Scandinavian interiors, Kat explains she loves “light, bright spaces and clean lines”, and likes “to bring a mixture of styles” into her home. “I’m not a huge follower of trends, although I was pleased when houseplants became more popular as I feel greenery is a must-have and you can never have too many plants!”

Opting for a dark feature wall in the dining room too, Kat has a brilliant eye for pairing different colours together and introducing lots of interesting textures – from rattan to wood and faux fur to soft wools. “My husband is awesome and leaves all the decor choices to me. I think if he really hated something he would speak up, but so far so good!”

Explaining that it was the potential of the house which really sold it to them – together with the convenient location – Kat explains they were looking for somewhere that they could extend and renovate. Light, bright and airy, the family’s kitchen looks out over the garden and is a spacious and welcoming clutter-free space, inspired by the simplicity of Scandinavian design. Wood, ceramics and bringing the outside in, all help to create an air of calm in here too.

Kat’s Instagram, life_at_number_63, has grown tremendously in the short time since she started it back in October 2017. “I am over the moon to have gained 30k followers in under 13 months – I would never have dreamt of such a number when I started my account.” Talking of other homes and interior accounts that inspire her, Kat mentions quite a few, including – @bloggaibagis, @monica.rablewska, @lucyjwhitehouse, @thisismyhomestyle and @nest_twenty_eight – who all follow a similarly cosy, Scandi-inspired feel.

Equally as cosy and creative as the other rooms in their home, it’s clear Kat puts a lot of time and thought into both of her little girls’ bedrooms too. Boasting pretty colour schemes and lots of personal touches, Kat explains how she loves to shop independently for these special details. “I absolutely love to shop small, and have found so many shops with wonderful and innovative products through Instagram. I also love how my extended family are doing more shopping with small businesses that they have found through my Instagram account.”

Super soft, our Seren Sleepy Star Cushion fits seamlessly with the serene, dream-like feel of Molly’s room

“I obviously love Scandinavian decor and will shop with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish stores across the water, especially for kids’ room decor,” she says. “Here in the UK, some small shops that I would recommend are Illuminer London, Fox Flowers, Vaunt Design, Dip and Doze, Panda, Birch and Bloom, Yo-yo and Flo, Must Have Interiors, The Little Deer and Also Home (I wish I could list more!)”

While each room in this home sees a different colour scheme, they all still manage to tie together beautifully. Walking from room to room, they all still feel a part of the same cosy house, the same welcoming home. It comes back to Kat’s envious eye for colour, pattern and texture and how she blends the three together. There’s so much to look at too – from the hanging plants and colourful feature walls to the individual prints which tell a story or the soft throws and textured cushions dotted about on spare surfaces. It is a lived-in home, one that is endlessly cosy and comfortable, but still manages to maintain that element of surprise with endless creativity and wonderfully inspiring DIY details.

Our Jute Hive Pendant adds subtle texture to the master bedroom.

To keep the house feeling fresh rather than persistently buying new pieces, Kat explains how she shops her home a lot by “moving things from one room or area to another.” A wonderfully effective, yet inexpensive, way of refreshing a room, it’s the perfect solution for giving the illusion of having something new.

Have a read of our blog post on the beauty of investing in versatile furniture.

With the winter season now in full swing, Kat explains how she uses colour and texture to get her home ready for the colder season. “This autumn, I’ve been adding more brown and pink tones to my decor. I’ve also been layering the beds up with blankets. I want the house to feel cosy as we head into winter. In the summer, I always want to go lighter as I love the crisp feel of freshly painted white walls.”

Blending pale pinks with soft rust and splashes of duck egg blue, Kat’s bedroom is a truly cosy retreat. “My favourite room is my bedroom,” she admits. “It’s in the loft and is so peaceful. I also love how the sunlight streams in, even on a gloomy day.” Kat reveals her favourite spot in the whole house is this very corner too: “I switch on the string lights and my air diffuser, curl up with the dog under lots of blankets and read a book.”

One of Kat’s latest interior projects, this beautiful gallery wall leading up the stairs to the master bedroom, is a wonderfully light space. The use of typography prints together with complementary subtle hues really help to make this otherwise empty wall, a beautiful and mesmerising feature that has been cleverly utilised. With a project always on the go, Kat reveals they are soon to be re-carpeting the hall and stairs in collaboration with Carpetright – “which is very exciting,” she confesses.

Leading off the master bedroom sits the en-suite bathroom, with its neutral colour palette and bundles of greenery for a relaxing and serene space.

“I loved the en-suite makeover that I did this year for only £400,” Kat tells us. “The room looked totally different afterwards, even though we kept the suite, tiles, shutters, lighting and mirror. There is a post about how I achieved it on my blog.”

Kat’s family bathroom has proven rather popular on Instagram too, thanks in part to the wonderfully bright yellow tiles which pair beautifully with the dark grey walls. “I plan on re-painting the family bathroom,” she admits, “and adding a splashback above the sink (which should have been done two years ago!)”

Talking about her most popular posts on Instagram, Kat reveals that alongside the family bathroom, photographs of the kitchen, kids’ rooms and recent gallery wall always prove popular. “I also occasionally feature my beautiful children which seems to go down well, despite my account being all about interior decor.”

With a convenient office space tucked away in a perfect corner of the master bedroom, Kat admits “it is easy to spend a whole day sitting there!” Holding notes, pictures, crafts, pens and pencils, Kat runs her own illustration business, Arthouse Illustrations, from this very desk so it also scores highly as one of her favourite corners! “I adore the cork wall that we put up behind my desk. It’s so practical for a work area, and I love the warmth and texture of cork.”

A cosy home that’s perfect for this time of year then, Kat confesses it’s “the noise and chatter of my family” that really makes a house a home for her. That and “being surrounded by objects that I love, and creating a cosy and welcoming environment to invite friends and family to enjoy with us.”

A wonderful sentiment that we couldn’t agree more with.

A big thank you to Kat (& Harry!) for welcoming us into their beautiful home. You can peek inside more homes with our Home Tour Series here!

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