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DIY home decor: Discover how Lou Crane restored her Edwardian home

When Lou Crane from @notaperioddrama and her partner Ryan bought their 115-year-old Edwardian home in Cheshire over two years ago, they set out on a mission to single-handedly restore the property, adding personality and spark to the dated, eclectic decor of the previous owners.

Image courtesy of @notaperioddrama

Over time, Lou honed her DIY home decor skills and completed most of the work herself. She built her own wardrobes, restored the parquet floors, painted, panelled and sanded to create a beautiful home that’s full of colour and character.

Having recently finished her hallway restoration, we chatted to Lou about transforming her home, how she chose a colour scheme and her top tips for planning a DIY home decor project.

“Try anything – you’ll never regret giving it a go.”

Lou Crane, @notaperioddrama

Can you talk us through when you first got into DIY? Did you learn along the way, or were you already experienced in DIY home decor?

This is my first proper restoration project, but I’d say that I’ve always been handy. I think a lot of it comes from confidence, and I don’t ever worry about giving something a go – I’d always rather pay someone to fix something than pay someone and realise I could have done it myself.

There’s been a lot of learning in the past two years, and I actually think if we were to do this all again, I could do it in half the time now!

How did you strike the perfect balance between adding personality whilst maintaining the original period features?

I think the key is to let the features guide you and not the other way around, so in every room, I decided to draw focus to the original features first.

The disco ball gets a lot of love. I put it in the bay window because it really highlights that beautiful, original space.

We were lucky enough to have the original stained glass, which is why we decided not to have any curtains or blinds downstairs.

Then I think my final tip is colour – I keep the features very traditional, but the colours are bold.

Image courtesy of @notaperioddrama

How did you decide on the colours for your painted ceilings?

I always choose colour based on the feeling I want the room to evoke. It’s so personal because colours have different connotations for different people.

The green ceiling in the office came from a desire to feel a connection to the outside – I spent a long time in an office where I barely went outside, so that was important to me for this space.

I chose pink for the hallway because I wanted guests to feel excited as they walked through the house and create some suspense about what might be behind the other doors. Pink features in most rooms, so it helps tie the different spaces together.

Image courtesy of @notaperioddrama

What are some of your favourite décor features in your home and why?

Plants for sure – I have over 120 at the last count. I don’t think anything adds personality like plants, probably because they all have their own!

I love a disco ball – anything that adds interest from natural elements like light and creates shadow is something that draws my attention.

One of my favourite things to add is typography-based prints. I enjoy using emotive language in decor choices to add another layer of interest.

What’s your favourite/most memorable DIY home decor project to date?

My favourite is the hall, stairs and landing project, which took nearly a year (I predicted six months originally). I vastly underestimated how difficult it would be to restore the original balustrade and staircase, but I learnt a lot.

We have a three-storey house, so I had two sets to do, which was no mean feat. Couple that with the high ceilings and reinstating the coving and panelling – it was a tough nut to crack, but it’s opened the whole house up now that it’s finished.

Image courtesy of @notaperioddrama

What advice would you give anyone who has bought a house and is planning their DIY home decor projects?

Invest in tools – they’ll be your best friend. Try anything – you’ll never regret giving it a go. Live in your home for a while before you make changes. You need to understand the space.

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