Come on in - the kettle's on! Biscuits? I will if you will...
A very warm pink welcome to the third in The Pink House’s series ‘How I Won The Interior War’, where experts share their tips on how to overcome the partners/husbands/kids/dogs that stand in the way of our genius interior ideas.
Next we have superwoman and mum-of-two-boys Nicola Broughton, who I met through Instagram and invited round for champagne in my real life home - Fiona from Around The Houses came too - we had so much fun!
During the day, Nicola is a high-flying business woman - an investment director investing in high tech businesses - but at night/weekends she's the driving force behind The Girl With The Green Sofa, a hugely popular Instagram feed and brand new interiors blog which takes inspiration from her beautiful dark green Made.com Scott velvet sofa.
I caught up with Yorkshire-based Nicola to find out how she got her eclectic maximalist decor - and THAT sofa - past her "practical, tech-expert" husband who "once had a good idea"...
EM: Hey Nicola! It must be time for another catch-up wine or five soon, but in the mean time let's discuss your tried-and-tested interior war winning tips!
NB: Hey Emily! Well, there’s two modus operandi. The first is where I do it myself and hope he likes it. Our bathroom is a classic example of this technique...The boys were away for a few days and I'd done my preparation - I'd bought my chosen wallpaper by The Loft And Us and knew what I wanted to do, so I just got on and did it! Thankfully when he returned home the new look went down well - he loved the finished effect! But if I hadn't just gone for it I doubt it would ever have happened.
EM: Hooray! So what's your second approach?
NB: That's when I have to turn the situation around from his initial 'no', through further discussions during which I carefully make it look as though it was his idea in the first place.
EM: Have you ever tried other techniques?
NB: On the whole, he knows that home decor is my stress relief so I buy paint and he usually lets me get on with it without too much hassle.
EM: How would you describe your husband's decor taste?
NB: There are no words. We have one room in this house that never appears anywhere on the internet, and that's my husband’s study. When I said in my Apartment Therapy home tour interview that the biggest embarrassment in my house was the kids' mess, that wasn't true; it's actually the man cave. It's basically a place where he dumps stuff - there are piles as high as the ceiling.
He’s always had simple décor; plain walls - he’s a practical and fairly straightforward man. But that doesn’t mean he can't appreciate what we have in the house – he’d just never have come up with it himself. The kids are a different matter – they’re starting to have their own decor opinions: the oldest decided he wanted a blackboard wall and bright green in his room, which I went with - I just toned down the colours a bit. The little one, who's five, is even more opinionated.
EM: Have you ever let him make any decor decisions?
NB: The question has never arisen - he's not interested; he’s the practical one putting up shelves. When we did the kitchen/dining room knock-through he had some opinions regarding functionality - but none about colours.
EM: Has he ever had any good ideas?
NB: We remodelled the top floor and came up with some good ideas together – we knocked into the eaves to create more space and storage up there for the kids. In fact, he came up with the idea of the bathroom in the eaves. I added the rolltop bath.
EM: What's your biggest decor triumph?
NB: Possibly THAT Made.com velvet sofa – before that we had an old battered chesterfield I found for £50. The leather had started ripping, so we needed a new sofa. As we had young kids all the advice seemed to be to go for the beige practical option but I put my foot down and said we had to have the velvet. I had to work through options of how we’d clean and protect it, but it has worn quite well considering the kids. And in fact it WAS quite a practical option - all four of us can sit there together and watch a movie – the other one was too small, so actually the sofa has been great for family time.
EM: Anything that you didn't get past him?
NB: I've been wanting to change the hardware on the kitchen cabinets and paint the room for a while now but he thinks it'll be an expensive mistake if we don't like it. I don't have time to convince him at the moment but I'll get there in the end.
EM: And is there anything HE does (non-interior decor related) that he won't let YOU dabble in?
NB: My husband designs computer games while I'm not very tech practical, so he likes me to stay away from technology - he does all that stuff with the kids; it's just not my realm. But everyone's happy when we're all sat together on the velvet sofa playing Xbox!
EM: Thanks so much for sharing your sneaky secrets and beautiful home Nicola, and best of luck with the new blog!