On the sofa with Alex Bethanis
Our interior designer, Angelica, sits down for the second episode of ‘On the sofa with’ to chat to Alex, the person behind the lovely Instagram account, Townhouse_on_Elegance and the business, White Barn Home. With Alex being a Strata customer herself Angelica couldn’t wait to talk all things interior design with her along with why she chose a Strata home, what she loves most about it and what her favourite paint brand is.
Angelica: Hi, I’m on the sofa with, Alex from Townhouse_on_Elegance. So Alex, how did you get into interior design?
Alex: So, I actually bought a Strata home back in 2017 and it was the first time in a long time that I’d owned my own property and I was excited to put my own stamp on it. So I created my own Instagram account simply to document my interior journey and to gain inspiration from others.
Angelica: So what inspires you then Alex?
Alex: On Instagram, the things that I find really inspirational are just the different kinds of people you find on there first of all, so there are people from a professional interior design industry and also general people who are just buying their houses and using their imaginations to decorate their homes and you can get inspiration from both kinds of accounts. I also love to see how people use different lighting to take nice photographs of their homes and objects within them. That’s pretty much where I get my inspiration from really.
Angelica: Would you sat you’ve got signature style?
Alex: I do tend to gravitate towards the Nordic, Danish kind of styles but I also love modern country so it tends to be a mash up of those two mostly.
Angelica: And what’s the best thing about your home that you love?
Alex: I love how adaptable my home is so we have a young family and currently the downstairs of our home is open plan which is really handy when you have a 20 month old creating havoc when you’re trying to cook dinner. But it also has the potential to close off some rooms in the future when she gets a little bit older and possibly extend it as well so I think the home will grow with us as we grow as a family.
Angelica: Have you got a signature colour palette?
Alex: I’m very much neutral, there’s a lot of white in my home and I try to add texture to those rooms to keep interest on the walls. And although it is a new build I have put up some faux panelling in the room to create interest and I just love to layer up different neutral tones.
Angelica: So you use a lot of white and neutral colours in your home, is there a particular white that is your signature or do you just choose it as and when?
Alex: For the walls, actually it’s just pure brilliant white because it tends to change with the lighting in the night it looks more purple sometimes or warmer when you have candles lit and mood lighting on and in the day it’s just really bright and crisp. It also means you can add and change accessories around because there isn’t a set tone dictating what you have to have.
Angelica: Yeah, I agree with that! And with your pain finish as well, do you use matte or silk?
Alex: Definitely matte.
Angelica: And on woodwork, do you use eggshell or sand?
Alex: I have used some eggshell on woodwork before but yeah if it was skirting boards then I would definitely use gloss but on walls, matte every time.
Angelica: And if you was to introduce a daring colour into your home what colour would that be?
Alex: It might be something like Downpipe by Farrow and Ball which is a really cool bluey/grey and it contrasts really nicely with white especially if you have some wood tones in there as well. In fact I do have Downpipe in the downstairs toilet. I think downstairs toilets are the one room where you can be bold.
Angelica: Yeah, and everyone goes to it so it has to make a statement as well.
Alex: Yeah definitely.
Angelica: If there was one thing abut your home that you could change what would it be?
Alex: I think it might be on the exterior. I think I would want to add a summer house to the garden just to have a bit of a retreat for myself. And I would love a bath in our bedroom if that would be possible! That’s a dream that I have one day but other than that I actually love our home, it works really well for us.
Angelica: When you as designing your interiors did you make mood boards or did you just kind of go with it?
Alex: No I definitely made mood boards but having said that I did find that when I moved in I had a style in mind and I tried to apply it I learnt that some of the ideas that I initially had didn’t quite work with the house and I had to adapt it to suit the house so it’s difficult to know what will look good until your in there and then you work with the home that you’re in.
Angelica: You’ve got quite a lot of social media followers, do you have a lot of questions? And if you do, what are the top questions you get asked?
Alex: I think the top question is probably about the play house that we have for our little girl in the garden. It’s generally people asking where things are from, I love to look for bargain find in places to save money so I do share those when I find them and I think Instagram is great for that.
Angelica: Would you say Instagram has changed your life?
Alex: Definitely changed my life, Instagram is an amazing platform. I started my Instagram account when I was pregnant with my little girl and since being on maternity decided not to return to my full time job and I opened up my own business in November selling homeware so I have a second account called White Barn Home. If it wasn’t for Instagram I don’t think it would have been possible. It’s been a fantastic platform to advertise my business.
Angelica: So what made you buy a Strata home?
Alex: So we was looking for a new build home, as I mentioned, whilst I was pregnant and we knew we wanted to be in the Yorkshire area as that was where my family are based. We looked at all the new build developments around the area but it wasn’t until we found our Strata home in Ackworth that we actually felt we’d found home. The development itself is really lovely in that all of the house styles are different, it doesn’t look like a generic new build development but the area as well sold it to us it’s a beautiful area. The home was spacious and exactly what we needed to be able to grow into it so it all worked out brilliantly.
Angelica: And did you look at the show homes before you bought?
Alex: Yes! We looked at our house type in another development in another area first of all and we loved the size of the master bedroom and also the size of the hallways, they’re lovely and spacious compared to some of the other homes we went into so we was really happy we found that house type in the area that we chose.
Angelica: So I’ve heard a lot about people who dress like their homes, do you think that’s true?
Alex: There is definitely an element of truth and I’ve actually seen quite a few posts on Instagram recently of people who do match their wardrobes to their homes and have that kind of feature included within their feed. I personally, am unable to match my wardrobe to my home because wearing white is just dangerous with a small child but I do know there are most definitely some accounts that do match their wardrobes to their homes.
Angelica: And what is your favourite brand of paint?
Alex: It’s a really difficult decision. I love Farrow and Ball, I love them because they have a curated amount of paint colours so it’s not overwhelming and the Little Green Paint Company do some stunning shades as well so it would be one of the two.
Angelica: Well thank you for coming in today, it’s been really insightful listening to how you got into interior design!
Alex: Thank you so much for having me, it’s been great fun!