When Charlie Bason, 38, a patent lawyer, and her husband Tom, 35, an accountant, moved into their new home, they asked some friends to help give the place a quick revamp with a few cans of paint.
‘Four years and three kids later, we haven’t really changed it much,’ admits Charlie. ‘We had all these plans to do up the house and make it our own, but children take up a lot more time than you think!’
Charlie and Tom live in Teddington, Middlesex, with their three children — Jack, four, Ted, two and Edie, three months. The family moved into their Victorian three-bedroom railway cottage in 2013 but, busy with a growing family, have found organising the house a real challenge.
Like the majority of houses in this area, the Basons’ home is a narrow build and, as well as being short of functional furniture and storage, it was lacking a bit of character.
With the help of interior stylist and designer Pippa Jameson, we used a selection of pieces from the latest George Home collection – and some of her top stylist tips – to give three of their rooms a brilliant new look…
‘Our front room has great potential but we’ve just got into the habit of not using it as a living space, which feels like a waste. It’s really just like a large porch, a dumping ground where we take off our coats and shoes when we come in, and store the boys’ scooters. They love to play in there, so it’s always full of Lego and toy trains.
'It would be great to turn it into a living room for me and Tom – somewhere for us to unwind after the kids have gone to bed.’
'Opt for multifunctional pieces — the Click Clack 2-seater sofa bed is perfect for a snug space as it provides a comfy seat without dominating the room. Plus, it folds down to a bed for guests to sleep on. Win-win!
'Break up the space. A round coffee table acts as a foil for the straight lines in the room, making everything look less angular. If you have an expanse of wood flooring, a large rug adds a cosy feel and helps to centre the room.'
'Don’t be afraid of dark paints. Painting the bookshelves a lovely deep grey brings out the period fireplace and adds a stylish symmetry to the room. It provides a neutral background to help accessories stand out and works well with every colour, so you can switch around ornaments as and when you want.'
‘This finally feels like a proper room – somewhere to sit with friends, or for me to just enjoy a quiet cuppa away from the boys. I was nervous about the dark shelves, but they actually make the room look bigger, and the sofa will be great for guests. It’s my favourite room now – it looks so smart.’
‘Jack and Ted have shared a room for the past year. It’s full of fun toys but the decor is quite boring and hasn’t changed since Jack was a baby. He has been asking us to decorate it for ages, but we need to pick a scheme that will stand the test of time and won’t look too garish.’
'Little ones may want bright colours, but a neutral room will help maintain a level of calm so they can sleep. The star-print bedding provides a great contrast to the wall feature.
'An ottoman is ideal for Mum or Dad to sit on to read a bedtime story. It also doubles as handy storage for toys and spare blankets. Baskets are brilliant for encouraging kids to tidy up after themselves, too.
'A mural conjures up an inspirational scene to encourage creative play. Painting can be cheaper than wallpaper, easy to change if the kids get bored and adds a personalised focal point. Try it too, or add a bit of fun with easy-peel wall stickers.'
‘Jack is Batman-mad, so we knew he’d totally love the new room, especially the Gotham City feature wall. And Ted just kept saying, “Wow!” It now feels like a great room for the boys to grow up in. Plus, they’ve made their beds every day this week, so we couldn’t be happier!’
the office room
'As I work from home, I need a space that’s creative and flexible. I love my office but it’s always been a bit of a storage room as well, and I have to navigate around old gym equipment to get to my desk.
'The walls are uninspiring, too, and I often share the space with the boys, who love to mess with Play-Doh or paints, making it chaotic. Some days it can be hard to concentrate – or I’ll just feel like not sitting in there at all.'
'In any office space, storage can make a huge difference to productivity – it’s that whole ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ mantra. Mix and match different styles of basket and other containers like these woven storage baskets and copper wire storage baskets for a look that’s neat with plenty of personality.
'Downsize your furniture to create more space. The shelf desk takes up hardly any room and the tall shelves draw the eye upward, giving the illusion of a higher ceiling.
'Bring the outdoors in by mixing low-maintenance faux ferns with the real deal to make a plain room feel less sterile. For a twist on tradition, display plants with their pots hidden in on-trend rattan-style storage baskets.'
'This room feels so clean and fresh now – I love the pale grey on the lower part of the walls. A shelf desk is really practical and saves so much space, too. The white furniture looks smart and I love the touches of greenery. I’ll be able to buckle down to work much more easily now!'