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At Home with Jody @mad_about_the_oast

This week I'm at home with Jody the creative  lady behind the home instagram account @mad_about_the_oast where she shares images of her beautiful roundel Oast house in Kent. Read on to learn more about Jody, her home, lifestyle, and top tips for home styling.


Tell us about you

Hi, my name is Jody Marie Gilby, I am an artist living in rural Kent. I graduated from Central St Martins' College of Art in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. I have, along the way participated in group shows, solos shows and collectives as well as dabbling in jewellery/silversmithing and pottery, the latter to which I hold no medals, but I am most definitely a creative obsessive who loves getting stuck into all thing’s art/design related. 

I have lived in a beautiful village in Kent for over 20 years raising four children into fabulous young adults along the way with my husband of 30 years - Mr G! Our recent move to our roundel Oast is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for me (not Mr G btw) but he didn't have much of a say! That said, he loves this old house and particularly where it is, nestled in a beautiful valley with orchards all around. Kent to us truly is the Garden of England and we feel very lucky to live here.

oast house with roundel 

Since moving into our Oast a year and a half ago, I have taken time off my art projects to concentrate all my creative brain power on the restoration of our tired old building. Suffice to say, I am hooked, obsessed and totally driven to put all my energy into this 150-year-old girl.

I believe Kent, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire may be the only places where Oast Houses (or Hop Kilns when not in Kent) are seen…If I’m wrong feel free to correct me! They were originally agricultural buildings used for drying hops to make beer and Horsmonden where we live still has working hop fields as well as vineyards and orchards.


Tell us about your home


Our Oast is around 150 years old but was only converted in 1987. When we moved in the interior decoration was still reminiscent of the 1980’s, yellow, dark red, royal blue and pale green paint adorned the walls with dark mahogany wood. Gaping windows that let the cold air in and the warm air out, electrics that were crazily wired and touching on dangerous!

log burner milking stool

In the first two weeks after we moved in, I painted every wall white and took it back to neutral as a base to work from and allow us to feel like it was our home and not a French 1980’s holiday gite!

country kitchen belfast sink

Over the last year, I have made my way through mostly the downstairs, doing cosmetic decoration that will allow us some time to live and save money in order to take on the bigger tasks that will ultimately need time and money to change such as a new kitchen in the roundel – which will naturally have to be handmade being in a round room.

 bathroom wall paper

Bathroom and en-suite renovations, new carpets and plumbing etc the list goes on. This year’s big money depleting project has been getting planning for new bespoke handmade painted timber windows and doors which will finally be installed this summer, it will mean we will have a warm winter with a slightly cheaper oil bill!


How would you describe your home?

shabby chic

I would describe my style here as a slightly wonky, shabby, comfortable country farmhouse vibe.

 skandi style

Its eclectic and I am loving adding vintage elements as it evolves over time, but with a vintage Scandi lightness of painted wood and floral wallpaper beginning to appear. It is a work in progress which I am sure will change again over time.

  country living 


Which is your favourite room in the house?

downstairs loo english country cottage

My favourite room in the house at this very moment, is the downstairs loo which I have just decorated, it’s tiny and very dark but adding a light floral Borastapeter wallpaper has transformed it and now I want floral wallpaper everywhere!

calm light living room devon oast house conversion

My living room is also a favourite, it was bright yellow and orange wood when we moved in but now its calm and light.


What are your favourite items in the home?

painted french linen cupboard 

My dear friend recently downsized house and she gave me first dibs on her beautiful French shabby chic furniture which I have coveted for years, one, which is a blue painted French linen cupboard. I didn’t have the wall space for such a large piece but somehow, I made room, there was no way I was going to let that one go!

 milking stool

The other item I have to mention is the beautiful milking stool I bought whilst staying with a friend in Devon, I absolutely love it and have now got two, I may even buy one for each room in the house eventually!


When you moved into your home was it the finished article or was it a project?

 Most definitely a project, this is our forever home so we will always be doing something to improve and make it ours, but it is all going to take time and a lot of thought and care to make sure it is done properly. I love it now even with its imperfections which are many, but it’s ours to care for and hopefully inject new life into.


How does your home reflect any passions or interests?


My own artwork has always featured in my previous homes, either on the walls or in other forms and having such a characterful home now has allowed me to get back to my crafty roots as well, with dried flowers, handmade pottery and other little handmade touches which helps to make this home feel unique.

hanging dried flowers

I absolutely love the freedom to create and not be restricted by fashionable norms and trends. 

dried flowers and pot vase


  What renovation and decorating have you done?

For the moment, I have undertaken all the superficial decorating myself and made this house our home. Over the years and in previous houses, Mr G and I have always taken on the decorating and renovation ourselves, and so this doesn’t faze me although I can’t say it’s my favourite task, I would much rather someone else did it but to save money it’s a good skill to have. I am inpatient and get bored and distracted very easily so I do tend to rush things and occasionally leave jobs half done for a few months and then go back and finish them, not great when you are living with it but that’s just how I get through doing the tasks I don’t enjoy!


Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?

Many, and in this house the downstairs loo and en-suite are already being re-visited as I made a rash decision to go with a trend and painted both rooms dark grey, they looked like tombs and felt like it too! Way too hasty with that one I would say.


What is your top home styling tip?

My tip would be to execute the seven P’s – prior planning and preparation prevents p*** poor performance – something which I myself have never quite accomplished but hey…. whatever! I am great at giving advice but not necessarily taking it!


Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?

Other than my family and my dog Clementine, I love my wonky old, tired kitchen, which in our five-year plan will sadly be replaced, but the one thing that I couldn’t be without is my coffee machine! I drink copious amounts daily and this helps to keep me awake long enough to work through the endless list of jobs in the garden and house!


They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?

 My home is, I would say a good reflection of myself, smoke and mirrors – the Instagram pics don’t always capture what is going on behind the scenes…sometimes chaos ensues, a bit scruffy round the edges, vintage in places, B&M in others, comfy and relaxed as long as you don’t mess with my cushion layout and visual tidiness…. There is plenty of tut in the cupboards but that’s okay...out of sight out of mind does it for me!


The Home Edit


Lived-in or showhome?

The lived-in look most definitely!


If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?

Farrow and Balls Purbeck Stone.


What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?

Messing with the cushion layout in my home, I don’t worry about other people’s homes as that’s their choice.


Favourite front door colour?

Farrow and Balls Hardwick White (our new doors and windows are going to be this colour).


Carpet or Floorboards?

Would have to be a mix of sisal, wood and stone – natural all the way!


Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?

Kitchen table 99% of the time.


High gloss or rustic?

Rustic naturally!


Wallpaper or Brick Walls?

Got to be wallpaper in this old gal.


Want More?

If you enjoyed being at home with Jody, 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 view more of these "at home with" articles here

Catch up with Jody's instagram account here. It's well worth a look!







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