Play Hard

Behind the ‘gram: Sarah Jane from @Homebythestation

This week we’ve caught up with Northumberland based home & interiors blogger, Sarah-Jane, or as you may know her ‘Home by the Station’ on Instagram.

Written by High Life North
Published 03.08.2020

By Bekki Ramsay

Firstly, I have to say you live in one of the most gorgeous Edwardian mid-terraces I’ve ever seen, and that is saying a lot as someone who spends the majority of her spare time looking at houses on Pinterest/ Instagram/ Zoopla – which leads me onto my first question. Did you always set out to purchase a period build and if so, what lured you into buying this particular home?

 Thank you so much, that’s so kind of you to say! I’ve always had a love for period homes, even from when I was young and would love watching TV programmes about house auctions. I just loved watching the home being transformed after all of the renovations were complete, and how the homeowner would manage to bring it back to life whilst complementing the original features.

As for my own, I actually drove past it one day on the way to work and saw the ‘For Sale’ sign. I just knew that I needed to have a neb at it online and see if I could spy any original features.

To be totally honest, we weren’t even looking to buy a house at the time. I still lived at home with my parents but somehow got swept up by the beauty of it, so we booked a viewing. My mam always says, “there’s never a right time for anything”, which put me at ease and encouraged me to make the purchase. Once we viewed it, we knew the whole house needed a lot of work but as soon as we saw the original fireplaces in the bedrooms, we knew it was the home for us.

Since buying the ‘Home by the Station’, you’ve certainly taken on many renovation projects. But what has been your favourite renovation project and why?

Without a shadow of a doubt, it has to be our bathroom! We actually took on the project a few years ago now, but I really enjoyed designing it which says a lot, as I didn’t have any experience until then.

We also didn’t have a massive budget, so I had to spend hours sourcing everything for cheaper online, such as reasonably priced brass fittings, which ended up being a bit of a nightmare. However, once I sourced the perfect fittings, my amazing brothers who are both talented joiners fitted it all.

I actually based the whole design around an old chest of drawers, which I purchased on eBay for £31. I ended up upcycling it into a vanity unit and bought the freestanding bath which we had always dreamed of.

I felt so lucky that I could explain my ideas to my brothers and together we could come up with solutions to any problems. It was no doubt a total family effort and it makes me smile every time I go into the bathroom due to the sentimental element, as well as it being aesthetically pleasing.

And now a question from those who are currently renovating or have to plans to – what advice would you give that you had known at the time?

The best bit of advice I would give to anyone would be to not rush anything – there really is no need to hurry. I know what it’s like; I’m quite impatient and when I get an idea in my head I just want it to be all systems go.

However, I’ve found that my favourite renovations that we’ve done have been ones that we worked on later down the line when we had developed a feel for our space and how we use it on a day-to-day basis.

Slowing down has also meant that we’d developed our style a bit and not just rushed into the first idea we had, or first trend that we liked – so we feel like our latest renovations are more personal to us and will last the test of time.

Also, this is a biggie… don’t compare your home to others! It can be hard but as long as it makes you happy being there and allows you to create lots of amazing memories, then that’s the most important thing.

You’re a big believer in mixing budget brands with pieces that are a bit more high-end. With this in mind, what items do you believe are worth splurging that little bit extra cash on, and what items do you believe you should budget a bit more on?

Ooooh this is a tricky one, but I’d have to say that it’s definitely worth splurging on a bed and mattress. Sure, it might not be the prettiest purchase but I’m a big believer in a good rest and a comfy night’s sleep making all the difference to your mood, so we didn’t hold back when we purchased our bed.

However, I do try to budget for most things and love a bargain. I’ve also found that there are so many amazing pieces of furniture on the likes of eBay or Facebook Marketplace – if you love the look of antique, mid-century style or are looking for an upcycyling project then you can save a fortune and it makes your home so unique.

You’ve also created your own hashtag #tubofTODAY, which is, of course, dedicated to aesthetically pleasing bubble baths. What sparked you to create this hashtag? And do you have any tips for creating the perfect relaxing bath?

Bath bombs have been a strong favourite of mine for as long as I can remember. I love the whole process of running a bath and I find them so chill!

One day I just took a quick snap of my tub before I got in and it randomly went viral, which was crazy! After that, I ended up down a rabbit hole of everyone else’s amazing baths so I thought if I created the hashtag I could see everyone’s lovely tubs all in one place.

My go-to place for bath bombs is always Lush, I honestly love them all but the more colourful the better for me! I love seeing them swirl around the tub, it’s half of the fun. My favourites are ‘The Experimenter’, ‘Strawberries & Cream’ and Christmas spesh ‘Golden Wonder’.

In terms of creating a relaxing bath, for me it’s definitely adding about a million plants, I like my baths to feel like I’m in some kind of jungle pond. Bath boards are so handy too and you can style them up to look pretty with a couple of plants, maybe the book you’re reading and whatever you’d like to drink while you’re chilling. Every bath is personal to you so whatever makes you happy.

Other stories by High Life North
A month in the life of Laura KIngston - editor of High Life North magazine

A month in the life of our editor – November

High Life North
Bistro Greggs Fenwick Newcastle Pop Up Fine Dining Restaurant

Bistro Greggs launches at Fenwick Newcastle

High Life North
Three Mile Gosforth

Christmas is coming at Three Mile, Gosforth. Here are the dates for your diary

High Life North
Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth

Pizza Dough Co at Three Mile in Gosforth is the family-friendly neighbourhood eatery with a new menu to check out

High Life North
Derwent Manor Hotel

A Christmas market, baking with elves and NYE in a Tipi – the festive events at Derwent Manor Hotel this 2023

High Life North
Rest at the Nest County Durham Staycation Lodges

Rest at the Nest – a perfect couple’s staycation in County Durham

High Life North