If you’re not familiar with Lisa Dawson’s style then you need to jump on Instagram immediately. Her Georgian home is an eclectic mix of inexpensive high street steals, boho thrift store finds and a dose of cheeky humour and it’s utterly fabulous. Lisa moved her family all the way from Berkshire to Yorkshire so today we’re chatting all about the relocation and how she came to call York home.
Tell us a little bit about yourself Lisa
I run an interior design business, Lisa Dawson Styling as well as writing weekly for my blog. My friend, Dee Campling, and I run Styling Your Home workshops up and down the country. Our first London event is taking place on 9 June at the Bag & Bones headquarters – we’re really excited! I live in York with my husband Joe and our three children and Lhasa Apso, Buddy, all of whom are very badly behaved.
What prompted your move to the North?
My husband Joe manages BMW car dealerships and had been working in London for years. When he was offered a position in York, I actually had mini palpitations after never really having lived North of Watford. We went up to visit and I immediately fell in love with it – York is beautiful and really cosmopolitan with lots of cool independent bars, restaurants and shops. We even have our own art gallery! We rented for a year before we made the decision to move up here permanently. We moved with the intention of returning back South after a while but actually we liked living here so much that we sold our house in Reading and bought our dream home, five miles out of York.
How did you research potential properties?
I used Rightmove addictively and had constant updates on my phone alerting me to suitable properties. I also signed up with all the estate agents and harassed them daily. We were restricted to a catchment area for the secondary school but there were plenty of villages within this scope to choose from.
How many properties did you view before you found your gorgeous home?
We only viewed four! We saw this one first and absolutely loved it but we thought we had better look at a few others to make sure we had covered the market. I’d been really keen to live in central York in a townhouse but they had on street parking and small gardens and Joe needed a drive and the kids needed space to play football so it didn’t really add up.
Any tips for making a smooth transition from one location to another, especially when you have kids?
We moved our children when one was due to start in Reception, one was going into year 5 and one was going into year 7 so about to start secondary. It was difficult for the older ones as they’d been in the same primary in Caversham for their entire education but they soon fitted in and absolutely love it. Joe has a really small commute now so he gets to see the boys play football which he would never have been able to do if he still worked in London. Thanks to the power of social media they still keep in contact with all their old friends!
What made you fall in love with this house and how long have you lived there?
We’ve lived here two years in May. We immediately loved the exterior of the property as it was Georgian style, imposing yet had a modern (well, 50s) extension on the side that made it stand out and gave it an edge. Inside was a blank canvas but had been totally modernised with new bathrooms and kitchens. The windows had been overhauled which was brilliant as that’s something that we’ve struggled with in previous homes so we didn’t have to do any thing but decorate. It also had loads of space for everyone, particularly downstairs which is always my priority.
You have such a stunning unique style. Was it something you set out to create or something that evolved organically?
I’ve always loved interiors but it was only after my son was born that I really started putting my thoughts into action. I’ve been obsessed with thrifting and recycling ever since I discovered eBay and 90% of my home falls into this bracket. I’ve spent much of my life styling my home in what others considered ‘quirky’ but since being on Instagram it’s been fabulous to find other people who are obsessed with the same things as me! I love throwing unexpected things together and have a rule that I have nothing in my home that I don’t totally love. When we moved into this house I eBayed or donated everything that I wasn’t 100% about and as a result, I’m surrounded by things that make me happy. I’m hugely inspired by the boho eclectic style which is so popular in America. It’s relaxed, individual and non trend directed way of living really appeals to me. I run Styling Your Home workshops with Dee Campling where we promote this very idea that your home should be a reflection of your personality and you should surround yourself with things that you love.
How did the decor in your last house differ to your current house?
The decor in my previous house was very similar if I’m honest! It was a Victorian semi detached and I loved it, it had lots of space and was really the first house that I let my ideas run wild. I would say that over the years I have learnt why and how things work in my home whereas when I was decorating Albert Road I was just starting to work out what I liked and what inspired me. I didn’t know why it did but I liked it!
What do you miss most about your old place and love most about your current?
I had Woods wallpaper by Cole & Son on three floors up the hall staircase and I totally loved it. At the time not many people were ‘doing’ wallpaper so it was quite a statement. I still love the print! I miss my family and friends too who all live in Caversham but they visit regularly thanks to our guest suite in our current home which is a massive bonus! I love the potential of my current home. I’m very transient when it comes to decorating and there is always something to update or change here! Plus living in the countryside is wonderful and we have views over fields which are totally clear and not overlooked.
If you were to make such a big move again is there anything you’d do differently?
No I don’t think so. I’m a great believer in fate and I think that this move came at a perfect time for my family (I’d had treatment for cancer the year before so it was a fresh start). We did the right thing renting our Caversham house out until we knew for sure this move was the correct thing for our family.
If you didn’t live here where would be your dream location to live and what type of house would you have?
My dream location would be a huge Georgian townhouse in central London with a massive garden and off street parking!
What are you favourite sources for furniture, lights and art prints?
Furniture, I’m absolutely an eBay girl and it’s rare that I buy anything that isn’t recycled. IKEA would be my go to for basics. For lights I also scour Gumtree – my Danish pink lamps were £20 the pair. Since BHS sadly shut down I have bought from The Range and Marks & Spencer. My favourite statement light is my spotlight ceiling lamp from Rockett St George. I like to buy art prints from independent and and am a huge supporter of print design studios and stockists such as We Are Amused, Tipperley Hill, Nickie Kelly, Curious Egg, Hilary & Flo and Violet & Thistle who have a huge selection. And of course King & McGaw who have the best online selection – unbeatable.
Who else loves Lisa’s style as much as I do? Any other tips you’d love to share relating to moving areas and relocating?