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At Home With Hello Haus
24 April 2020
Katie Seidler of the Instagram @Hello_Haus, invited us round for a cuppa and a catch up in her beautiful home to chat all things home, interiors and where she sees herself living in 10 years' time.
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When Katie moved into her Victorian style home nearly three years ago with her husband Russell, she could never have imagined what that would mean for her career and passion for interior design. Katie created her Instagram account, Hello_Haus to document the changes she was making to her new home... but what started as just a hobby has now turned into over 28,000 followers and brand collaborations with the likes of Craig and Rose, Tile Mountain UK and us, Strata.
Last summer we launched our first ever interior design awards on Instagram called Strata Home Style awards and it was open to anyone and everyone with a love for interior design. The prize was a thousand pounds to spend in Redbrick Mill along with other opportunities to work in collaboration with us. We had a panel of judges who chose our shortlist and finally our winner, Katie! We loved her minimalistic, laid back and comfortable style, the neutral tones and textures mixed with khaki greens and matte black accents really stood out for us. We were so excited about the collaboration and couldn’t wait for her to feature in our newest edition of Live Learn Dream. Fast forward a couple of months and we were sat in Katies, beautifully bright kitchen having a chat about all things home, interiors and where she sees herself living in 10 years’ time.
Katie, who calls St Albans home, has a beautiful period property with lots of character and quirks. “It has lots of things built onto the end of it. It has an extension on the back of it which gives us a really big kitchen. I think my favourite thing is that it’s quite open plan so you can stand at the end of the lounge and see right the way through into the garden. We also have a lot of windows and light here which is what really attracted us to this house when we bought it.
"Upstairs, the house technically has three bedrooms, but we’ve changed one into a study because Russel works from home, so it was important for us to have that space. And then I have two bedrooms, the loft room is the guest bedroom and that’s where I work from home or where I get my mood board projects done. We’ve just kept the house really light and airy and that’s the feel throughout, so everything is taupe and white walls, the flooring is really pale which we put in when we first moved in to keep it bright and then keeping the colour scheme just really simple” says Katie.
“Victorian houses always have that dark front space but it’s nice in winter because you put the log fire on and it’s really warm and cosy. You can open the shutters too and that will give you a lot more light, but I don’t mind it at all because then you walk into this space and it opens up.”
Katie has been in her home for nearly 3 years now. “We’d always lived in flats which had these sort of galley kitchens, I absolutely loved living in my flat and I loved the kitchen, but I think I craved that really big, sociable kitchen space.
"So, when I first viewed this house I thought yeah, this is a nice, big sociable space and I love the fact that when you’ve got people round and they’re in the lounge, I can be in the kitchen and I can talk to people. There are no fixed walls that mean you can’t be sociable, so I think that was the biggest thing for me. Another thing that attracted me to this house was the room sizes, they were good. It was hard to find somewhere with good sized double bedrooms that were big enough and had lots of space. That was the biggest thing for me, I saw there was loads of potential in it. Everything in the house was white with dark flooring when we bought it so I think we just walked in and thought there is loads we could do to give it personality.”
Designing your home from scratch takes up a lot of time and effort. Especially when you have to work with what you’ve already got. “It’s really hard to compromise with what you already have, especially kitchens and bathrooms because to change them, they cost a fortune.” says Katie.
“With our kitchen, we haven’t changed the cabinets, just the worktop. Originally, it was dark grey granite which was probably really expensive, but it made everything feel too heavy. So, I thought about how I wanted the space to feel more open plan and ripped out some of the wall units and replaced with open shelving, they were only £25 from IKEA, I changed the worktop to a relatively cheap, light one and I changed the handles on the base units. That’s probably the key to working with what you have, just changing little bits.
"We changed the sink to a black one instead of stainless steel and changed the hob to a black one too. These are the things that cost a couple of hundred pounds, not thousands. Our tiles were cheap too, they are just basic white square tiles, which we dark grouted. We paid for the labour, but the tiles were maybe 5p a tile? That’s it!
"And with our bathroom, the layout isn’t necessarily how I would like my bathroom, but it was too expensive to change, so I thought how can I make it feel different, so I painted the ceiling black. It’s a really bright room so I knew it could take it and not make it feel small. I put artwork up to make it feel more professional and then I used accessories like the ladder to hang my towels on, these just take your eye away from the fixtures and distract you.”
Katies bathroom mixes functionality and beauty with plants and her dark ceiling making a statement. “That’s the thing nowadays, functional rooms like kitchens and bathrooms don’t have to be clinical looking you can put lots of artwork up and can be a lot crazier instead of sterile. The only thing you have to be careful of is the steam in the bathroom, but I have the artwork further enough away from the shower for it not to make a difference,” says Katie.
With each of Katie’s rooms looking as beautiful as the next it’s easy to see why she would love spending time in every room, but the kitchen was a clear winner. “I’ve always dreamed of having tiles in my kitchen ever since I lived in my flat. It’s such a functional space and I love how sociable it is. We’re always in here, the dog is always sat on the rug waiting to be fed, if I work from home and I don’t want to be in the loft room I’ll sit at the table, and that’s the part I love about it. You can open the doors to the garden and it’s a really nice flow out.” says Katie.
A house can look beautiful, and Katie’s definitely does but it’s what makes that house a home which is the most important thing. “I’m big on comfort, everything about this home is about being comfortable. It’s cushions, throws and soft things that make it a home for me. To come in and feel relaxed is the most important thing so even though there’s not a huge amount of stuff, it’s all cosy and having the right colours to make you feel good is what I love. I never tell people to take their shoes off either. I’m not precious, there are scuffs on the walls and skirting boards, I live here, it’s not a show home. I’d never want to be in a place where I feel like I can’t function, live or feel comfortable, it’s just not me,” Katie says.
Katie’s home is perfect. Neutral tones, earthy greens and matte black accents fill each room and leave a calm and relaxing vibe throughout the whole home. Her attic room was the last to be decorated and was transformed by covering a black wall with refreshing taupe and shopping her home to refresh the room.
Katie explains how she did it “I didn’t buy anything new apart from the curtain pole to go above the bed for the cushions to hang off and the leather. Often, people walk into a room and think I really want to do this again, I’m really bored of it but if you just take out some of the stuff you’ve got in there, rearrange it all and use different accessories it can look completely different. The trick is to have the same colour palette throughout your home so that it’s easy to move things around. If you keep your home fairly cohesive and it flows, then you can put anything in any room, and it saves you buying new all the time. I’m personally trying to be more aware of how much new stuff I’m buying, at the minute I’ve got more cushions than you can shake a stick at so it’s just being more aware of exactly what you’re buying.”
“It’s really important not to clutter too. It’s always easy to clutter a shelf but if you stick to the odd number rule you can’t go wrong. Visually, anything in odd numbers your eyes see as more aesthetically pleasing than even numbers. You’ll usually see people group things as a one or a three, but you won’t necessarily see a lot of two’s together because it’s not visually pleasing. Abigail Ahern does all her styling videos on this, she’ll style her table using ornaments in groups of five or seven. She’s really good at explaining it too, it’s all about the rule of three and then different heights and textures,” says Katie.
Katie’s great style isn’t just reflected in her home but also in her personal style. With her day job being a jewellery buyer for TK Maxx she really does have an eye for detail. “I 100% agree that your wardrobe can match your interiors. I don’t wear bright colours or lots of colour in general. I wear white, black, grey, burnt orange, khaki, those quite muted tones. I think you naturally wear what you feel comfortable in and then your home reflects that, they’re usually one in the same thing. People always say, I don’t know what my style is and I always say to them, just open your wardrobe and have a look and that’s you. That’s what you like to wear and your home will be very similar. When I do mood board workshops I ask people what’s your style and it’s really funny because you look at them all and you see what they’re all wearing and it’s generally the same thing and then they realise, that they are wearing bright florals and they love bright colours,” says Katie.
Katie’s home is filled with beautiful things and so it’s only natural that one of her most asked questions on Instagram is where something is from. “Home Sense first of all, IKEA and then H&M Home are my three go to’s I’d say. I also love West Elm and MADE. I’m also trying to buy from independent brands that I’m finding on Instagram. I have a thing for mugs and ceramics, I’m a bit obsessed with it so I seem to be buying a lot of pottery and ceramics that I’ve found online that fit with my style. I like that someone has handmade that, they’ve put loads of love into it and there’s a direct communication between you and them, it’s not just a big company.”
Katie’s home looks like something out of a MADE.com catalogue, but there’s always a bigger and better project pending in the back of her mind. “The dream eventually, is to knock the wall out in the kitchen and put bi-fold doors all the way along. At the minute it’s just a small door and the kitchen is so big. I just want it all to look and feel open. That’s the next project after we tackle the front of our house. The big dream is to build my own home, and while I think we will do it, there’s so much to consider. I wouldn’t want to move too far away from where we are now but land isn’t abundant here. I’d love to say that in 10, 15 years’ time the next place we’ll be living in is somewhere we have built. Everyone says it’s the worst, most stressful time of their lives but equally the end result is this house that they are so happy with. And if building a home from scratch wasn’t the next thing then we would buy a house that meant knocking down walls and restructuring. So, the next thing is either building a home or that middle bit of I love this house, I want to smash it all through and do this, change that and put and extension on,” says Katie.
If you’d like to see more of Katie’s home and her regular interior styling tips,
follow @hello_haus on Instagram
Take a tour of Katie's house
please click here for more information