A Neon, Pink, and Eyeball Motif-Filled Victorian Terrace in South London

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Name: Sophie, Marco, and daughter Misty
Location: South London, UK
Size: 980 square feet
Type of Home: 3 story Victorian terraced house
Years lived in: 4 years old

Sophie — part-time TV industry professional, wife, mom, and full time interiors-lover — runs her Instagram account (@towngirlcountrygirl) from her three-story Victorian terrace in South London. With her account, she hopes to inspire people by sharing “the processes of all the fun things I make and create around the place.” She also posts her interior projects on her blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok. The house itself, she says, “is so much more than just a place to live, and I am very grateful for my little sanctuary. I’ve had a real hate-to-love relationship with it here over the years, but I adore this space now and I’m so grateful for it and the healing attributes it’s brought to my life.”

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“My husband and I had always dreamed of doing a place up, and this is the first property we’ve owned. After renovating it together (mega DIY style) while I was pregnant, we both just really pushed ourselves to the limit, physically and mentally to get it ready before the baby came. We were on a small budget of a couple of thousand pounds and both working full time, so that added to some of the stresses in the preparation. We eventually moved in three weeks before my daughter was born, but after a bad time in hospital, I really quickly spiraled down into a pit of post-natal depression — which led me to truly despising living here.”

“These days though, I’ve flipped all of it on its head! A lot of that time and those feelings seem like a distant memory now that we’re four years down the line. When I started to feel better, I needed a creative outlet so I started my Instagram page and documented pouring my creative energy into the space. I’m a massive creative at heart — I trained in music, theater, dance, and costume design at college, and I’ve worked in TV documents for the past decade — so styling up the house became my new passion project.”

“I saw the house as a blank canvas rather than a set of depressing rooms, and I’ve just run with it. I’m obsessed with being creative in here. But mainly, I’ve made it into a fun and inspiring space for us all to live in together. It’s constantly evolving and changing; I’ve always got new interior ideas in the pipeline. There’s always incense burning, music playing, and a fridge full of wine! It’s kind of my legacy that a home and being creative can really help you heal, and I’m very grateful to it!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would describe my style as extremely eclectic. I love patterns, I love pink, I love neons and houseplants. I’m definitely a maximalist, and I have a lot of stuff. It’s a mix of modern and very playful, set within a period property — which is an element I love. The house has a really fun vibe; it’s got really good energy!

Inspiration: I get my design inspiration from pretty much anywhere and everywhere! I’ll see things out and about in Soho, in shop-window displays, or from a theater set or a music video I’ve seen. It’s all quite theatrical in here (note the pink tinsel and jellyfish hanging from the kitchen ceiling).

My mum is an artist, so I’ve always grown up in fairly quirky, artistic surroundings. She would let me paint my room differently all the time as a kid, and I can remember her constantly doing our house up, painting and adding new furniture or art. She’d always style interesting things; I remember she had a beautiful traditional sari as her bed throw that she’d bought in Camden market, and I always thought that was really different and cool. I’m grateful to have been exposed to that way of styling things when it comes to interiors; I love anything out of the ordinary and there is not being too many rules when it comes to the aesthetics. Our house growing up mainly always had a really cool little party vibe and I try and recreate that in this house for my family.

I’ll also get a lot of inspo from people’s content on Instagram where I think, “Oh, I can put my own spin on that.” Sounds kinda bad too, but I’m constantly feeding my late night online shopping addiction, trawling for cool and different furnishings and homewares. When I start thinking about decorating a new space, I’ll buy one core piece like a cushion or a certain design of vinyl/wallpaper and riff off of that for the rest of the room.

Music always complements my creativity; I associate different albums and artists to different rooms I’ve done up in the house; Snoh Aalegra is the kitchen, Kendrick Lamar is Misty’s Room, the abstract dining room is Anderson .Paak. I find music is the core thing that really helps me to create the feel and vibe of a room, which is so important to me on top of just how it looks.

Favorite Element: I’ve got a few favorites, but my most recent thing has to be what I call the ‘Rihanna Rudeboy dining area’ ie, the black and white mural I painted freehand — I got the inspo from her music video. It’s quite funny; I noticed in the footage of me painting it, I paced around the room for about five minutes before I went in with the black paintbrush. I really had to psych myself up, but once I started with the first stroke I just went for it and this was a one-shot design that came out of my head in that moment. It’s also Keith Haring inspired reflecting his monochromatic style and I also took inspiration from our favorite artist/Surf movie producer Thomas Campbell. I’ve added in a pew that I painted black (scored free from a local church in my mum and dad’s village). And then I gathered together all the other elements — vintage cinema chairs, neon sign, houseplants, OSB table, and the disco ball skateboard that I made myself. If you see the mood board I initially created for the space I think I nailed the aesthetic I wanted! I can’t wait to host a dinner party with all our friends here. It’s truly bonkers and I love it!

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge with this project was just trying to redecorate a small space that’s situated slap bang in the middle of the house, that is in constant use, whilst trying to hold down a job working from home and look after a three-year-old! It took me a fair few weeks to get it all finished but it was worth it in the end! Shout out to my husband for only mildly losing his mind a few times!

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY has to be my ‘All Eyes On You’ kitchen cupboards and the front door. The design of the eye vinyl I applied was something I had commissioned from a brilliant female run independent company in the UK called Get Kooky. I spoke to Lauren, the owner — asking if they could design me a product with eyes and sent her some inspo pics (eyes are a strong common theme around the house) and this is the final design that they came up with! It was so popular that they’ve made it available on their website and I love seeing it in other people’s homes too! I first had it printed in pink to cover the open cupboard in the kitchen, but then they dropped a range of clear window vinyl so I added it to my front door and the glass in the second cupboard in the kitchen, which complements the pink.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Because the house is small but also open plan, I’ve had to divide it up into definitive areas downstairs, everywhere has a purpose! The entryway is where we keep our shoes, coats go under the stairs, then there’s the living area and the dining area. There’s also not a huge amount of storage so we’ve built a window seat that doubles up as a toy box. Misty has her own mini play area where she eats but also uses as a creative space for painting and crafts. Most things in the house are multifunctional, and when you don’t have loads of space it’s fun to try and think up out of the box to keep aesthetic things yet functional.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love my pink velvet armchair! I bought it for myself as a 30th birthday present when I was feeling pretty low and it’s a cool reminder to stay positive! It was also one of the first proper grown up things I’ve bought; I feel like a boss sitting in it now! I also absolutely ADORE my Balinese parasol that lives in the garden. I can see it from the kitchen and it reminds me of the many times we’ve visited the island. I’m also so proud my Disco Ball Skateboard that I made; I just think it’s one of the coolest pieces of art I’ve got.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Use record sleeve album covers as wall art and decor. I’ve got so many of my parents’ old vinyls and I just place them up on a shelf as art! The cool thing is you can switch them out all the time and you can pick them up from charity shops/thrift stores for super cheap.

What are your favorite places to shop for home décor that can only be found in your country?

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My holy trinity for creating a good vibe is: neon pink, house plants, and a disco ball! And If you’re constrained by budget buying these three pieces and adding them in can really spruce up your space for not too much money!

A neon light always adds a modern and colorful vibe. You can buy them really cheaply online in lots of different shapes or you create your own like I did in the kitchen and bedroom. Plants add some natural life to a room. I was a plant serial killer for so long, but who knew doing the bare minimum and just watering them does really keep them alive. Place a disco ball to a sunny spot, it doesn’t need to be a massive one to create an effect either! They’re just so pretty — you won’t be disappointed! Also get some music on!!! I’ve got a print that says ‘Music is the answer to your problems’ and I really agree with the statement!

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