This Georgian house had lost its character - now it's an Instagram favourite home

Instagram favourite Nicola Ash aka loveallthingsquirky has transformed a featureless Georgian house into a fabulous home

Nicola Ash studied fashion design and illustration at university before becoming a visual merchandiser for well-known department stores. She later switched careers and is now a psychological wellbeing practitioner and CBT therapist working for the NHS but her creative background continues to serve her well.

“I love interior design and it helps me de-stress. The work I do with the NHS is more in demand than ever since Covid, which has left a lot of people struggling with their mental health,” says Nicola, a gifted interior stylist who sometimes advises patients to try design as part of their therapy. It really helps me. I enjoy working on my own home but I also love doing moodboards for friends. That’s great escapism that I can get lost in rather than dwelling on things that I can’t control,” she says.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The house she shares with her husband Jonathan and daughter Livvy is testament to her talent. The family bought the four-bedroom, Grade II-listed Georgian terrace property in January.

The illuminated sign is from Light Up North, which makes bespoke neon lights and illuminated art in its workshops in Saltburn.

“A developer had renovated it but it was all white walls and grey carpets and very few original features except for the coving in the living room. I wanted to give it some character,” says Nicola, who has succeeded and some.

She has taken what was a bland, blank canvas and worked magic with clever use of colour, pattern, furniture and accessories. The decor is a contemporary take on Georgian style and it’s fair to assume that the 18th century dandies and pre-eminent architects of the day would have loved every inch of it.

Pictures of the property have certainly been a hit on Instagram where Nicola posts as @loveallthingsquirky and has 17,000-plus followers and counting. One of the first jobs was to remove the dysfunctional gas fire in the sitting room and replace it with a cosy Carron wood-burning stove. The developer’s new carpets were also taken up and donated to charity. In their place are wood floors topped with rugs.

Bespoke built-in shelving designed by Nicola and made by Thorn Joinery is in the alcove and a bubble chandelier from Leeds-based Dowsing & Reynolds is the star on the ceiling. The sofas are from Sofas & Stuff, which has a store in Bishop Thornton, near Harrogate, and the walls are a mix of Wimborne White and the soft black Railings by Farrow & Ball with a rear wall brightened by a hyacinth mural that was sourced from Woodchip & Magnolia.

The open plan living kitchen has come alive thanks to Nicola's creative talent

The mirrored artwork declaring “I love the bones of you” is from Light Up North, which makes bespoke neon lights and illuminated art in its workshops in Saltburn. The coastal town is also home to another of Nicola’s favourite shops, Lillian Daph, which features carefully chosen furniture and homeware. (Read more about: Saltburn)

The hall is one of the latest projects and now has a large Heaton Park mural in evergreen by Woodchip & Magnolia in the entrance lobby. Black ceilings and picture rails, along with the black and white chequerboard flooring, provide a perfect contrast.

The flooring continues into the utility/boot room, which has a useful storage bench from the Cotswold Company backing onto wall panelling. The latter is divided by a strip of Hollyhocks wallpaper by House of Hackney. The paper also features on one wall, where the pattern is broken up with a mirror bought from TK Maxx.

Their open-plan kitchen, dining and family room has also been completely transformed and now features another wood-burning stove, a table and chairs that are from Barker & Stonehouse and an illuminated sign from Light Up North declaring “I licked it so it’s mine”, which is a playful reference to Nicola’s love of baking. “I love that phrase and I am a feeder, which is one of the reasons I like baking so much,” she says.

The sitting room with Hyacinth mural by Woodchip and Magnolia and the bubble light from Dowsing and Reynolds

Another favourite that features in the open-plan room is the jolly Mars Meadow wallpaper which is by Studio Coverdale for Lick. Upstairs, the guest bedroom has been much admired thanks to the inspired use of pattern and colour.

The ceiling and the strip of wall above the picture rail is painted in Little Greene’s Olive from Thirsk Decorating Centre. Below are panels of House of Hackney’s Hollyhocks wallpaper framed with strips of picture moulding painted green and surrounded by a border of Farrow & Ball’s Wimborne White for extra impact. The wardrobes are in matching Olive green, the bed is from Barker & Stonehouse, the wall-mounted bedside lights are from Pooky and the bedside table was a bargain from TK Maxx.

“I didn’t want a full wall of the paper because I thought it would be too much pattern, which is why I decided to split it into panels. The overall plan was to try and create a boutique hotel-style bedroom,” says Nicola.

The main bedroom is another stunner with bold and beautiful choices. After Jonathan reinstated a picture rail, Nicola painted that and the ceiling in a deep pink. Village Cricket wallpaper by Lick covers the back wall and features in a framed panel on the chimney breast.

The guest bedroom with wardrobes in Olive paint by Little Greene and the mirror from William Wood Mirrors

“We are very hands-on and do a lot of DIY ourselves, I’m the one who comes up with ideas and we work really well together making them a reality,” says Nicola, who still has a long to-do list. You can find Nicola on Instagram @loveallthingsquirky

*Please support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe

The main bedroom with pink ceiling and picture rail and a wall of Village Cricket wallpaper by Lick plus bed from Barker and Stonehouse
The guest bedroom with Olive green ceiling and picture rail and panels of Hollyhocks wallpaper by House of Hackney
Nicola's 21st century take on Georgian-style panelling features Village Cricket wallpaper by Lick