Real Rooms: A Colourful And Craft-Friendly Living Room
Today we're visiting GLTC testing team member, Gill, for a tour of her newly renovated living room. If you like colourful interiors and have children who are fond of crafts, read on!
Type of home: Victorian mid-terrace in south-east London
Who lives here: Blogger, Gill (at A Baby on Board), her husband and her two children, aged four and six.
Room: Their second living room (although it has many, many uses).
Can you tell us a little bit about the room and how it's used?
Our house has a fairly typical terrace layout, so this room is at the back and you walk through it to access the kitchen and garden. It was previously used as a dining room, but we use it as a second living room, spare bedroom, playroom, crafting room, breakfast room, TV room, cloakroom, room where we drop all the bags as soon as we come home, room where I run around in the morning shouting ‘brush your teeth!’ while trying to locate missing school shoes, and so on.
The room was in a state when we moved in. We bought this house as a project knowing it was very run down, but we’d only viewed it once and the sale took seven months, so we’d forgotten how bad it was. This room had a broken back window, huge 80s plastic fire surround, cupboards and bookcases built everywhere and even a hatstand nailed into the wall. It was also - like much of the house - covered in general grime and peeling woodchip wallpaper with crumbling walls underneath. It’s only over the past year that we were able to focus on renovating this room and getting it to a level that we’re actually happy to come home to.
What was you inspiration behind the decor?
The main priority at first was making it liveable, so initially we removed all of the cabinets and the horrible fireplace. I say we, I mean my father-in-law. As our budget was being spent on important things like kitchens, and with a tight deadline as I was pregnant with Florence at the time, we ended up painting it and leaving it like that for a while (side note - don’t impulse buy paint colours at 38 weeks pregnant, you might regret them for three years). Last year we extended our kitchen into the side return and as part of that we were able to have the whole room plastered and the chimney brick exposed, so that’s when the fun part really began.
I always thought this room had potential to be brilliant and I wanted it to be a fun, colourful room where adults and children and all our things could co-exist happily. I wanted to be able to display artwork and have lots of pictures on the wall, as well as working around practical constraints like needing a sofa bed and storage for all the stuff you accumulate when you have little children.
There was no one source of inspiration but it’s fair to say I’m a Pinterest addict and I love Instagram for ideas, as well as blogs, house magazines, any kind of property programme and books like Ashlyn Gibson’s Creative Family Home.
What do you like best about the room?
How lovely it is now compared to how horrible it was before.
And what do the girls like about it?
They love the colours, being able to see their artwork everywhere. And the GLTC crafting table and chairs which means they can sit down and start drawing whenever they want.
If you could make any changes, what would they be?
As we occasionally use this room as a spare room, it would be handier if it was a separate room and not the route to the kitchen. And it can get quite dark, especially in winter, so I’d love a magical source of bright natural light.
What's your top tip for creating a play/craft area in a family/living room?
Like lots of little children my two love drawing and crafting, and I wanted to create an area just for them where they could sit and create, and not have to constantly badger me to get the pens out. My tip would be to have all the art materials stored tidily away but within easy reach. We love the GLTC spinning desk tidy as it keeps all the supplies together but means the children can reach them whenever they want (and the blackboard table is made to be drawn on, so it doesn’t matter if it gets covered in glitter glue like it is at the moment).
And which GLTC products do you think work best in a family/living room?
So many of the GLTC products would work well in a living room due to the strong design but neutral materials and colours.
In this room we have the Ba Ba blackboard table, toddler chairs and spinning desk organiser in our art corner. Then we have the cloud photo frames and the magnetic frames on our gallery wall, as well as the Potter stool (we turned this into a Lego storage table but us it as a side table, coffee table and handy spare seat).
We have the Loxley storage unit and we also use the rope storage baskets for storing shoes/general stuff that’s always lying around. And then we have the beanbag for reading on, but everyone always fights over who gets to sit on it.
You were one of the first people to receive the brand new Loxley. What do you think of it?
It’s fab! I love the mix of open display shelves and also the closed storage (which is handily down at the children’s level). I love the simple design. It’s much too good to hide away upstairs.
Do you have your eye on anything from the new AW18 products?
ALL the storage, basically. And the new Greenaway skinny bookcase in wood and white. It would be great for storing small toys as well as books.
And finally, what makes a happy home for you?
All four of us hanging out together. Preferably with no building dust.
Follow Gill on Instagram for more colourful home and family updates.
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