At Home With Laura @welshfarmhouseinteriors
This week we are at home with Laura, the creative lady behind the beautiful home instagram account @welshfarmhouseinteriors where she shares images of her lovely self renovated 17th century Welsh farmhouse and day to day life in the country with her her husband, children, cats and chickens. Oh yes...she also has the most adorable looking pony called Tumbles....
Tell us a bit about you
I'm Laura, 35 years old and I work part-time for the NHS. I live in the South Wales countryside in an old farmhouse with my husband and our three young children - not forgetting 1 kitten, 2 cats, chickens and a pony! (Plus the sheep and horses we keep on tack in the fields) I love interior design and inherited a passion for antique furniture from my Dad. I really enjoy incorporating period pieces into our home and styling it sympathetically to it's age. I like nothing more than a country walk with my family, then to return home and curl up in front of the log burner whilst browsing home magazines or Instagram.
Tell us about your home
We live in a 17th Century stone farmhouse with some outbuildings, woodland, fields and a brook running through. In the second world war part of the farmhouse was damaged due to unused bombs being discarded over the countryside - luckily not a direct hit but it blew off a part of the roof on the end creating a single story part. This is where we built our kitchen extension. It was a complete renovation project/build and after selling our previous home we spent a few years renting, living with parents nearby plus 18 months in a static caravan in the garden whilst doing the major works. We made sure to renovate it using the traditional methods and reinstated all of the original period features such as flagstone floors, inglenook fireplaces, exposed beams and floorboards.
How would you describe your home?
My style is very traditional and I love the rustic country look. I adore old properties and feel we have tried very hard to retain it's charm by using materials and furniture in keeping with the age of the property. I like pastel/earthy tones, and we have used clay based paints on all of the lime walls for their breathable Eco-friendly qualities.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My favourite room would have to be our living room. I love the open space in our kitchen for family life but our living room has so many original features and is such a cosy space to relax in. We uncovered an old inglenook fireplace in this room when we removed an old range fire, along with the original flagstone floor which was hidden under layers of carpet and lino. This room with the oak beams, window seat and thick uneven walls definitely depicts it's age and feeds my love for period features.
How does your home reflect any passions or interests that you have?
Antiques/old furniture are a passion of mine and now of my husband's too. Our home is full of little (and big) pieces that we have acquired from flea markets and antique fairs over the years. We have managed to incorporate them into most rooms including the playroom as we were really struggling for nice storage pieces that would fit in with our style. I came across an antique dealer in Scotland who had these beautiful old lockers for sale and I knew instantly they would be perfect! I also love our oak Welsh dresser which came from another Welsh farmhouse. We won it at auction and the family who were selling it came over to speak to us - they were thrilled that it was going to another family who would love it as it had been in their family for over 100+ years.
I think our home also portrays our love for the outdoors. I am always coming back from walks with the children or in from the garden with bits of trees, branches and flowers in my arms (often much to the confusion of my husband)! I love nature's beauty and the feeling of fresh flowers in a room - they are the perfect way to style areas using the seasons.
What are your favourite items in the home?
One of my favourite items would have to be the log burner. It brings such a cosy atmosphere to the room and we, as a family love to curl up in front of it and watch films or play games together. I think it also helps to make the stone work seem less cold and warms up the appearance as well as the temperature! With stone walls as thick as these it can take a while for the room to warm up, however they are a godsend in the summer when you need somewhere to cool off.
I also adore our limestone sinks in the family bathroom. My Dad and husband made the unit from one of my dad's old workbenches. The top was made from some pieces of oak that were cut straight from our wood and dry stored in the barn for over 30 years. They sanded, planed and joined them together and set the sinks upon it. I'm so pleased with the result.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
We didn't move in for 4 1/2 years as it was a total renovation project. We had to completely gut it back to 4 stone walls and mud floors and slowly bring life (and modern day services!) back into it. To suit our way of life it also needed an extension as it had an old galley kitchen running the length of the back of the house which could barely fit a table in let alone enough space for a family of five, so we built a kitchen living area onto the side and are currently building our master suite.
Have you done any renovation or DIY?
As you have probably gathered by now it has been a long road and it certainly has been and still is a big project.
My Dad and husband replaced the entire roof in the traditional style as the old rafters and purlins were rotten (most still had bark on from where they came straight out of the wood above us!).
We had beautiful hardwood sash windows made, and re-applied lime plaster to all of the internal stone walls to allow them to breathe properly. We had the plasterers to curve the edges on all of the corners on the normal plaster in the new kitchen extension to blend it in with the age of the rest of the property and add a bit of character to the room. Our stone mason built a large stone feature wall in the kitchen and stone stairs linking the two parts together using the original farmhouse stone. We moved a few internal walls around along with the staircase and ended up uncovering (and preserving) the most beautiful stone spiral staircase which was hidden in one of the walls and had been filled in with rubble! Such an exciting moment when we discovered this! All of the interior carpentry work has been done by my Dad, who luckily is a 'retired' carpenter and my husband who has learned so many skills form my Dad during the whole process. They re-laid the original floorboards (to accommodate some new stud walls) and basically did most of the internal works.
I got hands on with tiling the splash-back in the kitchen and in the shower along with an awful lot of painting...oh and delegating!
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I wouldn't necessarily say it's a styling disaster as I still love it but I don't think I was thinking clearly when I ordered a beautiful cream Laura Ashley sofa for the Kitchen living area... with three young children it spends most of the time being covered up under throws!
What is your top home styling tip?
Just to be true to yourself. Don't get swept up in trends, I think just go with what you love and you will never regret it. I have been known to fall in love with a piece of furniture and will then design the whole room around it! I love using Instagram and Pinterest for ideas and I appreciate seeing other homes which are a completely different style to my own, but don't lose your way and follow your heart.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
I adore our home but it wouldn't be all that it is to me without my family in it - no matter how chaotic life is! The underfloor heating in the kitchen would also come a close second, especially after coming in from a walk or cold wet school run as this is where I tend to spend most of my time during the day.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
That it is very much loved and lived in. We have put a lot of thought into sympathetically renovating it and I hope that this is illustrated in the pictures I share but it's mainly a home filled with family life, fun and the odd animal!
The Home Edit
Lived-in look or showhome?
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
White. (You can always accessorise with other colours)
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Favourite front door colour
I love the teal colour which our internal front door is painted in.
Carpet or Floorboards
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
kitchen table dining.
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
Brick walls (but I prefer stone)
If you enjoyed being at home with Michelle, 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