Hortons have been speaking with the amazing Abby Bray about interior design, balancing your time while renovating and the power of upcycling.
Having always lived in Leicester, this is the third property that Abby and fiancée Chris have purchased together.
“I grew up in Narborough and my fiancée Chris is originally from Market Bosworth.”
“We have two children; Olly and Evie.”
In 2012, the couple purchased their first home in Stoney Stanton, then they moved onto Thurlaston in 2015.
“In our home in Thurlaston we did a similar thing to what we have done at our current home; we bought a house that needed some love putting into it!”
Despite working in finance since the age of 17, Abby has always had a creative eye and her love for interiors is currently just a hobby.
“I’m hoping at some point in the future I can turn my passion for interiors into more of a career.”
“My partner Chris mainly goes along with whatever I decide in terms of home decor and often sees new things appearing in the house, but I think he’s just learned to live with it now!”
Abby and Chris purchased their current home in July 2019 as they needed more space after their daughter Evie was born.
“Our previous house was filling up with toys and we had no playroom or separate area for the children.”
“We chose this house as we love older properties and we fell in love with the unusual layout and the size of the garden.”
Their characterful home boasts two living spaces with one of which currently being used as a playroom, meaning they can close the door on the toys, relax, and forget about the mess.
“We started decorating the house pretty much straight away as we had so many ideas.”
Prior to Abby and Chris moving in the property was rented and therefore did not have any life, meaning the pair were forced to redecorate as soon as they moved in, however they are yet to reconfigure anything structurally.
“The majority of the rooms were magnolia and we’ve just about managed to redecorate all of them, but to be honest I get bored pretty quickly and I’m always thinking of new ideas.”
Their first task on moving in was to take out the old fitted wardrobes in Olly and Evie’s bedrooms and begin decorating their rooms to make sure that they felt at home.
Abby tries to get the children involved in decorating, however that usually means that she ends up getting painted instead of the walls… Although they do love helping out with little jobs like measuring and putting up shelves.
Abby and Chris are planning to convert their attic into a master bedroom at some point in the future, which would be their biggest project so far.
“We are currently planning the design which I’m really excited about!”
“We also had our garden landscaped last year which has made a huge difference as it means that we can all really enjoy our outdoor space.”
When they moved in there was pretty much a blank canvas, which gave Abby the chance to design the majority of the rooms and transform them into something beautiful.
“I love choosing colours and designs, bringing rooms to life and making them feel homely.”
“Because almost every room in the house needed updating, it has given me the opportunity to use lots of colours and patterns to make each room its own.”
The property is around 200 years old which offers a fantastic basis for design, whether it be wonky walls or original fireplaces.
Both Abby and Chris’s favourite part of their home is the living room as it is a place that has a cosy feeling and is perfect for relaxing after a long day.
Abby prefers natural, calming colours and so she has tried to bring that feeling into the living room, also adding stripy wallpaper and lots of plants to give the room a freshness.
Pinterest and Instagram offer great inspiration, however Abby mostly trusts her judgement and goes with whatever she feels is right.
“Most of the time I’ll just have an idea in my head, go with it and hope it turns out how I imagined!”
Abby believes it is important for a space to not only feel welcoming, but also be practical.
“I don’t like empty walls so I always try to fill blank spaces with something interesting, like simple colours and textures.”
The biggest challenge that the couple have faced up to now is finding the time to decorate or do DIY.
Both Abby and Chris now work from home, and with two young children under the age of 6, it really doesn’t leave much time for decorating.
“I remember when I first started painting the kitchen cabinets, if I had a 30 minute break from work, I would pick up the paintbrush and start painting.”
“I’ll also get on with some decorating after the children have gone to bed in the evening.”
Abby is so very passionate about decorating and making their house feel like home, taking great pride in how a room looks once it is finished.
Abby’s social media page (@the_house_of_plants_)suggests that she is a house plant expert, but she is quick to admit that this is not the case.
“The name of our social media page in more of a play on words in relation to our family name.”
“I do love my plants, however I must confess to not being the best plant mum.”
Abby started her Instagram account during the summer of 2020, mainly as a distraction from what was going on around the world. She has always enjoyed taking photos of their home and uses the platform to share their progress.
“I didn’t really expect anything from it, but it is so nice to read such lovely comments about our home and this motivates me to keep updating the house even when I’m feeling less inspired!”
Since launching the account, Abby has had some amazing small businesses reach out to her to help promote their products, which makes her feel really privileged.
Abby spends a lot of time browsing and selecting paint, furniture and plants to feature in her home.
“I absolutely love Farrow & Ball paint as the quality and colours are just beautiful; you can probably tell from looking around our house!”
“I also love vintage and antiques stores; we have a great one not far from us which is called Whitemoors Antiques in Shenton.”
Vintage and antique stores are so interesting to Abby as she loves to upcycle old pieces and restore unique items to their former glory.
“Many pieces in our home are a result of upcycling and it really is such an easy way to update your home.”
Some more recognisable places that Abby enjoys include Homesense, H&M Home and Sainsburys home, often picking up a plant or two from the latter.