House Tours

At home with Sandra Baker

A home made for her: @the_idle_hands dresses her plush Olive velvet Aissa sofa in clashing patterns and textures for the ultimate comfy corner

There really is no place like home. And especially when the bitter British weather imposes, the concept of a cosy night in at home is all the more alluring. The festive season is an opportunity for creating magical moments and memories with family and friends, and what better place to do this than in the intimacy of a home that reflects you, a sanctuary from the elements.

Revealing her newly redecorated living space, Sandra Baker @the_idle_hands explains that she knows she’s found the one as “it feels like me”. The explosion of colours and patterns perfectly reflects Sandra’s personality, meaning she truly feels at home here. During her recent renovations she blended her three main living areas making it the ultimate venue for hosting!

Stunning open planned kitchen, dining and living area ready for whatever the night brings.

How have you recently transformed your kitchen space and what influenced your decisions?

“In the first instance, we knocked two rooms together to make one large kitchen/dining/living space, and it’s the best decision we made in the house, it’s now unrecognisable from its original self. My design choices were influenced from everywhere – I visited a café in Leeds which was entirely clad in wooden paneling, and I fell in love – I took loads of photos and the wooden paneling in the island was my nod to that. I also spent a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram!”

These three areas work to create a social space, perfect for having guests over this season. Whether you want to stick at the dinner table, eagerly awaiting dessert, sprawl out on the sofa after the festive feast, or lend a hand in the kitchen…everyone can still feel together.

Sandra adds “If I’m hosting, I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun! A good host is a present host, and the layout of the kitchen is perfect for this – I’ve got my hob on the island, facing out into the room, so I can cook and chat in perfect harmony.  It’s a very sociable space, which is exactly what I wanted when we renovated the house from its previous complicated layout.”

The more the merrier: A corner sofa made for any and all guests

Our Aissa Corner Sofa is the ultimate match for your living room, what drew you to the style and fabric?

“First and foremost, the fact that Aissa is one of’s modular designs was a huge draw. I needed the sofa to fit a very specific corner in the “living” end of my kitchen, and we were able to configure it to fit perfectly! As to the style, there’s always a lot going on with my décor, and I’ve used an intricately patterned wallpaper in the kitchen. It was important that the sofa didn’t jar with that, and Aissa’s simple lines complement the décor beautifully.”

She adds, “Green is my favourite colour and this was a perfect shade. I love the luxurious feeling of velvet, and see no reason to keep that “for best” – I want luxe every day! It brings a beautiful tranquility to the space and makes me happy every day.”

Three spaces perfectly intertwined to create a social space with plenty room for everyone.

Let’s talk table scaping! How do you begin designing and forming your table layout?

“Always start with some kind of fabulous, seasonally-appropriate centrepiece. I used a painted pumpkin on a cake stand for Halloween, and often use a decorated Christmas cake in the festive season. Then I love to use lots of natural greenery, which is easy to forage from the garden or from country lanes – ivy is always gorgeous – to run down the centre of the table. It instantly looks lovely and is mostly free! I do this whatever the season, but for Christmas I love to dot candles and berries amongst the greenery, and add fairy lights for extra twinkle. Dark fruits, like pomegranates and figs, also look great dotted about the table, and you can eat them afterwards!”

Clashing patters and layering textures creates a sumptuous and cosy environment to indulge in.

Dopamine decor has taken the interior world by storm this year. What draws you to the maximalist look and what advice would you give to beginners looking in to weave in some pattern and colour?

“It’s just a style I’m naturally drawn to, from the heart. It makes me happy to be surrounded by beautiful pattern and colour. If you’re dipping your toe in maximalist waters for the first time, then I’d say to start with a key piece which you’ve really fallen in love with. For me, this is inevitably wallpaper. You then have the foundation for your colour palette for the room. Maximalism may look as if it’s all been thrown together with abandon, but the key is to be considered, and work with certain colours. Then, build it up with your sofa colour, or by adding lots of beautiful cushions to your existing sofa, using the colours within your wallpaper, or ones which work well with it. Then add accessories and artwork in the same way. Be bold, and experiment!”

Sandra’s carefully collated patterns and textures construct a cosy and warm home for her guests, the foundation of a perfect evening. All that’s left is some ambience!

“Lighting is absolutely key to ambience”

When hosting how do you like to set the perfect ambience?

Lighting is absolutely key to ambience – no-one wants to be illuminated from above by dazzling spotlights, as if you’re in a public convenience! Lots of lamps dotted about bring the ambient (and flattering!) light we want. Candles make everything a little more magical, and music is the most important thing of all – make a playlist in advance (I love a playlist!).

The social season is the perfect time to show off a home that’s truly yours and what better way than a pop of colour and splash of pattern or an intricate table to get people in the festive mood…or whatever represents your personality best! Check out Sandra’s Instagram @the_idle_hands to see her epic Halloween tablescape and keep your eyes peeled for some Christmas inspiration!

Get @the_idle_hands’ look…