#MYGLTC MEETS KATY REEVES
We feel like incredibly proud parents whenever you tag us on social media and we spot our storage keeping bedrooms neat and tidy or our classic, wooden toys being played with by your children. This year, we've decided to go behind the scenes of those photos and find out a little bit more about the people who post them and why they choose GLTC. First up, let's meet Katy, who you can find on Instagram as @hotpinkwellingtons.
Hi Katy, can you tell us a little bit about you, your family and where you live?
Hello! I’m Katy, a 36 year old mum to two boys, Max (5) and Ben (2). We live in a small town in Surrey, in a Victorian house. I’ve always loved the layout of Victorian houses, I think they work so well for family living, and I got that warm ‘home’ feeling from our house as soon as we walked through the door.
We undertook a huge renovation last year, which involved gutting the house and moving the staircase, in order to make our whole layout work better for us as a family. It felt like a whole new house when we could finally move back in, and all of the stress of the build was definitely worth it.
How would you describe your home style in three words?
Cosy, eclectic, traditional.
Do you have a favourite room in your house, and why?
Before our renovation work we always struggled with that traditional Victorian ‘middle room’. It was our dining room, but it was pretty much unused as it was so dark and essentially just a walk through to the kitchen. But now it’s become my favourite room in the house.
Rather than try to brighten it up, I’ve embraced the cosiness and painted it a dark green, which gives such a warm and comforting feel. It’s open plan to the stairs and the hallway, and you still have to walk through it to move around the house, but it works really well for us.
We use it as the playroom, and it really feels like the heart of our home, which feels appropriate with the boys at the ages they are. I can keep an eye on them when I’m in the kitchen cooking, and they have their own space to play, or watch TV, or read.
Obviously, we believe that storage is the key to a tidy family home, and you have lots of our pieces in your home. Which would you be most likely to recommend to other parents and why?
The Alba storage units are absolutely fantastic, and far and away the thing I’d recommend to any parent out there. They allow you to make great use of storage space, using vertical space, which is so often wasted. And the fact that you can choose different combinations means that you can really make it work for you and your specific toys.
I have toys that I want hidden away, so they go in the canvas storage cubes, others that look good out on display, and then some that I’m happy for the boys to take down and play on their own, but others that I want them to play with supervised, so they go up high (paint, play doh etc.).
Because our playroom is open plan and the main route through the house, it needs to be able to be tidied up easily, so these storage shelves have been perfect for us. The boys know where everything lives and are really good at tidying up!
Do you have any handy storage hacks that you could share for parents wanting to declutter or organise their homes?
I’m not sure I’m great for decluttering advice as I’ll confess to being a bit of a hoarder and do like to have my collections out on display. But our house before this was a one bedroom house, with no storage at all, so it taught me to be quite ruthless, which, as a natural hoarder, was a very good thing. We do try to be good at having regular decluttering sessions of things we no longer need - if we didn’t do that then we’d soon be overrun!
Themed bedrooms for children. Yes or no?
I think themed rooms are lovely, especially when they’re little. It’s fun, and it ties the whole room together. My littlest’s room is the most recent room I’ve decorated, and it’s a travel inspired room, with map mural wallpaper and hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling. I love it and it should hopefully last him quite a few more years before he fancies a change.
I think as they become older and have more interests and opinions, sticking to a theme gets harder. My eldest’s room isn’t themed, we just allowed him to choose the wall colour, and then I helped him choose pieces that I thought would work in the space. His main criteria is that he wants to be able to display all of his Lego creations and display his Toy Story toys, and the Tiered Bookcase from GLTC worked perfectly for that!
Which of GLTC's bedding designs would you have liked most as a child?
I absolutely love the Woodland Bedding Set, it’s simple but beautiful. I’ve always loved being outdoors, so this would have been a big hit for childhood me!
You take beautiful photos of your children, as can be seen on your blog and Instagram account. Do you have any top tips for other parents wanting to take such lovely natural images?
Thank you so much! Photography is a huge passion of mine and I love documenting our family life. I prefer more candid photos and try to capture my boys just doing what they love. Let go of that need to get shots of them looking at the camera and smiling! Neither of my boys are particularly directable so it’s much easier to sit back and watch what is taking their interest and wait for your moment.
My personal favourite is shooting outdoors - I love the scenery and watching my children explore it. Look for the details - that little curl of hair at the back of their head, what their hands doing.
Indoor photography is always a bit easier to control though! If we’re doing an activity that I know they’ll enjoy, I’ll try to set the scene beforehand. If we’re painting, I might set the easel up by a window for the nice window light, and think about what angles I might like to shoot.
We often like to take a steam train ride, and this is one that I always know will be nice to photograph. The boys will be sat in a seat, so they can’t go racing off, the window gives beautiful light, and their expressions are always wonderful to capture.
But, having tried to control the scene a bit, I think it’s important not to try to control it much once the activity is underway. Kids are unpredictable and will always do their own thing, and so often the best photos come when that happens - try to go with the flow and embrace it!
You seem like a family who love the great outdoors. Where's your favourite place in the UK to adventure with your children?
Our favourite place has to be Cornwall! We visit St Ives every year and it’s been lovely to return to the same place with the boys and make memories for them there. You’re spot on, we love being outdoors, and Cornwall provides such great opportunities for getting out there, with fantastic beaches, rugged coastal paths, and so many beautiful gardens to explore. Some of our favourites are the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Garden, and the Eden Project.
Finally, what makes a happy home for you?
Rich colours, efficient storage, and a good dose of your personality as a family, with photographs displayed, prints on the wall, and decor choices that make your home feel like you. I tend to stick to quite a traditional look, rather than going too trendy, and I think that stands the test of time, as well as being a look that fits well with our Victorian house.
I think layout has a huge impact on happiness - how you move around a house and use the different rooms can make or break a layout. As much as open plan living feels spacious, I think it’s really important for family living to have dedicated spaces for different people to do different activities - cook, do homework, watch TV, read.
Follow Katy's adventures on her blog, Hot Pink Wellingtons.
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