At Home With Mel @athomewithmelmel
This week we are at home with Mel, the very creative lady behind the popular instagram account @athomewithmelmel where she shares images of her incredibly curated 1900's Victorian terrace home and keeps us up to date with her day to day life. Read on to find out more...
Tell us a bit about you
I’m married to Chris who served in the British army for 25 years. I used to be a children’s nanny and ran my own business as a childminder for number of years
We both work for the National Trust now; I’m front of house and Chris works across a few places in a business support role.
We live in a late Victorian terrace which was a fixer upper and we are still working on her, as I type we are having work done on the loft to gain access. It’ll be a fancy store room.
She has some beautiful period features still intact, such as the Minton tiles in the hallway and a number of fireplaces.
We see ourselves as custodians.
We live in The Potteries, which is the pet name for Stoke on Trent, its steeped in history and it’s the most amazing and interesting place to live! We are a stone’s throw away from the countryside which is a huge bonus!
Tell us about your home
The house was built in 1900, so its late Victorian in build, but it looks like a much earlier house in style, the front wall outside is dry stone wall effect which is typical in this area and harks back to when this house overlooked the mine at Chatterley Whitfield and was surrounded by farmland.
The first family to live here were the Hollinheads and the father was an above ground engineer at the mine mentioned. He lived here with his second wife and four unmarried daughters. We named our cat Florrie after the youngest daughter!
How would you describe your home?
I’d say our style is a quirky mix of modern country, with traditional elements such as a the aga and a lighter interior, rather than the darker, heavier style favored by the Victorians.
I also love the sculleries in National Trust stately homes, so I’ve taken elements of favorite ones and reimagined them in our home.
What is your favourite room in the house?
It has to be my kitchen, the heart of the home, when I first moved in I despaired of it! Horrible tiles, dark units and a floor I could never get clean!
Seven years later and it’s the cosy space I was after, complete with a mini aga to finish it off!
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
We both work for the NT, so we are passionate about history, when we moved in, we researched the families who lived here. We curate and carefully look after the house in a similar manner to an NT house.
We save and restore the period elements, because we see ourselves as custodians. It’s our duty to preserve it as much as possible.
What are your favorite items in the home?
I love my aga cooker, it’s something I saved up for ages and I love cosy vibes and the joy it brings me! Chris would say the bed, after years of camping out with the army, it’s a home comfort he can’t do without!
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
It was a project, to keep the mortgage low we bought a fixer upper. It has allowed us to put our stamp on it and also as it was fairly untouched we had lovely period features already in place.
What renovation have you done?
Full re decorating throughout, new bathroom fitted by Chris, however, we are moving this upstairs soon, but we will have a plumber in for that this time round. Chris got hands on fitting it last time, so he watched you tube tutorials on how to plumb in a bath etc.
We’ve sanded back floors and re roped our sash windows, plus some work needed doing to save the windows from falling apart. So, we’ve picked up joinery tips along the way.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
We started sanding the floorboards upstairs without the bag on and the dust went all over the newly painted walls……much wine was required!
As for styling disasters, I did try the grey look, but my days it was so not for me! I’m a girl who needs colour and I’m a maximalist!
What is your top home styling tip?
Take your time and live in the house for a while. I don’t strictly follow décor trends either, I try to stay classic, with one or two items introduced to give a nod to a trend rather than a full-on effect!
Is there anything in your home you couldn’t live without?
My gas boiler and two fire places, in the winter this house is north pole like!
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there, what do you think your home says about you?
That we are welcoming homebodies, who love their creature comforts, drink tea like we chain smoke it and enjoy pretending we live in our own personal NT place!
The Home Edit
Lived-in look or showhome?
Lived in look
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Following a full on trend, that changes rapidly and therefore isn’t sustainable, it creates waste to landfill
Favourite front door colour
Carpet or Floorboards
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room
Kitchen table suppers all the way!
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
If you enjoyed being at home with Mel, 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" interviews here
Mel's instagram account is beautiful and can be found at https://www.instagram.com/athomewithmelmel/