published about 1 hour ago
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Name: Deryl and Joanne McCauley, along with 9-year-old cat, Cassius
Location: County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Size: 1,650 square feet
Type of Home: Single family
Years Lived In: 10 years, own
Ten years ago, Joanne “Jo” McCauley and her husband decided that they needed a larger home. “We viewed our current house first, but it needed some work and we didn’t feel confident enough to take it on,” she says. “However, after seeing lots (and lots) of other houses, nothing compared to the space and feel of that first house we saw!” The couple decided to make an offer (and make plenty of changes!) and, as Jo says, “the rest is history!”
Jo, who runs the Instagram account @ouremporium, is a self-described color lover and secondhand shopping fan. But she initially designed her space to look quite neutral. “About eight years later, I grew tired of it and decided to add lots of color and personality,” she says. “It’s been so much fun to inject all the colors of the rainbow into our home as well as gain a real passion for thrifting, upcycling, and DIY-ing. I never thought I’d love it as much as I do!” Keep reading to see more of the McCauley’s vibrant Northern Ireland home, complete with a fabulous outdoor kitchen and patio area for al fresco entertaining.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Colorful, bold, eclectic, homemade, sustainable, and fun.
Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere and anywhere, from Pinterest to Instagram accounts and home magazines and restaurant interiors. However, most of my rooms are based on single objects I already own. For example, my living room is based on two green vases I saw in a shop. My pink and red living area is based on a cat poster I had for years and I based the entire color scheme off of it.
I also use my wardrobes as inspiration! When I open my doors I see color and pattern, so I sometimes use a piece of clothing as a color inspiration — my ombre bedroom is based off a T-shirt I own and my kitchen island color is based off one of my shirts. I try to use one item as a springboard and textiles are a great place to start!
Biggest Indulgence: The outdoor kitchen build was definitely a splurge. The bulk of the cost was the timber and flagstones for the flooring but I saved almost everywhere else; 90 percent of the furnishings are from either Facebook Marketplace or thrift shops. It’s an area that we make massive use out of, even in the cooler months — hard to believe in Ireland! We even had a Christmas market party out there just before Christmas.
Favorite Element: I absolutely love our latest addition, the outdoor kitchen area! I love the pastel, Palm Springs feel of it. It feels like a holiday in my back garden!
I love that my home features a lot of my husband’s artwork. He’s super talented and I’m lucky to have lots of pieces of art in the rooms of our home. I also love all of the thrift finds and secondhand furniture and DIYs I have in my home. Almost every room in my house has something sustainable in it! Good for the planet, good for the bank account, and you get something unique!!
Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge is my indecisive nature. My problem is I love so many styles and colors and want them all! I try to really nail down a color scheme by finding inspiration as I talked about above. Once I have (finally) done that, there is no stopping me. I fully commit and just go for it!
Proudest DIY: I am obsessed with my shoe wall! It only cost me £45 in materials and it’s something really unique. I don’t think I’ve seen it anywhere else and it gives me organization as well as the aesthetic!
Prior to that, I had my shoes stuffed in wardrobes, packed under the bed, and lying underneath the stairs, and it was so annoying trying to find things!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I converted one of our spare bedrooms into a beauty room with a living room area. It is actually the first room I did when I decided to add color to my home after living with it for eight years. Instead of putting the double bed back into the room, I decided to sell that and replace it with a double sofa bed to give me more floor space and I used IKEA furniture to add to my existing white set. It’s made the room feel so much bigger and it has a really glam feel. I use this space every single day and I still love it as much as I did when I converted it!
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I have a real soft spot for all of the thrifted items and DIY pieces that I have in my home but what I love the most are the two wood burning stoves we installed to make our house really cozy and warm.
What most people get wrong about using color in their home: I know for me I worry about color being too bold, but you can really temper a bright color with a neutral accent like white, gold, or black. So just focus on one colorful element like a wall or accessory and then you can always tone it back if you need to. I always find once I have tried color it gets a bit addictive and I want more!
One thing to remember is that color doesn’t always mean bright or bold. White is a color! You can add style and character to your home using gorgeous pastels, deep and dark jewel tones, or just a splash of a warm color here and there!
What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? Make sure you’re testing samples against the walls in your home. Color can look really different depending on where it’s going to be located so take your time and consider it properly before diving in!
Also, consider combining colors to really make them sing. I often find that you can really make a color pop if you pair it with a contrasting tone! Check Pinterest or Instagram for examples of how people combine colors.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best advice is to just be you. Decorate your home in a way that makes you happy — whether that’s neutral, neon, dark or pastel, your home is your sanctuary. Don’t worry about what other people think or worry about potential future buyers! As long as you aren’t making integral or structural changes, then you should just decorate as you please and you can worry about making your house more appealing to a wider market when the time comes.