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Real Homes of Instagram: Laura from @thehappybuild

Woman in modern kitchen with a cup of tea

'Real Homes of Instagram' is our weekly sneak peek into the homes of some of our favourite decorators from Lick's community and beyond.

Laura (@thehappybuild) is 37 years old and lives with her husband Jon, and their three children; Ralph, Bella and Polly. Oh, and not forgetting their beloved Australian Labradoodle, Sam!

A former commercial property surveyor, turned stay at home mum; Laura enjoys all things interiors and design.

Meet Laura!

Their home is a contemporary, detached new build; complete with three storeys’ and five bedrooms. A real showstopper! They built their home themselves, and moved in in October 2018.

“From the outset, we were keen to create a house which would be a design statement; but also function as a working family home. We liaised closely with our architect to design a home that fitted the relatively unusual plot shape, and which is designed around a central courtyard that leads in to the kitchen and heart of the house”.

“We were keen to create a house which would be a design statement; but also function as a working family home.”

Image of modern house from the exterior driveway

Laura's contemporary home makes an architectural statement from the onset

Bird's eye view of a courtyard with hanging plants covering a wall, and a monochrome geometric outdoor rug in the seating area

Who wouldn't want to relax in this quirky courtyard with a glass of wine?

Laura describes her signature style as modern and bright. She likes to decorate her home using a mix of high-street brands and traditional classics. She also enjoys experimenting with colour, in particularly when it comes to prints and artwork.


“My favourite room is most definitely the open plan kitchen and living space. The whole build was centred around it, with large sliding glass pocket doors which open up to create an inside-outside space; and where the floor tiles from the kitchen seamlessly flow in to the courtyard. The centre piece of this space is a 5.5m long island that is the hub of our daily lives and which we use regularly for entertaining”.

Modern kitchen with long white island and large copper hanging lights

Laura's 5.5m long kitchen island makes for a lovely cooking and entertaining space

Open plan kitchen and dining room with open sliding doors, and a dog in the forefront of the image.

The open-plan kitchen-dining design is a great way to maximise space

Thanks to Laura & Jon’s background in commercial property, along with their current roles in property developing, they are always taking ideas from places they visit and projects they are leading.


“Along with this, I find Pinterest and Instagram to be a fantastic source of décor and styling inspiration; and not only that, it is a wonderful tool to catalogue projects and build up mood board ideas”.


Laura admits her home is “ever evolving”; moving around furniture, but also investing in new pieces and accessories that may catch her eye from time to time. She also likes to decorate her home seasonally, adding subtle hints as a nod to the time of year.

“I find Pinterest and Instagram to be a fantastic source of décor and styling inspiration; and not only that, it's a wonderful tool to catalogue projects and build up mood board ideas.”

Looking for mood board ideas? Get inspired by our Lead Colour Specialist, Tash, who demonstrates how to make a mood board from scratch.

Close up image of bedroom with plants, artwork and pink, black and beige pillows

Laura has chosen a soothing green for her guest bedroom - the perfect colour to aid relaxation

Hallway with bird print, house plant, hanging area and large circle mirror

Laura's utility room is accessorised to feel welcoming, vibrant, as well as functional

Their most recent decoration project was the open plan lounge area, adjacent to the kitchen…


Laura explains; “Since moving in, I was never entirely happy with the lounge area as it was not planned properly. We wanted to live in the house prior to deciding the finished décor and furnishings. Having lived in the house for a while, I wanted to zone this area to create a more together space and seemingly separate from the kitchen area. The furniture remained the same, but I wanted a completely different feel."

"The lounge is a typically used family area and I wanted to make the wall mounted TV less dominant and to do so I used Lick Black 01 on the wall behind. Not wanting to paint the whole lounge a darker colour, as this would be too jarring to the adjacent lighter kitchen area, I chose a complimentary Greige 02 colour on the other two lounge walls.


To finish the room, I added a new rug, picture ledge and additional soft furnishings. Planning process aside, the work took just one day but makes all the difference”.

Woman sitting on a dark charcoal sofa, in a room painted Lick Greige 02

Lick Greige 02 is a fantastic colour to sit back and relax in

Living room painted in Lick Greige 02, including a shelf designed to mount artwork

Having a picture ledge is a clever way to mount lots of artworks without loosing wall space

Next up on Laura’s DIY list, is her snug. Currently a dark blue shade, she really wants to bring a more neutral tone into the room, as well as new textures, a fireplace and bespoke joinery. Stay tuned to Laura’s Instagram page to see how this project unfolds.

Dark blue lounge area, with a teal sofa and palm tree print on the wall

We can't wait to see what Laura decides to do with her snug!

Wall showing Beige 01 in varied natural light

Perhaps our Beige 01 will tickle Laura's fancy?

Laura’s top tips for decorating:

  • Don’t rush into a project too quickly – we learnt the hard way with our bedroom and chose a colour based on Pinterest images rather than testing the colour first. As soon as it was finished, I disliked the colour and have never learnt to love it! Redecorating this room is definitely on our ‘to do’ list
  • Don’t be shy of the preparation work required to start a project; planning, cleaning, masking (for a paint job) – the key to a successful project is always in the prep work!
  • Invest in good quality products for painting and decorating – you’ll be sure to save yourself time and money
  • Finally, just give it a go! Things rarely go wrong, and are easily changed if you don’t like it. Paint makes such a massive difference to a space, and is relatively inexpensive. Take the leap and reap the rewards…

Laura’s Lick picks!


"I love the Mars Meadow O1 wallpaper, this would look great in my eldest daughter’s bedroom. Its vibrant colours are playful, yet will carry with her as she grows. I would pick out the coral element, which is her favourite colour, to accessorise the rest of the room.


Having spoken about my dislike for the colour of our bedroom, I am looking to choose a more neutral colour and think White O1 or White O2 would work perfectly. If I am brave, I might paint the fifth wall in a darker colour, such as Green O3."

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