A home of many talents

Shaun Malik has created the perfect family home inside and out using his creativity and love of reclaimed items. Sharon Dale reports.

Shaun Malik

The fashionable grey door and the tiny front garden, which looks like a mini- Versailles, are clues that someone with a passion for design lives at this end terrace in Mirfield.

Inside, it’s clear that Shaun Malik could also give Kirstie Allsopp a run for her money. His homemade home is full of reclaimed and handcrafted objects along with some ingenious DIY.

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While Kirstie was tutored by professionals, Shaun is self-taught, learning how to wallpaper via a YouTube video and practising till he was perfect at making everything from shelves to decorative radiator covers.

Shaun Malik

“It is partly needs must and partly because I love making things,” he says

He and his wife Samantha bought the property in 1996 after being bowled over by the large garden but just months after completion, Shaun had a terrible accident.

A car crash left him unable to work for two years but, like many bad experiences, something good came out if it.

His previous career was selling Italian foods but he decided to retrain and now designs and builds gardens. Proof of his ability can be seen in his own back garden.

It was originally laid to lawn but now features a patio leading to beautiful planting that hides a series of fabulous garden rooms. In the middle is a metal frame that he constructed from scaffolding poles as a surprise for Sam’s 40th birthday. It can be covered with a canvas to create a Moroccan-style tent and a chain hung from the frame supports a floating table.

In the rear corner of the garden is a barbecue area, fire pit and a raised patio made from old sleepers and frost-poof porcelain tiles. The table is fashioned from a doffer found in a carding mill and topped with marine ply. The fountain in the front garden is made from a concrete inspection chamber.

“I love using reclaimed and natural materials in my gardens. I use everything from old granite and bricks to timbers and interesting things I find on my travels. I like to create gardens that, within a season, look like they’ve been there forever.

“Another must is garden lighting. It makes such a difference,” says Shaun.

Other finds include the shelf in the kitchen that holds his collection of pottery. He found the wood while he was out walking the dog.

“I do a lot of making in the winter months when there is a lull in the garden work. This year’s project is the radiator covers. They’ve been a big success, especially the heart design, and I’ve been asked to make them for other people,” he says

The house interior has been a long haul hampered by budget and bringing up children. The property needed re-plumbing, rewiring and modernising.

The couple started with the kitchen, which has recently been revamped by painting the original B&Q units and adding an island from Ikea that is topped with scaffolding planks. The shelving underneath contains Shaun’s cook books. He taught himself to make cakes after being inspired by the Great British Bake Off and his speciality is blueberry and viola cake with spelt and sugar-free jam.

The bank of floor- to-ceiling units conceals everything from the microwave to a larder and a coats cupboard. The area behind the door is now a wine rack made from reclaimed wood and an Ikea frame. The family pet, a 13-year-old goldfish, lives in a large vase on the worktop.

The sitting room features a mix of new and buys, including the retro drinks cabinet and is brightened by artwork in frames found in junk shops. It’s full of light thanks to the previous owners, who had the window lengthened and lowered so their dog could see out. With two daughters, Sophie, 17, and Rebecca, 20, to accommodate, the Maliks made more space by converting the cellar. It cost £7,000 to dig out and tank. “It’s small but worth it. It’s a snug and a study. I made the sofa from old railway sleepers and put some cushions on top. I’ve also got a little fernery down here,” says Shaun.

Upstairs, the main bedroom boasts a wall of built-in wardrobes made by a joiner and inspired by a stay at the Malmaison hotel.

Sophie’s room features a headboard made by her dad from MDF, then covered in foam and fabric. The bathroom has a Shaun-made tealight holder made from driftwood and a table made from sleepers with a stone top.

A love of antique and junk shops in Whitby and Hebden Bridge and trips to London’s Portobello market are evident from a variety of collections, including carafes and jugs. “There’s a story and a memory behind all of them and I love that,” says Shaun, who also loves to have reminders of his garden in every room.

“I always use cut flowers and foliage. In December I’ll also bring twisted hazel and willow in. If you put it in water it will come into leaf. It’s like a glimpse of spring.”

Shaun Malik garden design, www.shaunoutside.com; tel: 0771 9664105