Part 1: Our Year in review

2018 has been a busy year for Beautiful Homes in the North. Between us we’ve had over 60 interiors magazine features published and the privilege of shooting an array of very different homes across the North.

Although we mostly work together – Katie as a photographer and me as a writer and stylist – we have an open relationship and often ‘cheat’ on each other by working with other stylists and photographers too!  

As I live in Folkestone, I travel up North for 10 days each month to work with Katie and we sometimes organise shoots on consecutive days in the Midlands where we can meet up in the middle. In-between those times I work with the lovely interiors photographer Fiona Walker-Arnott (fwaphotography.com) across the South East and Katie has enjoyed some fab shoots with Laurie Davison (@lifeofaninteriorstylist), Amanda Lucas (@hobbit_cottage) and Beth and Emily from Real Homes magazine (@real_homes).

There have been many highs, like re-launching the website and Katie’s fantastic Northern Quarters Interiors Festival in November, and a few lows, like the B&B from hell I booked for Katie which saw me shamed on Instagram stories! 

The best thing about our job though is meeting so many interesting, warm and often funny interior design lovers. We really couldn’t do it without you, so we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s welcomed us into their homes in 2018, made us endless cups of tea (although Katie’s often goes cold as she likes a good natter!), and inspired us with their creative ideas.

Here are our diary highlights for the first half of 2018.


January

As the days are short, it’s not the best month for photoshoots as you’re always worried you’ll run out of time before the light goes, so we don’t have many bookings in the diary. It’s a good time to catch up with admin, contact homeowners and plan the diary for the next few months (as well as panic about the tax bill!). 

The February issues come onto the shelves in early January, so we’re chuffed to see Joanne Galvin’s gorgeous 1930s semi in Harrogate (@feather_lane) featured in 25 Beautiful Homes. Joanne, a visual merchandiser who lives with husband David and children Darcy and Isla, has opted for a clean-lined Scandi feel in the living room. We love the calm neutral palette of white, grey and black.

Top tip

Use lots of different textures and pop of green through plants to add interest to a neutral scheme.


February

We’re over the moon that Dominique Davis’s home in Chester-le-Street makes the cover of Homestyle this month. The social media influencer @allthatisshe has over 500k followers and makes a living from creating amazing content with her husband Dom, so of course we picked her brains as much as possible on the shoot! 

Our favourite part is the hanging chair in the living room, which is often hogged by daughters Amelia and Penny. A mixture of kilim and ikat style cushions along with a giant banana plant gives the room a relaxed Boho feel, and the dark walls make it cosy in the evenings. 

Top tip

Pick a glass coffee table to show off a much loved rug.


March

Bathroom makeover features are much in demand by the magazines and this month we enjoy shooting Emma Rodgers’ bathroom in Manchester (@livedin365), which made us want to paint our baths yellow.

Emma, who lives with husband, Chris, and children Max and Edie, in a five bedroom 1920s semi, admits the room wasn’t awful before but it was basic and she hated the light blue walls and teal bath. Being on a budget, they didn’t want to be wasteful and rip everything out, so they replaced the sink and basin to match the bath, as well as adding pops of yellow, artwork, baskets for storage and greenery which makes the room feel much warmer. 

Top tip

Wall mounted bath taps will add a designer luxe feel.


April

We end the month in Lauren Blow and Steve Crossley’s amazing Manchester apartment within a converted cotton mill (@Cotton_Mill_interiors) which is exactly the type of place I’d love if I won the lottery. 

The showstopper for us, alongside the huge windows, exposed brick and general industrial gorgeousness, is the multi-functional kitchen island cum dining table with built-in bench seating and breakfast bar. 

Lauren modelled her ideas in 3D using Google Sketch Up and her dad made the structure from CLS stud work timber which was clad with old fruit crates. It supports the concrete worktops and end panels supplied by cast concrete company fluidstonestudio.co.uk. On the opposite sider is a wine and cocktail glass rack which is perfect for the sociable pair.

Top tip

Take photos of bars and restaurants you love on your travels to inspire your interior design scheme.


MAy

Although we travel a lot for our jobs, it’s always nice to shoot close to home. Dawn Dunn’s Jesmond terrace (@flaneusse), featured in 25 Beautiful Homes this month, is a case in point.

The marketing manager put letters through all the doors of her favourite street to find her dream home. We adored her kitchen which features simple grey handless drawers and no wall cupboards to make the most of the relatively narrow space. As it doesn’t look too ‘kitcheney’, it’s a lovely room to sit and read or work at the table.

Top tip

Break up a long kitchen with an industrial style exposed brick wall at one end.


june

This month we take a mini road trip to Nottingham and then Sheffield where we shoot Suzy Broome’s colourful Victorian home (@suzybroome) which has a mix of vintage, mid Century modern and Boho touches. Suzy, a speech therapist and designer maker, lives there with husband Iain, a novelist, and twin boys, Seth and Jasper.

The kitchen diner, which features a new tiled hearth and wood burning stove, was definitely our favourite room. We especially loved the pine parquet flooring from a church, which Suzy spent a week laying, sanding and varnishing in the kitchen diner. It only cost £250 on eBay but took months to clean off the bitumen.

Top tip

Having a large table handmade by a local carpenter is often way cheaper than High Street options.

Top buys


Catch up with the second half of our year tomorrow

If you’d like to be featured in 2019, you can find out more about the process here.

Class of 2018: Take a look at our Stories on Instagram for the other homes we’ve published or shot in 2018 and give them a follow.

@life_at_number_17 /  @jolowry08 / @bethshehata / @cbeau99 / @Flaneusse / @miri_themonochromehome / @homeofthebears  / @thecowbarn / @Instasistas / @thecrumblecottage / @house.of.handley / @_homebirds_ blog / @almeidainteriors / @sarahlovedaystudio / @heymammablog / @thestyleattic / @ediebirdshouse / @lisahenderson3 / @paris_newcastle / @Luxeinthecottage / @luxeology / @laura_epitome_styling / @brassandroseinteriors / @jen_lambert77 / @house.on.the.hill / @claire.a.ramshaw / @hobbit_cottage / @sadie_tutton / @_lisa_dawson/ @474sq / @hol_at_home / @lisabielby / @loft208 / @northernstyling / @thefactoryflat / @helendelarue / @lilliandaph / @jtcollings / @luckyplot13 / @emma_at_116 / @charlotteasquith / @its_all_about_the_house / @morningsinmorningside / @wendy.house123 / @chirpykitsch / @jade.doutch / @willowbank_organised_chaos / @fortheloveofhouse / @victorianadventure / @peacockfinds / @thepinkterrace / @walterandmay / @cathydeaninteriordesign / @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa / @inside_number_nineteen / @graceandgreyinteriors / @thewilsons_at_no14 / @crayvilla / @joanhome / @janareinhardt_jewellery / @lauragrayinteriors / @alfredandtheboy / @ingabrecht / @empemma / @clareeliseinteriors / @life_at_number_63 / @thespacemaker_interiors