YouTuber and lifestyle blogger Laura Melhuish Sprague is documenting the process of renovating her "dream Victorian fixer upper". We think she's a real expert when it comes to combining traditional detailing with a modern twist within her interior design schemes. With our Rose ottoman storage bed featuring in her guest bedroom, we checked in with Laura to chat about the reality of undertaking a renovation project and some of her interior design influences…
Hi Laura, What made you want to relocate from London to Bristol? And why was a "Victorian doer-upper" your dream home?
My partner, Ollie and I originally planned to purchase a place in London where we both worked. We always imagined moving back to the South West one day, as it was where we both grew up, but thought this would still be a few years off so started our house hunting in London. However, after being gazumped on quite a few properties and then one purchase falling through at the last hurdle we decided that maybe it was a sign to move back to the South West earlier than we had planned.
We both love the style of Victorian properties, classic proportions & character details, but really wanted to put our own stamp onto our home so decided a doer-upper was the best route for us.
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered when coming to renovate your guest bedroom?And how did you overcome these?
We decided to keep the original floorboards but wanted to make them look and feel new. So we pulled up every floorboard, lowered them out of the window and down to the garden to plane and sand them. Half way through the job it dawned on us how much we had taken on, physically it was exhausting and as it was the first time doing this we were learning as we went which only added to our stress. To get the boards back into the house we called in family help and had someone at each window to help pass them up the outside of the house. Looking back I am so glad we did it as the floors have turned out exactly how we hoped and we learned so many lessons we will put into practice next time.
Do you have any tips and tricks for cutting back on overall renovation costs?
If you think you could give it a go, go for it. Research is crucial, so do your homework beforehand but you'll be surprised what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. We have had so many 'Ahha' moments when we have been looking for how to do something, or what product/tool to use and you finally find exactly what you need. In general we also try to spend our budget on things that we absolutly can't do, such as major plumbing, and things that will be visable once the room is finished like plastering. This maxamises the impact for a set budget and you can't see where we made a little mistake ourselves and had to redo it.
How did you start to envision the interior design scheme for your guest bedroom room?
I always start with a colours, tones and textures. I wanted to go for a calm, inviting room with a feature blue colour. I often find the vision for the colour theme in a painting I love or focal points in textiles (like a patterned rug) and then build all the other items around them.
Why did you choose to go for our Rose ottoman storage bed in the Atlantic velvet fabric?
I love the statement headboard. As it is a guest room I wanted our guests to have that luxurious, hotel bed vibe and the Rose bed certainly did that. This is the first ottoman bed we have had and I will never go back to not having one, we always need more storage and it is ideal for spare bedding and towels. The Atlantic velvet fabric is a lovely tone of navy which isn’t too blue which gives a real impact to the room.
How are you making use of the gigantic ottoman storage space!?
We are storing far more in there than I expected! Ollie currently has his winter clothes in storage boxes which we will swap out each season. Then we also have all our spare bedding and towels but that is only filling part of it! It's a huge luxury for us to have an abundence of storage space as you always need somewhere free to move things to when reorganising.
Where do you go to draw interior design and styling inspiration?
Mostly from staying away in hotels, we love finding boutique places to stay when we travel or go on holiday and they always give me design inspiration.
Finally, where do you source your unique vintage pieces that really bring the room together?
In Devon there's a lovely town called Topsham they have Topsham Quay Antique Centre. We’ve picked up a number of wonderful pieces from them but we also find a lot of Facebook Marketplace and Ebay.
Interview conducted by Sophia Freeman