Real Homes: Adding character to a new build

Terracotta vases on rustic console table

When you buy a new build you benefit from a blank canvas, but what can be tricky is bringing in character. Not so for Arthty Ragupathy of @av.home. With some clever DIY hacks and a beautiful eye for rustic furniture and accessories, Arthty is transforming her new build into a wonderfully welcoming and stylish home. We talk to her about reclaimed dining tables, minimalist styling and wood panelling….

Terracotta vases on a rustic wooden sideboard with a black round mirror

Who lives here?

Arthty and her husband, Vasanth and their half Pomeranian, half Jack Russell fur baby, Royce.

Type of property?

A semi-detached new build house in Basingstoke with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms + 1 WC

What changes have you made and are there any you would like to do?

Our completion date was delayed as a result of COVID, which meant we had extra time to figure out how we could inject character into our new build. When we got the keys, we started by hiring contractors to build two fireplaces and add a backsplash in our kitchen.

We DIY’d our glossy kitchen cabinets into a traditional shaker style, painted the doors in our house black and even added a unique panel wall which our Soho Extending Reclaimed Wood Dining Table sits beautifully in front of. We would love to add panelling through our entryway leading up the staircase, running through the landings of both our floors. The list is endless but we’ve learned that it’s a slow yet satisfying process.

Six black framed prints on the wall with a black wooden dining chair and rustic dining table

You describe your style as modern with a traditional twist – how do you achieve this?

I love adding wooden, rustic elements to our interior decor – alongside modern, more “current” pieces. This creates such a cosy feeling without appearing too outdated. I’m always looking for ways to keep our decor timeless, inviting and aim to evoke a sense of gathering as we love having family and friends around.

What styling tips can you give to our readers on how to get the rustic look in a modern home?

I’m by no means an expert, but I definitely recommend creating mood boards and gathering items that will work in your given space. I use Morpholio to make sure different elements complement one another before I spend my money.

Rustic wood console table and reclaimed wood bench with stone vases

I’ve found that small businesses, such as Modish Living, are great for rustic decor. Ultimately, wood is your best friend when trying to make your new home feel rustic and traditional. Decorate with natural tones and don’t be afraid to incorporate texture. My reclaimed wood console table, entryway bench and rustic dining table make our home feel “lived in”.

An all-time favourite tip of mine is to always save photos that you feel drawn to and look back at these to understand the common theme. This is the best way to uncover your taste when you feel like you can’t quite pin it down.

Our Soho Extending Reclaimed Wood Dining Table looks fabulous in your home. Tell us what you love about it and how you like to style it?

What do we not love about our Soho table?! The reclaimed wood, the different lines, dents, markings – all add character to our dining room. In the short time we’ve had it, it has taken its fair share of dog scratches, fallen cutlery, etc. and any marks simply blend with the timeless texture of the wood. We love that it’s extendable so it can accommodate our large family when it’s safe to host indoors again and that it blends into our cosy home – we could not be happier!

At the moment, we keep our table styling very minimal. Our oversized stone vase takes pride of place in the centre of the table. We’ve opted for black wooden dining chairs which go so well with the reclaimed wood of the table.

Rustic dining table with three hanging pendant lights, black wood dining chairs and white stone vase

Who would be your dream dinner guests to have around your dining table?

I’m utterly obsessed with Studio McGee and I’d love to have Shea McGee at my dining table, discussing all things home interior-related. For those that are unfamiliar, definitely check out “Dream House Makeover” on Netflix and prepare to fall in love! I’ve been following the McGees on Youtube for several years and my obsession with home decor is very much inspired by them.

See more of Arthty’s gorgeous style by following her on Instagram @av.home. To discover more about bringing the rustic style into your home read our blog 5 Reasons Rustic Furniture Makes our Heart Flutter.

All images Arthty Ragupathy @av.home