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Here’s a story that an awful lot of people will recognise. You buy a house bigger than the place you lived before. It is the house you intend to occupy for the foreseeable future. The one where perhaps you’ll raise a family, plant a tree in the garden, become friends with your neighbours. You’ve found a rare gem that has escaped the clutches of unsympathetic property developers, and belonged to people who, yes, may have had slightly questionable taste, but at least loved it enough not to let it completely fall to bits. So you don’t have to do everything to it…just most things.

There is a period of time for most people who have undertaken ‘a project’, where life will have to be lived in the middle of the morass; where there will often be strangers in your house destroying things, and everything you own will be covered by a thin layer of dust. Sometimes this period can last for years. Yet we so rarely discuss this in-between stage, where the true cost (in every sense of the word), of creating the home that you want suddenly becomes apparent. Enter Instagram, and the entirely gripping phenomena of the real-time renovation.

Laura Jackson in her east London home

Laura Jackson in her east London home

When the TV presenter Laura Jackson, and her photographer husband Jon Gorrigan bought their home in east London four years ago they knew that its decoration would be a slow process. Not only because they had moved from a loft apartment to a double-fronted Victorian house, and had to start almost totally from scratch with the furniture; but also because they had decided to work from the top of the property down – carrying out major work on the attic and upstairs bathrooms and bedrooms, before tackling the ground floor. This meant a deliberate plan to live for a few years with much of what the previous owner had left behind. Which in this particular case was floral wallpaper. Acres of it.

‘She had been here for most of her life,’ says Laura. ‘I was kind of drawn to how mad it was. There was something fun about living with all this pattern that I would never have chosen for myself.’

Filling the space with an eclectic high-low mix of vintage and contemporary pieces, she was learning her taste as she went, and documenting it on Instagram. Jackson’s 95,000 followers have been by her side through the entire journey–take a look at the hashtag #fgprojecthouse to get an overview. She frequently crowdsources advice on everything from paint colour to grout, and in turn is generous with sharing lessons she’s learnt the hard way; from the cowboy builder who left her with a half converted loft, to the delightful chapter where her bath had to be craned in through an upstairs window (still available to watch on her story highlights for those that are interested). What joy to finally see the finished room, after being glued to its genesis for months.

Hers is one of a number of renovations we have been following over the last couple of years: houses belonging to people who don’t necessarily work in design, but whose taste we are interested in. A kind of slow-drip, interactive hybrid of reality TV, where the audience is totally invested, and can participate (to an extent) in the outcome.

House renovations we’re following on Instagram

Influencers like Jackson are not only helping to demystify the process of decorating and renovating a house without the help of an interior designer, but are also doing much to spread a love of the process of beautifying your home.

Writer and co-host of the weekly culture podcast The High Low Pandora Sykes – whose home features in the September issue of the magazine spoke with Laura about the process of decorating from scratch and learning your taste.

Follow Laura on Instagram at @iamlaurajackson