25 Sep In conversation with: Man with a Hammer on Georgian interiors
We caught up with Greg, aka Man with a Hammer about his trials and tribulations of renovating a Georgian house in Devon. What tips can he give us on Georgian interior design?
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your period interiors renovation project?
Well, for me it’s to take my time and really get a feeling and understanding for the spaces – the light, how I use the rooms and how everything flows, before making any big decisions. Four years in, I’m a month away from installing my dream kitchen, and I know the Georgian interior spaces intimately now and I believe they’re better for it. I have massive admiration for interior designers who’re able to do this without spending the sort of time I can in the spaces. All floors, walls and ceilings will have had input from my very own hands and that is so valuable if you’re making decisions yourself.
What is the Georgian interior design feature you are most proud of?
The oval entrance hall, with it’s perfectly curved doors to fit, still makes me giddy with excitement when I come home to it. Even more so now it’s a finished (ish) space with the chinoiserie wallpaper wrapping around the whole room.
What is the best or worst surprise you had working with period property interiors?
Blimey – well… lots of rot… animals (dead and alive)… holes in the roof… the ‘worst’ could go on a very long time haha! The best, well – I think mainly that it’s just a wonderful place to live – both the house and location. And you never can be sure of that before you get the keys regardless of how much homework and research you do!
What have been the biggest challenges of undertaking the works on your own? When would you advise people to bring in the professionals?
I do very nearly everything myself. There are a few exceptions. Firstly – plastering. I can do it, but I’m rubbish… it’s the sort of job you need to do over and again, getting a feel for it and developing muscle memory. it would take me a week to do what a good professional can do in a day and their finish is better and cleaner.
Secondly, electrics. I do a lot of the labouring, and finishing touches. But for the big stuff, I’m far happier letting a pro do it given the consequences of getting it wrong are serious. Finally, I’m a jack of all trades, and a master of none… a lot of Georgian interior design restoration is tedious, repetitive work, but not terribly complicated – so easy for me to crack on with. I’m no fine craftsman.. so the beautiful, solid wood kitchen cabinets for example, are far better left to the professionals. It’ll be a kitchen I never need to replace!
Do you think there is a place for incorporating trends into a period home?
Hmm. It depends a bit what you mean by trends. I’m vaguely of the notion that everything is cyclical. It’s wonderful to see colour, pattern and wallpaper back ‘on trend’ in Georgian interior design but it’s been around an awfully long time and is hardly new (the chinoiserie in my hall is a digital copy of a hand painted Georgian wallpaper from around 1780 for example).
Mainly I think it’s important to love what you choose. If you’re unsure, then I think a good tip is to start with something that is period interior design appropriate (most of the wallpapers and patterns I’ve used are from a similar era to the age of the Georgian house) as it’s likely to feel like it fits… but then to have some fun with it. Whether it’s in colour, or just mixing the new and the old. I really enjoy using older pieces (again, it’s wonderful to see brown furniture and antiques more ‘on trend’) with the new. It helps even a fairly grand, formal house and Georgian interiors feel more relaxed and homely!
For more tips and tricks from Man with a Hammer, visit https://www.instagram.com/manwithahammer/
If you don’t fancy doing it all yourself, then the team at Etons of Bath would be happy to help with your Georgian interior design renovations and styles. Why not take a look at some of our previous projects to see what we can do for you.