At Home With Emma @bakewells_and_baskets
This week I'm at home with Emma, the very creative home styling lady behind the beautiful instagram account @bakewells_and_baskets where she shares stunning images of her home. Read on to learn more about Emma, her home, lifestyle, family and also her top home decor tips.
Tell us about you
I live with my husband and our 3 boys who are 5 ,8 and 10. We also have a beautiful rabbit called Splodge (because as much as the boys want one, I’m not ready for a dog just yet!). We love spending time together especially enjoying long walks and picnics in the countryside.
We live in 4-bedroom semi in Somerset. It is not much to look at from the outside so when people come for the first time they are always amazed once they step inside. We are very lucky to have a super long garden which gives us plenty of room for entertaining and letting our children roam freely. Although a semi-detached house was not what we were looking for when we were house hunting, this spacious home offered so much potential both inside and out, we knew we had to buy it. That was 9 years ago and plenty of changes have happened since. The location here is superb with stunning local walks as well as easy access to ‘the strawberry line’ an old railway line now a beautiful cycle route. We have views over fields and woodland but within ten minutes we can walk to our little local village with shops, pubs, and cafes. We really do have the best of both worlds here.
Tell us about your home
Our home is 1930s, an ex-local authority house, which had been lived in by the same family for over 50 years. It had a lovely family feel when we bought it but needed modernisation to suit family life today.
How would you describe your home?
I have always liked neutral tones as they give a calm homely feel. Our living day space is very neutral, a modern country kitchen mixed with a scandi vibe. Our living space is large, but the adjoining snug area gives a cosy corner to retreat to, complete with wood burning stove. The vaulted roof gives the room a spacious feel and roof windows let in so much light. We have 5m bi fold doors which, in warmer months bring the outdoors in. The deck outside is a wonderful extension of the living space.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
We have a separate living room, which we rarely use as we tend to congregate in the living day space, however I absolutely love this room as my husband built me some fitted shelves for my many books and it’s a calm space to sit and read (when I have the time) This has more period influences and we have created faux Victorian fireplace as a feature it really works well with the style of the room and is a nod to the fact I would love to own a period property one day. The fireplace once was in my grandma’s house, so although not in keeping with our house, it does have sentimental value and we’ve made it work well.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
I love to bake so our large kitchen with our rangemaster was designed with this in mind. I am a messy baker and although we designed the kitchen with loads of work tops, I still manage to spread out all over the kitchen when baking. I also love vintage and upcycled items, doing lots of upcycling myself. I can’t resist a bargain at the local boot sale or charity shop and love to give then a new home! More recently I have taken an interest in gardening (although I am not very green fingered!) I seem to have a growing collection of house plants, which is a big responsibility! I also love entertaining friends and the home we have created here allows us to do this all year round.
What are your favourite items in the home?
This is a tricky question as I have so many ‘treasures’ which change according to the seasons as I love changing up the décor to match the time of year. The one item which we bought when we extended is our dining set. We have always had preloved and upcycled ones previously but we splashed out on a giant dining set with chairs and benches so we can comfortably sit about 16 people. We have a large extended family, so we needed somewhere to all sit at family gatherings. I am also very attached to my range cooker as I waited so long for it as it was built to order. It is ‘royal pearl’ and such a beautiful range.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Definitely a project house both inside and outside. If the previous owners could see it now, they wouldn’t think it was the same house. When we viewed it for the first time, I wasn’t keen, but my husband convinced me that it would work perfectly once we had it as we wanted it and he was right. However, we have always wanted a detached house so as much as we love it here, we are ‘listing it’ and about to undertake another project, which will hopefully be our forever home.
What renovation and decorating have you done?
We have literally transformed it here, it’s a completely new house now. We’ve put in a new bathroom and downstairs cloakroom as well as reconfigured the upstairs to allow each of our three boys to have an equal sized bedroom and well as a dressing room for me. The major change was our lovely extension in 2020. However, as the house was already extended, the back of the house had to be taken down to rebuild the new living day space. We went from lots of separate rooms to a cavernous space, which we love. We found it very difficult to get a kitchen designed that worked in the space so ended up designing it ourselves as we knew the way we wanted it to work. I had seen a split-level island online and it works brilliantly!
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
We have been very fortunate in this area., My husband is very hands on and did lots of things himself and the team of builders we used were amazing. The biggest thing was having to unpick what was already here it would have been easier to start from scratch.
What is your top home styling tip?
I like to keep things simple and easy to use so you can enjoy them. I also like to change my shelves and décor frequently to match the seasons. I try to go with what feels right. When working with such a large space, it is important to clearly define the zones to give them an identity of their own. I also believe in having what you love because it makes you happy, not because it’s the latest trend. I have so many items that I have collected over the years, and I find it hard to part with my treasures. Because of this storage space is an absolute must for me! Our island hides away so many items of crockery, glass wear and vases.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
Baskets! Without a shadow of a doubt! They are so handy for organising things and hiding things away, especially the kids’ toys! I have always wanted a walk-in pantry but that wouldn’t work here, so I have a floor to ceiling larder cupboard, and this is fabulous for storing everything in one place. The addition of a laundry room has transformed our home, previously the washing machine and tumble drier were in the garage! Not ideal! The laundry room also has a large cupboard for storing shoes and coats, which is perfect.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
I must admit I am a bit of a control freak and like things to be just so. People always comment on how I manage to keep things tidy while working and organising the kids, but I just try to tidy up as I go along and keep on top of the jobs. My Grandma was a huge influence, and her motto was ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ she also liked everything tidy and calm. I like visitors to feel at home both adults and children. I often host the play dates and gatherings as we have the space to do it. It’s not unusual to have at least ten people here for tea and I try keep everyone entertained.
The Home Edit
Lived-in or show home?
Tricky, but I do prefer show home. However, I also try to create a relaxed homely feel.
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Any neutral tone
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
I don’t really have one. I think each to their own and I love having a nosy at other people’s homes, whatever their style!
Favourite front door colour?
Depends on the style of the house. I do like dark grey. But in a more rural property you can’t beat a rustic oak door.
Carpet or Floorboards?
Floorboards with loads of comfy rugs
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
I do like relaxed seating in the kitchen
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
If you enjoyed being at home with Emma, 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
You can catch up with Emma's instagram account here. It's well worth a look!