SarahBeenySpringIssue2017 - 35

THE BIG INTERVIEW ▲

more houses into that area and hope
that one day it'll all be OK.
'It would be better to ask what's
going to happen in 50 years. For
me, the only logical thing to do is to
improve transport so that you take
people and job opportunities to the
existing houses. So, put in the schools,
hospitals and transport links and then
you'll find that, all of a sudden, people
will want to buy and live in the houses
that currently no one is interested in.
'Housing plans shouldn't be
coloured and shaped by people who
make money from building houses.
'The theory that you flood the
market with houses and prices will
come down is just ridiculous. We don't
have the space to do that, as everyone
wants to live in London and other big
cities, as that's where the best jobs are.
'It's like sitting in a boat and putting
your finger over the leak. But what you
really need to do is get the boat out of
the water, fix the whole hull properly
and then put it back in. That is what I
would like to see housing policy do.'
Sarah does, however, welcome
Mr Javid's proposal to encourage
extending properties upwards in
towns and cities, which is 'a really
sensible thing to do'.
'For me, it's a waste of space to have
lofts empty when we have arguably
a shortage in housing. If everyone in
the country could raise their roof ridge
by even 50cm, say, then you'd find
enormous amounts of space freed up.
'This would also fuel the building
industry because then people would
be using builders for loft conversions
and jobs are created across the
country, not just in one place where
someone's building a load of flats.'

INTERIOR TRENDS

Sarah's area of expertise is maximising
value in existing properties, and it's no
surprise that she is ahead of the trends
when it comes to home improvements.
The big interior looks for 2017, she
says, will be darker purple, textured
textiles and clean finishes.
'Purple is a really difficult colour
to use in interiors because it doesn't

'"HOUSING CRISIS" IS AN INTERESTING
TERM - BUT I WOULD ARGUE THERE
ISN'T ONE. HOUSING PLANS SHOULD
NOT BE SHAPED BY PEOPLE WHO MAKE
MONEY FROM BUILDING HOUSES'

translate into paint particularly well
- but there's still a lot of it around.
'Velvets are back in, purple is back
in, and I think we'll be seeing natural
colours and finishes - a simpler, more
straightforward look. We've moved away
from the "make do and mend" route.'
Despite the purple problem, Sarah
is a huge believer in the power of paint.
'You can completely revolutionise
the way a room looks by painting it.
That's the cheapest and best way to do
it, but you've got to really think about
what colours work with what.'
I suggest that you would be tied to
matching your soft furnishings. 'No
- you pick out a different colour.'
She looks around the sitting room,
which is painted a warm taupe, with
muted purple, blue and green tartan
curtains and lots of cushions.
'For example, in here you could do
it bright white, if you wanted a much
fresher, sort of zingy look, which
would be IKEA-style. Or you could go
down a much more traditional route
by choosing a blended dark blue, with
all the woodwork picked out in cream.'
Renting a property shouldn't stop
you personalising your space, either:
'Invest in fewer, good-quality items for
your future - try to avoid cheap tat,
because you'll have to take it all with
you. Spend a bit more on something
that's really nice and worth keeping
- such as a lamp or a picture. If you get
beautiful furniture, you can make any
room, however boring, look fabulous.'
It's almost time to say goodbye, but
as I drain my coffee cup I ask if Sarah
has any other DIY tips.
'Never underestimate outside space.
Even if it's literally just a windowsill,
stuff it with greenery. Bring the
garden inside and take the inside
outside - blur the edges. I'm talking
garden furniture, but also covered
areas and lighting, so you can use
your outside space a little bit more
throughout the year.'
And with that advice, I'm off to buy
some purple velvet throws...
www.athomemagazine.co.uk MAY 2017 | 035


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