At Home With Rachel @thetraditionalhome
This week I'm at home with Rachel, the very creative lady behind the very popular instagram account @thetraditionalhome where she shares wonderful images of her beautifully renovated home in Sandhurst. Read on to learn more about Rachel, her home, lifestyle, and top tips for home styling.
Tell us about you
Hello! My name’s Rachel. I’ve just turned 30 and I live with my partner Matt and our little tabby cat Peanut. We moved into this house in Sandhurst (Berkshire) in June 2021 where we have spent the last year (and probably the next 3 years) renovating it to make it feel more like home. Sandhurst is a relatively small town and I’ve lived here for the majority of my life; some people may have heard of it as it’s where the Military Academy is based so for a short period I could say that I lived in the same town as Prince Harry and Prince William. Other than that, there’s very little going on in Sandhurst, but it’s surrounded by lots of nice countryside as well as some bigger towns and cities such as Ascot, Reading, Windsor and Bracknell so there’s plenty to do.
Tell us about your home
Our house was built in the year 2000, so it’s relatively new in terms of age, and is a 4-bed detached property. It’s made of pale beige/yellow brick and, amazingly, the previous owners spent a fortune on kitting out the house with lovely new pale grey/sage windows (I believe they were previously dark brown) and a new front door which has given the house much more of a cottage/farmhouse vibe and added character.
How would you describe your home?
I love traditional styling. My dream home would be a beautiful big farmhouse in the countryside, surrounded by lots of land and animals, so I definitely love the country/farmhouse aesthetic, but I’ve tried to curate our home with a touch of modern sleekness too. I find the combination of these styles means you can buy timeless pieces that you won’t need to constantly replace (saving you money and time!), but should you choose to, you can also change up smaller items to keep with the times and trends (cushions, curtains etc.).
Which is your favourite room in the house?
My favourite room currently is our dining room as it’s our most recent renovation. I spent weeks and weeks upcycling our dining table that I got for £40 from eBay, which I’m really proud of and I just really like the aesthetic in there; it’s light and airy but can be made to be cosy and warm when the occasion requires!
How does your home reflect any passions or interests?
My biggest interests/hobbies are dancing and interiors – dancing is pretty hard to incorporate into your home without introducing very obvious artwork/prints/sculptures etc., so that doesn’t really get intertwined at all, but interiors definitely does. I’ve always been quite creative, and I love photography, so photographing my house and playing with different angles/light is something I love to do.
What are your favourite items in the home?
As I previously mentioned, I do love my dining table. I think because I put so much time and effort into it; it was a real labour of love. There’s just something you can’t beat about buying something that’s a bit old and costs practically nothing and turning it into something that’s beautiful and worth keeping. The second item would be my bed, well because for obvious reasons. Everyone loves sleep.
When you moved into your house was it the finished article or was it a project?
Definitely a project – we actually didn’t realise how much work had to be done until we moved in. Upon viewing the house, we just thought it would be a case of a lick of paint and changing a few of the floors, but oh how wrong we were, there’s been so much more to do.
What renovation and decorating have you done?
When we first moved in the house was very liveable, despite not being to our taste, so we wanted to get all of the boring but practical stuff done first, so we cracked on with having a new boiler installed and had several new radiators fitted around the house. One project we didn’t expect to need to do but ended up being a very big and expensive job, was that we had to have the conservatory roof changed to a soft tile roof. The conservatory is open plan with the kitchen so it was absolutely freezing throughout the winter so that was another big cost we hadn’t factored in. Decorating wise, the dining room, living room, toilet and two bedrooms are pretty much done, so we’ve only got about 3-4 rooms left to do. We’ve changed the flooring in the living room, dining room, hallway and stairs, and our master bedroom so far. We’ve added lots of different types of panelling throughout the house to try and introduce more character, which has definitely been a learning experience – patience is the key when it comes to panelling, it’s not a job you can do from start to finish in one day. The next big project is the kitchen which I can’t wait to get cracking on.
Have you had any DIY or styling disasters?
I wouldn’t say we’ve had any disasters, but we definitely bit off more than we could chew when we decided to completely renovate our downstairs toilet. As complete novices, we decided to tongue and groove the walls and re-box in all of the piping around the room from scratch, as well as apply wallpaper and install a new sink. All I’ll say is that it took a lot longer (a couple of months) than we had anticipated, BUT it was worth it in the end.
What is your top home styling tip?
My top styling tip is to have patience! This is really difficult for me as I’m naturally very impulsive but, it’s really important when it comes to designing and decorating your home. Take your time to design a room and look at lots of inspiration images, create mood boards to see how things go together. If you want something but it’s expensive or above your budget, make yourself wait a few weeks or even months. If you still like it after that time, it’s likely you’ll like it forever. I’ve made so many impulse decisions in my previous houses that I’ve ended up not liking them and wanting to change them almost immediately. Not only is this bad for the environment but it also hurts your bank balance too.
My other top tip, or phrase that we use in our house a lot, is “buy cheap, buy twice”. That doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive item in the shop, but we’ve learnt the hard way that if buy something cheap, it’s likely you’ll have to replace it sooner that you’d like.
Is there anything in your home that you couldn’t live without?
With the exception of the obvious necessities (fridge, washing machine, oven etc.), I actually don’t think there is. We have all the essentials and anything else is just a bonus that we’re very fortunate to have.
They say that every home tells visitors a story about who lives there. What do you think your home says about you?
It’s funny because, on first impressions I’m a very loud, adventurous and confident person, but I’m actually quite introverted and I like my own space and time. It’s the introverted part of me that my home reflects, in that I strive to create tranquillity and cosiness. I love my house feeling like a retreat where I feel comfortable and safe.
The Home Edit
Lived-in or show-home?
Ooo that’s a tricky one as I like a bit of both – but leaning more towards lived-in
If you could only paint your walls one colour, which one would it be?
Slipper satin by Farrow & Ball – it’s a beautiful, soft off-white
What is your pet hate when it comes to your own or other’s homes?
Another tricky one.. I have many as I’m a little OCD but things not being in their rightful place/being left elsewhere bothers me. Like when you go to find something and it’s not there so you have to go an 10 minute hunt around the house for it. Mirrored furniture is another one, eeeeek, sorry.
Favourite front door colour?
Carpet or Floorboards?
Kitchen table dining or formal dining room?
High gloss or rustic?
Wallpaper or Brick Walls?
Brick walls – love an exposed brick
If you enjoyed being at home with Rachel, 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 Rachel's instagram account here. It's well worth a look