“How I created an idyllic escape at the end of my garden”

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Shona Manderson, a freelance musical theatre teacher from Nottinghamshire, shares the renovation journey of her Victorian terrace.

Two years into attempting to buy her first home, Shona Manderson, aka @myblossomtreeterrace, almost gave up – “I remember saying to myself it wasn’t meant to be and I started to think about working abroad instead,” she tells Stylist.  

As a single, self-employed woman she faced countless challenges along the way with securing a mortgage, and that’s before the house hunt even began. 

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A grand total of 10 potential houses later, she landed the Victorian terrace of her dreams. 

Of course, to find a property within budget, in the right location and in line with what you’re looking for is no easy feat, especially in the current market. But after clicking with the previous owner – and hitting the sweet spot with an offer including her lucky number 22 – Shona was overjoyed to get the keys to her new home. Then, it was time to get renovating. 

“I started by sanding all the floorboards, ripping up the carpets and installing new flooring. I also painted the tiles in the bathroom, added panelling in the lounge, changed the all light switches to gold, and gave the fireplace and garden the glow-up they deserved. Hannah (the previous owner), always tells me how happy she is to see me pouring so much love into her first home,” she says.

“I lived alone for nine months and everyday was DIY – I poured my heart and soul into it before and after work and discovered this new passion of mine, but I’ve now reached the point where I’m ready to put the paintbrush down and enjoy my gorgeous little house.”

Love how Shona’s colour and personality-filled abode – not to mention that dreamy summer house? Here she explains exactly how she did it…

What was your biggest décor inspiration when starting your renovation?

“I had so many ideas for the decor as I love a wide range of interior designs – from Scandi and Japandi, to boho and minimal, and art deco and vintage. I decided to go for a different theme in each room while sticking to an overall colour palette throughout the house, maintaining a consistent flow. I chose pink, green and cream (all Lick paint, which I love), and matched it all with gold decor.

“I feel that my home is a true reflection of me. My interior style is heavily influenced by the places I have travelled to, the things I love and the experiences I’ve had.” 

Which DIY hack are you most proud of?

“My favourite DIY project is my upstairs studio, which is where I now practice yoga, listen to podcasts and make candles for my small business @sistersandwax.

“I decided to knock through the cupboards to create some more space, along with making some curtain drapes with some cut offs my housemate had. I then added lots of warm toned floor cushions from H&M home, plants, lanterns and fairy lights to create a cosy chill area.” 

Which room is your favourite and why?

“The part of the process that I’m most proud of is the garden shed renovation. It was previously a typical shed – and it was damp with rotting wood – but it had a cute seating area at the front and I had instant visions of turning it into a garden house to make more of the space.

“I got electrics installed and asked a friend to knock down the wall at the side of the shed, to remove the PVC door and move the opening a little further forward.” 

“To allow more natural light in, he also fit two windows alongside the lovely French doors, which I had picked up at a recreation yard in Nottingham. He replaced the rotting wood, and I then used Lick Pink 04 to create a boho pink vibe, it’s the same colour as my lounge.

“I love how plants pop against pink so I’ve filled it with different types and won a bargain rattan furniture set from John Pye auctions and matched it with a rattan lampshade and baskets to store blankets in. The structure of the shed was lined with slate and thick wooden pallets so I added some artificial vines and simple flowers to intertwine, creating a simple flower wall to cover the slate and go with the botanical theme.”

“I’m really into outdoor mirrors so I found one at a charity shop, sprayed it gold again and got my dad’s friend to attach a seat swing for me. I painted the doors with Valspar apple blossom green and lightened the floor and decking with Ronseal decking paint in warm stone.”

What has been your biggest renovation challenge?

“My shed was the biggest renovation challenge as we did it in the middle of a freezing cold storm randomly in March. I also didn’t do it on a big budget so I had to source the wood and doors second hand – we discovered a lot of the wood was rotten on the day so had to start again. But it was all worth it in the end.”

What do you wish you’d known before starting your renovation?

“How addictive it all is. In a good way, of course.”

Shona’s favourite home Instagram accounts

  • Oh So Rented

    “Steph has such good taste paring pink and green with an array of pastels to tone down the bolder colours and choosing rattan wood to add a more natural vibe.” 

  • Let’s Go To Poppys

    “This account is any pastel lovers dream, particularly all her cute cushions and candles. She also has so many shells and flowers, and her home is just so fun.” 

  • Meg Monde

    “Meg’s page was one of the first I followed and I got so much inspo for my pink and green theme.She also has two cute doggies Ella and Peach.” 

Photography: courtesy of Shona Manderson

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