Interview – The House that Jen Built – Boys Bedrooms
Monochrome for Boys Bedrooms
How do you mix monochrome style with an affordable budget?
Rooomy asks Jen Guest
Jen Guest is mum to Henry (6) and Oscar (2). A self-confessed serial houseplant buyer, Jen also manages to fit in a much loved career in the public sector. A Yorkshire lass, Jen went to university in Liverpool where she fell in love with Mr T. The young couple decided to stay, and in 2015 Jen and her husband, fell in love with a three bedroom Victorian end of terrace home. With high ceilings, original fireplaces, tall skirting boards and stripped wooden floors, it was Jen’s dream home.
Jen’s second son, Oscar, was born shortly after moving in. During her maternity leave, Jen created The House That Jen Built to share her house transformation and love of interiors. She has grown a strong and loyal following and has collaborated with top brands such as Dulux, TK Maxx, Mo Rugs UK and Piglet in Bed. Jen has a clear passion for light and dark interiors and has great skill in balancing traditional and modern styles. Once she has her ideas, she enlists her husband and dad, and together they create them making her home nearly entirely furnished with readily available and affordable items, they’re simply tweaked to make them perfect for their home. To see more of her house and projects check out her blog here.
RB – What is it that you love so much about monochrome?
JG – Stumbling into monochrome was a bit of an accident really! It started with our living room then just slowly spread throughout the house. I have a thing for dark interiors but our house doesn’t get the best natural light. Pairing a dark and light colour helps to lift a room so it’s perfect for us. Monochrome doesn’t just have to be black and white – I use dark grey and blue-blacks too.
RB – How do you approach the design of your sons’ rooms?
JG – Oscar’s room was decorated before he was born, and we didn’t know if he was a boy or girl so we used a neutral palate, making a feature wall with a hand drawn animal wallpaper by Beware the Moon. When I start planning a room, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and use that as a mood board. I already had an idea of the split wall paint effect and it went from there. I did consult with Henry on what he would like. His idea was brown and red, though, so I had to gently sway him towards black and white! Once I have the colours I plan the furniture and smaller details, like door handles and light fittings. Introducing wood was important to me, and I achieved this with storage cubes, hooks, shelving brackets and display shelves.
RB – Rooomy readers are always stressing over storage in their kids’ rooms. What are your top tips?
JG – Storage is a big issue in our house too! There never seems to be enough of it for all the toys the boys have and trying to make a room look stylish with a pile of brightly coloured plastic is hard! We have the Ikea Expedit unit in the dining room and the bottom two rows are filled with 8 baskets full of toys. We also have a large storage bag in there too! A lot of Oscar’s things are in Henry’s room, as Oscar’s room is small. We specifically chose a bunk bed that has a large storage drawer underneath because it holds A LOT of stuff! Both boys’ rooms have Ikea storage cubes, baskets and storage boxes. Shelves are a great way of storing books and toys in a stylish way.
RB – If money was no object what would you would love to buy for the boys’ rooms?
JG – I would love custom built bunk beds as we plan on the boys sharing when Oscar is a bit older. I’d design one with a ‘floating’ top bunk and some cool way of getting down – like a slide! This sounds brilliant, I know my girls would love one!
RB – If they could have anything in their rooms what do you think they would choose?
JG – I think Henry would love goal posts and one wall to be covered in a Liverpool Football Club mural!
RB – What are your three favourite items in Henry’s room?
JG – His moose head wall art by HU2 Design, the striped door on his built-in wardrobe and his gallery wall which is made up of his own pictures and some lovely prints I have collected.
RB – How do you manage to achieve the stunning finish with the affordable budget?
JG – DIY! We try and do as much as we can ourselves (with help from my Dad who is a DIY whizz and has a tool for everything) plus my brother who is an electrician! I’m so fussy that they both hate working with me. However, I find if you have a clear plan it saves on costly mistakes.
RB – As a serial houseplant buyer which is your favourite? And do your kids’ have plants in their rooms?
JG – It’s hard to pick a favourite houseplant – I’ve become a crazy plant lady! I was on the hunt for a Devils’ Ivy for a long time then stumbled across one for sale at a local café which was great because I love supporting small businesses. Devils Ivy is a trailing plant with bright green tear shaped leaves and grows like wildfire so I’m hoping to propagate it soon. I also like Boston ferns but can never keep them alive. And the boys do have plants in their bedrooms but just succulents or a few cacti in Henry’s room as they’re easy to look after and can handle plenty of neglect!
RB – What’s your best way of spending time with your boys?
JG – Both the boys are football mad so the best way to spend time with them is in the park with a ball. We started baking over the summer holidays which is great because we get to eat the treats at the end.
It was great to hear all about how Jen creates these wonderful spaces for her boys. To keep up with her latest home improvements and epic DIY projects, follow her on Instagram.
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