Blogger, picture researcher and stylist, Caroline Rowland of Patchwork Harmony moved into her South London home just over six years ago. She gives us the low-down on her transformation story.
'When we moved in, the house was in pretty good nick in terms of decor, but wasn't to our taste. We didn't have much cash after purchasing the house, so we had to do things gradually and on as tight a budget as possible,' Caroline explains. 'We did all the decorating ourselves, but we got builders in to take out a wall between the kitchen and dining area as it was a supporting wall. But, we did a lot of other things ourselves – the kitchen island worktop was a DIY job!'
'I was pregnant when we had the kitchen renovation done, so I wanted everything finished before our baby arrived. One piece of advice I'd give to first-time buyers who are doing up their own home, is everything always takes way longer than you expect,' Caroline explains. 'We used to think we'd have a room decorated in a weekend, but it usually ended up taking about a month, working on it every weekend. But it is worth taking your time to get a really good finish. Our new motto is: "If you want something done well, do it yourself".'
'We get our furniture from anywhere and everywhere. A lot of our furniture is from flea markets, car boot sales and eBay. But I also use some online sellers such as Goose Home and Garden, Made.com and Ikea,' says Caroline.
'I love vintage homewares so am always looking out for things at markets and junk shops, but I try to mix it with contemporary pieces, too – one of my favourite online shops at the moment is Tea and Kate.'
Finding interesting homeware stores is something of a passion point for Caroline, as her new book, The Shopkeepers' Home, peeks inside some of the most beautiful shops around the world and the homes of their owners. 'I love shopping and interiors, so it was the perfect book for me,' she says.
'It has lots of decorating ideas to steal as well as an insight into the professional and personal spaces of the lovely, creative shop-owners. I'm also working on a few secret projects at the moment, as well as my craft magazine, 91 Magazine.'
Inspired by Caroline's style? Check out more real homes for tips and decorating ideas in designer Sarah Hamilton's Midcentury home.