By Mahima Kaur






THIS WOMAN has added £100K to her home by spending £50K to transform it into a psychedelic-patterned testing ground for her new interior design business.


Designer and Tattooist Nicola Smith (47) from Andover, Hampshire, UK has added almost £100K value to her £570,000 home by spending about £50K.


Since then she has worked on launching her own interior design range based on all she learned from her home project.


Nicola Smith bought her four-bedroom home in Andover, in Hampshire, UK in 2021 with her partner Garin Harbottle (45), an IT director.


The couple undertook the 18 month long DIY while managing their jobs after Nicola completed her interior design diploma in lockdown.

A stunning table with decorative laps and vase.

Nicola couldn’t work her main job as a tattooist during the pandemic.


After completing a diploma in interior design, she decided to transform her blank home with her eccentric, eclectic and maximalist style.


Together with her partner, Nicola painted, papered and decorated the house, installing new wallpapers and decorative items.


Mother-of-three Nicola was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong and Devon.


A self-confessed form of maximalist style, Nicola has no shame in admitting that she would go for bold choices any day over minimalistic style.


She has now set up her own interiors business and will launch her very own collection of wallpaper, fabric designs, along with cushions and lampshades.

A clash of the patterns.

“I get a few people on Instagram who say my style is too much for them which I totally get,” said Nicola.


“Minimalism is too little for me so each to their own.


“I’m a slightly eccentric, eclectic maximalist.


“I adore wallpaper, bold colour choices and layers of texture.


“I’ll often start a scheme with an object that has inspired me or a particular wallpaper and build the colour and other elements around that.”


Nicola has transformed her four bedroom 1919 built home into a three bedroom home to suit her needs.


“We currently have three-bedrooms, but there were four when we bought it and it can easily be returned to four,” she said.


“We removed the wallpaper and almost all of the old carpets.


“We had a supporting wall removed in the main bedroom and knocked through to the tiny fifth bedroom, which was too small for a bed, and turned this space into an adjacent dressing room.

Nicola’s staircase is ina psychedelic-pattern.

“In the downstairs hall Garin tiled the floor and then we papered and painted.


“In the upstairs landing we used gold leaf on the ceiling which took forever but it makes the space a lot brighter.


“In the kitchen we also used gold leaf on the worktops which we then sealed with resin.


“We also painted the cupboards and gave them new handles and walls and replaced the lino.


“In the main bathroom we replaced the lino, papered with a large scale print that works well in a small space, and I painted the blue cast iron bath pink.


“In the two sitting rooms and the dining room I opted to paper just one or two walls.

“We spent £30k having a building put up at the end of the garden, which has added the to the property value.”

Nicola and her partner, Garin took no outside help except for demolition and building purposed and completed their DIY on their own.


“We loved the bones of the house and saw its great potential,” said Nicola.


“It was pretty much a blank canvas so other than having two bedrooms knocked into one to create the main bedroom, the rest was just decorative.


“Garin and I did all of the work ourselves except the demolition and building in the main bedroom.


“The hardest part of it all was the time that it took.


“Everything takes longer than you think it will.”


Nicola adores her maximalist haven and is not afraid to embrace her eccentric style.


“The people who follow me on Instagram ( are generally a great supportive community of like minded people so everyone is kind,” she said.


“People should create a home they love and not follow trends.


“Follow your heart and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.


“Chose papers you love, don’t compromise, you’ll be looking at it every day so be true to yourself.”