For interiors blogger and sustainability expert Rebecca Lawson, the key to creating a relaxed and homely environment is to keep everything quite soft and neutral: natural wood finishes for floors and worktops, a muted colour palette for walls and tiling, and layers of cosy textiles. To this calm and cohesive backdrop she adds the quirky pieces, some of which might be found and foraged, that give it character.

Rebecca is a dab hand at trawling antiques fairs and brocantes for the gently patinated vintage accessories that fill her north London home. Walls are hung with vintage bus blinds and old advertising signs, shelves are home to attractive vignettes featuring taxidermy, antique bottles and seasonal flowers.

Rebecca and her husband Gareth bought their house in leafy Winchmore Hill seven years ago, when Rebecca was pregnant with their first child. ‘We were in a one-bedroom flat at the time,’ she says, ‘and this was the only house we viewed: I decided on the spot that it was perfect.’ Unlike the speedy purchase, the couple have taken their time over the renovation and decoration of the four-bed property. In fact, they waited two years after moving in before starting to put their mark on their home.

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When it comes to building work, Rebecca believes in taking things slowly. ‘It’s worth living with things for a while,’ she says, ‘as this will allow you to work out not only what you want, but what’s actually best for a space.’ She took the same approach to the decor, allowing the rustic, reclaimed look that she was aiming for to develop over time. ‘Start with your neutrals on floors and walls,’ she advises. ‘Then add in the furniture you love and gradually build in your favourite finds from there.’

The kitchen, a 1980s conservatory, was the first really big change they made. ‘It just needed to be demolished,’ she says. ‘It was the biggest job we did and it was a huge relief to get it done.’ In its place is now a spacious kitchen-diner with clean lines, painted cabinets and wooden worktops – an aesthetic that speaks of Rebecca’s lifelong love of Scandinavian design, fuelled by trips to Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

The same design elements that work so well in the kitchen have been employed throughout the house, where pale woods, foliage, a soothing neutral colour scheme and whitewashed vintage furniture combine to create a relaxed feel in each room. This unfussy approach has allowed for a natural evolution of the aesthetic and in recent years Rebecca has begun to experiment with darker colours.

‘In the sitting room we went from white walls to Farrow & Ball’s moody Railings. It’s so much cosier now.’ Similarly, Hague Blue contrasts with white tiles in the industrial-style family bathroom – Rebecca’s favourite room in the house. ‘The roll-top bath was a £25 eBay bargain. I then got the builder to weld some taps from copper piping. It was all so easy to create and on a tiny budget, too,’ she says.

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Texture is an important element for Rebecca and it’s much in evidence throughout the house. Carefully chosen accessories complement and contrast with one another providing visual interest in every room: old tin tiles, soft velvet sofas, dried flowers and industrial pendant lamps.
‘I adore anything rusty,’ Rebecca says. ‘It’s the raw touches that add character and style. And they don’t cost a thing to the environment either.’

Her favourite items are the vintage treasures she has hunted out at antiques markets and brocantes. ‘They’re decades old and have great stories attached,’ she says, adding that she finds it satisfying to give them a new lease of life. And now with the house completed, the couple have recently begun the slow process of breathing life into their new home and you can follow Rebecca’s progress on her blog,