Color Me Impressed: Explore Lancashire’s most flamboyant home with the talented UCLan interior design student behind it all
An interior design student at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, Kim is a follower of colors and patterns, an apostle of all that is multichromatic and visually striking. She has an eye for the dramatic and the truly unique. And it’s safe to say that there probably hasn’t been a more dynamic home remodel than Kim’s in the past year or so.
“Even as a little girl, I have always loved color and have always been creative,” says Kim, 34. “When we found this property we knew it immediately. So ready to inject a little personality into it. We checked in last August, did a top-to-bottom renovation in 10 weeks and moved in November latest.
“And since then everything has just taken off.”
Until just three years ago, Kim owned beauty salons. But, deciding to change careers and encouraged to follow her passion by friends and family, she embarked on an interior design course at UCLan. And, since she and her husband Mark are seasoned renovators – “this is our fourth – people call us serial renovators! – Kim also had blank canvases to work with.
“For centuries people have said I should get into interior design and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Kim said. “My husband and I have been together for 12 years now, so we know we have the courage to do these things together: Mark manages the money and I inject that touch of personality and color into a property.
“We’re just thriving on the pressure of a refurbishment project,” adds Kim, with the current project, a Victorian house in East Lancashire, even having her own Instagram page called Miss Mustard Design. “Then we sell it, go on and start over. “
Describing the style with which she approached the design of her home as “vintage modern eclectic,” Kim turned what was a relatively wary property into a veritable explosion of maximalism. The end result is so striking that Kim made the cover of Home Style magazine and, what’s more, the project was also done on a limited budget.
“Working on a budget makes me more creative and I started researching charity and vintage stores, recycling everything and transforming the things we already have,” Kim says. “When I’m on the hunt for a good deal, I can spot a treasure as soon as I see it and I can immediately tell the difference between something dated and something with real potential.
“Honestly, I don’t know where the eye for things is coming from, I think it’s just a natural talent,” she adds. “But, when we look at a house as a blank canvas so to speak, Mark and I don’t really have a hard time envisioning the end product. We tend to know right away what we want to do, what would be appropriate where. and how to really showcase a space.
“This is our niche: we can imagine the finished article very vividly, so we’re just going to go out there and get creative, which I love. And working with my husband is great because we’re on the job. same wavelength and, despite openly admitting that maximalist design is not his style, he knows I know what I’m doing, so he and the kids love him as much as I do. “
Undertaking such a daring and transformational home renovation may be the idea of a nightmare for some people, but Kim actually says she finds herself finding her teeth stuck in such a therapeutic project as she gets down to business. allows you to seamlessly slip into the world of bargain hunting, charity raids, DIY and the millions of other things that go into its eclectic process.
But the approach is never the same for every house.
“While the bright colors reflect the fact that we’re known as a happy family with bouncy personalities, we don’t always do all renovations in such a bold style,” says Kim. “We adapt to each property. For example, with our bungalow from the 1930s, we have shaken up and made everything open and refined. We start with what best suits the good in each case.
“Being able to adapt in this way is important and it’s also a challenge that I love,” adds Kim. “When I work on what a property is, I put together mood boards, put together tactile fabrics, collect a bunch of color swatches, determine pattern conflicts, then put it all together with 3D visuals that make me feel allow you to imagine everything and plan each space.
“The goal is to get the most out of every square inch of every room,” Kim continues. “I try to give everything a purpose and make it a characteristic in its own way. As soon as I walk into a room, I immediately look for unique characteristics that I can emphasize. Even something like the edge of a door can be given its own personality. And it is important not to be afraid.
Along with quality furniture painting and lighting, the key to any room is letting it reflect what you love, according to Kim, who plans to start her own bona fide interior design business called Lemon Leopard upon graduation. Bold centerpieces and other standout elements are also potential stylistic gold mines for making an environment stand out.
“Make things unique and they’ll bring the whole space together,” Kim says. “People tend to be wary, but you only live once. I get asked a lot about what inspires me, but nothing really inspires me, I just go for things that I love and I put together At the end of the day, you are the ones who are going to live there, so you have to love the interiors around you.
“Don’t focus on someone else’s design, be brave and don’t worry about what other people think, put your own stamp on it,” she adds. “Take something like our bed: I bought it from Facebook Marketplace and it was really old fashioned, but I sprayed it with gold paint and it became the main feature of our master bedroom.
“I never had an idea and I never thought ‘this is too daring’, but everything has to be used proportionately to be effective. Light is also important: our bathroom is painted dark green. and the tiles and grout are green too, so my husband was suspicious. But I had looked at the ratio and the room has two large windows so there was a lot of natural light. “
This more scientific element of finding the right balance of texture, light, color, and depth in a room is something Kim enjoyed looking more into in her class at UCLan, where she explored subjects as varied as the impact of colors can have. on mental health and potential interior design trends of the future.
But emotion reigns supreme for Kim.
“When I finish a piece, I have this amazing feeling that is so gratifying,” she says. “Because I made it mine.”