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A Striking Victorian Villa in South East England With Deep Blue Walls

It's Friday, the sun is shining (no birds singing though - they're not due back in Sweden for a few while!). But still, I'm feeling the weekend vibes, how about you?! Woooop! Before we all head off I wanted to share one final home tour with you this week. Welcome to the striking home of Poonam Sharma, her partner Paul and four-year old son Zachary who live in a Victorian villa in Hove, East Sussex, England. I have to say, the architecture and period features make me feel so nostalgic, but the one thing that I didn't see in my childhood is the beautiful deep blue walls, touches of brass and blend of old and new (it was all Laura Ashley back then!). Before having Zachary (Z for short), Poonam worked in the corporate world in senior PR roles, she's now exchanged the two hour commute to London for her blog Modern Luxe, where she shares her latest renovation work. I couldn't resist catching up with Poonam to find out more.

When did you start writing your blog?
I started writing my blog about a year ago when I was at home looking after Zachary. Being a Mum can be very demanding and I wanted to do something else I loved, which is interiors, so I decided to write a blog about styling our home - because as all Mums know, there is only so much kids TV your brain can take!

The sitting room walls have been painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball and the Study in Night's Blue Arch by Valspar. The red sofa is from

What, you're not totally into Peppa Pig and Paw Petrol?!!

Is blogging your full time job?
For now yes, Zachary has just started school and I want him to settle in before I venture into the next stage of my interiors career. So watch this space! 

Poonam has painted the the mouldings, frames and ceilings white in the upstairs landing to make them more of a feature.

Have you always lived in Hove? - it's a great place, I have a few friends and a cousin who lives there! 
If not, what drew you to the area?
No, I was born and brought up in London and whilst I love London, it's an expensive place to live. I moved to Brighton not knowing anyone and have loved it ever since. There's something to be said about living by the sea. It has a similar vibe to London, cool and vibrant but thankfully not as expensive. 

Can you tell us a little more about your house?
It was built around 1900, it's a a semi-detached Victorian villa. It has four bedrooms, one of which doubles up as a dressing room (and something else on my to-do list), two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen / diner. 

What made you first fall in love with the property?
It had that positive feeling when we first came to see it. It was tired and dated and in places, badly organised but it had bags of original features like coving, high ceilings, skirtings, and original fireplaces (what's not to love?!). 

Before we moved into our house I lived in a Victorian mansion flat on the seafront. And once, you've experienced an old property (despite it's numerous problems like damp, falling walls etc) it's hard to imagine yourself living anywhere else. 

I can completely understand! One day, I'd also like to live in a house with history! So it needed a lot of TLC?
Structurally the house was sound, but the interior was just awful (and that's putting it mildly). It was owned by a family who had it for years, but unfortunately they did nothing (and I mean nothing!) with the interior. That said, we were more than happy to buy a place where we could renovate and put our own stamp on it.

The bedroom walls have been painted in Tempest Teapot by Valspar.

How would you describe your style?
That's always a tricky question, because I think my style has evolved as I've got older (and wiser). But if I have to sum it up, I'd say modern with the odd antique thrown in.

Who says you can't have a wall-to-wall carpet and a rug?! Layering a shaggy beni ourain* rug over the carpet in the bedroom like this makes the space even more cosy and adds graphical detail. I also love how a vintage chest-of-drawers has been painted the same colour as the wall! 

Where do you find inspiration? 
I get most of my inspiration from Pinterest and magazines. I can quite happily lose hours (if not days) looking for interiors inspiration!

The home is a blend of old and new. Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair and Sunbury Antiques Market are some of Poonam's go to places for one-off pieces like the ones seen. Poonam fell in love with the figure drawings in a hotel in South Africa and convinced the hotel owner to sell them to her. 

How did you decide on a colour theme?
When we first moved in, we painted our house in neutral colours, just to get rid of the awful wallpaper that was there before. We wanted to live in the space before we decided on colours. We talked about dark colours and as we've got really high ceilings we can get away with it, without losing the sense of space. Saying that, initially Paul wasn't convinced so whilst he was away on a business trip, I painted the living room Farrow & Ball Railings. Eeeek. He didn't speak to me for a couple of hours when he got back, but now he loves it and was more than happy for us to go dark in the bedroom too!

The tiles are from Mosaic Factory (and featured in my tile edit: 25 tiles to love right now). Also feartured: Alana rectangular mirror, brass plumbing from Vado, lighting by Wever & Ducre

Are there any major lessons you've learned from renovating a house? And anything you'd do differently?
Yes, don't rush into anything before understanding your own style, and trust me, I've made a few mistakes in my time. It's also easy to get sucked into the lovely images on Instagram and Pinterest thinking it will look great in your place. But the key learning for me has been to define your style, understand why you like it, then make it your own.

What do you love most about your home today?
I have to say, I love the way our house feels when you first walk in. Each room feels different (as we use the space for different things) but they are still connected by the same colour palette. Each of the rooms flow into each other, bringing a sense of unity, which we love.

Instead of opting for a more costly stair runner,  Poonam asked a local carpet shop to add a border to a long rug. 

I have to say I'm in awe of anyone carrying out a major renovation - I can't even begin to imagine the level of work involved - not to mention the decisions!! And Poonam's has turned out beautifully, don't you think?

I hope this has helped anyone out there who is carrying out your own renovation project - there are so many lovely ideas in this home, and Poonam's advice is so helpful! 

If you'd like to see what she does next it's all up on her blog Modern Luxe and Instagram @modernluxeblog.

Wah - these make me want to nip home to England for the weekend, suddenly feeling a bout of homesickness! Ah well. At least we've got two days of lie-ins and slow breakfasts ahead, right?!

Have you got any fun plans? Whatever you're up to, have a great one!


PS I'm feeling so much better today, thank you all for your kind words!

PPS I'll be nipping in tomorrow with an interview with Skandinavisk, who I visited in Copenhagen last week and for whom I have become a very proud ambassador. Skandinavisk and My Scandinavian Home are kindred spirits - we both love to tell the story of Scandinavia - the nature, the people, the lifestyle and of course, the candles! If you have a mo, nip in for a read over the weekend, I think you're going to love their home and body fragrances!  


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