Welcome to another edition of #MyHouseLikeThis
Today we’re simply dazzled by the gorgeous renovation stylings of Darren Pope-Treloar. You’re sure to have seen his home, be it from his colourful Instagram renovation stories or his feature in Home Style magazine in May last year.
We took some time to have a chat with Darren, learn more about his gorgeous home and how he plans his renovations which were pretty intriguing considering he’s on his second one! Read on to find out more about @Dazzle_at_home ...
AHLT : Well hello Darren, thanks so much for sharing your home with us! For those who are not familiar could you tell them a little about yourself?
My name is Darren and I live with my husband Richard and 2 cats in a 1930’s semi-
detached house in the West Midlands. I work as a Visual Merchandiser for The White Company and I have an obsession with interior design, oh and plants! We’ve lived in our current home since February 2018 and wasted no time making it our own in that short time. The house was in great condition with loads of period features but it was very neutral so we got to work straight away to stamp some of our style and personality into it.
AHLT: You most certainly have, it’s incredible what you have achieved in such a short space of time. You have a distinctive style that seems to borrow inspiration from various sources. If you were to describe your taste for interiors in just three words, what would they be?
Three words that would describe my style are bold, eclectic and evolving.
Bold because I’m not afraid to take risks when it comes to decorating and styling a room as normally I can see in my head that it will work. I had a bright yellow fireplace against a blue wall in my last house so I definitely do not shy away from colour.
Eclectic because I love all sorts of interiors styles and objects, old and new. I like to bring the latest trends into my home where I can, while also bringing vintage items back to life by upcycling or just adding them as they are to my existing scheme.
Evolving as I feel my taste and style is always evolving and changing. This is largely due to being exposed to the huge network of interiors styles on Instagram and Pinterest.
AHLT: 100% agree, you have a variety of old and new and are exceptionally thrifty it would seem when coming to decking out your home. With that in mind, what’s your most prized purchase for the house and why?
My favourite purchase for the house is the William Morris wallpaper in the living room. I’ve always loved Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco interior styles and this wallpaper evokes the feeling of living in a period home. It certainly wasn’t a cheap purchase but it was a worthy investment as it completely transforms the room. We decided to go big and paper all four walls up to the picture rail. It was a bold move but we feel it really paid off. I decided to compliment it with a dark green paint on all the woodwork in the room which works perfectly.
AHLT: It’s a great match and a shining example of your bold taste as we mentioned previously. With so much to consider, especially with how much your taste can evolve, how do you go about planning the perfect room before starting a project?
When I plan to decorate a room, my first port of call is Pinterest, Instagram and Google images. From there I gather images and put them together on my computer and create a shortlist of favourites. These could be of interiors, products, colour palettes or images of nature. From there I start to put together a mood board using images of products that I already have and will use and items I intend to buy for the room. I then create a visual image of how the room will look using these products to show my husband the concept. If/when I get the thumbs up, I start to source products on the internet to find the best match to what I’m looking for, for the best price.
AHLT: Has your husband ever refused any of your recommendations? How do you compromise?
My husband has refused some of my ideas in the past which drives me totally crazy! All I think is ‘How can you not love this??!!’ It doesn’t happen very often but if he really is against something then it’s back to the drawing board for me. Ultimately, we both need to live with it so if it has to be something we both love. Sometimes it’s difficult to convince him of something if he hasn’t seen it before. As I am more exposed to interior trends than he is, my taste develops and changes over time.
AHLT : So clearly a lot of time and thought goes into your planning, which is perfectly understandable and it’s not the kind of thing you’d want to get wrong. Have you had any experiences where something has not gone quite as you planned?
A particular design mishap that springs to mind is when we lived in our previous property and involved a two-toned painted hallway. I saw a picture in a magazine of a room that involved two different but complementary colours with the top of the wall one colour with a crisp straight line then a different colour at the bottom. At the time I was quite into copper and blush pinks, complimented with pale greys. I decided to replicate this scheme in my very narrow staircase/landing in my two-up- two-down. So off I went to the local DIY store and bought a few paint samples. Once we’d agreed, we bought the paint and got started. After much precise measuring, I drew a straight line on the wall all the way up the stairs and masked it off. I added the first colour which was meant to be a pale grey... however after the second coat and satisfactory drying time, it dried a baby blue! While I tried to remain positive, I started masking to paint the pale coral/blush colour above the ‘baby blue’. Once I’d slapped on the second colour, it became apparent that this was a BAD, BAD decision. The pale coral/blush colour had dried pale pink and with the blue turned our staircase into a confused baby nursery! With no natural light in this space, it just looked awful. It had to go. I completely whitewashed it and painted all the woodwork ‘Downpipe’ by Farrow & Ball. This was a huge improvement and instantly lightened the space and made it feel much bigger. Interior faux pas rectified!
AHLT: What a relief! And you can always rely on a monochrome palette to save the day, it’s pretty timeless and Downpipe seems to be a particular favourite from the Farrow and Ball colour chart. Your style seems to be evolving as you say and ascending to tropical maximalist interiors heaven, which I should add is far removed from the traditional style we can expect from The White Company which you would be exposed to all the time. With this in mind which space is your favourite now?
My favourite space in my home is my living room. The reason is that it’s the room I feel I’ve always wanted...and it’s the only finished room! It has the mix of the period feel that I love and it’s a cosy place to relax, entertain or watch TV. It’s also full of plants which brings a smile to my face.
AHLT: It’s period home style with such tropical drama, we don’t blame you for choosing that room as your favourite. It seems you focus on the smallest details which have such a great impact too- even changing the filter of the photo of you and your husband in your living room wall art to a sepia has helped create that period style that makes anyone in the room do a double take - a really smart move! So, what other projects do you plan to undertake next?
Our next project will most likely be the main bedroom to redecorate. This is a space that I find a little harder to design as opposed to the living areas. I’m not sure why but I am very indecisive when it comes to bedroom décor. I’m always thinking they need to be a tranquil, relaxing space but my love for dramatic and bold styles can sometimes get in the way of that. I need to find a good balance of mixing the two elements together. I have some ideas for my main bedroom but as it’s very neutral at the moment and not too offensive, I will let those ideas evolve for a while. We also plan to change the kitchen within the next year or so with a possible extension which is completely new territory for us.
AHLT : It seems there are two Darren’s at war, the one who is used to the lush white on white, on grey, on sand, on white, on grey world that is The White Company versus a personal taste for exotic, eclectic interiors? Would you agree?
I wouldn’t say ‘at war’ as such. I totally appreciate the aesthetic of The White Company and their style but I have such a variety of taste that I cannot pinpoint to one interior style. Hence why I feel my taste is eclectic. I love the idea of a sleek, crisp, white interior colour palette but I am a maximalist at heart. I love colour, pattern and lots of things!
AHLT : So where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from many different interior designers from the present day and from days gone by. William Morris is someone I find very inspiring and helped me shaped my interior taste today. You just have to take a look at my living room to see that! Sophie Robinson is a brilliant designer. Her use of bold colour, pattern and styling I find so vibrant and exciting and gave me inspo for my previous living room colour scheme. Others I find inspiring are the lovely people I follow on Instagram that truly inspire me every day. I wonder what my house would look like today had this little App not been invented.
AHLT : Instagram has completely taken over the interiors world for home styling inspiration but also appears to have created a real community of house proud individuals like yourself who just want to talk to like-minded homeowners who love nothing more but to rant and rave all things home. What's your take on that and what surprises you about the Instagram community?
I feel Instagram is a fantastic platform to share your style and creativity. It truly amazes me that so many people like what I do and take the time to comment on my photos. People who I have never even met are so generous and supportive with their words and it really means a lot to me. I have met and chatted to some lovely people via Instagram and it’s nice to know there are so many likeminded, interiors obsessed folk out there from all over the world. It’s like having lots of pen pals in the modern world. However, on the flip side, it can be a place where you can become too immersed in. I’ve learnt that it is best to work out what you want your account to be for you to get the most enjoyment from it. But on the whole, it’s an amazing thing to be a part of.
AHLT : It’s clear to see that many people fall in love with your style through your engagement on Instagram and you’ve had great features in recognised interiors magazines yet as we know nothing can ever be truly as perfect as it seems. What would you change about your home and why?
If I could change one thing about my home it would be to have a bigger bathroom so that I could fit a beautifully tiled walk-in shower, a roll top bath and double sinks. Also, in a money no object scenario, I’d convert the loft into a fourth bedroom with an ensuite. Not too much to ask is it?!
AHLT : Definitely not, and it’s a wonderful goal to have should the family look to expand! Thinking on that, on other families, couples or solo renovators out there - what advice would you give for those planning their next project?
Do your research! Look online (as previously mentioned) for inspiration. This is an invaluable tool without having to leave the house. Or if you fancy getting first-hand inspo, visit home and interior shops to find your style. Play around with objects and see if you feel they work together. If you like it, buy it! Don’t be afraid to not conform with current trends if it isn’t for you. It’s your home and you have got to live in it so make it you! Other inspiration sources can be magazines, catalogues, DIY stores, museums, art galleries or country houses. The possibilities are endless. - know your budget! It’s always helpful to have an idea in mind of how much you want to spend on a project to minimize spending too much. Shop around for the best quality items for the best price. Don’t settle on the first thing you see, do comparative shopping and see if you can find the perfect item. There’s always a bargain to be had. Discount codes are very handy when buying online so take advantage of these offers. - Upcycle! It may be a bit of an overused word these days but I still stand by it. It can be a cheap and environmentally friendly way to furnish your home without spending a fortune. By giving a piece of furniture a lick of paint or repurposing it somehow, it makes it all the more special as no one else will ever have exactly the same item. I have found many a furniture piece from charity shops at bargain prices which saved me a small fortune. It’s also great fun to go on the hunt for them as you never know what you might find. Some pieces may not need upcycling and that’s perfectly fine too. If you love it how it is, leave it that way. Create mood boards before taking the plunge. Piece together images of furniture, accessories, existing interiors, fabric, paint, wallpaper or flooring swatches and generally any image or item that inspires you. This will then build a visual for you to see how the room can look and if you feel it’s what you want to go ahead with.
AHLT : Thank you so much for your time Darren, we hope you thoroughly enjoy your PYRIGE candle and it fills your sensational home with scent!
To follow Darren’s story you can find his bold and eclectic home on Instagram in the links provided below. We can also expect to see Darren and husband Richard feature on BBC1’S Garden Rescue later in the year which we’re super excited to see!
Darren Pope-Treloar - Instagram : @dazzle_at_home