Say ‘hello’ to Louise Horton, a musical theatre actress with a love of interiors. She lives with her husband Peter, baby boy Nye and their pup Laddie. Louise has invited us behind a different kind of stage door; the one to her perfectly styled home. While she still dabbles in singing gigs and concerts, much of her time these days is occupied by her interiors company ‘The Style Pad’ where she sells homewares at the Antique Cellar in Brackley and online.
Louise’s pad is a three-bed Victorian terrace in a little village just south of Banbury, Oxfordhsire. Her and her family have lived in their home for three years and in that time they’ve completely renovated the house from top to bottom by stripping it back to the wattle and dorb and rewiring the entire house, all while staying true to the original Victorian features. Like all fixer-uppers it’s a labour of love full of curveballs - at one time in the build, the house was without heating, lighting and hot water.
From the outset, you can see that Louise has a love of neutral interiors, but with a dash of drama (we wouldn’t expect anything less from an actress). Louise explains that she likes to dabble in a few different styles to achieve her overall aesthetic, which at the moment she describes as ‘modern rustic’. Rather than shop ‘off the shelf’ so to speak, Louise likes to find antique or vintage pieces and then reimagines them to fit with her modern home. Just like the Japanese trend of ‘wabi sabi’, she finds characterful older objects which she feels are so much more unique and interesting compared to mass-made items.
A COAT LOVE AFFAIR
“I’d love to say that my inspiration is all from my imagination” says Louise, “but I’m constantly being inspired by the amazing designers and homeowners I see on Instagram!”.
While starting a renovation project from scratch can feel daunting, Louise’s advice is to begin with a colour scheme and everything else generally flows from there. Of course, on her quest for the perfect palette, she stumbled across COAT and instantly fell for our range of colours. She says, “I’ve never used another company that has so many colours that are the perfect shades for what I need. COAT has a great selection of earthy tones which I think add a maturity and elegance to any space”. When it came to decorating, Louise used our effortless peel and stick sample around the room to see how they appeared in various lights throughout the day.
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LET'S TAKE A LOOK INSID
Fancy a lil’ tour, of course you do…
It may not be the conventional starting point on a house tour, but who’s to say we can’t do it? It’s a space that Louise is really proud of and we can definitely see why. After trialling Darlington, Park Life and our classic Nomad, Louise opted for The Trail and Safe Play for her bathroom scheme. The family bathroom was actually a larger space (not a bad problem to have) that Louise decided to split into two to create another room which they now use as a nursery. As with the whole house, the bathroom was stripped back to the bare bones before decorating began. While it’s a fairly small space, Louise tells us she chose not to shy away from that and instead worked with the cosy feel of the room and created a nook for the bath area.
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Since storage is key to any family bathroom, Louise designed and installed slim storage at the end of the bath, which is painted in our shade Safe Play, along with the walls and ceiling. The stunning horizontal panelling is coated in The Trail - a sophisticated mid green-grey. Louise is no newbie to a challenging DIY project which is why she wanted to create her one of a kind vanity, she upcycled a free chest of drawers and a second-hand mirror which she picked up for a fiver. The gold hardware adds warmth and a modern twist to her repurposed pieces. The focal pendant lamps are from Swoon, but everything else in the room was thrifted.
Next up….the nursery, which is now an oasis of powder blue, similar to The Good China. They had a slight dilemma with this room, as the only place to put a normal bed would have meant covering the original fireplaces, but Louise cleverly found a solution to this problem by designing a loft bed with built-in storage that her husband Peter brought to life.
“He managed to create the whole thing using entirely salvaged wood left over from projects”, she says.
For the decor, Louise wanted ‘airy’ and ‘calm’, and even though she didn’t know she was having a baby boy, she felt that pale blue walls, with light greens and the odd splash of pink worked well no matter the gender - we couldn’t agree more.
The prints she bought online from Love Your Space and together with the wooden elements they add a sense of natural calmness to the room, which Louise now says is her favourite in the house. Just like the other rooms, much of the furniture is thrifted, upcycled or a DIY project, but the floor was from Plusfloor and the blind is from Blinds Direct which were both gifted.
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The Dining Room
Last but by no means least, the family dining room. Some more ingenious manoeuvring during the build meant knocking down a wall and dropping the ceiling to create a stunning open-plan living area downstairs. As with all her projects, Louise embraced the new lower ceiling and transformed it into a feature by adding pendant lights which are from House Of. The furniture in here is mostly bargains she found on Facebook Marketplace including the dining table and chairs which she completely transformed using our deep grey shade ‘David Rose’.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS…
Thankfully, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and they have nearly finished their home-reno project with the kitchen extension being last up. We think you’ll agree that Louise’s renovated home is a masterclass in modern neutrals. We asked her what she thinks of COAT paints now that the house is almost finished and said, “I genuinely love using COAT paint as it’s super easy to work with and I’ve never needed more than two coats which is a real time saver, plus, the colours are always spot on!”.
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Since Louise is a seasoned professional when it comes to home renovation, upcycling and DIY, we asked her what advice she would give to someone embarking on their next room makeover: “Don’t follow trends” she says, “find photos of other spaces you love and that inspire you as they can be a great starting point”. She also encourages people to look at second-hand pieces before shopping online because you can add a lot of character and originality to your home whilst saving some pennies.
So what’s next for Louise’s home? “It’s a big one!” she says. Her husband Peter is currently building the extension with a view to opening out the kitchen and converting the two outbuildings into a downstairs loo and laundry space. If you want to continue following Louise’s home-reno project and see how their kitchen turns out, she’ll continue to document the transformation on her Instagram page.
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