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The Buildmumahouse 10 step guide to your forever home.

August 16, 2019

I’ve found my forever home and I don’t intend to move. I love my home and I want to start making it the perfect nest for me. I don’t know what lies ahead for me health wise but I do want to grow old here. How can I make my home as ageproof and as beautiful as possible?

I’ve put together a top 10 step guide and suggestions based on my experiences as a carer and Buildmumahouse blogger – steps that anyone can make in order to future proof your forever home.

Step 1 – LED light bulbs

It’s an investment, they are expensive, but this takes minutes to implement and they have an immediate impact.

Over time you will find that as LED bulbs last a long time, 25,000 t0 50,000 hours, they will reduce the number of times in a year that you have to reach up, step on a ladder or chair and change the ceiling lights.

LEDs will reduce your lighting electricity bills, it’s estimated that this can be as much as a 90% saving.

Light up your life and make it easier to see. Support your eyesight by installing effective lighting and create the mood areas in your home that are favourite with interior designers. Install daylight / cool temperature lights in any food prep or craft areas and warm lights in cosy, relaxing areas. Light temperature can lift our mood – there are claims that daylight bulbs can be used to reduce the depressive symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The right LED can change your life

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse lighting led lights open plan living ageproof mood lighting

The living area lights are warmer and the kitchen lights are spots that are usually used in retail lighting- they are direction spotlights and the bulbs have a very wide but bright even light.

…And finally make sure areas such as steps and the stairs are well lit, read my blog post with more details here.

Step 2 – Install lever taps

Easy to use lever taps don’t have to make bathrooms and kitchens look like pre – op scrub room. There are so many fantastic, well designed lever taps on the market but do invest in taps with smooth, positive mechanisms.

When looking at lever taps for a sink or shower ask yourself: Do they look nice? Do they fit in with my styling? Can I can turn the water on using only the palm of a very soapy hand and with my eyes closed ? Will I have full control of the water flow and perhaps more importantly, temperature.

Jola Piesakowska bathroom taps lever CP Hart Arc taps

Classic styling lever taps, basin and matching shower controls

In the kitchen consider lever taps with a built in water filter, I did and now I don’t have to buy unwieldy bottles of filtered water in the supermarket every week.

Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse Brita water tap

Kitchen lever tap with built in lever taps for filtered water

Step 3 – Bathroom Wetroom

This is a biggie and it can have maximum impact on your life and maximum disruption when you are doing the building work.

Think shower, think sitting while showering, think grab rails, think wetroom. This is such a huge subject and a few blog posts in itself but here are the main points to ageproof a bathroom:

  • Get rid of any steps in the room, avoid trips.
  • Seriously consider installing a wet room, this will give you a bathroom with a level floor. For a really cool, modern take on it, think laterally about the shower design – read my review of Jee-O
  • Use non- slip flooring, have a look at the Forbo range, or seamed vinyl Altro safety flooring.

Altro flooring

  • Don’t need grab rails or a shower seat? Prepare the wall structures for that possibility by installing a 2x 2 wood frame in the appropriate areas of any stud walls.
  • If you don’t want to get rid of your bath right now but have the budget to remodel your bathroom, consider this trade tip: create a wetroom, get all the plumbing ready for a shower but install a bath in its place. It’s a ‘temporary’ arrangement and when you need to ditch the bath, the conversion will take days not weeks.

Step 4 – Bathroom Basin

Basin, lever taps and consider installing a basin with space to sit when you use it.

Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

Spa style ageproof spa basin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at the practical HEWI range, but also think pampering and perhaps even spa – either way do make sure the basin is well secured to the wall, in case you need to steady yourself.

HEWI basin with integrated grab rails and lots of surface area surrounding it

HEWI high end design design and disability focused.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 – Loo Pan

Look out for a toilet pan that is taller than average, to make lowering yourself easier. You don’t need to buy a ‘disabled’ loo pan just check the height of the ones that fit in with your design style.

If you have the space, select one that projects out from the wall as far as possible, this will make it easier to use with grab rails or transferring from a wheelchair.

Arthritic hands make it harder to use button flushes so do consider a cistern with a handle flush.

Step 6 – Door handles and locks

Review your door handles and door locks: a chunky door handle, well sprung, smooth in the hand and with good tonal variation from the door surface  is what you are looking for. This will help weakened or arthritic hands, and weakened eyesight.

Jola Piesakowska buildmumahouse door handle

Step 7 – Staircases

Improve the lighting on your stairs, think about low level lights that illuminate the steps or ceiling lights that illuminate the whole area.

Review the electrics – make sure that the lights can be switched on and off upstairs and downstairs and if you would like to make it mobility proof, consider adding a socket at the foot of the stairs.  So handy for the vacuum cleaning, but also makes the area ready to power a stairlift in the future. This is your forever home.

Buildmumahouse stairlist stannah stairlift jola piesakowska

Step 8 – Kitchen Cupboards

  • High visibility, easy to reach and it looks good that’s the mantra for kitchens – a base unit with deep drawers rather than a cupboard with doors improves acccess to cupboards. Look at how this can be applied to your choice of dishwashers and freezers.
  • Door handles – as with all doors, go for an easy to use, high contrast / visibility handle.
  • Waist height, side opening oven allows you to reach into the oven more easily and even better if there is a slide out shelf beneath it so you can pause and rest the hot and heavy casserole on it.
  • A high contrast worktop for good visibility, white is the best. I installed white sparkly in my mum’s house, looks great and does the job!
  • Lots of cold/white light shining down on the worktop, including under cupboard lights, everything illuminated.
jola piesakowska kitchen design

You can sit with your feet under the hob and you can option to make the height of this adjustable.

I reviewed Howden’s inclusive kitchens read through this… some of their ideas and features could work for you.

Step 9 – Electrics

Sourcing replacement light switches with wide rockers certainly is a budget installation and one that makes a difference for arthritic hands.

In this image you can see how I have clustered the wide rocker bedroom light switch with a central heating thermostat and the video door phone.

Control Centre!

Control Centre!

Step 10 – Easy Clean, Low Allergenic Flooring

Consider parquet, cork flooring, linoleum:

https://buildmumahouse.co.uk/2016/02/5-floorings-to-consider-for-people-living-with-allergies-or-asthma/

…with underfloor heating or rugs that have an anti- slip backing.

 

Wicanders cork flooring

c. Wicanders cork flooring

 

Step 10 a – Carers

Make a contingent for someone staying over, a spare bedroom or upgrade to a sofa bed.

Step 10 b – Let the Natural Light In

Read my blog post how double glass doors, use of mirrors, over sized windows and garden doors can lighten and brighten your home and increase its style.

 

All of these steps are covered individually in other posts on Buildmumahouse, have a look round for more detail. If you have any tips or hints on how you have adapted your home to make it ageproof and stylish WE ALL WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!

So please, share your comments below…

 

 

 

 

The right LED can change your life!

August 14, 2019
jola piesakowska pot luck restaurant cape town led lighting buildmumahouse Build Mum A House

Do you find that you can’t see as well at home in the evening? Do you need to ask for help to change light bulbs? Would you like to make savings on your electricity bills? Would you like create mood lighting in your home?

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 23.11.03

LED bulbs may be the answer! I think that the right LED can change your life. There’s been a lot of change in light bulb technology and loads more choice in the shops since ordinary light bulbs started to be phased out. That’s why it can be tough getting a clear idea of what LED bulb to buy.

Long Life

For me LED bulbs were a no brainer. My mum can’t reach her ceiling light bulbs and the thought of her being stuck in the dark while I raced over to change a light bulb meant that I was delighted to buy bulbs that can have 25,000 even 50,000 hours of life. These new LED bulbs have a long life but always check the pack for life span – look at the amount of hours not days, after all you don’t know how many hours consitutes a day for some manufacturers! It seems that there isn’t an official standard for LED bulbs and reliability does vary between manufacturers

Energy Saving

Elderly people living on a budget could be tempted to skimp on how many lights they have on at home to make savings on the electricity bills. A combination of low light and poor eyesight means that tripping can become a real hazard. The good news is that LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional light bulb (incadescent)… so you can make a saving on your bills as well as lighting your home well. Look out for bulbs that have gills on them – LED lights are cool to the touch and need to be kept cool. That’s exactly what those gills are doing: allowing the heat to dissipate.

Choosing the right bulb power can be confusing – I made up a chart that helps me decide which bulb to buy:

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska led lights lumens

This applies to UK power supplies

Next question… I’ve seen it on the pack. What on earth is Lumens? I found the chart below on a fact sheet produced by the Electrical Contractor’s Association website and it explains that lumens measures the amount of light radiated by the bulb. There is a further measurement and that is lux – but it’s not often a bit of information that is printed on a bulb box.

Build Mum A House Buildmumahouse

Quality of Light

When I was building my mum’s house she only had a few ‘must’ s and having a bright kitchen was vital for her. She was adamant that only a florescent tube would deliver enough light. However the plans had an open plan kitchen / living area. Florescent tubes are are white and bright and light up all the area around it, not so good if you want to create mood areas. LED lights have been fantastic, they give a directional light. I found that I was able to choose not only the angle of the beam but also the colour of light that is given off

  • daylight bulbs for the kitchen area
  • warm light for the sitting and relaxing area.
source: www.eca.co.uk

source: www.eca.co.uk

and finally there is the question of CRI I found this chart on the Philips website and it explains it quite simply that you should look for a CRI of 80-90:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 22.55.50

Yes, its confusing and you need to shop carefully… but these are expensive bulbs, they should last a long time and they can make a difference to your quality of light in your home.

TOP TIPS to help you choose the right LED bulb

  • Check for lifespan for estimated in hours not years/days.
  • Look for a well built bulb case with gills on it to keep the bulb cool and last longer.
  • Check out the angle of the light bulb – LEDs are directional so pick a wide angle for a good spread and narrow angle for highlighting.
  • Daylight colour bulbs are good for hobby areas or food prep areas. Warm lights are great for a relaxing area and are closer to the look of traditional bulbs.
  • For hobby areas where accurate colour can help the definition of what you are working on, look for a bulb that has a CRI of 80 to 90

I’m looking at mood lighting on my Instagram account Buildmumahouse and would love to hear from you if you who have any experiences or advice to share of setting up mood and task areas in your home

How we transformed our 1930’s fireplace in 2 days

March 31, 2019
buildmumahouse, build mum a house, jolapiesakowska, jola piesakowska stove, blog

It’s been an exciting week. It’s only taken two years of decision making… but we’ve done it. On Friday we had a modern multifuel stove installed into our original fireplace. It’s transformed our living room and looks fantastic.

Our fireplace still has the original 1930’s ceramic tiled surround and lovely Art Deco details, like the wavy lines decorating the mantle. We love the look and have even picked up a mantle clock with the same details. Since we have lived here we’ve have been using the ‘original’ ugly gas guzzling fire on high days and holidays or just for drying off the dogs after a walk in the rain We thought that a real fire would turn the fireplace into a cozy focal point for our living room.

STOVE SNOOZE BLOG SMALL

We started researching by talking to friends and family, digging around Pinterest and found that most people go for ripping out the old fire surround to make a large modern space for an amazing freestanding stove.

Continue Reading…

The Walk In Shower Solution That Helps You Keep your Independence in Style.

March 26, 2019
walk in shower, buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, bathroom aging in placeaging in place,

Where can you find a non- slip, walk in shower that can be fitted quickly, in awkward spaces, without major disruption and LOOKS FANTASTIC? Have a look at the Fiora Elax shower trays that will surprise you as they aren’t actually a tray as we know it!

I recently discovered this Spanish shower room manufacturer – Fiora. I love their modern classic styling and high quality production and their company goal that sums up everything I look for in a bathroom product

“all our work must not lose sight of its main goal, which is that its use must improve the everyday life of people”

and I think that they follow through their belief that their range of bathroom products are designed to offer

“…multiple and diverse solutions.”

That’s exactly what I’m looking for in a walk in shower, good design, style, high quality and a product that is age proof and can be suitable for anyone with reduced mobility.

The Fiora Elax range looks fantastic, the styling is high end and very urban. It’s a shame that the catalogues emphasis glass walls and are focused only on the able bodied, there’s no reference to the installation of a shower seat or that they actually do cater for the needs of aging or arthritic joints.

It’s Not a Walk In Shower Tray – it’s a Mat!

I think that the Fiora Elax walk-in shower system is a solution worth considering for anyone looking for a shower tray that is non-slip, has a ‘give’ underfoot, warm to touch, and soft to stand on.

 

Bathroom, walk in shower, jola piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, walkin shower, walk in shower, bathroom trends, age in place, adapting a bathroom

copyright Fiora Elax

 

The shower tray is made of a flexible material that has a “give” making standing less tiring and it is warm to the touch – ideal for arthritic feet

 

 

 

 

bathroom makeover, walk in shower, aging in place, shower, adapting bathroom

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

The surface is rated at group 2 non-slip which means that it is a surface that is non-profiled (sleek) and has an even surface with a gritty texture.

 

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

 

and all of this is made possible because this tray arrives as a rolled up mat!

 

 

The shower tray mat comes in a range of tasteful colours which can be selected to contrast or blend in with the bathroom floor. Because this tray can be fitted level with the floor, which helps mobility issues, you can combine texture, warmth and a contrasting colour to help users with impaired vision.

 

The Perfect Solution for an En Suite Walk In Shower.

One of the problems about installing a walk in shower as an en suite without tearing the whole house apart, is that the shower needs to fit in with what space already exists. This is often a very big issue when you are installing a shower for someone who doesn’t want their home disrupted, and who isn’t feeling up to be part of a major building project.

This shower tray can fit practically anywhere. The material can be easily cut to size and shape using a knife. If you are planning to fit a shower seat you still need to look for a suitable wall to attach it to… but Fiora Elax shower tray mat can be cut and trimmed to size and shape that’s how it can fit most places.

bathroom renovation, age in place ensuite shower solution, jola Piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, Fiora Elax

Copyright Fiora Elax

Easy Access Shower Replacing a Bath?

It’s worth mentioning at this point that Fiora also make a range of matching and complimentary wall panels that take out some of the headache of ripping out the bath and installing a walk in shower.

Remove the old bath. Position the panels horizontally to cover the area where the untiled walls from behind the bath are exposed. Fit the shower drainage system and and lay the Fiora Elax mat to cover the footprint of the old bath.

Horizontal PANELS replacing a bath with an easy access shower

The Fiora Elax shower tray mat works like any other walk in shower tray, there are a range of stainless steel drainage grates and there are a lot of installation guides on their website. For more looks from Fiora have a look at my Instagram page buildmumahouse.

I would love to hear your comments, tips or your experiences of installing walk in showers, its such a popular thing to do these days and there are loads of people looking to share their experiences, do post them here on the Buildmumahouse blog.

 

 

 

Electronic surveillance systems. Are you spying on your parents or just keeping an eye out for them?

June 12, 2017
Panasonic, iPhone apps, Canary, Jola Piesakowska, Buildmumahouse

A friend’s mum fell in her garden and couldn’t get up, she lay there for hours before anyone knew of her situation.

A workman cleaning a 95 year old’s gutters asked for a glass of water, followed my relative to the kitchen. His accomplice ran upstairs and ransacked the bedrooms.

A family friend collapsed in the shower and couldn’t call for help, her newly renovated home was flooded and ruined. She had to move out.

Very real and frightening stories for anyone who has a relative who wants to stay living independently, at home. And you have a full time job. And you don’t live with your parents.

How can we keep an eye out for someone without being there? How can elderly people keep their independence safe in the knowledge that if something happens their carers can be alerted? I have recently been thinking about this.

Do you remember those baby monitors that you could buy in Mothercare to listen to your baby asleep upstairs? Battery powered, with walkie talkie aerials (and just as crackly). In the 90’s they were the height of techno sophistication, showed off at family gatherings, placed pride of place on the dining table. We would all be suddenly shushed during the meal because sister-in-law thought she had heard a gurgle on the airwaves.

Playskool 1987 baby monitor

We’ve grown up, our kids have grown up and now we’re considering parent monitoring.

In the USA there are service providers of round the clock interactive telecaregiver monitoring

At its offices in Lafayette, Ind., telecaregiver Cady sits before two large computer screens. On one, you can see the Fitzgeralds in Savannah, eating their dinner as Cady chats with them.

There are also thumbnail video images of two-dozen other homes, which Cady will check in with over the course of her shift. If one client signals for help, that image pops up larger. Children of her clients can log into the same video Cady watches and monitor their parents themselves.

Telecaregiver can remind people to take their medication at a certain time. They can alert a relative if someone appears confused or in distress. They can help with the simple tasks of daily life, like the time a client was about to sit down to breakfast.

The telecaregiver zoomed in on the frying pan and said, ‘Maybe you ought to cook the sausage and the eggs a little longer. The eggs look kind of runny and the sausage is pink,’

Fast forward to the High Street of 2017.

I popped into Maplins last weekend and on display there’s so much more than baby monitoring. Just as we had easy-to-use baby monitors, the high street shops are offering home DIY video and sensor monitoring for your home and pets. The new generation home monitoring systems don’t rely on a specialized installer or a contract monitoring alarm system. This is plug and play. Easy to set up technology with audio and video capability is now available at a realistic price.

Home monitoring systems are being sold as a way of protecting your property, keeping an eye on the postman, capturing burglars, seeing what your pets get up to during the day. They are triggered by motion sensors and can even be used to turn on lights or even your heating.

There’s now a vast array of home monitoring systems, linking high definition indoor and outdoor cameras to you mobile phone, computer or tablet. With or without an app. Via wifi or dect. Wired or wireless. Day and night vision.

Video and audio monitoring is now standard, a siren can be activated remotely from your device and some allow a two way conversation between you remotely and the subject of the camera.

Huffington Post summed up how these diy home monitoring systems can be used as  parent monitors keeping tabs on an elderly parent …”

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-t-miller/how-to-keep-tabs-on-an-el_b_8954044.html

…if your mom didn’t pick up her pillbox to get her medicine or didn’t open the refrigerator door to make breakfast like she usually does, or if she left the house at a peculiar time you would be notified and could check on her. You can also check up on her anytime you want online or through a mobile app…

Looking at the range on display on the High Street what caught my eye is the Panasonic Home Safety range of monitors. Right there in Streatham High Road was everything for carers to keep an eye on parents and allow them to stay living independently at home.

The Panasonic Home Monitoring Display in my High Street

Panasonic Home safety range, like many others on the market has a monitor for windows and doors that alerts you when they are opened or closed. You can use this to check on your parents’ daily routine without feeling that you are invading their privacy. Or you can monitor their house for burglars. All from your smartphone.

There are indoor or outdoor monitors that not only transmit video images and audio to you but this range will allow you to speak to the person in the room or at the outside door that you are monitoring. Panasonic videos suggest you use this feature to tell the postman to deliver your parcel to the neighbours when you are out. With an elderly parent you can install this feature to keep an eye on whose at the front door and what they are up to.

Watch your Pets from Work

There are motion detectors that switch on lights when activated, this doesn’t need selling hard as everyone can do with lights coming on automatically to light the stairs or the path to the bathroom at night.

But for me the key differentiator is the water monitor. This is such a great idea for passively keeping an eye on someone’s home where there is the potential of a flooding risk, perhaps someone with early onset dementia symptoms, or prone to forgetfulness when running a bath or sink or shower. Catching a bathroom flood can save damage to a home or could indicate a fall or someone who has been taken unwell in the shower room. It allows you to act in time.

 

Using home monitoring systems as a parent monitor will transform how we can remotely care for an elderly or unwell person. As the carer you could feel that you have set up a care plan that involves you, is relatively low cost and gives 24 hour coverage.

I haven’t actually tested this system, so I can’t comment on how effective any of this is. None of the home monitoring systems seem to have considered the needs of caregivers in their advertising so for now its all about being creative with making these home systems work for your needs.

HOWEVER,

The video cameras are always switched on and walking around your home you can be viewed remotely, without knowing, at any time night or day.

On-line discussion forums have heated debates about how much we should intrude on parents’ privacy. Certainly all of this should be done with your parents’ consent. I’ve read discussions about carer’s personal experiences about where cameras and motion detectors have been put up. The most popular and the locations that are the least contentious seem to be

  • Rogue callers: by the front door pointing to the opening with a clear view to check on callers
  • To check on falls: low level motion activated cameras in the living spaces, the bedroom or bathroom. Motion activated lighting: to turn lights on to prevent falls in low light- walk past a motion sensor and a light is switched on. Monitoring the garden, looking out of a window to check on falls outdoors in the garden as well as keeping an eye on security.
  • Flooding: Water monitors placed in the bathroom by the bath or shower.

 

5 Points to Consider

 

  1. You need to have wi-fi up and running. Some systems use wifi to relay the data you will have to consider putting your parent on a wi-fi plan if they don’t have one already. This may be a cost that you will need to cover.
  2. Always update to the latest firmware and change the password. “This is to announce that firmware has updated for improvement of the cybersecurity vulnerability. To provide the highest levels of security, we recommend you to upgrade the firmware for your products.”
  3. Respect your parent’s privacy and think and a discussion about where you will position cameras. Alternatively there are some very good systems that only rely on motion sensors and give you a feel for changes to a routine.
  4. Storage. Check out costs of storing the footage. Some systems use a cloud storage for the video and charge for the service, some systems have a memory card in the hub and there will be no extra costs.
  5. Plan and agree on network of people who can help when you need to raise the alarm.

 

But is this amount of monitoring, snooping on your parents, is this an invasion of their privacy? What do you think?

Focus on Katie Gibbs: Queen of Home Transformations

May 8, 2017
Katie Gibbs stylist, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, upcycle, kitchen, lifestyle, Next interiors, kitchen makeover, s

Katie Gibbs is a London based interior stylist, art director Next Directory stylist, and an interiors consultant with a wealth of experience in all aspects of interior design. I first worked with her on TV commercials over 18 years ago and I’m still a big fan of how she can bring a room set up to date with just the right on trend details, and how she can transform the space so that you want to step right in and sit down.

“After 25 years in the industry I still get a buzz and derive great personal satisfaction from working with different briefs, thinking up innovative and fresh ideas for my clients that meet both their and my criteria in producing the best possible creative pieces.”

When I worked at GMTV I was busy working behind the scenes when one day Katie popped up in front of the camera! Katie went on to enjoy a career as the GMTV interior style expert. She always succeeded in bringing tired homes up-to-date with clever, simple and very effective makeovers.

Today Katie Gibbs works as a stylist on commissions that include advertising campaigns, TV commercials, retail brochures and catalogues, editorial features and consultancy on residential and commercial interior projects.

Katie, how did you get into interior styling and how did you get started?

“Funnily enough it wasn’t a conventional route that got me into styling. I’d completed a 3 year course in Hotel and Catering after school but didn’t fancy working in the industry and it was my granny who know that I had a creative bent and suggested I shadow a stylist friend of hers. Rosin, the stylist, took me around the prop houses in west London sourcing crockery for her shoot for a food magazine she was working on. I loved her job and I wanted to do the same. There was no Google then, so I bought all the interior and food mags to find the relevant editors to contact. At that time I’m not sure that many people cold called but the home editor on Woman magazine seemed to admire my persistence and invited me on a shoot to help out. She saw my potential, linked me up with a young photographer and I did my first shoot. He had friends fresh out of college who also needed a stylist and I managed to pick up more work through them. Contacts led to more contacts and its been like that ever since!”

How would you describe your style?

“Graphic, not frilly, clean edges but with eclectic mixes. Now that could mean lots of different things to different people as visual cues are not quite as easy to explain by the fact that they are visual!”

Which trend are you most excited about working with this year?

“I’ve just finished working on The Next Directory producing some press shots and a video and I’m seeing a move at Next towards the brights and colour blocking. 80’s retro is getting a revival in fashion and its also happening in interiors too.”

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory, buildmumahouse, makeover, bedroom makeover, clour, airforce blue

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory styling

Which colour combinations are your favourite to work with?

“For a stylist seeing a combination of colours that gel is like listening to a favourite piece of music or eating the most delicious meal. These combos do it for me: Cadburys milk chocolate brown with plaster pink; Airforce blue with emerald green with claret and a touch of lime green”

Which room in the home do you enjoy styling the most and why?

“Probably the sitting room as its relatively easy to make changes that refresh the look. If you start with a plain stylish sofa in a neutral colour and the same goes for the furniture then you can change a wall colour, cushions and accessories and not only has the colour combo changed but you can go for a completely different style too.”

Which 3 objects do you believe have the ability to completely transform a room?

“Apart from walls and changing the colour I’d say: cushions in the sitting room (but change them all); Bedlinen in the bedroom; Kitchen fronts in the kitchen (a little more pricey than a set of cushions I know!)”

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory stylist, buildmumahouse, build mum a house,

Katie Gibbs, Next Directory stylist

What inspires you when styling an interior?

“Styling a home is different from a shoot where you have more freedom to change almost any aspect. However with both there is usually one or, in the case of a home, several items of furniture that have to stay. Its with these items that I like to imagine what my ideal room would look like with these at the centre. I then work back from that. Without wanting to sound “arty and airy fairy” it is a process that kind of grows organically.”

Buildmumahouse is a blog that focuses on creating your forever home. Do you have any tips how to keep you home fresh and on trend without a complete refurbishment?

“I’ve managed to do just that in my own home in East London. When we moved in I wanted neutrals throughout and sleek furniture with non fussy, minimalist accessories. The open plan sitting room had a wallpapered wall in off white damask, the rest were white with a charcoal painted wall ascending to the next floor. The furniture was modern, neutral and a few carefully placed accessories.

All change now and we are feasting on colour. The wallpapered wall is now airforce blue. I made navy blue velvet, drape on the floor curtains to replace the silver venetian blinds and bought and made a new set of cushion covers in gold, green and pink. TK Maxx was a wonderful source of weird and wonderful nick nacks like bell jars and candle sticks. I even painted a large rectangle of plywood pink and have it perched on the sideboard as an art piece with a weathered branch i found in the forest propped up against it.

With all design ideas, whether its for an individual room or for a room on a shoot, the most important process is to create the finished image in your head before you start otherwise you’ll not finish off with a cohesive look and you’ll be disappointed. Pinterest and Instagram is a fabulous source of inspiration and by creating a board of bits and pieces that you like you then get to realise the look that you’re aiming for.”

Katie’s Instagram is always full of interesting knick nacks, colour ideas and shots of upcoming trends, visit her Instagram and follow her at gibbs_katie for inspiration and ideas to transform your home.