If you caught my last blog post you’ll know I’ve introduced a new fortnightly series called ‘Style Warrior Secrets’ where I interview and feature the homes of inspirational people who express a unique style and individuality within their home using art and creativity.
Next up is someone whose incredible artistic talent caught my eye very early on my instagram journey of discovery. Her home is a beautiful assembly of ambient contemporary spaces; dark grey and blue – black walls, crisp white woodwork, rich gold details balanced with vintage finds and natural textures….. and of course plenty of art. The clue is in the name – it’s the one and only @artynads known in ‘real life’ as Nadia Singleton! If you’re not following her on Instagram yet, then you can do so here and I promise her little squares will make your eyes light up!
In each room you’ll find art and objects grouped on shelves to create the most enchanting little vignettes or clustered on walls as perfectly composed gallery ‘clouds’. She was also one of the #styleitdark trio promoting dark interiors across instagram. If there’s anyone who can convince you to go dark it’s Nadia – the spaces she creates are glamorous yet adventurous, exciting yet very ‘liveable’. She’s not afraid to experiment with her walls or DIY (think perfectly executed 24 carat gold duck tape graphic design on wall done in an hour and a half or gorgeous window seat ‘weekend project’) and has been known to post a full scale beautiful tropical mural (see main image) that she knocked out in a few hours and just as we were all picking our jaws up off the floor and getting back to normal life, she painted over it as quickly – much to my disbelief!
She has a huge amount of creative talent, a shrewd eye for placing things together artistically and if you’re beginning to feel remotely inadequate in terms of style cred, just wait until you see her perfectly wrapped presents under the Christmas tree and dressed Christmas table!
The funny thing is that in fact, there’s nothing pretentious about Nadia, she’s truly one of the warmest, funniest, down to earth people on Instagram – she just can’t help being a fabulous Style Warrior! I asked her to share some of her style secrets with us and I’m delighted to say she agreed, so here we go….
“My name is Nadia, I was born and raised in Essex but came up to university in Leicester where I met my husband Mark, and after travelling for a year once id passed my degree, settled in Leicester.
Mark runs his own Wealth Management Company with his partner. Isaac is our eldest son and at college and Lucas who has just finished his GCSE’s and at sixth form college doing A levels.
I’ve always been interested in interiors from a very small child. I loved to decorate my bedroom and was always the one to decorate the Christmas tree and style the table. I remember from an early age doing what we call a ‘gallerywall’ with posters from bits cut out of magazines and much to my parents annoyance, pritt stick them to the wall.
We bought our first house in 1997 when I was pregnant with Isaac and this is where my love of interiors really kicked off. It was also the time of BBC’s Changing Rooms and that had a big influence on me. Using bright colours and up cycling and hunting round charity shops for bargains.”
1. How would you describe your interiors style and how has this changed over the years?
My interior currently is dark and inky with touches of glamorous gold.
My first house was very bright; we had a yellow and gold living room and orange and gold dining room! I painted a golden mural on a chimney breast, tiled the kitchen, fireplace, bathroom floor, mosaiced all round the bathroom with broken cheap tiles! Made my own curtains from material from the market and painted a circus mural for the nursery. It really was an expression of me. At the time I had not long given birth to Isaac and we had complications. (Isaac was later diagnosed with Autism) I found it hard to cope and felt very isolated so in those early years decorating the house become my escape.
Our second house this time was a lot different. It was more muted in colour with lots of chocolate browns, greys, white and metallic’s. Our third house, (the one we live in now) is different again, this time with dark walls but I still can’t shake off my love of gold, it’s still there.
2. What’s a snapshot ‘typical’ week in the life of Nadia Singleton?
A typical day for me is to get Isaac up, I make his breakfast and get him washed and dressed. I then drive him to college. The day then starts with a cuppa and I sit at my computer in my office in the garden, there I see what jobs from my 3d printing business have come in or need to get sent out. At the moment I’m in the middle of negotiations to sell my business with some new and exciting changes for me incorporating my design background. But for now, in between work I’m a mum, looking after everybody and making sure they are fed and watered. Instagram has become a big part of my life and I post most days. I love to chat to my online friends too and see what they are up to especially as most of them are mad obsessive interior nutters like me! I’m also learning to sail.
3. Can you describe for us what role art plays within your home?
Art has always been important to me. I was good at art from a young age, loved any arts and crafts I could find to do and I was good at turning my hand to them all. I have two diplomas and a degree in the subject and have only ever had jobs involved in it. I am a bit of a fuss pot when it comes to art and will only display stuff I really love. Although, as a creative, I have a huge amount of respect for all artists as I know how difficult it can be to be one. Sometimes I do think some non creative people think because you’re artistic you can churn it out in your sleep. For the vast majority of artists this is not true and takes time and dedication to make the creative process happen.
4. What’s your favourite piece of art in your home and why?
My favourite piece of art is probably my most expensive too. For someone who loves to thrift and searches round charity shops this was a treat for me, at £400. It’s ‘The Surprise’ by Claude-Marie Dubufe the original hangs in the National Portrait gallery.
As soon as I saw it years and years ago I knew I had to have it one day. And I did.
5. What’s your creative process for coming up with interior décor ideas?
There is no process! I don’t think or plan anything. I’m far too impatient for that. An idea pops in my head and I see it as clear as day and know what I want. Very difficult when talking to builder’s I’ve found, they don’t appreciate that. I also think if things are too planned with mood boards and such like a home can look like 60 minute make over, cold and with no soul. At least that’s how I work anyway.
Pinterest and instagram are my go to places to help get me inspired.
6. Tell us about your favourite creative interiors project within your home…..and to make us all feel better; what was your biggest interiors mistake?
I have done lots of creative projects around the home and thankfully not too many disasters, but there have been some. One does stick in my mind. In our second home in the early 2000’s I decided to paint the whole of my hallway and landing in gold! Have I mentioned I love gold? Well, what a disaster! However it was ok in daylight, just, but when the electric lights got switched on, my word, we were all about blinded! I quickly set to work and painted over it leaving a thick stripe of gold 2/3’s of the way up. That actually was really nice.
I’ve painted many murals over the years, mainly in the kid’s bedrooms when they were younger. Last year i decided, after a few glasses of wine, to paint one in the living room. I raided the garage for old paint and set to painting a jungle inspired scene. A few months later I painted over it as it clashed with my Christmas tree.
7. Can you share your best DIY Style Warrior ‘secret’ tip from your creative projects?
I think command strips are really good for gallery walls. Gone are the days when I used to bang nails in the wall. Yes nails, it used to drive my husband crazy cause I hate drilling, so banging nails was the way to go. And they were never straight and never quite in the right position.
8. Can you give any gems of advice for those looking to create an individual look in their homes?
This is a hard one. I never set out to think of an individual style, I just do. I painted the walls the colours I liked and bought the things I loved. I think if you do that your own style will take shape soon enough.
9. If you threw the ultimate house party who would be your surprise star guest (dead or alive!) and what would you ask them to bring?
This is hard, they’d be so many. But as it’s a party and this man was known for his parties it has to be Andy Warhol and he can bring his drag queens, socialites, artists, musicians and free thinking friends along too.
10. What’s your best trait and worst vice that we should know about before we move in?
My best trait is I’m very generous, I love feeding people and filling their glasses and making them feel really comfortable.
My worst is I’m very impatient, so if you take too long to do anything, walk around the house slow, take too long to turn the television channel, take ages to make a cuppa you’ll drive me mad!
Ooh I’ll finish off quickly then! Huge thanks Nadia, for giving us an insight into your life and fabulous styling secrets. The great thing about Instagram is that we can all share our quirks and passions even if we don’t have the same style – for instance, Nadia loves straight edges and clean graphics, I prefer to live with organic shapes and wobbly natural patterns yet we can appreciate one another’s tastes – I think she has a beautiful home! The whole ethos of a Style Warrior is to create a home you love, that reflects your unique personality and to let art into the bones of your home- let the fun begin!