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Embrace Your Space | Behind Door 28

Emma moved into her 1991 home a year and a half ago. She describes it as a ‘homage to all things magnolia, peach and blue’. Now, it’s a nod to Emma’s adoration of all styles and colours. Every room has a different theme, the dining room is quite industrial, there’s lots of reclaimed wood, second hand furniture and exposed brick work. The dining room is a complete contrast to Emma’s daughter’s room which is decorated in pastel colours and adored with unicorns. Emma tells us that she thinks ‘it’s important to be everything that you are and not restrict yourself to one look only.’ She started her Instagram account @behind_door_28 to document all of the changes they were making to the house as well as ‘everything else that happens behind door 28’.


‘My favourite part of renovating a house is being able to put you own mark on everything. It took me months after moving into this house to open my front door and put my foot through the threshold and feel like it was mine. I remember one of the biggest things to do that was scent – it took a long time for this house to smell like mine and thanks to loads of candles, now it feels like home.’ Emma tells us that the most important thing to think about when renovating a house is the planning and not trying to do everything at once. Emma tried really hard to only do one room at a time. She says that can be difficult because when you’re sick to death of looking at that room, all you want to do is to move onto the next project and leave it half finished. Emma’s kitchen diner took her 4 months to complete, she’s renovating a house amongst real life things such as caring for two children and working. Emma does as much work as she can herself – without tradesmen. Which is what we love about Emma. She’s inspired a lot of people to believe that they don’t need to spend a fortune to get the look they want.

 Kitchen Diner

‘The kitchen diner has been the longest project ever. We thought it would taken a month and it’s taken 4 and it’s still not complete. We priced up the cost of getting a new kitchen fitted and it was going to be £15,000 minimum. All advertised prices for a new kitchen don’t include hinges and handles and skirting boards or the trims you need to finish everything off. It would have been really expensive, and we didn’t have that kind of money so I decided we should just do it ourselves and work on what we already had. We were really lucky and had a solid wood kitchen, I sanded all the cupboards down then primed them and then painted them and it took four coats! I retiled the walls – all the old tiles needed chipping off because they were awful and very badly applied. There was centimetre thick adhesive on the wall behind, so I chipped all that off and taught myself how to tile, grout and silicone. We self-levelled the entire floor because it was uneven and laid wood effect tiles which were £10 a meter and much cheaper than real wood and much less wastage than a lino floor. We also made open shelving by taking one of the cupboards out because it was just so overbearing and dull. Open shelving was the best option because it still allows for lots of storage and opens up the space. We’ve painted the walls, ceiling and woodwork – there’s been so much work gone into this and there’s still a lot to do – I want to paint the windows and I’ve got a new sink and tap arriving that we will fit ourselves.’

Shop Emma's style here:

 Sigmund Black Pendant Shade

 Iconic Eleanor White Table Lamp

 Castoro Pendant Ceiling Light

 Anton Table Lamp in Copper

 ‘Have I had any Renovations Disasters?! In every room!’

‘When we took the tiles off the kitchen wall, we took most of the plaster off as well. Being a 1990’s house, it’s basically a plaster board shell and the adhesive was so thick, it took a lot of the plaster board off. In the utility room, I started painting and the white paint was pulling the undercoat of paint off the wall because the previous owners hadn’t primed on top of the raw plaster. I’ve drilled a hole in the playroom to put a print up and drilled straight through to the living room. I’ve drilled into the electrics and caused an explosion!! There have been lots.’

 Next project

‘The next project for me is going to be the living room. Which I’m really excited to get stuck into. We spend most of our time in the living room and I have managed to stop the kids playing in there as much. They play in the play room which keeps the living room much more of an adult space. It hasn’t been decorated since we moved in because it was a pretty neutral box so I’m super excited to get stuck in, I’m going to go wild with colour, I’m going to try and do some carpentry and build out a window seat. I’m also going to section off an area of the living room to use as an office so that I can work from home.’

Since Emma has renovated so much of her house herself, we had to ask her what the benefits are. First and foremost is cost. Emma has no doubts that trades people would be able to do everything to a high standard and very quickly but for Emma and her husband, it just wasn’t an option. The other benefit for Emma is that she got to teach herself how to do things that she’s not done before – we can’t think of a greater benefit than that!