At home with… Lydia Millen
Lifestyle and fashion influencer Lydia Millen is the latest person to sit down with us and talk us through her home style. Having spent the last 12 months transforming the home she shares with her husband Ali in Buckinghamshire, Lydia is able to see her visions come together, particularly with those small finishing touches that make a real difference. We sat down with Lydia in her gorgeous home and delved a little deeper into the inspiration behind her interior style, the next steps in the renovation journey within their home, and how she’ll be spending Christmas this year.
How would you describe your style at home?
We live in a modern home, set in the middle of the countryside which has a real modern farmhouse / New England vibe. The house has a foot print of around 6500 square feet so we often found areas looked bare but didn’t “need” furniture so we experimented with panelling and accent walls. We’ve also added lots of traditional detailing such as a limestone fire place and mouldings to the walls. We did one full staircase replacement and a full renovation to the other in order to remove the modern contemporary style the previous owners had and this really was the back bone of my personal interiors style being thread through the house to finish it off perfectly. All three hallways now feel bright, airy but dramatic and traditional at the same time. There’s still lots to do with 5 full bathroom renovations, the cinema/games room and the garden!
Lydia’s home style featuring rustic farmhouse and New England inspiration
Where do you find inspiration for your home?
Most of my inspiration and what I’ve learnt about interiors has come from Pinterest, I spend hours on there searching different styles, rooms, pieces. When I find a piece of furniture I love I search for it to see it styled in peoples homes to give me an idea of how it would work in my home. I desperately want to learn CAD Design in the near future so that I can play around with rooms and styles and get it absolutely perfect from the outset.
How have you made your interior personal to you?
I always knew I wanted a home that looked like it fell off the pages of a design magazine but I didn’t want it to end up feeling too corporate. I needed it to feel cosy and inviting at the same time as well presented and styled. Creating cosy spaces using well selected, hardwearing fabrics was essential as we knew we would be entertaining lots too. With being online there’s lots of opinions thrown around about styling and interiors but at the end of the day, the only person who has to live there is you (and possibly a long suffering partner) so whatever makes your house feel like your home, do that!
Our Isaac armchairs in Alabaster brushed linen cotton
You have our Bluebell sofa and Duke armchairs pride of place in your open plan kitchen/living space. What was it about these pieces that you loved for this room? And how do you use this space?
When we first viewed the house I knew I wanted the atrium in our kitchen to be a place where I could sit and enjoy my morning coffee whilst over looking the garden. We removed the curtains that once lived there, instantly because there’s only rolling fields behind us, I never wanted to cover the view up. But with floor to ceiling windows we needed comfortable, cosy fabrics that weren’t going to get bleached or ruined by the sun and with it now almost a year since we received our Bluebell Sofa and Duke Armchairs they still look just as amazing which is impressive purely based on how much use they get, let alone the sun beating through the window every day. It’s become one of those spaces that people gravitate to and we love having friends over, throwing the patio doors open and indulging a little/lot.
You have also recently finishing decorating your living room, which features our Isaac sofas and armchairs. Talk to us about the inspiration for this room and what led you to choosing these pieces…
As mentioned, in the summer we spend a lot of time in the kitchen atrium but in the winter we head through to our “formal living room”. This is the room we completely changed, flipping the layout on its head and adding a wood burning stove with limestone surround and herringbone brick work which quickly made this room my absolute favourite in the house.
I know I said it’s the formal living room, but we still didn’t want the room to feel stiff or un-lived in, which is why the Isaac sofas and armchairs were the perfect contrast to the traditional features we added to the room. The walls are painted in Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball which is dark and dramatic, so we lightened the space by opting for soft but bright fabrics for the sofas in shade ‘Alabaster’ and added luxe lighting and antique trunks to bring warmth into the space. Drinking a hot chocolate in this room in front of the fire is my happy place.
Our Isaac sofa in Alabaster brushed linen cotton
What did you find most challenging about your recent renovations?
I think it was initially just establishing what my style was and understanding that it can take time so try not to rush. Spend as long as you can on Pinterest, reading interiors magazines and books, find how the space works for you, get fabric samples, LOTS OF FABRIC SAMPLES and create mood boards which are super easy to do in Photoshop. The more I plan now, the more perfect the end result!
What’s next for your home? Any more room renovations coming up?
This week we will be finishing off the final area of our hallway which is the boot room at the back of the house which is going to give us the perfect place to store our muddy boots when we come back from walks and also make use of quite a redundant space by the back door. Then we are looking to tackle all the bathrooms in the house which although totally not an essential redesign, they just aren’t to our tastes. We love doing something fun and making quite a statement with bathrooms so that should be fun, but the real project will be the cinema/bar/games room, its the biggest room in the house and we want this space to be absolutely perfect so come 2020 I will begin planning so that we are completely ready to execute when budgets allow for it.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Every time I travel I learn more and more about what it means to be at home. It’s a feeling that cant be created anywhere in the world that’s for sure. You will get a “homely” hotel but to me it will never actually be home and that feeling when I pull up outside of my house after a few days away is completely inexplicable. It’s about creating a space that you can totally relax in, its where you can be yourself with no one else around and for my husband and I in the work that we do, that really is priceless. Our favourite thing to do is light the fire, snuggle under blankets with Lumi nestled at our feet with snacks and drinks whilst watching a weird documentary on Netflix.
Lydia’s cosy and homely living room with the woodburner and a limestone surround
How will you be spending the festive season? Do you like hosting family and friends?
For the last 6 or 7 years I have spent Christmas with Ali, his dad and his step mum alongside whichever of his Brothers and their partner is in attendance that year. Both Ali and I love this time of year and its why we got married at Christmas. His Dad, Andrew, and Step Mum, B, take Christmas just as seriously it really is magical, however this year they are doing a lot of renovations to their wonderful home and have asked if Ali and I would host Christmas this year, we are over the moon! It will be our first Christmas that we get to spend with our cat Lumi (yes we are crazy cat people) but also in our new home so I’ve really got to get my Christmas planning hat on now!
Shop Lydia’s Kitchen Style
Featuring the Duke armchair in Taupe brushed linen cotton, the Bluebell sofa in Midnight Blue brushed linen cotton, the House scatter cushion in Brancaster Norfolk cotton, the House scatter cushion in Flax hawthorn stencil, and the Bluebell footstool in Taupe brushed linen cotton
Shop Lydia’s Living Room Style
Featuring the Isaac armchair in Alabaster brushed linen cotton, the Isaac sofa in Alabaster brushed linen cotton, the House scatter cushion in Admiral smart cotton, the Hepburn side table, and the House scatter cushion in Alabaster brushed linen cotton.