How interior blogger Modern Luxe Blog transformed her Victorian living room
Shutterly Fabulous are perhaps originally known for our Brighton shutters. We first began as a shutter company in Brighton 16 years ago, measuring and expertly fitting wooden shutters in East Sussex. So when the opportunity to talk with one of our original Brighton customers who is now known for her fabulous home and covetable interior style, we couldn’t pass it up.
Poonam Sharma writes the interior blog Modern Luxe, and lives in a glorious Victorian family home in East Sussex. Her plantation shutters grace several windows in her property, and we are delighted she’s here to share her design story renovating her living room with us today.
Nowadays, our shutter repertoire far extends the shores of Sussex – we measure and fit wooden shutters to homes like Poonam’s all across the UK, but revisiting a home we were proud to fit, and to see Poonam’s shutters hanging every bit as fabulous as the day they were installed, fills us with delight.
Poonam, it’s fantastic to talk to you today. Tell our readers a little bit about you, your blog, where you live and how you came to own your Victorian home
I live in Hove, East Sussex with my partner Willis and my son Zachary (who’s 5). We live in a Victorian villa in Hove, which we are still finishing (and it’s taking ages!).
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 was interiors. So I decided to write a blog about our renovation and styling our home. Because as all mums’ know, there is only so much kids TV your brain can take.
We obsessed over our house for 2 years, watching it daily on Rightmove, but unfortunately it was way too expensive for us. When we finally looked at it, we fell in love with it, and put in a ‘cheeky offer’. Shock horror when they accepted it!
What did your Victorian home look like when you first moved in and what were your plans for the living room?
Structurally the house was sound. But the interiors were just awful (and that’s putting it mildly). It was owned by a family who’d had it for years, but they did nothing (and I mean nothing) with the interiors. That said, we were more than happy to buy a place where we could renovate and put our own stamp on it.
So we pulled down walls at the back of the house, remodelled the bathrooms, removed all the outdated patterned wallpaper, and installed a huge glass façade in the kitchen-dinner area.
The living room like the rest of the house hadn’t been touched. We wanted to enhance all the original features, like the coving, fireplace and amazing architraves. So we painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Railings to make them really stand out.
You’ve done such a beautiful job bringing the property up to date. We love your Modern Luxe style and would love to hear tips for families to recreate the look. What key design elements make your living room modern luxe while being family friendly?
Aww thank you that’s very kind. The key is to understand how you want the space to feel and how you are going to use it. We bought our red velvet sofa before Zachary was born and split the corner unit into two. But it didn’t feel right for us. And as a family, it felt way too formal. So we pulled the 2 sofas back together creating more of a relaxed feel, where we could enjoy the space together. Storage was also important to us. We bought a USM unit that’s definitely more grown up. We wanted somewhere to hide Zachary’s toys and still look’s stylish. Kids storage doesn’t have to mean just kids storage. Be creative and use storage solutions that match your interiors.
Your living room shutters are obviously a key part of the look. What made you opt for shutters in your Brighton property?
I’ve always loved shutters and it was the first thing we bought for the house. And whilst, they enhance all the original features, it also gives our house a modern feel, which is one of the reasons we love them. Our house wouldn’t be the same without them.
You chose tier on tier shutters in your living room which is a popular choice for bay windows, what enticed you to choose this style and what do you love about them?
The front of our house faces a road so we decided on tier on tier shutters to open the top panels (to be like café style shutters) and allow the light to flood in while still preserving our privacy. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than people having a nose into your house whilst you’re watching your favourite Netflix drama 🙂 And if we’re feeling particularly daring (and the house is tidy), we also have the option to open both the top and the bottom shutter panels fully and let people have a nose around our living space. Tier on tier shutters just bring so much flexibility!
Do you have any tips for homeowners who may be choosing shutters for their homes?
We’re very fortunate to live in a house with large bay windows and we wanted the shutters to look part of our house rather than just an add on. So we went on a shutter hunt around Hove, looking at houses similar to ours to see how their shutters looked and talked about what we liked or didn’t like about the various shutter styles. So when choosing your shutters, you need to decide how you want your windows to look from the outside but equally as important how they will look and feel on the inside. Cos let’s face it, we spend most of our time inside our houses. The way they look and open from the inside is key to getting the look you want. We went for white shutters to match the bay windows. And because our windows are big we also went for the larger louvres to avoid it looking too busy. The smaller louvres (individual panels) have a more traditional look, but with bigger windows, wefelt the large and fewer would look better. So my advice is to do your research (Pinterest/Instagram), go on a shutter hunt around your area viewing similar properties and you’ll quickly know which shutters will best suit your home.
Now that you’ve lived with your Shutterly Fabulous shutters for many years, how do shutters compare to other window dressings you have in your home?
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I get bored quickly and have a tendency to revamp rooms in our house on an ongoing basis. And if we’d opted for curtains or fabric blinds, I think I would’ve got bored by now. But, I have to say we’ve never got bored with our shutters. We have them in all our windows at the front of the house, making it look more uniform (first impressions and all that!). It’s the one thing in the house I wouldn’t change. They’re modern, elegant and timeless. We’ve had them for about 10 years and absolutely love them. So whilst I think about changing wall colours, furniture etc, the shutters are definitely here to stay.
That’s great to hear, we agree. Shutters are such a timeless investment. We’re curious now, do you have any other interior projects on the horizon?
OMG where do I start! If I had my way I’d start redecorating the whole house again! But unfortunately, Willis has to rein me in. I’ve just finished Zachary’s bedroom and I’m now trying to sort out the garden. But I’m the least green-fingered person ever and seem to kill anything green. Eeek! I’m not too sure what it’s going to look like, so watch this space!
Well best of luck with it! Finally to wrap up we like to ask everyone we interview, what’s the best piece of interior advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t rush into anything before understanding your own style, and trust me I’ve made a few mistakes in my time. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the lovely images on Instagram/Pinterest and thinking it will look great in your house. The key learning for me has been to; define my style, understand why I like it, then make it my own.
That’s such brilliant parting advice Poonam. Thank you for allowing us to interview you today! Take a look at Poonam’s blog Modern Luxe blog for more interior inspiration, or follow her on Instagram @modernluxeblog.