At Home With Karen @flowersandlifestylebymargot
This week we are at home with lovely Karen. The creative flower-loving lady behind the very popular instagram account @flowersandlifestylebymargot where she shares stunning images of her beautiful home. Read on to discover more about Karen, her home and family and her top decor tips.
Tell us a bit about you
I live in Cambridge, very close to the market town of Saffron Walden. It’s a very rural spot with only a small collection of homes. I’m very lucky to see fields from pretty much every window in our home but still being very close to Cambridge, London and Norfolk, where I was brought up.
Tell us about your home
We live in a Victorian Farmhouse that has been extended over several years. At the front you can clearly see it’s Victorian origins but from the back it looks like a coastal property. We were lucky to inherit a veranda which is fabulous all year round and just under an acre of garden. Having a large garden wasn’t a necessity and my goodness it's been a learning curve trying to create an outdoor space. It took us a year just to clear but we’re slowly working out how to use the space. We always have projects on the go and at the moment I’m about to embark into the world of panelling, to inject a more traditional feel. I’m a great believer that your home is never truly finished – well, that’s my excuse.
How would you describe your home?
I would describe my style as traditional, with some touches of modern thrown in. I’m most probably more minimalist and definitely like everything to have its own place – even though they may not always be in that place! My colour scheme is definitely neutral but I do love throwing bold colours in. My favourite splash of colour definitely has to my chest of drawers in our living room and I adore how it works with our ‘Olga’ self-portrait.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
This is a really tough question as I love so many of our rooms but if I had to choose, I would say it’s our kitchen. It definitely feels the heart of our home and with the sliding doors running the width of the kitchen, it has a wonderful views out onto our garden. I also completely renovated this space with my own hands. I painted all of the kitchen cabinets, changed the work top (although I didn't do this bit) and then finished it off with my dream oven. I still have plans for this room but it never fails to make me smile every time I walk in.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
My home, garden and surrounding countryside provide me with so much inspiration for my floral designs. For me I love using my home to showcase my arrangements and show people how different arrangements can create and change a feel of a room. When I first started designing bouquets, they were quite rigid and structured but gardening and nature has taught me the importance of letting flowers do the talking. They don't always grow perfectly upright so rather than fight it I now embrace it. As a result, my bouquets have become more relaxed and a truer reflection of how they are in my garden and in our wonderful countryside. Where I can, I always try to incorporate blooms into my bouquets from my garden or from the hedgerows where I live, I think of it as my own little signature.
What are your favourite items in the home?
Definitely my kitchen table. It was one of the first items my husband and I purchased and also an occasional table given to us by my mother-in-law. We had it fully restored apart from the chew marks left by my husband's childhood Labrador, Sam.
I can’t also not mention Olga, the painting in our lounge. My husband and I purchased it as a wedding anniversary present. My husband wasn’t initially as keen but it really connected with me. I love everything about it, hence why it appears so much on my Instagram page.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Definitely a project. Here’s a list of everything we’ve done so far!
Painted every room.
Painted the kitchen cabinets and changed the worktop.
Built a fridge-freezer surround
Put new flooring in throughout.
Removed and updated the family bathroom and our ensuite.
Reconditioned every window – some were nailed shut!
Rebuilt the snug – was literally on its last legs.
Built a cart lodge.
Re-landcaped the garden.
Oh and during COVID I decided to repaint the garden shed!
What renovation and decorating have you done?
Pretty much everything. I have a real attention to detail so as a result I’m very proud of my painting skills, some may say slightly obsessive!
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I’ve learnt that you should never remove stair banisters just because you think it will create a more stream lined look. Who knew how much you actually rely on these!!
What is your top home styling tip?
Always go with what you love and listen to your heart. Instagram, magazines, Pinterest are all wonderful portals of inspiration but you can get carried away with other styles. I’m a neutral lover at heart but thought I must have colour in my house (as a result of seeing it everywhere) and decided to paint our bathroom burgundy. Let’s just say it wasn’t burgundy for long. It’s your house so its key that it’s a space that you love being in. You know you’ll just end up eventually changing it.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
My husband and my dog, Millie. They are the most important accessory in my home, oh and of course flowers.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
That I’m tidy, organised and slightly obsessed with flowers! I also hope it shows how much my family and friends mean to me as most rooms have pictures of them. While I love my home and my garden, my family and friends are by far the most important thing in my life.
The Home Edit
Lived-in or showhome?
Somewhere in between
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
A very light, white/grey colour. I love The Little Green Paint – Slaked Lime. Should I be worried I know the number?!
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
For my home it’s a lack of a utility space. I would love a big utility room come boot room.
Favourite front door colour?
Carpet or Floorboards?
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
Both. Most of the time its kitchen table dining but there’s something so wonderful about having a dining room for special occasion celebrations. It also means I don’t have to look at the mess I’ve created in the kitchen.
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
If you enjoyed being at home with Karen, 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 Karen's instagram account here. It's well worth a look!