Jen is a remarkable woman. Not only working very long hours in a rewarding but demanding career; she has two small children, is renovating her home AND has amassed a huge 33,000 instagram following in the process.
I know you’re dying to know how she does it (as I was!) So pull up a chair, pour yourself a cuppa, get comfy and acquaint yourself with this lovely Yorkshire lass and her beautiful Victorian home.
Hello! My name is Jen and I live with my partner Paul and our two boys, Henry and Oscar. We live in a 3 bed Victorian end-of-terrace in the south of Liverpool.
Jen re-painted her bargain Ebay door in Dulux WeatherShield Celestial Cloud 2
I always struggle to answer when asked what ‘my style’ is with regards to interior design. My living room is dark grey and maximalist whereas the newly painted dining room is definitely boho / scandi inspired. My bathroom is traditional too, so ‘eclectic’ would be the best way to describe it! I like a mix of light and dark as I favour the cosy dark decor of our living room in the winter, but am enjoying the brightness of the white dining room now, in the summer.
Walls painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Downpipe’ create a cosy atmosphere in Jen’s living room
I’ve tried to keep a theme throughout the house without being too overtly matching, so attempt to use both light and dark in every room in one way or another.
Her newly decorated dining room has more of a fresh, Scandinavian vibe
My favourite room in the house is definitely my older sons bedroom! Strangely, it’s the least favoured room by my followers on Instagram, but I just love it! I wish I’d had a room like that at 5 years old!
Jen describes her son Henry’s bedroom as “the coolest room in the house.”
In terms of furniture, the wardrobe in our bedroom is my favourite, and the most interesting piece we have in our home. It was only £40 from the local charity shop – a fantastic bargain! It looks lovely and fits perfectly within the alcove but isn’t really fit for purpose! It only has one door so you have to rifle through everything else to get to the stuff at the back which can be annoying at 06:30am when getting ready for work!
A mix of new and vintage furniture creates a timeless feel in Jen and her husband Paul’s bedroom
I am an impulsive decorator, which I think is common amongst interiors enthusiasts! Mr T just rolls his eyes when I come out with another plan (usually for that same day!) The recent bathroom makeover was planned meticulously but that was because it was the biggest spend we’d made on the house and I was determined not to make mistakes. When it comes to a new paint job, I just go on a whim!
I’d say small details are the most important part of any room, and I always ensure to tie a scheme together through the use of soft furnishings and accessories. Any room can be painted a striking colour but without beautiful finishing touches, it can look all wrong and incomplete.
The devil is in the detail – Jen always has fresh flowers, interiors books and other gorgeous accessories on hand to style her photos
I love to source items for my home from small businesses and have found so many through Instagram. It really is a amazing source of inspiration and just a few of the many I love are: Violet and Thistle, Suburban Salon, Lisa Valentine Home, The Little House Shop and Doodle Moo.
I seek inspiration for interior decor schemes on Instagram too. Pinterest is another great place to search for specific looks and ideas. I also love walking around the beautiful area we live in, seeing inspiration in homes and attractive old buildings. I’m such a interiors geek I’ll be in working somewhere (my job is far from interior related) and I’ll be pointing out cornicing or old-fashioned radiators to my colleagues who look at me like I’m mad! Even in the most run-down of places I can find an original feature that I love.
Whilst doing up our home, the biggest lesson I have learnt has been not to assume a trades person knows how you want something! When doing our bathroom I had everything planned to a T and told the fitters in detail about how we wanted it finished. However, some things – for example pipework for the radiator and sink – ended up not being how I wanted them to be, and I realised too late.
Oh and nothing in a old house is ever straight!
Jen opted for a more traditional theme in her main bathroom, but kept to a monochrome palette as in the rest of her home
With regards to Instagram, I’d be lying (and probably very rich) if I said I had some magic formula for organic growth. However, my top tips would be to engage – answer comments on your posts and comment on others posts too, it is ‘social’ media after-all. Post your own content and don’t try to copy someone else’s, just be yourself. Use tags for brands / companies you have bought from, and play along with hashtags like #myhousethismonth, #myhyggehome or #fafffriday. If bigger accounts re-post one of your pictures, that can lead to lots more followers.
Having a home decor Instagram account is so much fun, but there are both pros and cons to it. The pros are the inspiration it can bring, meeting fabulous like-minded people, and discovering small unique businesses.
Becoming obsessive about how many likes a post has, or how many followers you’ve lost or gained can be a con. And also how it can bring you to compare yourselves with others. It’s good to remind yourself that people only show the best of their lives on social media and nobody’s home or life is perfect.
I juggle work, family life and photographing my home for Instagram by trying to be organised! I say ‘trying’ as I’m not very good at it and often feel like I’m not giving any of them my full attention. I try take photos when my boys aren’t around (because it’s usually tidier!) I go on Instagram when they are in bed. It’s hard to be that disciplined though and often it all blends into one. I will always prioritise the kids but sometimes even they tell me to put my phone down!!
Beautiful flatlay’s like this one of some new crockery take time to style and photograph
My aims are just to keep juggling it all and keep my account going! This is a hobby for me and I just want to keep enjoying it.
To see more inspiration photos of Jen’s home, visit her Instagram page @the_house_that_jen_built