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Playful Makeover, At Home With Lorna Harris

Step inside this traditional Victorian beauty – a place Lorna and her family call home. She lives in the outskirts of Glasgow with her husband, Dan, their 5-year-old daughter and their 18-month-old son. Both working in public services, Lorna and Dan had to find the time to renovate this serious ‘doer-upper’! They wanted to upsize from the previous two-bedroom flat, but admit that the only way to afford something much larger, and much for characterful, was to buy their biggest DIY project to date.


Lorna & Dan's beautiful gold leaf arch against a deep blue paint like '2AM'

Built back in 1858, this property had been unofficially divided into two flats – one upstairs, and one downstairs. The upper floor had last been decorated in the 1970s, so looked considerably dated and worn. The back of the house used to be a doctor’s surgery, complete with office and waiting room; so, there was a lot of hard work ahead of them to convert it back into a welcoming family home. 

Lorna loves a period feature, but prefers those that a budget-friendly. Dabbling in a mixture of old and new, she also loves salvaged, up-cycled pieces with hints of colour and playfulness. 


It was our simplistic and trendy collection of colours that caught Lorna’s eye…

“In a world where interior decisions, and all other life choices, can be very overwhelming, it really helped that COAT took the struggle out of deliberations. Other brands that have hundreds of shades in the same colour isn’t necessarily the better option, it can be crippling to decide. We were delighted to learn of COAT’s carbon positive status, too – that was like the cherry on the cake!”

Our peel-and-stick swatches were also a hit with Lorna, as she found that they created a lot less mess, and stuck to every surface and texture attempted. 

Lorna's son looking chuffed in his freshly transformed room

“It was great to be able to move them around the room at different times of day and get a feel for the tones in multiple types of lighting. We tried ‘2AM’, ‘Below Deck’, ‘Lie In’ and ‘Sweatpants’. We ended up ordering all but ‘2AM,’ even though we still love that colour and may plan to use it elsewhere in the future. The beauty of the swatch is that we’ve kept hold of it, and can refer to it when we need to; no metal sample tins clogging up cupboards and drawers, just a flat piece of sticky paper we can tidy away neatly in a folder.”

Feeling inspired? Check out our 'Peel & Stick' swatches 🙌

Then we skip to the good bit… the actual paint job, and Lorna was yet again impressed with the quality and coverage.

“The walls only required one coat, which was mightily impressive given how dark we were going. We also used the paint on a variety of surfaces; wood, plastic, MDF, metal, stone and pre-varnished furniture! It adhered to all of them with the same, consistent finish. The colours are identical to the swatches and are so pigmented. We’re really pleased with the paints and will definitely be using COAT again elsewhere in our home.”


Fancy a lil’ tour? Of course you do… 

We start with their spare bedroom – which interestingly, is Lorna’s favourite room in the house. Whenever they tackle a decorating project, the sole foundation of any mood board is how they want the space to feel. She finds this method less overwhelming and more suited to their tastes and personalities. 

Lorna's boutique hotel inspired spare room in beautiful shades of blue and green

“For the spare bedroom, we wanted it to feel cosy but luxurious; like a boutique hotel room, with deep teals and greens, alongside pops of black and gold. It’s not only a nice sanctuary for our guests, but it triples up as storage, wardrobe and home office. It’s multi-functional, without sacrificing space and style. It’s the room we both feel was our best DIY result so far, and we even learnt how to panel walls for the first time, too. It’s also some of our boldest decor choices to date; painting the ceiling dark, for example, which was a risk that we definitely think paid off.”

We love the combination of patterned wallpaper and paint in this room, especially the warm tones of green. Feel free to extend an invite our way, any time!

Check out Mr. Clifton if you're loving these panelled walls!

Next up is their son’s bedroom, which has had the most dramatic change of them all. This space was actually a black and orange 1970’s kitchen when they first moved in…

“Its condition was so awful that we ripped it out almost immediately, with no photographic evidence. It didn’t even feature in the estate agent photos! For most of the rooms in the house, we very quickly ‘tarted’ them up to make the house a bit more liveable. We were expecting our first child, and time pressures forced us to complete very quick makeovers, involving lots of magnolia walls and white gloss woodwork. A lot of our money initially had to be spent on the things you don’t see behind the pretty décor; rewiring the house, combining and upgrading the central heating, knocking down walls, repairing rotten joists, leaking windows and combatting damp. We’re now slowly going back through the rooms and putting more of our personal stamp on them, in terms of darker, bolder colours and patterns, now that the house is a bit more structurally sound.”

Playing with colour in their son's room by using 'Below Deck' and 'Lie in', the perfect combination

With a rapidly-growing child, they decided to revamp the original ‘woodland’ theme makeover, to a more modern, sleek style – the type that could be easily updated and tailored as he grows up. 

“We settled on the dreamy hues of COAT’s ‘Below Deck’ and ‘Lie In’. A perfect pairing. Rather than installing panelling, like in other rooms, that would be costly and time consuming, we painted the bottom third of the wall in the darker colour, along with all the woodwork, to give the effect. Space and astronaut themed lamps, cushions, bedding and wall stickers had the desired impact for our son, but are all easily changeable. The chosen paint colours are a very versatile backdrop for other types of styles.”

Dark greens like the 'Ditch The Die' or 'Brewer' create a stylish space for entertaining

The last stop on the tour is their dining room. This was the only room in the house that was left in a fairly good condition, although far too plain for their liking. The checklist for this space was a speakeasy bar, dark greens, and the perfect adult escape! 

“We upcycled our farmhouse-style table, chairs and dresser with dark navy, and made our own art deco-style bar in a recessed alcove, next to the fireplace. We love having cocktails in here when we’re hosting dinner parties.”


Lorna and Dan prefer to support small businesses, and often find themselves browsing Etsy for items that aren’t available on the high-street. These are also the items that Lorna is most asked about via her Instagram – as they tend to be unusually striking and characteristic. This really is the true beauty of independent sellers and homemade craftsmanship. 

Our Eggshell Paint is perfect for kitchen cabinets and wooden surfaces

“We love having artwork on our walls, as it can really make a space pop, whilst offering a talking point. Papercut Creative have some great prints and other hangings for your home. Furn also do gorgeous bedding, cushions and towels; with unique patterns and styles which is an easy way to bring some drama into an otherwise plain room.”


The next project on Lorna’s list is the only area of the house that is still left untouched… the under stairs cupboard! A small, sloped space – Lorna and Dan are hoping to maximise this storage opportunity! 

“It’s going to be a real challenge, as we’ll be using it for all out coats and shoes. There’s licence to go a little bit experimental with décor in spaces like this, so we’re excited to see what we can do.”


“Create a mood board; whether that’s digitally or physically. COAT’s swatches are fantastic for this, as you can put their colours alongside carpet samples, handles, wallpaper, fabric, tiles etc. It can really help you focus on the bigger picture, especially if you get bogged down in the little tasks. 

If you’re planning on DIY’ing all, or most of the work, try breaking it down into lots of little jobs. Watch videos online or find tutorials on social media. Don’t be afraid to try for yourself, and if all else fails, there’s always professionals to step in and help you finish the job. You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing, and you’ll learn a new skill along the way. 

Oh, and take room measurements and keep them in your phone, or write them down. There’s nothing more frustrating than being out and about, finding an absolute bargain in a shop, and then not knowing if it will fit in the space.”

Play with colour and get your swatches to try out our paint in your home! ✌️


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