The owner of lifestyle store Object Style shows us around the beautiful home she’s created with her husband Alex.
I’ve admired Rachael Otterwell’s style ever since I met her a couple of years ago when she was organising an interiors show. Since then, she has gone on to launch the immaculately curated interiors and fashion store Object Style, which has gone from strength to strength in its first year. Having also followed along on social media, I’ve enjoyed seeing the ever so stylish snippets of Rachael’s home so I was really pleased when she agreed to share more photos and details with us on a proper home tour. Over to Rachael:
We often refer to our two-bedroom terrace as: ‘the house that Jack built’, if not Jack than someone who was either drunk or had as much clue about building a house as we do for all its oddities and imperfections! In short, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight when we purchased our home in Chorlton Green in August 2012. We’d fallen in love with Chorlton as a place a few years before. We spent all our weekends here visiting friends and shelling out a fortune in taxis to and fro. All of our weekday evenings were committed to trawling Rightmove looking for ‘project houses’ or driving around residential streets taking pictures on our phones of any houses we spotted for sale!
And so 3 and a half years ago, we purchased a crooked end terrace, painted in an usual shade of reddish-brown, furnished with olive green carpet throughout (bathroom included…nice) and an ongoing damp problem; think weird mushrooms growing in corners of rooms and a distinct funky odour. But hey, being a 30 second stroll away from wine, incredible tapas and the fragrance of freshly baking bread seeping through our rotten framed windows, we didn’t care!
Now, after YEARS of inhaling sawdust, sleeping on camp beds, washing pots in our bath and relying on very kind neighbours to let us use their showers, we finally love our home. Below we invite you on a mini tour and look forward to sharing our design inspiration behind each room. Where possible, we’ve included a link to every paint colour, piece of furniture and decorative object below each image just incase you might be in the midst of sprucing up your own home! Hope you enjoy the tour, any questions about this post drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael + Alex
1. Grey Ceramic Plant Pots: Object Style. 2. Wooden bench: Ikea.
Last summer we decided to paint the outside of our home grey, opting for Dulex Trade ‘Lunar Grey’ for the brickwork and Farrow + Balls’s ‘Moles Breath’ for the window and door frame. We figured the grey wouldn’t weather as quickly if we opted for white. Inspired by the grand Georgian town houses we lust after when walking around Notting Hill, we wanted to try and create a similar terrace on a smaller scale. Using traditional features, such as Victorian tiles, to create a pathway and iron railings to fence our garden, we decided to modernise these features by using a contemporary colour palette of pale greys, slate and off-white that was in keeping with both the interior and exterior of our home. We also purposely chose plants that wouldn’t blossom and easily keep a uniformed shape since neither of us are green-fingered! We have a pretty useless stamp-sized, back garden that attracts zero sunlight. So, instead for those 10 days of sunshine we get here in Manchester, we choose to sit in our front terrace (like many of our neighbours) with our tiny tinny-sounding portable speaker, crack open a bottle of wine and chat to the people passing by!
Currently our dining room shares its purpose with our stock room and order packaging station; our poor Ercol dining table has taken quite a beating! Away from the cardboard jungle, neighbouring next door in our lounge hides our petite home office, comfortably nestled under our stairs. It goes without saying then when you’re tight on space, you have to be clever with storage. This was once a boxed in cupboard, hiding mountains of useless crap and now that it is open space for all to see it encourages us to keep it clutter free and tidy, helping us to stay organised for business. We, okay I, chose to paint the walls in one of Object Style’s original brand colours, blush, using Farrow & Ball’s ‘Pink Ground’, which has a lovely chalky texture once it is dry. It was important to me that it felt like a work zone so I could fully engage when working there.
Desk, Ercol Dining table 2. Chair, Bloomingville. 3. Grey Magazine Holder, Concrete Desk Lamp, Geometric Desk Organiser, Mug + Saucer, Greeting Card: all Object Style. 4. Magazine Rack and Shelf both Ikea.
We continued to use ‘Pink Ground’ throughout our living space, also using Farrow + Ball’s ‘Great White’ on the ceiling and on all wood work; i.e. skirting boards, window and door frames. These colours work wonderfully together making the space feel sophisticated and feminine without being girly; Alex would never have allowed for that! We wanted to incorporate lots of texture in the room, optioning for a dark walnut flooring and grey ‘flannel’ L sofa with elongated chair.Instead of just relying on print and photography, we have also used woven wall hangings and shelving to decorate our walls. The space in our living areas is limited so we opted for a petite table duo that normally resides in the corner of the room, dressed with beautiful objects. The smaller table we use when we need it to rest drinks and sharing snacks when we are vegging out in front of the sofa! Due to the room not having many storage options, our belongings are permanently on display. This means we’ve had to become quite strict about only choosing accessories we feel are of use or interest. For example our favourite books and publications, our Revo Radio, scented candles and fresh flowers. After that, and only if we both think something is truly beautiful, will it make the cut to feature in our living room.
We’ve recently had a mini spruce up in our kitchen, changing the colour of our wood work from a mid-century inspired orange to inky-black. We’ve used Valspar’s: ‘Dark Kettle Black’ paired with Dulex Trade: ‘Brilliant White’ on the walls and ceilings. We felt these monochrome colour choices worked better with our industrial steel shelving and grey geometric floor tiles.
Once again, we’ve opted to have everything we use at hand and on display. Embarrassingly (we’re sorry to admit it) we’ve spent a good few years searching for: the perfect cheese grater, salt & pepper shakers and dish brushes! As our kitchen features many raw industrial features such as the heavy duty stainless steel shelves, metal storage units and iron pipe door handles, we wanted to soften and warm the space. So, we decided on solid oak work tops which we stained with a honey varnish.
Since moving in we’ve completely changed the arrangement of our bathroom; working with awkward nooks and crannies, it’s vital to use the space efficiently. Previously, upon entering the bathroom, you were faced with the sight of an ugly toilet (not exactly inviting). We’ve since switched the undesirable view of the loo to a botanical inspired spa scene where our bath and shower combo are enclosed by polished concrete walls, hanging planters and draped linen curtains. Once again, as the space is on the teeny side and we possess a fair few beauty products, we decided on in-built shelf storage and tiled with white gloss subway tiles and contrasting black grout.
Currently ranking our favourite room in the house, probably because it feels so fresh and inspiring, I keep finding myself sneaking up there late afternoon, sitting on our new floor-style bed and catching up on a favourite read with a cuppa.Our main focus was to create as much space as possible in our bedroom that is very shallow and uneven in shape. Prior to this, we’d attempted to squash a king size bed (God knows why, we’re both between 5ft 6 – 5ft 8), 3 Ikea PAX wardrobes and a mid-century side unit in the space leaving zero walkway and resulting in very bruised shins.
Having spent 3 winters waking up in what feels like Antartica and me overcoming my fear that carpeted rooms were tarnished with the same brush of boring magnolia, we’ve installed a beautiful berber weave and I LOVE it, as does my cat!We wanted our bedroom to feel unisex; a balanced blend of me and Alex. Opting for Colour Courage new ‘perfect colour’ paint range (available in B&Q) by artist and designer, Lars Contzen, we decided on ‘Green Submarine’ – that wonderful shade that sits between emerald green and misty grey, we generously coated our feature wall. The remaining walls were painted in Valspar’s ‘Blanched Pine’ (also available at B&Q), in addition to the wood work. For the first time in our adult lives, our bedroom finally feels like a proper grown-up bedroom!To maximise the space and storage, we opted for a minimalist Japanese inspired floor bed in solid oak from Muji, that is compact in its style with built in drawers. We trawled our way through a zillion Ebay listings until we spotted a rare gem (at an absolute steal) coming across an incredible teak G-Plan dresser, complete with full length mirror and drawers to store our lotions and potions. Our most favourite find is a second-hand Robin Day 675 chair we purchased from an antique’s dealer at Altrincham market a few weekends ago, it’s so iconic and takes pride of place in the corner of our room! As ever, we are keen to include lots of different textures in our room, so have used two marble and oak ceiling lights with copper fixtures, hanging either side of our bed. I do have a minor fear of one on them falling on either of us or my cat as they weigh about 10kg and would surely do some damage! The shelf above our bed is attached using nude leather straps and displays 3 handmade grey ceramic vessels from Denmark. A few weeks back, when we had those glorious days of summer, we made a little visit to Hume Community Garden Centre and purchased some large indoor plants, such as this gorgeous Parlour Palm to add a natural element to the room. We’ve styled it using a woven basket and placed a large lipped dining plate in the bottom of the basket, no-one would ever know right?!
Thanks so much to Rachael for sharing her lovely home with us; so many wonderful pieces and inspirational details!
If you like her style, be sure to stop by her amazing online shop, which has just celebrated its first anniversary. Exciting plans are also afoot to open the first bricks and mortar store in Manchester this autumn.
Photo credit: Jesse Turner