Beth has been in her new build for 1 year and started her Instagram account, @whitfieldno5, at the same time. I wish I had been as organised as Beth; her account is such a beautiful chronicle of her homes journey.
Beth has successfully applied the idea of a colour pallet to her home. There is a fabulous mix of monochrome with dark tones, which gives a peaceful, harmonious look and thanks to the introduction of many vintage pieces she achieves this without compromising on character. It is a home aesthetic that is very hard to achieve, but clearly comes naturally to Beth and her partner Sean. I was really looking forward to getting to know Beth and how she has achieved her style!
Hi Beth! Your home is looking just fantastic and you’ve achieved so much in the year that you have lived there! What attracted you to buying your new build?
Hi! Well, when we first began our house search, we went into the process with a complete open mind. We’ve always liked the idea of renovating an older property, yet we also saw the benefits of buying new. I think the more houses we viewed, the more we realised that actually, we weren’t ready for a big renovation project just yet and that the blank canvas of a new build really appealed to our busy lifestyles.
We settled on buying new because we realised we’d still be able to have that creative reign over things, without running the risk of costly complications or having to live with someone else’s decor choices for months on end! We could just move right on in and get to the fun bit straight away (I have to confess we are both incredibly impatient people so it probably appealed to us even more so because of this!)
Personally I found it such a rewarding and exciting process to watch our home being built and to be involved every step of the way. I know new builds can get a bit of a bad rep at times but I have to say, we had such a great experience with our developers and I really do have such fond memories of it all.
I couldn’t agree with you more Beth! We also had a fab experience with our developers and the memories of seeing our house coming together are very precious. That being said, we did hit a couple of speed bumps when it came to personalising our home… what has been your biggest challenge with decorating your home?
Yes, I don’t think I quite prepared myself for the challenge of making a new build feel like ‘home’. Yes, it’s nice to have a blank canvas but it really is just that – BLANK! In some ways I think that’s exciting, but in other ways I actually found the blankness quite limiting. There were no characterful little touches to play on or work with – no floorboards to uncover, no fireplace to knock through.. you literally have four walls and a floor. For some people that’s great but for some reason I found it really hard to work with. Even little things like where to put shelving and storage – you realise that it’s not as simple as moving in and giving the place a lick of paint!
It takes time for a new build to feel homely and I’d say that was my biggest challenge. Although we loved our house, I don’t think it truly felt like a home for quite some time.
The difficulty of adding character to a blank canvas is definitely something I underestimated too; in many ways I had to redefine my style as I was blinded by the show home and what I thought the interior “should” look like. I love the harmony in your home, how would you describe your style?
It’s difficult to put a finger a certain ‘style’ because we seem to have a bit of a mix of them through our house. Each room has a slightly different look and feel – which is actually what I wanted to achieve.
When making decor decisions, I tend to think more about how I want to feel when I’m in a room rather than choose what style I want from the get go. Some of our rooms are really light and bright, whereas others are a bit more moody and cocoon-like. For example, I like to feel uplifted and energised when I’m in the kitchen, so we kept it a really bright and airy space with lots of whites, skandi-inspired touches and a hint of rustic, whereas in the lounge we have dark walls, deep-pile rugs and our beloved chesterfield sofa covered in a variety of throws. My office is more of a fun space – with a lot of pattern and storage space. I think there’s always something in each room which links them all together though. We have a lot of black, white and brass throughout the home which you’ll probably have noticed on Instagram if you follow my feed; I do love my monochrome!
I also love mixing old with new. I think it’s a challenge to bring character to a new build (something I’m trying my very best to do!) I try to be mindful of the fact I’m decorating a modern property whilst trying to incorporate my love of characterful accessories and finishes. We shop on ebay quite a bit for vintage pieces to dot around the home – like my Franco Albini lobster-pot footstool (which Sean absolutely hated when I first bought it home!) and our G Plan record cabinet. There are lots of ways you can bring a bit of personality and give a nod to more characterful styling in to a modern property.
I really think you are an expert in creating a harmonious look with bountiful character Beth and you’ve created such a district style in your home over the year that you’ve lived there. So I’m curious, what advice would you give other new build home owners?
I think one of my main bits of advice would be to live with the house as it is for a while before making any decor decisions! I jumped head-first into making decisions left-right and centre and actually I wasted a lot of money buying cushions, accessories and all-sorts which I later regretted or realised I didn’t need or even like anymore. I got far too caught up in the excitement of it all to actually consider properly how I lived in the space first before making important decisions. It sounds so simple but it really is a golden bit of advice!
Great advice Beth; as difficult as it is it is good to listen to the guidance of the developers about not decorating for 6 months; not only so that you can ensure your snagging list is sorted prior to expensive decoration but also so you can understand how you want to live in your new space.
Beth, I have such a style crush on your home, I have to know some of your favourite instagram accounts that have inspired you…
There are so many that I love, its so hard to pick! these accounts are some of my favourites;
@the_house_that_jen_built : Jennifer has a beautiful characterful home with a stunning mix of dark and light throughout. This home really tells a story.
@house_penlan : If it wasn’t for Cissy’s beautiful home account I don’t think I’d have taken the plunge with our dark walls! Such a stunning home with lots of cosy, dark nooks.
@our1sthome : Rose finds the most amazing pieces in charity shops/ebay! And she has such a good eye for colour. I adore her colourful home.
@homeatnumbernineteen : Victoria has such a stunning home and I’ve always admired her eye for styling. A wonderful mix of dark and light spaces – and her new bathroom is just heavenly!
@littlepeachhome : Hannah has created such a beautiful calming and homely space. I love how she has styled her home with a wonderful mix of old and new
You can also hear more from Beth by reading her Blog which is a great detailed look at her home as well as advice for new build buyers.
Beth has really looked at her home as a total entity and ensured that there is cohesion between each room without her feeling repetitive, ensuing each room still has a different character that fits its purpose; this is difficult to create an Beth has achieved it flawlessly to give her home an identity that perfectly bridges stylish interiors with a homely feel.