Transformation: New build house to playful, minimal, family home

Neutral, minimal living combined with skillful use of colour, creating clean and playful small spaces.

Having always lived in a character home, moving into a new build house was actually a well needed, breathe of fresh air. Although high ceilings, wooden floors and character features are beautiful and so easy to style, we have had our fair share of problems. Just before we moved, the damp had become so bad in our apartment, that was built in the 1800s, that both of the children were suffering with constant chest infections. We had toyed with the idea for a while as there was always something going wrong, always something to pay out for, but when the children started getting sick we decided enough was enough!

If we didn't have the children, we would have 100% have built a tiny house! we are super fans and its definitely the lifestyle we strive for when the littles have flown the nest. Instead we opted for a small three bedroomed new build. Its a little smaller than what we have had in the past, but we want to reduce our consumption, not buy more rooms to fill with stuff and never use! Our key requirements were a separate lounge and kitchen, three bedrooms and a downstairs toilet! (necessity for potty training) We got all of that, so quite content. As a second sort of aim in life, we try to live below our means, so we always have money to enjoy on a rainy day.

Interior design and architecture has always been a hobby of mine so I was slightly reluctant to go to a new build where every room is a white rectangle, but never the less, the children's health was priority so it was something I would just have to work with.

As our moving day drew closer, I had changed my outlook slightly. I'd spent weeks trawling Pinterest for new build inspiration, but it was all quite similar styles.

I had a little vision in my head of how I wanted it to come together and had started to order a few key styling must haves, to get me started.

In a way it was kind of magical, like a blank artists canvas, we were going to be the first ever family to create memories in this house and one day, our lives would be part of its history!

The house and the layout

When planning the design of the house, we had to take into account the copious amounts of toys that the children have, more so Bowie as he is a two year old with lots of family! I guess it means we never really have to buy any! We have always had them creep out into our living space in previous properties, so to keep in with the Scandinavian inspired minimalism that I love, we created a closed off, under stairs cupboard to house general family clutter like shoes, coats and bags.

We bought deep, natural wood drawers on wheels for toy storage. They keep everything out of sight and are easy for him to get in and out himself. In the house plans for the living space, the builders had designed it open plan, with a space for a dining table and a smaller family area for a sofa and television. We decided to compromise on a dining table and keep the room as a large family space with lots of room for the children to play.

The Kitchen is small, but practical, the addition of a mango wood breakfast bar has opened up the space to create more of a social area and added a little warmth to compliment the cool, modern units.

With deciding to compromise on the dining space to create a larger living area, the kitchen needed to house somewhere to sit with a morning coffee and have a few minutes of peace and quiet to gather my thoughts for the day. A ceiling to floor window accentuates the room and captures the breathtaking afternoon and evening light that floods in and makes it one of my favourite little spots in the house.

The breakfast area also doubles up as a workspace, its bright, warm, quiet and the perfect space for people watching which always inspires me to create.

Playful spaces, designed for sleep

Precise, attention to detail has gone into the children's spaces. As Bowies room doubles up as a playroom by day and bedroom by night, it was important to me to make sure the room can be a calming, wind down space for him without distractions.

To create this, I used a warm white on the walls, natural wood and neutral toned accents that aren't too fussy. I added low lying drawers to make it accessible for small hands and easy for him to learn to tidy up again afterwards. A brown canvas teepee and beautiful, hand painted water colour prints give little pops of life and an open wardrobe brings texture and warmth to the space. When night falls, the room is lit up by fairy lights draping behind a sheer linen curtain, a natural wood, house shaped bed is fitted with whimsical textiles and playful cushions to create a cosy and quiet space for relaxation and sleep.

The nursery

A small space with big personality! We again used a warm white on the walls, Lick paint white 03 - it is created to soak up the suns rays and reflect them back into the room creating a seemingly brighter and larger space.

To bring some feminine personality into the room I have incorporated warm hues of rose, peach and tan with rattan and gold finishing's.

Although Flora is still only a baby, I have styled the room to grow with her, creating a magical feel, a large gold mirror covered in fairy lights for dress up, a rustic rabbit head on the wall wearing a gold sequined crown, glittered fairy wands, little dolls and woodland animals create a sense of magic in the space. To bring the room together I've added lots of textiles for texture, a large floor cushion to play on, a princess canopy over the cot, layered linens, beautifully crafted storage bags and a matching changing basket liner for a splash of colour. A space where a child's imagination can whisk them away to enchanted forests and fairytale castles.

And when the sun sets

The master bedroom is a tranquil space that has been curated to create a sense of calm, a place to retreat at the end of a busy day. The clean, simple and neutral decor provide the perfect backdrop for some quiet evening meditation, natural linen curtains allow the warm evening light to stream through the windows, warming the soul.

I ensured that the bedroom would be minimal, no toys or remnants of children, a space that we can go to take five minutes break, for a little peace and quiet in the madness.

As the bedrooms are small, we added a wardrobe the length of the bedroom, to keep everything hidden out of site and with mirrored sliding doors to reflect the light, creating the illusion of a larger space. dried flowers on the bedside table and a wreath above the bed bring a little bit of nature in and add to the Zen.

For me, the best way to bring personality into a cool, contemporary space is with textiles. Mismatched textures and block colour will create warmth without compromising on the minimalism. Linen and pure cotton is my go to and always worth spending a little bit of extra money on for that luxury feel and it always brings a room together.

The bathroom

is oozing the minimalistic vibe. Clean, slate grey concrete tiles cover the majority of the room, accessorizing with only a bamboo mirror and some dried eucalyptus in a matte black vase, the space is calming, fresh are the perfect place for a long bath to wind down at the end of the week with a glass of Shiraz in hand and some evening Jazz.

So from a small, naked, new build house became a seemingly larger, naturally warm, bright space, with accents of nature, a flash of playfulness, lots of texture and a second of whimsy, turning number 159 into a beautifully styled, comfy home that we can't wait to come back to at the end of a long day.

Inspiration and Influences

Before and during the design process, I sought inspiration from Pinterest, magazines, influencers and small businesses on Instagram. I also take creative inspiration from everywhere I go, backstreet barbers, the coffee shop on the corner, our family nature walks and also home design TV shows!

A few of my favourite Instagram accounts for inspiration are @nicolahuthwaite @thelightshesees @littlepaperswan @orla_and_me @francesnellie @ernestjournal @edinburghwithkids @thisisjules

Love window shopping online and always follow concept stores for inspiration. A few independent shops and companies that have influenced or are featured in my buys for this edit can be found on their Instagram below;

@petiteamelie - Dolls house

@slf24_sofas - Sofa

@averyrowlondon - Nursery textiles

@dockatot - Floor Cushion

@paintertopaper - Water colour prints

@whisperandwishcandles - Candles

@tinytotstoysbynatalie - Wooden Bunting - Sequin crown + wand

@Tikamoon - Furniture

@redrouxrouge - clothing - gifts

@thelittleconscienceco - toys

@thebirthposter - Birth poster prints

@lifewithlittleblooms - wreaths + dried flowers

@wonderweaverdesign - wall basket


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

If you don't already know me, I'm Lauren, a mother, creator, writer and publisher of Bloom & Folk Magazine. 

Slow living is at the heart of everything I do and more than anything, I love to guide others towards a more meaningful and considered way of life.

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