At Home With Claire Douglas @instahome_uk
This week we are at home with Claire Douglas the lovely lady behind the creative home instagram account @instahome_uk where she shares home styling & room makeover ideas & inspiration including plenty of faffing, flatlays and flowers. Claire is also the creator of the @beautiful_homes_feature
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Claire, a 37-year-old Project Manager from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, where I live with my husband and our two young children. I love all things home and interior design related and spend most of my spare time either decorating our house or researching my next DIY project. I set up my Instagram account (@instahome_uk) in 2019 as a way of recording our renovation journey and this year I set-up the @beautiful_homes_feature page to help showcase other home obsessed accounts and it has become a little community.
Tell us about your home
We’ve lived in this house for almost 5 years and have spent that time transforming every inch of it. When we bought the house the inside was rundown, it had poor natural light & had been neglected for years. The boiler didn’t work, the electrics needed attention, the bathroom and kitchen needed replacing and every room needed TLC - it was a real ‘doer upper’ and we’ve been trying to inject some character ever since. It’s a fairly new house (built in the ‘60s) and was therefore lacking any of the period features that I love.
How would you describe your home?
The house is a mix of modern and traditional, influences, the bifold doors for example bring a modern and more minimalist style to the downstairs but are coupled with wall panelling and a newly installed cosy fireplace and alcove shelves and upcycled table.
Which is your favourite room in the house and why?
The downstairs is very open plan and feels like one continuous space but I think the front room area is my favourite as it’s the room I feel we’ve managed to add the most character to with the addition of the tv wall / faux chimney breast with mantlepiece and alcove shelves.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests that you have?
I love interior design and home decor and spend a lot of (too much!) time researching style ideas and inspiration which I often try out around the house. I adore flowers and enjoy styling them at every opportunity too. There are lots of upcycled items around the house which each tell a story and add character, I love giving things a new lease of life.
What are your favourite items in the home?
We recently bought a dining table from a brilliant local charity shop and it is old and rustic and full of character and charm and I love it. I also love the difference the bifold doors and decking area have made to the back of the house. They have massively improved the natural light all year round and are fab to throw open in the summer and enjoy the indoor/outdoor space.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
As I’ve mentioned it was a real project, there isn’t a single room or part of the garden that hasn’t had some form of transformation.
Have you done any renovation?
Lots! I’m really hands on and have loved learning new skills through the renovation process. I tiled the kitchen myself using YouTube tutorials and it was actually quite fun, although I think I would invest in an electric tile cutter if I was to do it again. I did all the wall panelling myself (which is in most rooms now) after watching several insta tutorials. I built the alcove shelving in the front room using bits of an old wardrobe that we had dismantled and I’ve done lots of decorating which has mainly been painting but with a bit of wallpapering along the way.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had any disasters, but I’ve definitely had a few changes of heart regarding paint colours and wallpaper designs, but they’ve luckily been easy enough to change. I have also had three different colours of grout on the kitchen tiles as I kept changing my mind!
What is your top home styling tip?
I don’t really feel qualified to give advice as I’ve been learning as I go! I think the most important thing is to love what you create and style as you are the one who has to live with it, sometimes it’s tempting to try and follow the trends or style to suit other people’s tastes but it’s not nearly as satisfying as the feeling you get when you create something you really love and that your house loves you for.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
No I don’t think so. As much as I love certain functional items that make life easier like the pull out larder or the bifold doors, the real heart of the home is the people in it and I know I could live anywhere as long as I had my boys with me. What am I saying… it’s the coffee machine! As if I could live without coffee!
They say that a every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
That I love flowers and faffing and panelling!
The Home Edit
Lived-in look or showhome?
Showhome is the dream but I have a husband and two boys so lived-in is the reality!
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Farrow & Ball Ammonite or Skimming Stone.
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Clutter and disorganisation.
Favourite front door colour
We’ve just painted ours Farrow & Ball Pigeon (well, a colour match from the Decorating Centre Online) and I’m in love with it.
Carpet or Floorboards
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
One day I’d love to have a dining room but for now we have beautiful upcycled wooden kitchen table and bench which currently serve as dining table, home office, homework station etc etc.
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
If you enjoyed being at home with Claire, you might like to take a look inside other popular home styling accounts on instagram and find out more about the people behind them. You can see more of these "at home with" articles here