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In England, at Home with a Thrifty Maximalist

by Garrett Fleming

In England, at Home with a Thrifty Maximalist, Design*Sponge

There was a lot to love when Sophie Cartledge and her husband Toby first toured what would eventually become their home in the town of Fareham. The 1930s-era house in Hampshire, England boasted original details, an updated bathroom and kitchen as well as an open floor plan. Most importantly, though, adopting its zip code would mean their three children Mulan, Noah and Bertie could attend some really great schools.

Luckily the price was also right, and shortly after the showing the family of five moved right in.

Since then, Sophie and Toby have done anything and everything to further style the space to their liking. On the first floor, for example, visitors are greeted not by the dingy carpet that came with the home but by wooden planks doused in a fresh coat of ultra black paint. Smiling at them from the walls in the entryway is another striking addition: a striped mural Sophie tackled with just some painter’s tape and a little faith.

The photos below are proof that this pair’s already taken on more than most homeowners would dare, but Toby and Sophie say they aren’t done yet. Their next big project will be to replace the kitchen’s laminate floors with concrete, and I’m sure it will add just as much flair as their other updates have. Scroll down to check out their DIY haven, and enjoy! Garrett

Photography by Sophie Cartledge

Image above: Sophie’s goal for the living area was to create a space equally inspired by the 1960s and 1930s. 

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Sophie and Toby chose the town of Fareham primarily because of its well-reviewed schools.

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When the family moved in, the first floor was covered in beige carpet – something that doesn’t typically play nicely with children. The family quickly pulled it up and painted the floorboards black.

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The bold entryway is one of Sophie’s favorite spots in her home, but it almost didn’t come together: “When I was painting it, I had real moments of questioning what on Earth I was doing and [wasn’t sure it was] going to work! I’m glad I persevered, though!”

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Sophie loves tracking down secondhand finds, but admits that waiting for the perfect piece can be frustrating: “It has taken a lot of patience at times because [I like to finish] a room straight away, but we always get there in the end.”

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Sophie and her husband Toby attached old ladders to a sideboard in order to create a divider between the living and dining areas. “It cost next to nothing but really helps to break up what was a very long room…”

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On the other side of the divider sits the dining room – a space with walls so rich they add instant coziness to the family’s dinner parties.

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“Sometimes it really is the little things that make all the difference,” Sophie tells us. New lighting, a new grout color and fresh accessories are all it took to strip the kitchen of the rustic feel it had when the family moved in.

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Sophie used a black grout pen to help free her kitchen from its “country feel.”

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“Things I love about home: the noise, the quiet, the colors, the patterns, the light, the dark, being together, being alone with a cup of tea and a biscuit.” – Sophie Cartledge

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All it took to achieve these eye-catching stripes was a steady hand and some painter’s tape.

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Sophie and Toby’s bedroom is long and narrow. To make it a more typical shape – and to give themselves some extra storage – they curtained off a portion of it, essentially creating a closet out of thin air.

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The couple tore back this wall in their bedroom to reveal the home’s old brick fireplace.

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Framed vinyl covers and a 1960s print hang opposite the fireplace.

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There’s an 11-year age difference between Bertie (four) and Noah (15), so their room had to be simple enough to fit both their tastes. “I think the monochrome style is perfect for doing that,” Sophie explains. After landing on a color scheme, she stripped, restained and repainted the secondhand dresser in the corner and gave it new hardware so it would fit into the overall palette.

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This nook in the boys’ room used to house a tent, cushions and books, but now that Noah’s grown a bit the area acts as a spot to study. Sophie jazzed up the secondhand desk by painting it black.

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“I really wanted [Mulan’s] room to be somewhere that she would love being in and be proud to bring her friends [into],” Sophie says, and her dedication to creating such a space shines. She created the rain cloud artwork using a stencil and added golden tips to the flying feathers before stringing them together.

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The home comes in at just over 1,000 square feet.

SOURCE LIST

Entryway
Door paint – Valspar “Golden Beet”
Black paint – Valspar “Nevermore”
Velvet chair, mirror, rug – secondhand
Lightshade – Wilko
Wooden dresser – inherited

Living Room
Black paint – Valspar “Nevermore”
Curtains, gold sofa – eBay
Rug – gumtree
Teal sofa – Laura Ashley
“Alice” by Mogdilani – Freecycle
Animal cushion – TJ Maxx

Kitchen
Paint – Little Greene Paint Company “Old Paper II”
Lighting cable, accessories – Dowsing and Reynolds
Gold triangle plate rack – Graham and Green
Rug – Aldi
“Eat” art – secondhand
Tea towel – IKEA

Sophie & Toby’s Room
Paint – Farrow and Ball “Hague Blue”
Bed – Made.com
Bedding – Aldi
Bag – Sezane
Curtains – IKEA

Bertie & Noah’s Room
Bed throws – Made.com
Curtains – handmade
Light box – Retro Kids

Mulan’s Room
Rug – H&M Home
Bed, lampshade – eBay
Bedding, cushion – IKEA
Clock – Flying Tiger

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