An eclectic collection of furniture and accessories has transformed this Harrogate apartment into a stylish home. Sharon Dale reports.
Renting an apartment after years of home ownership was a culture shock for Sam King, whose previous modus operandi was to design her interiors from scratch.
Not being able to change the fixtures, fittings and decor had its frustrations, but jumping off the property ladder for a while has brought many benefits.
She’s now a confirmed townie, she’s discovered an area of Harrogate that she loves and she has learned how to make someone else’s flat her own.
“I had a nice house in the country and when I left that I could’ve bought somewhere else but I didn’t want to make the financial commitment immediately.
“Renting this apartment has given me breathing space and flexibility. I now know I enjoy living in town and I know I want to buy in the Cold Bath Road area when the right house comes up for sale,” says Sam, who has two children, Grace, six, and Freddie, four.
The duplex, part of a large house, had been carefully modernised by the owners and left Sam with a blank canvas.
Her own contemporary furniture and her quirky accessories have transformed the empty space and given it a new personality.
She also had the chimneys swept so she could have real fires, strung fairy lights round the window and added lamps that bring a cosy glow to the open plan living space.
“The fairy lights are left over from Christmas. I put them up and didn’t take them down because I liked them so much,” she explains.
The red S lamp is from a graphic designer who buys old shop signage from America and turned into lights powered by LEDs.
It is proof of Sam’s knack of tracking down interesting and unusual homeware.
Other favourite finds include super-size egg timers, a life-size skull candle, teapots with ladies legs and Lego-style storage boxes from Amazon for the children’s rooms. She is also a self-confessed cushion addict.
“They are a brilliant and inexpensive way of changing the look of a room,” she says.
Many of her finds are sourced from the internet and her most viewed websites include Graham and Green, Rockett St George, Not on the High Street – which features designer makers and craftspeople from all over Britain – and Etsy, which has makers from all over the world.
Although her home is largely modern, there are some vintage and antique elements in there too.
Her first vintage buys were the Chesterfield sofa in the sitting room and the Art Deco leather chair in her bedroom , which she bought from an antique shop.
The chair is complemented by a hand-painted chest of drawers and blanket box from Country Chic at Clint Bank, near Harrogate, which specialises in painted vintage furniture.
The old pieces contrast perfectly with the contemporary Kartell bedside tables and Bourgie lamp.
In Freddie’s room, the collections of Dinky cars complete with display cases were from Thompsons auction salerooms in Killinghall.
“I bought my first place in my early 20s and everything in there was Ikea. I still love contemporary design but I like to put in some older pieces too, as long as they are well designed. They add character and history,” she says.
Her skill at sourcing homeware has led to a whole new career for Sam, whose background is in property working for estate agents and developers.
She has set up a new interiors shop, Lime Lace in Harrogate, featuring everything from original contemporary designs to 1960s Danish furniture, antiques and items from designer makers.
Among her favourites are Yorkshire-based Vinegar and Brown Paper, who etch words onto glass jars, bottles and mirrors.
“I love finding new and exciting designs and if they’re local that’s great, though my stock comes from all over Britain and beyond. It is very eclectic and somewhere you can get something a bit different.
“I set the shop up because it’s something I could get excited about. Eventually I’d love to sell online and expand. That’s the plan,” says Sam, who also does home consultations offering advice on styling and furnishing rooms.
It’s something she has done before when working for a developer, though her last major project was transforming a run-down house in Ibiza into a luxury villa.
“That could’ve been stressful but it worked out well. It took six months and I used Spanish builders, but I hired an English property manager who could translate for me. I managed by liaising via computer and making regular trips over there.”
Ibizan shop Sluiz inspired the design and content of her own store, which has exposed storage with all stock on show.
Sourcing is generally done in the evening when the children are tucked up in bed.
“That’s what I do at night. I sit down and search the internet for something different,” says Sam.
“It’s incredible what you find and it makes you realise that there are a lot of original thinkers out there.”
Lime Lace is at 11 Princes Square, Harrogate, www.limelace.co.uk