Well 2018 is certainly getting off to a great start with DIYSOS Big Build hitting our screens on the 4th January. It’s an enormous privilege to be part of the team and what the team achieve never fails to blow me away. This project was for a very special lady, Amanda Newton. A heroic mother of four who lost the use of her legs after a tragic cycling accident. She said to me ” you need to remember your life can change, just like that” as she clicked her finger. But she also said that its the best thing that ever happened to her due to all the opportunities that its opened up to her. What an incredible way to view her misfortune. Amanda’s positivity, thirst for life, dedication to her family was deeply moving and inspiring and I’m honoured to have met her, yet alone had the privilege to design her new home.
Now the main thrust of the design was making this home work for disabled use. Hours of intricate planning went into making sure all of Amanda’s needs were met. Simple things like cooking a family meal to using the bathroom independently were the primary aims. But I wanted to make the design was extra special in order to make some attempt to capture Amanda’s sense of fun, life and adventure. I also wanted it to feel very homely as being a home maker was a big part of Amanda’s identity which was taken away from her after the accident. A lot of their existing furniture was tired and no longer fit for purpose but rather than fill the house with everything shiny and new I decided to keep a few key pieces and either have them restored or up cycled. This way there would be a few familiar pieces to welcome them home, along with family pictures and artwork. All these elements are so important to making a house a home. I also introduced lots of home made and home spun elements. The handmade crocheted blanket by Made And Making, that was designed to match in with the Bluebell Gray fabrics was a key piece. A complete one off, just like Amanda.
Finally a huge thank you to all the very generous suppliers and trades who helped make this happen. The generosity of spirit, especially when we are up against crazy TV deadlines always amazes me. People move sheer mountains to make this happen, but the impact it has, not just the on the family but the people who get involved just ripples out far and wide!
The extension at the back of the house was enough to connect the house to the garden, with clever bi-fold doors which allow seamless access for Amanda’s wheelchair. A large roof light over head really maximises the sense of light in this compact space.
A deep teal sofa is the ultimate luxury and with teenage kids it was time to treat Amanda to something luxurious. I wanted to keep some of the family’s furniture but had it up-cycled in chalk paint. I love the pop of cheery red against the teal. Amanda’s framed prints of the kids baby foot prints take pride of place above the sofa. Sofa from Sofa.com, rug from Ikea, cushions from Bluebell Gray, curtains by Applemoon interiors.
To bring the look to life I used plenty of clashing patterns and quirky ornaments. I later found out that Amanda loves Flamingos. Of course I’m psychic! Accessories from TK Maxx.
the amazingly Lucy Tiffney created this botanical wall mural. WE had the antique cocktail cabinet lovingly restored by a local furniture restorer and asked an up-cycler to give the old family rocking chair a perky pink new look to tie in with the new scheme. Mural by Lucy Tiffney.
Deep blue walls really set off the rainbow brights in this room. Amanda loves colour and finds it hugely uplifting so I wanted to back the bright hues into this space. The bed is covered in a bold waterly abstract print which is matched in with the handmade crochet throw which gives it a homely home spun feel. Crochet throw from Made and Making. Fabrics and curtains from Bluebell Gray.
A selection of wall art, needle point hoops and display boxes make a personal gellery wall which can be updated and changed at any time. the white is the perfect contrast against the deep blue wall. Framed print by Tiffney Lynch.
Amelias teenage bedroom featured a brave pineapple wallpaper and shocking red carpet. I continued the pom pom theme with a simple trim on the blind. Wallpaper from Barnaby Gates. Roman blind from Applemoon interiors.
A touch of monochrome helps a pink scheme feel more grown up and gives it a little edge. Choose simple scandi style furniture with clean lines that contrast with the busy wallpaper print.
The family bathroom had pops of colour. The tangerine floor, turquoise grout and collection of art work makes it all hang together. Collection of artwork from Bailey Alexander Gallery
When in doubt go for colour! This was the brightest yellow I could find and matched in with the grout gives this small WC character.
Joe’s compact bedroom was a demanding task. I fitted in as much storage as I could. A tall boy maximises drawer space while a narrow shelf around the top is the perfect spot for books and trophies. Bedlinen from Secret Linen Store. Cushion from Dandy Star.
I went all out dark in Jacobs attic bedroom. Choose a dark colour and paint it EVERYWHERE. The walls ceiling, wardrobes ad even bedside where painted in the same colour to create the illusion of space and depth. Cushions and throws from Niki Jones.
Another trick to usein small attic bedrooms is to iron out the awkward angles in pattern. I picked this pretty butterfly wallpaper for Megan as it reflected her love of animals. Keilina wallpaper by Albany.
The kitchen is the heart of the home for most but more so for Amanda. Since her accident she hasn’t been able to cook for her family so the design element was crucial. However I wasnt going to let that overshadow the aesthetics. A blue kitchen with patchwork tiles added character.
Rise and fall worktops means Amanda can effortlessly use her kitchen from her wheelchair. Kitcehn by Howdens. Tiles from Topps tiles.
If you missed this episode of DIYSOS you can catch up on BBC iplayer here.