Join us for a peek inside the most inspiring and unique homes in the city…
Our new nosy-parker series has proven so popular in Manchester, we’re launching in Leeds with a gander inside some of the city’s most interesting homes.
Today, Blue Rinse’s Design and Brand Manager Kaitlyn shows us around her cute and quirky city centre flat, inspiring us all to add a little more colour to our lives. Follow her account @kaitlynamberbullen for more home inspiration.
What’s the best thing about living in town?
I love living in town because everything is so close and easy to access. I can walk five minutes away from my flat and pick up anything I need. My yoga studio is around the corner, but then so is Thai Aroy Dee. It's pretty hard to choose between the two!
How would you describe your home style?
I guess maybe eclectic, which is just a fancy way for me to say mismatched. I've always naturally gravitated towards certain things - polka dots, pastels, vintage prints and handmade textiles. Throughout the past ten years or so I've collected these and they have ended up in my flat.
Where are your favourite places to shop for interiors in Leeds and online?
We're pretty spoilt in Leeds as the city is full of so many amazing creatives and artists. I love buying prints from local artists to decorate my walls - personal faves in my flat are some naked ladies by @fern.island and @bearcubs. Seagulls is amazing for colour-matched recycled paint and such a worthwhile business to support. All of the paint for my flat is from there.
I also like Kirkgate market for flowers - most Saturdays I'll buy a couple of bunches of something cheap, interesting and cheerful, and I love Anthropologie in Victoria Gate - I would own everything from there if I could! At the moment I'm also obsessing over the Printed Goods range in Tomorrow Store in the Thorntons Arcade.
My bedroom for sure. The room itself has so many original features, wooden beams and exposed brick, which makes it pretty interesting. I think it's the only room that is actually finished and that I'm satisfied with - all the others are constant works in progress. It's probably the most personal room in my flat: I have prints by friends on the walls and furniture in there that I've had for a very long time.
I sometimes play the game ‘what would you save if there was a fire?' to myself in my head, and can never decide. A lot of my things have been collected from holidays, or are handmade and vintage so can't be replaced - it's too hard to pick just one thing! I guess in terms of decorating, I would say my beaded curtain because it's so fun to look at and walk through every day. In terms of sentimental value, though, almost everything!
Shoes off or on?
Either! I'm easy.
Eat in front of the television or sit at the table?
Eat in front of the TV every time, always.
Tidy or messy?
Neat and tidy with everything except my clothes. I just have far too many to keep organised and not enough space for everything. It's a problem!
What does a normal weekend in at yours look like?
I usually start a decorating project and then leaving a half-finished mess when I get distracted by something else - usually food. The area I live is pretty calm at the weekend, which means I can do a lot of reading and yoga in peace.
I've never really spent a huge amount of money on anything in my flat, but I guess the time when I've bought a lot at once was when I was in Thailand and found some amazing shops. I came back with so many things that I had to throw a lot of things away to fit them in my suitcase, but it was so worth it. Vintage Thai cigarette posters from the thirties, hand-woven rugs from the Lana hill tribes, indigo dip dyed and batik cushion covers, a pastel pink glazed vintage tea set... I couldn't help myself.
Definitely all of the bits that I've got from Blue Rinse (who I work for). I've got some pieces of furniture but also lots of amazing textiles. I'd been searching for a pastel coloured Formica kitchen table for the longest time with no luck.
We used to have a huge storage warehouse at Canal Mills, and one day I found a table there and it was exactly what I'd been looking for. I have no idea why it was there or who it belonged to previously, but I got it for free and it's perfect! I also have a couple of really great vintage crochet blankets from our warehouse. They definitely don't match anything else in my flat, but I love them too much not to have them.
Lastly, part of my job is to find uses for fabric and textiles that can't be sold as they are. Through this, I've found so many amazing pieces of fabric that I've made into cushion covers (or to be more honest, that are sat in a cupboard waiting to be made into cushion covers). It's pretty cool to have access to all of this - I'm very lucky to be able to see this amount of fabric on a daily basis and then create the things I want from it.
Any upcycling tips?
Think creatively about the different uses of things and don't be scared to experiment! Last year, we opened a new Blue Rinse shop in Manchester and I designed the interiors. We made changing rooms by stuffing some hollow walls with colourful silk shirts, and made the curtains by sewing over-dyed vintage German tote bags together. In my flat, I guess I always gravitate towards textiles when upcycling too, but trying to find a different use for it. At the moment, I'm making some plant pots from dyed denim. I guess my top tip would be to not be afraid to play around with the traditional uses of things.
Advice for others decorating their home?
Decorate to make yourself feel happy! I could be having the worst morning, but my polka dot walls always cheer me up! Also, I would say buy the things you love when you see them, even if you don't need them right there and then. I've built up the objects in my flat over a number of years by just buying things that catch my eye or that I'm drawn to - usually things that remind me of other things. There might not necessarily be a place or use for them at the time, but eventually there will be and they will reflect your personal style.
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