DON’T think it’s just a boring covering, wallpaper holds a world of possibilities for flamboyant Siobhan Murphy.
The 42-year-old likes to be surrounded by ultra-bright furniture, fittings . . . and clothes.
She says: “I had a botanical mural painted on the landing and asked the artist if she could print it on fabric for me. I then designed a kimono and asked my mum to sew it for me.
“Similarly, I kept seeing hounds-tooth cardigans and coats online, so had a look online, on Pinterest, and found matching wallpaper. I ordered it — and the coat.”
Siobhan’s whacking great white, Art Deco house, amid red-brick terraces in Castleford, West Yorks, is a curiosity shop of kitsch and colour, with its zebra-style walls and fantasy cocktail bar. Her wardrobe and many wigs are just as crazy.
So no wonder she has landed a spot on hit BBC2 show Interior Design Masters and has become pals with host Alan Carr. Siobhan, a communications boss with the NHS, who lives with lawyer husband Nick Wilson, 47, says of her wacky ways: “My husband loves it, though we are chalk and cheese. His wardrobe is a collection of navy. He’s a minimalist at heart.”
‘The previous owners had magnolia on the walls’
They met in 2008 through a dating site for professional types, and she says: “The first time I went to his place, I was shocked he had no knick-knacks. He said he was not interested. But now he’s surrounded by them and loves it because he knows it’s my passion.”
The couple bought their current home in 2019 and Siobhan has been busy doing it up ever since. She says: “It was a blank canvas — the previous owners had magnolia on the walls.”
But with an eye for LA-style tropical patterns and gold trims, she has put her own quirky stamp on the place — and then some.
Siobhan says: “There’s no set theme except in the bedroom — Nick and I love LA and the Beverly Hills Hotel, so I paid homage with pink and green botanicals. The kitchen was the first room to be tackled, I could just not live with brown units.
“But we were on a tight budget, so instead of buying new we had the original doors spray-painted — I wanted to brighten it up, so went for green. I have been decorating gradually. I try to buy a few pieces each month, spending around £500 on furniture, paint, wallpaper and decor.
“We have probably spent about £15,000 since we moved in but I upcycle wherever I can. I use Pinterest a lot for inspiration. I have always loved art — colouring and drawing from a young age.
“I guess my taste is like Marmite — but I could think of nothing worse than to live with no colour. Laughter is the best medicine and that’s why I love to have fun with fashion and interiors. Life is too short to be boring, so I dress my home like me and I dress like my home.”
Siobhan’s Instagram account @interiorcurve shows off her adventures. Helped by being on TV, she now has 27,000 followers — including telly pal Alan. She says: “He broke the ice when we were filming and got us all giggling.”
Siobhan does not hold back in her job, either. She says: “I will be heading a meeting with 200 GPs or pharmacists, wearing a leopard-print suit. They look at me like I’m mad but realise I know what I’m talking about so they let me off.”
Siobhan has worked with the NHS for 18 years but studied fashion and accessories at Leeds College of Art in the Nineties. She also took a course in hat-making and jewellery.
The size 18 trend-setter has also become a plus-size icon on Instagram. She says: “I get so many messages from people I’ve encouraged to ditch black, shapeless outfits and embrace bright colours. It makes me cry. I’ve had women tell me I’ve helped them show off their bare legs after they’ve hid them for 15 years.
“It’s amazing what plus-size influencers and online brands have changed, giving curvy figures the opportunity to wear fun clothes. You can live through bright and bold colours and still look and feel totally fabulous.”
HER NO-RULE RULES
START WITH THE WARDROBE: If you don’t know where to begin with interiors, turn to your rail. Are you drawn to monochrome? Florals? Animal prints? What you are drawn to determines your natural style and remember – if you love it, it can’t be wrong.
COLOUR CLASH: How many times have you heard you can’t put red with pink or put dark colours in small rooms? This is all nonsense. If it’s what you want then do it. Worst case scenario? You just have to paint over.
PRINTS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES: Wallpaper on the ceiling? You must be mad, you are probably thinking – but it can really lift a room.
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MIX IT UP: Don’t buy everything from the same place – or at the same time. Mix designer with High Street with second-hand finds.
WORK IN SECTIONS: Taking on a whole room can be off-putting so I always recommend starting with a corner. Style up at that space and paint the wall the colour you’ve been contemplating. That way if you love it, you can spread the love to the rest of the room.
SHOP YOUR HOME: If you are on a budget, rather than buying lots of new things, look around your home and move things around. I’m constantly moving cushions, chairs, throws and rugs from room to room – restyling for a different look and to freshen things up.
- Interior Design Masters is on tonight at 8pm on BBC2
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