“How I renovated my entire house using only pretty pastel colours”

Written by Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

Colour enthusiasts, watch your renovation dreams come to life with this incredible home transformation.

Of all the interior design Instagram accounts that work the pastel decor trend, there are none that do it quite so well as the aptly named, The House That Colour Built. 

Every room is like walking into a sweet shop, with candy-hued walls and sugary furnishings, from lemon-sherbet wall panelling to peach bathroom tiles. 

The House That Colour Built is the work of Jess Kavanagh and Rick Sowerby from Greater Manchester, who started viewing houses at the beginning of 2018, and eventually got the keys for their home in February 2019, five months after their offer was accepted.

“We didn’t initially start out looking for a project,” Jess explains to Stylist.co.uk. “But we quickly realised we would have to change so much to make the house to our taste that it made sense for it to be a project house.” 

While the couple had viewed a lot of houses, they instantly knew that this house was ‘the one’. Built in the 1930s, their semi-detached may have originally had some period features but, unfortunately, Jess suspects these were removed in the 1970s, although the original doors are still intact.

What was your interior design inspiration?

“I am a massive colour enthusiast – I only dress in pastel so most of the colour inspiration for the house actually comes from my clothes weirdly! 

“We both prefer a more traditional style of décor too and love second hand furniture and antiques, so that really influenced our choices – we wanted to renovate but ensure the style was in keeping with the age of the house.”

What DIY hack are you most proud of?

“We love a bit of DIY; Rick recently did an IKEA billy hack to create our floor-to-ceiling bookcase in our kitchen. We tend to have a go at most things ourselves and save our process on our Instagram highlights.

“We are by NO means experts as we just learn on the job, but it’s nice to share tips with the interiors community as everyone always shares their skills!”

Biggest challenge?

“I’d say mentally, the hardest parts were stripping and restoring the staircase and all the doors in the house – it was pretty draining and tedious but I am so glad we stuck it out. 

“I think renovation work can wear you down sometimes but in the end it is so worth all the hard work. I never thought I’d say that when we were in the thick of it but it’s true!”

Which is your favourite room?

“We’ve been back and forward over this and we honestly can’t pick one! Every time we work on a room we say, ‘Yeah, this is our favourite’ and then as soon as we start the next one it changes! 

“We love this house so much; I think the fact that we took it back to its worst state and then rebuilt it, makes us appreciate its loveliness now even more.”

Jessica’s must-follow home accounts:

  • Eva Kaiser

    “Definitely one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. Eva manages to capture a dreamy quality in her rooms that is really rare and gorgeous.”

    Follow now

  • Heart Zeena Home

    “Pastels, plants and the most beautiful Art Deco apartment all mixed together is a joy to behold.”

    Follow now

  • Kate Rose Morgan

    “Kate is a fellow colour lover and she fills her home with the most beautiful mix; if you love pastels you will ADORE Kate.”

    Follow now

Jessica’s favourite homeware brands:

  • Oliver Bonas

    Oliver Bonas candle

    “Full of beautiful home accessories, we have two mirrors from here and countless candles!”

    Shop ceramic scented candle at Oliver Bonas, £19.50

    Buy now

  • Cerami


    “We bought all our plates and bowls from there. They are beautiful handmade pieces that make eating your food even more enjoyable!”

    Shop Violeta dinner plate at Cerami, £14.49 (£20.70)

    Buy now

  • Homesense


    “It’s the best place for cushions, throws, and quirky lamp bases!”

    See more

Images: Jessica Kavanagh / The House That Colour Built

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