This month we invited Sharon to take part in our 'In Conversation With' series. Sharon is the mastermind behind the popular blog Hornsby Style and the Instagram hashtag #sassyhomestyle and has a wealth of knowledge and passion for everything interiors.
1. Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I am an Interior Blogger and Stylist. My husband Jim is a Pilot and we have three children, Liberty 18, Isobel 13, and Tom 12. We live in West Sussex. Our first house renovation was in 2006 and we have recently completed our third big renovation project which I designed and project managed. Off the back of my interiors account on Instagram (@hornsby_style), I launched my blog in 2017 and it has taken over as my main business, alongside styling and photography for interior photoshoots and small business’ websites, which is something I love to do.
2. Where did your passion for interior design come from?
I have always loved interior design, even as a child I would spend hours rearranging my dolls house! When we decided to buy a wreck of a house to renovate and start from scratch my passion for it really grew. I left my job, as we had also just had our third child when we bought the house and took on the project managing of the build and design of the interiors. I took a diploma in interior design and as well as carrying out the décor for our subsequent homes, I had a small business carrying out interior design projects locally.
3. What is your design mantra?
Take inspiration from others but let your own style evolve within this and remember your house is a home, it has to work for you and your family as well as being beautiful. Go for a classic design which you can add your personality to with colours and accessories that can be changed easily as tastes change. Always have plants and natural materials in your home.
4. How does this reflect in the design of your house?
I took inspiration from a kitchen I had seen on Pinterest when it came to designing my own kitchen. As it was part of a new extension I had a free reign so to speak with the design. The main thing I wanted to take from my dream kitchen was an internal brick wall and having other natural elements in the room such as reclaimed wood which I also had the kitchen units made from. I incorporated the wood on the back of the island and in the pantry on the back wall, it gives real character and warmth to the room. I love having plants in every room in my home including the kitchen. I’ve used statement lighting too, small light fittings can get lost in an open plan kitchen and they also define the different areas, so I say go big! I used hard wood classic units which were handpainted and as I wanted the room to feel open, I incorporated open shelving rather than wall units. I also added a walk-in pantry with a larder area, home bar and an area for the dishwasher and another sink which works well in a family kitchen as the mess is hidden away! There are lots of accessories and artwork in my kitchen I wanted it to almost not feel like a working kitchen.
5. Have you noticed any new trends in the kitchen?
I think kitchens are seen more as a social room these days rather than just a functional place to cook, which means they are much more design-led and the little details matter. Gold taps and hardware are starting to be seen and the days of the humble white plug socket are numbered, they are now available in brushed golds and copper hues and being seen more and more in kitchen design. Another trend that is becoming more mainstream is adding rugs to the kitchen floor they add pattern and colour and warmth underfoot, which is great if you have a tiled floor. I also think walk-in pantries are going to start being seen more in kitchen design.
6. If you had £250 to spend in the kitchen, what would you buy?
I would buy myself a good coffee machine. We had a built-in one in our previous kitchen which was great, but I just haven’t got around to buying a new one for here yet.
7. What colour(s) should we be using in the kitchen?
My cabinets are painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Railings’, a very dark almost black blue, and I love it, dark units are still a huge trend, however, muted or very dark greens seem to be being used a lot at the moment. Grey units are still big news too and pale grey units add a modern update to classic white units if you are looking for a lighter colour. I think people are starting to go for a more natural homely look in the kitchen with the addition of some statement pieces rather than a more clinical look. They are often the main rooms in our homes where everyone gathers now and there is a need for them to feel homely and inviting.
8. What are your three top tips for decorating shelves in the kitchen?
Use things you love, you will be looking at them every day, open shelves are the perfect focal point to display items that add personality to your kitchen.
If you’re lacking in storage space open shelves are great for putting all your crockery on and unlike wall cupboards, things don’t get lost at the back of the unit as you can see it all in front of you. Build an extra high shelf for those items that you don’t use as often, or for trinkets you love and want to display and have the everyday plates and bowls at eye level and in easy reach.
Add plants or even a mini herb garden to your shelves, and whatever you have on your shelves finish them off with a few fairy lights to make a feature of them in the evening.
9. What are your kitchen must-haves?
For me a boiling water tap is a must have these days if you’re planning a new kitchen, it’s great to have boiling water available straight away. Sticking with the water theme, an American fridge freezer with a filtered water dispenser is my other must have with a family of five. Lastly, when we built the extension it was going to be difficult to get gas to the kitchen so we got a range cooker with an induction hob, I would never go back to gas now, its induction for me all the way! I love it! A separate utility room is a must, especially with three kids.
10. Where do you go for design inspiration?
Living etc, Elle Decoration and Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom are the magazines I buy every month without fail.
On Instagram I love the accounts of @mynordicroom @sohohouse @rockettstgeorge for inspiration.
My favourite Instagram home accounts of the moment are:
- @cowboykateoutpost for all round innovative and beautiful design
- @jellinadetmar whose home is plants & wood heaven
- @lexden_home who allows us to follow her on the renovation journey of her beautiful home
And of course, Pinterest is a constant source of inspiration and ideas.
- Pastels or primaries? Primaries
- Plain or patterned? Oooh that’s a tough one but I’d have to go ‘plain’
- Chairs or stools? Stools
- Wood or stone? Wood
- Aga or oven? Oven
- Industrial pendants or decadent chandelier? I’ve got both in my kitchen! ‘Industrial pendants’
- Larder or utility room? Both! But I couldn’t be without a utility room
- Cooking or eating? Eating
- Instagram or Pinterest? Instagram
- Minimalist or maximalist? I think I’m somewhere in the middle but ‘Maximalist’
Keep up to date with Sharon's take on all things design related via her blog and Instagram page.
Feel inspired and ready to start designing? Speak with one of our expert designers by calling 0800 389 6938 or book a complimentary design consultation in your local Harvey Jones showroom.