Inspiring Interiors: A Quickfire Q&A with @my_yorkshire_kitchenspiration
This week, we’re pulling out all the stops to give you lucky Saints some top-tier interior inspiration! We caught up with Sharon of @my_yorkshire_kitchenspiration to get some red-hot styling insights that we can all think about implementing into our own spaces.
Sharon has over 10,000 followers on Instagram and regularly posts snaps of her gorgeously renovated Harrogate home for us all to enjoy. Notable for its blend of bright and bold colours, warm textures and lashings of vintage charm, this is one house that’s certainly lives up to its billing (with a little help from some WSG bar stool magic – Sharon’s photo of our Wishbone Bar Stools – see above - recently featured in the Daily Mail! You can check out the article right here).
Here’s what we found out from Sharon in our little quickfire Q&A. Don’t forget to give her a quick follow over on Instagram too after reading up on the blog!
Hi Sharon, thanks so much for agreeing to do a quick interview with us! Naturally, we must start by focusing on your beautifully designed home…
Q1. We absolutely love the style of your home. The use of bright colours is such a prominent feature. Was this always the strategy for both the interior and exterior?
To be honest, we have lived here for twenty years, and the style has very much been an evolving feast.
As I have become more confident in what I like and what I don’t and understanding how the light works in the house, I have become bolder in my use of colour and been more prepared to take a chance with something new.
The dark green living room is very much an example of that; I didn’t even bother with tester pots and just went for it – and love it! The living room doesn’t get any light until later in the day and it’s a room we mainly use in the evening, so I decided to embrace the cosiness of it, rather than working against the impossible task of trying to create a light-filled room (which it was never going to be).
I do like to add a surprise pop or blend of colour here and there, such as the Brassica island in the kitchen, the pink bath and also the combination of pink and duck egg in the master bedroom.
As for strategy, there isn’t really one, I just go with what I like. However, I do have to check myself as if I decide I like a particular colour, I then seem to gravitate towards wanting to redecorate everywhere in that shade. Which probably explains the plentiful green appearing around the house at the moment…
Q2. Texture is also a striking aspect of your beautiful house. Did you have any specific inspiration for the various rooms, or did you just go with your gut instinct?
Again, I have always gone with my gut instinct.
I do love using soft fabrics and layering of different textures to create an opulent, boutique hotel feel – the master bedroom is an example of that with the extensive use of cushions and throws.
I have never been one for matching fabrics and much prefer more unexpected combinations and textures, and again, this is something in which I have become more confident over the years. If someone tells me I can’t mix a pattern with a stripe, then I see it as a challenge!
The key is to make sure that the tones complement each other and that the underlying tones are a relatively simply palette. I’m going through a linen and velvet phase at the moment and can’t get enough of them!
Q3. Great choice in bar stools! They’re a lovely contrast to the lilac kitchen island colour. Are you a fan of Scandi décor, in general?
Why thank you!
I love Scandi décor and find it to be a perfect foil for the stronger colours I like to introduce. If everything in my home was big and bold, I think it would be too much, so the introduction of simpler and cleaner styled pieces, such as my bar stools and the bench in the master bedroom help keep it from becoming overwhelming. They also help to introduce a touch of lightness that’s needed.
I have to say that when renovating the kitchen, finding the right bar stools was the hardest task of all. I then realised that everything on my (very short) shortlist was Scandi style, with classic, clean lines. The bar stools have been an excellent choice and receive so many compliments. As well as being a really stylish addition to the kitchen they are really comfortable – a win win!
Q4. OK, we need to mention that glorious pink slipper tub in your bathroom! What an accent piece! Was pink always the plan?
In truth, it wasn’t.
Instead, it was a happy combination of my desire to use pink everywhere (I mentioned I become fixated on particular colours), and specifically the Farrow & Ball Sulking Room pink (if only because it’s such a great name for a paint colour) and realising on decorating the bathroom it needed something to make it pop.
I had used a dark blue grey on the walls and whilst I loved the colour, it needed something to lift it. The pink wasn’t an obvious choice but I loved it at first brush, and it’s now become the key piece in the room. My husband was not at all convinced at the time but even he agrees it’s worked.
Q5. You’re also the founder of your own online business, The Calming Room. We love the name! How did this come about? (Your products look ideal for de-stressing after the pandemic!)
Until about a year ago, I worked for a large global law firm in a senior role. I worked incredibly long hours - late nights and weekends were the norm. I also spent a considerable amount of time travelling and away from home. The continuous stress and pressure started to take its toll and I found myself looking for solutions; things that would help me sleep, make me smile, create a relaxed home. So, candles, artwork, aromatherapy products.
When the pandemic hit and in March 2020, we were all instructed to work from home, it was important to ensure that my new home office was a pleasant workspace too. I found myself introducing those same touches to my desk and found that it helped.
I also noticed that the pandemic was affecting people’s stress levels like never before, and in so many ways. Working from home, whilst eradicating a lengthy commute, was introducing a whole new level of stress for so many people. And those working in healthcare and other emergency services were at breaking point. I wanted to be able to share what I had learned for helping alleviate stress and pressure. Wellbeing and self-care had never been so important.
I was able to change my job about a year ago and finally having more time for myself, decided to set up The Calming Room. I carefully sourced all the products – I was keen to deal with small, independent suppliers and artisans wherever possible – all of which had wellbeing in mind. For example, some of the beautiful prints I stock are from a Lake District artist who also used to be a lawyer at a large bank, but who also ‘escaped’.
My range of products has since expanded considerably – but all very much have wellbeing at the forefront. And it seems I was on to something as after I launched - larger brands also decided that wellbeing was key. I like to think that they saw what I was doing and followed!
Q6. What are your top 3 favourite things about your home interior, and why?
First, I’d have to say my bedroom. It really is my sanctuary and I love nothing more than settling down in there with a cup of tea and a book. I chose the colours specifically for tranquillity and it’s a really light and bright room.
Second, I love the wealth of original period features still in my home – from the original (fully working!) servants bells, the ornate cornicing and the sash windows. Some we had to re-create, like the cast iron fireplace in the living room and master bedroom (both of which had sadly been removed).
Finally, I love the open space we have created in the kitchen and which incorporates a living area, a home office and utility. We decided that, rather than have a series of smaller rooms, we would open up the space completely and let the light in. It was absolutely the right decision, and the space works perfectly for us. Not least moving the utility to the ground floor rather than being in the basement – the stone steps up and down were killers even without a heavy basket of laundry!
Q7. There’s an intimate and inherently vintage feel about your home. What qualities do you look for when choosing this style of furniture and accessories?
I love quality pieces of furniture and accessories made to withstand the test of time. Even better if the piece has a history and a tale to tell all of its own.
Whilst much of the furniture and accessories in our home were purchased new, we have always tried to buy pieces that would last and were classic in style, rather than ‘fashionable’ pieces or trends.
Some of the pieces were inherited from my parent’s house and even from my grandparents, such as my favourite crockery, books, our bedding box, and the massive chest of drawers in the guest bedroom. So many of the things around us have personal significance and memories attached to them. It was very hard when my father died last year and we had to sell his house. So many pieces of furniture that held so many memories that we simply didn’t have room to accommodate - and it was heart-breaking to see them go. Less so his cricketer garden gnomes and his collection of crossword puzzle books!
I do still have lots of accessories in boxes with which I couldn’t bear to part with, which are waiting for their moment. I think the vintage feel therefore probably chose us, rather than us making a conscious decision to choose it for the style of our home.
Q8. Finally, are there any interior design lessons that you’ve learned along the way? Anything that you would do differently for a future renovation perhaps?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to be confident and go with your gut.
Don’t be afraid to be bold, but also don’t be afraid to say when you think you got it wrong. Too many times I’ve tried to persuade myself that something I’d done was fine, when in reality, I hated it. Don’t waste time persuading yourself – just change it when you can, embrace the learning experience and chalk up the knowledge for next time.
I’ve also been a relative latecomer to Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree but would definitely utilise them more in a future renovation. So many of my treasures are second hand and sourced through them.
Leaving aside the inevitable non-responses and the odd bad purchase, I’ve had some amazing acquisitions through both Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree (such as the gin cabinet which is currently in progress and the nursery chairs that I am about to re-upholster). I can’t wait to show them off!
Thanks again to Sharon for sharing such valuable insights about her beautiful home! We’ve certainly taken plenty of tips on board, and probably the best piece of advice – don’t be afraid to be bold!
Don’t forget to give @my_yorkshire_kitchenspiration a cheeky follow if you’re yet to do so.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our quickfire Q&A blog this week, and we’ll see you again soon!