Interviews / 30 July, 2021 / Ellie Thompson
Sophia is a midwife, content creator and stylist. She lives in a picturesque, quiet countryside village, with her husband and two young daughters, age 2 years and 3 months old. Sophia is the author of Instagram account This Colourful Nest (@thiscolourfulnest), and she enjoys thinking up innovative interiors and playing with colour pairings for room decor, as well as cooking and hosting dinner parties. We caught up with Sophia to talk interiors and accessories, and to find out exactly what her husband thinks of pink!
“It all began at the beginning of lockdown last year,” Sophia explained excitedly. “We’d just moved into our family home, and then literally, the day after, I decided to paint the magnolia living room pink. Going into lockdown I decided I wanted to join in with home interiors on Instagram, and I was soon getting the taste for it and becoming more adventurous. And then, once Farrow and Ball shared the picture, it all cascaded from there.”
Sophia admits that when it comes to colour, she just can’t get enough. “The bravery of using colour was just from the realisation that less was not enough, and that more is more. We’ve got quite a cottage-gy dark house and without enough colour it can be a bit wishy-washy.” she said. “Ironically, the house we lived in before was a new build with white walls, and because we knew we weren’t going to stay, instead we invested in tonnes of colourful accessories. The colours have always been there, but the walls were actually new for me, having moved into this house.”
Sophia finds interior inspiration from the clothes she wears. “I am more of a fan of pastels than I am of bright colours. I find that I do tend to mimic my wardrobe. I love colourful brands, like Boden and so on – the ones that do colour blocking. When I feel colourful it sort of transfers to what I want to do in the house.” she said.
What’s interesting is that there are very few colours she steers clear of. “I love red and pink, and even more, I love orange and pink. I think there’s something about the contrast of colours that clash that looks really good. I actually haven’t found a combo that I don’t like together, other than red and green, or green and blue, depending on the tones. But even then, you can usually find a shade that goes. I have to admit, there’s not a lot of red in my house, pink is my favourite colour.” Sophia explained.
“I feel like my toddler has lived through seeing so much change in the house!” Sophia laughs. “I let her into the office as we’re in the middle of re-doing it with an ice cream theme. She said ‘Ice cream… Hmm. Pink!'” she giggles.
“And as for my husband – I caught him at a busy moment one evening and said, ‘I’m going to paint the front door pink!'” she exclaimed.
Sophia goes on. “It’s not just that pink is my favourite colour, but there’s something about a safe colour that some people have. Some people have blue, and with blue, they’ll feel it will always turn out if they use that colour. Mine is certainly pink!”
Sophia opens up about her working life. “I’m a midwife but I’m also a health visitor, although either way, there would always be time to paint. I feel like it’s my Achilles heel addiction.” she confesses. “I like the change that can come with decorating and styling.” she adds.
“During lockdown, I still went into work, there was only a small period where I didn’t, but I was only part-time, and because my husband was furloughed, there was time he’d be able to toddler sit and I’d be able to get things done when I wasn’t in work. Leading out of that became trickier, but I still found pockets of time.” she mused.
“I’m often asked ‘how do I get the painting done so quickly?’ I think I’m just a whizz with a roller and a steady hand that I manage to get things done!” she laughs.
On painting around the children, Sophia always makes sure she invests in non-toxic products. “I am really impressed with paint company Little Greene. I think everybody’s trying to be savvier with paint and children.” she adds.
“I would say pulling together a mood board is a great idea for getting an idea of what colours go together,” she advises. Sophia also recommends investing in a few tester pots or swatches, although admits she often skips that step. “I’m terribly impulsive if there’s a colour I’m really keen on.” she confides. “If there’s a colour you really like, go for it. And as long as it’s not a big massive room, it’s easily rectified.”
Sophia often shares ideas with the two women she runs #ColourfulHomeVibe with on Instagram. “We’re all in different homes, one’s in a new build and one is also in a cottage. It can be really time-consuming when you’ve got to do the prep work, but obviously, it’s worth it and I thoroughly recommend doing it. There are times you can get away with more light work, especially if you’re wallpapering, as long as walls are as smooth as needs be.” she admits.
“It’s harder in a cottage as the walls are really quirky, but that’s where it’s handy to have Dad come in, I think my husband and I would have divorced over wallpaper quite a long time ago!” she laughs. “It’s a treat to have Dad’s help. I feel like I should know how to do wallpapering now on my own, but dad brings precision to the job.”
“We are massive fans of the brand Stokke and the Tripp Trapp chair. Actually, Tripp Trapps have been in the family for ages, I remember growing up and my cousins having Tripp Trapps chairs. I saw them again when I was pregnant with my first child and I knew that was what I wanted.” she confirms.
“I never actually used the newborn set with my first, but it’s been absolutely wonderful for my second, who’s now three months. It’s been great for including her at dinnertime and breakfast time, and it’s nice for our toddler who’s at the same height in her Tripp Trapp. There’s lots of interaction between the two which is lovely, and all four of us can be at the table together.” Sophia enthused.
“There are lots of options out there, but for me, there was something about the Tripp Trapp that really had the family/personal touch, and just to be able to have her next to me in the kitchen while I’m whizzing around is brilliant. We were surprised and over the moon when we found our baby even sleeps in her newborn set!”
Sophia admits that choosing the colour of her first Tripp Trapp was a difficult choice. “We couldn’t work out which colour Tripp Trapp to go for the first time, I wanted to get the pink, but we weren’t sure of the gender of the baby. First time round we went for the limited edition ash with a beautiful baby pink seat – pink of course!” she smiles.
“The second time around I was torn, I really liked the mint, but as soon as they bought out the new Sunflower Yellow I had to have it. It’s really lovely – almost mustard – a warm yellow, a really nice deep colour and it stands out beautifully. I’m glad I took the leap and went for colour this time around. Whether I mix and match it – I’ve got the yellow toddler seat, but I might put the pink on it and have a nice pink and yellow combo. We also got both chairs personalised with their names on the back which is a lovely touch.”
“I absolutely yearned after the Stokke Sleepi when I had my eldest, but at the time, just because of where we were living, the bedroom was an unusual shape so it wasn’t possible. As soon as we moved, that was my plan. I absolutely love it. I moved my eldest out of what she did have, bless her, and into her Sleepi, as they last till ten years old which is fantastic. We knew we wanted it for our youngest so they would have matching Sleepi cots. One of them has white and one of them has natural wood and they’re really lovely.”
“I like the shape of them. They feel more friendly to the room, I prefer softer edges to harder edges, scallop design is one of my favourites.” she says.
“To have the Sleepi in with Clemmie’s scalloped edging in the room ties in really well together. In Mini’s room, she’s got hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling and the Sleepi just looks so at home. The curved design of the Sleepi looks like a really natural way to sleep. This sounds so midwife-y but you’re in the womb curled up within that shape, so I find something really natural about the Sleepi’s design.”
The baby’s crib or cot is usually the centrepiece when it comes to creating a nursery or baby’s room. “I definitely recommend the Sleepi.” says Sophia. “It’s one of those must-haves on the list.”
When it comes to nursery interiors, Sophia prefers calming pastel aesthetics, despite being tempted by bolder themes. “I do believe there are some really good looks with bright colours – I’ve seen some amazing circus themes that have always tempted me, but I am a bit more traditional when it comes to nurseries. I think pastel is calming for a little one’s bedroom and looks really lovely,” she says.
Sophia advises opting for a mix of soft furnishings and working on ways to personalise your baby’s nursery. “Having some accessories that feel nostalgic to the parent, something that links your childhood to your own child is really special. I also recommend picking a theme,” she advises. “They’re only young once and although nurseries can be absolutely lovely if they’re neutral and simple, having a theme just feels special for those baby years. Soon enough you’ll be changing it as they’re turning into a little girl or a little boy. Something whimsical is usually really lovely.” she adds.
“When it comes to the framed pieces in my nursery, I love Eleanor Bowmer. We used her wallpaper in the downstairs loo for the mermaid theme. She does some beautiful pieces and an array of nursery themed prints which are still really bold but also include pastel colours as well.”
“I really like Scandibørn, a fantastic shop brilliant for a tonne of accessories… I tend to find I gravitate to things that tie other things together. I could be looking in the most bizarre of shops in some really bizarre places. The main ones would be Scandibørn and also Great Little Trading Company for some great bookcases. I like the open ones that children can pick from. Cam Cam Copenhagen are also really lovely for some whimsical pieces.” she recommends.
Sophia admits that a huge selling point of the house they now live in was its outdoor space and setting. “We fell in love with the garden when we moved. It was one of the features that drew us in immediately. We’re set next to a packhorse bridge so there’s a river that runs by our garden which is really pretty and we overlook fields with a neighbour to one side. There’s a massive, massive oak tree in the garden with a treehouse in it, that was already there when we moved in.” she said, enthusiastically. “It’s a lovely wooden Famous Five sort of thing that you can imagine your children growing up in. I painted it mint green and pink, and I’m pretty sure anybody standing on the bridge now must look in and think ‘Aaah!’ as it used to be brown.”
Sophia admits that Lockdown has inspired her to focus on her family’s outdoor space. “I think for a lot of people, gardens have been high on the agenda recently, but what with two little ones, the reality is needing some extra help to get some of the bits done.” she admits.
“We’ve got the decking down, the next bit is just building around it and making a nice BBQ area, pizza oven even – a nice family area. I want to inject more colour, so the next thing is plants. I’ve gone peonies and roses – the essentials, I just need more!” she laughs.
“My Instagram account is @thiscolourfulnest and then #colourfulhomevibe is one anyone is welcome to join in with.” she says warmly. “We basically go through the hashtags and share accounts daily, sharing one pic on the grid. All pops of colour or accessories are welcome, it’s exciting as the hashtag brings up tonnes of inspo. It’s funny how people think that it’s actually one person’s home when they start to follow us!”