Sharon Hornsby (@hornsby_style) is another Instagrammer that I follow almost obsessively. Her beautiful home crops up daily in my feed and somehow that grid of tiny squares is not quite enough! I want to know more!! I want to know how she started to amass such a stunning collection of art for starters. How she manages to make her light and airy rooms look so cosy at the same time. Where she shops, what inspires her and what she does in her spare time. I’m just so nosy. So I asked her. And luckily for us, she was more than happy to share.
1. Your home is beautiful. Tell us a bit about the four walls?
Our home was built in 1918 and was originally the garage for the manor house next door, which the owner had built for his Rolls Royce cars!
2. What made you fall in love with it, or did you choose it for practical considerations first and foremost?
We had moved out of the village to a nearby town but after 5 years missed it so much we wanted to be back. We missed being able to walk to the shops, coffee shops and of course the village pub! And we missed having the countryside on our doorstep, along with our eldest being able to walk to school easily. We looked at this house as a renovation project as it was very small with only one bedroom upstairs and two tiny ones downstairs (not ideal for a family of five!). But as soon as we were sent the details I set about drawing up plans of what we could do to make it into a family home for us (we had already extended and renovated two previous properties). My husband was not convinced as it meant our biggest extension/renovation project yet, and the house was so much smaller than the one we were leaving.
But I managed to convince him to have a look and when we saw the house we absolutely loved the location. It was in a courtyard setting only 5 minutes walk from the centre of the village. It had a good sized garden and even though the house itself was way too small for us with all the character stripped out. And a bit dark and gloomy. I knew what I could do to make it right, and it had a lovely feel to it so we offered the asking price there and then!
3. Tell us about the work you have carried out?
The main extensions involved a ground floor single story extension housing a large kitchen/diner with a vaulted ceiling, and a new downstairs en-suite master bedroom with French doors to the courtyard garden area. The upstairs extension was to turn one bedroom with a small en-suite in the eaves into three bedrooms and a family bathroom.
The whole layout of the house has now changed, with only the entrance hall and the downstairs bathroom remaining the same. We knocked openings into walls, knocked them down, and then built new stud walls to get the layout and the room sizes downstairs just as we wanted. Along with the en-suite master bedroom we wanted a 5th spare bedroom downstairs which could also be used as a games room for the kids and a separate study/home office. We added double doors to the sitting room and added a wood-burner. We wanted an open plan living area open to the kitchen where we could sit and read and as this area was very dark we added a large 1.5 x 1 metre skylight to let the light flood in.
We wanted to add character back to the property as there was none, along with giving the house an open, bright feel. It was such a dark, gloomy house in some areas when we moved in and we’ve achieved that objective, yet it is still cosy on winter evenings. It has a slightly Scandi-boho feel with grey, white and blue walls in various shades from dark to light, and lots of natural textures such as wood, plants, brick, sheepskins etc, and of course lots of natural light. It is a very sociable open family home but at the same time we all have places to go separately too, it just works so well!
4. Are you a serial decorator or have you finished?
I am a bit of a serial decorator but I usually find I want to change things after a couple of years rather than months! I want to repaint my home office, which although I love the colour I’m finding it too dark to work in through the winter as its almost too cosy. So I’m going to paint it in a pale pink. I’ve already repainted the original grey walls in the kitchen and open plan area, to an off white so I think I’m gradually going lighter and moving away from grey….. Though the sitting room will always remain dark blue I love it!
5. How would you describe your own interior design aesthetic and where do you find the inspiration for the things you decide to do?
I’m inspired by both Scandinavian and industrial interiors on the whole and I think I have a mix of both here as well as the day to day things that make it a family home. I love magazines such as Living etc for inspiration and of course Instagram & Pinterest.
6. What tips do you have for anyone starting from scratch? How do they create a home that is uniquely their own?
I think the thing to do is strip it back to basics and if you don’t need to extend, just live in the space you have for a while before knocking any internal walls down. Once you know then what you’d like to change about the way you live in your home go for it! Be it open plan or cosy rooms or a mix of both, its your home so do what makes you happy. Unless you are renovating a home to sell on just do it for you! Get the basics like flooring and kitchen and bathroom fittings right first as these are the things that are expensive to re-do. And then when it comes to decor use Pinterest to get ideas of what you really like. And don’t be afraid to be bold. After all where paint is concerned you can easily just paint over it if needs be! Also, don’t be too quick to get rid of old items of furniture that might not be to your taste any more – paint them or revamp them. Somehow the older things in our homes are what give us memories. Then pick up antiques or reclaimed items to add character. Homes with everything bought new can be a bit soulless I think.
7. I know how long it takes to collect all the layers that go towards making a house a home. Where do you find all of your lovely things? Are there any go-to sources/shops that you can share?
I love finding independent businesses on Instagram as well as shopping in more well known interior stores. I always tag the stores that appear on my Instagram page – Dowsing & Reynolds is an amazing place for hardware and paints and I’m hoping to upgrade my kitchen handles with some of their fabulous brass ones soon. Also Rockett St George is one of my favourite places to shop!
8. I know you also sell prints online. Can your tell us how you got into this and where we can find/buy them?
Yes, I’ve recently started my own shop selling photographic and typography prints and this is what I want to mainly concentrate on this year. I have always loved taking pictures and its been a long held dream of mine to start my own prints shop. Its early days as I only set up in November and I’ve got lots of ideas so I need to pick up my camera to get more prints up on there for sale! I hope to add other independent photographers work to the store later in the year too. It’s such a thrill to see my prints in other peoples gorgeous homes. They’re available to but from www.hornsbystyleprints.com
9. If you had a day at home with no work to do, and no social media to catch up on, how would you spend it?
I’d have us all together. I’d spend the morning with a good book, and then cook a roast for my husband and my three kids. Then I’d spend the evening all watching a film together with a good bottle of red. To be honest as long as my husband and kids were there too anything would be fine.
10. What’s next? Do you have any decorating projects brewing?
As I said my next job is to redecorate my home office and then I’ve got plans for a kitchen revamp! It’s all on hold at the moment though as we’ve recently sold the house to buy our next renovation project. Sadly we missed out on one property so are going to try and find another one in the next month or so. But if we have no luck the projects will start here!
You can follow Sharon’s Instagram Account @hornsby_style
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