In fact this home very much reflects the owner, Caro, who describes herself as ‘a girl with big eyes and a happy heart’. I have yet to meet Caro IRL (in real life), but have followed her on social media for some time. She runs a very successful family lifestyle blog (The Twinkle Diaries) and I regularly join in with her Home Etc linky, as well as the #homeetc hashtag over on Instagram. Without further ado, let me introduce you to Caro and her family.
Who lives in your home and how long have you lived there?
I live in a semi-rural village, in Northamptonshire, with my husband Dickie, our four year old twin boys — Bertie and Cosmo — plus three very vocal Bengal cats and some chickens.
Our home dates back to the 17th Century and is a Grade 2 listed, stone and brick built cottage. We’ve lived here for 7 years.
What were the first impressions of your home?
That it was odd looking!
It’s really wonky — there are no straight lines anywhere — and has a tin roof and is a bit higgledy-piggledy. It’s quite unlike anywhere we’d ever lived before.
We’ve always owned period properties but our current one is by far the oldest. It’s beamy — something that my husband didn’t want — but as soon as we walked in, we knew we had to have it. It had a lovely ambience — serene and protective.
Have you had any major work done?
Not yet. We’ve done lots of cosmetic work but nothing major, as yet. That said, we’re planning a massive overhaul within the next two years. We want to knock down the current conservatory and build across the entire back of the house. It will give the place a much better flow and give us the large family room that we’ve always wanted.
What is your favourite room in the house?
If you’d have asked me that, this time last year, I would have said the conservatory. But, since we’ve given it a little makeover, I think the kitchen is now my favourite room. I used to absolutely hate it — it was so dated and tired — but lovely new worktops and flooring have given it a new lease of life.
It houses a giant red AGA, which is literally like the beating heart of our home. It’s definitely the room we spend the most time in. We eat, play and work in there.
Have you got any favourite ‘pieces’ you would like to share with us?
My husband and I bought this Chinese wedding cabinet in 1997, on a shopping trip to Camden Market — and weirdly we were in the queue behind Les Dennis and Amanda Holden (who were also buying one)!! It’s huge — the photo doesn’t really give a sense of scale. And it’s accommodated everything from bed linen to alcohol. It’s been in every home we’ve ever owned and I absolutely love it.
I’m not a fan of ornaments, as such. We have lots of picture frames and sculptural pieces but the shoes in a glass bell jar are the nearest thing I have to an ‘ornament’. The bell jar is Victorian and the glass is just amazing; it’s hand-made and so full of character.
The shoes are not quite as old! They were made in 2009 to celebrate Harrod’s 70th Anniversary. They’ve lived under the cloche since I bought them and symbolise ‘our home’ and all it stands for; ’There’s No Place Like Home’, after all.
Is there anything that you would change about your home if you could?
I would like a downstairs loo, a utility room and some off street parking!! The first two we may be able to create if we manage to get planning approved for our extension; but the off-street parking is a pipe dream. We do actually own a driveway, that came with the property but as we have to give constant access to our neighbours (who have to use our driveway in order to get to their own) we sadly can’t park on it!
What is the next home project that we can look forward to seeing on your blog?
The next project on the cards is the twins’ bedroom. They share a space and it hasn’t been updated since they were first born.
The white and bright, unisex colour-scheme was the perfect choice for two tiny babies (particularly as we didn’t know what gender they were) but now I feel that they need something a little more grown up. They turn 5 in March and want something more ‘boyish’. ‘Outer-Space’ and ‘Superheroes’ are two themes that I’ve been given to work with, so I’m going to see if I can combine the two. One thing’s for sure, my two little clients are going to be tough customers! They have very different personalities — and ideas — so managing to please both of them with one room-scheme will be tricky!!
Isn’t it amazing? I am seriously in love with this home’s character and charm. Thank you for sharing it with us Caro, we can totally see why it was love at first sight – those beams alone would do it for me!
If you would like to keep up with Caro’s home improvements, you can find her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I can’t wait to find out whether she manages to please her ‘tricky customers’ with the next bedroom makeover.
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