Every Home Tells a Story with Life of Isatu
Words By Alice Florence Orr
Ten Minute Read
Take a glance at a picture of Isa's home and you'll instantly know why her renovation has been featured in numerous home design magazines. Her creamy walls and sage green furniture is calming and contemporary, with just a touch of vintage to make the whole house pop. Isa's eye for detail is also why her Instagram account, Life of Isatu, has a community of nearly fifteen thousand followers. Fellow design enthusiasts swoon for her immaculate garden, Scandinavian inspired furniture and delicate tablescaping, not to mention her daily dose of positive vibes.
Isa and her husband moved into their current home in Essex ten years ago after realising they didn’t want to move away from the town they loved, but they were looking for something a bit bigger — with growing children, their needs had naturally changed. "We wanted to find a home in which we could create a nice open family space. We had the vision to convert the existing separate kitchen, dining and utility rooms into a single open-plan hub of the house."
The result of their nearly decade-long renovation is a spectacular family home that balances sophistication with warmth. A welcoming home is hard to achieve, but Isa has managed to give each room in her house real personality, so much so that she struggles to pick a favourite. "It depends on the time of day. In the daytime, it would be the kitchen-dining area with family coming and going throughout the day and spending time together. In the evening, I love spending time in our bedroom. I find it a really calm, relaxing space especially after a busy day at work in my local primary school."
Isa achieves this calm with shades of light taupe and billowy white bedding. It's a simple, yet effective way of making your space look elegant, whatever your budget. Isa's other key design details include natural foliage and minimalist wall art. "I have tried to create a relaxing family home through the use of light and neutral paint colours. I wanted the colours in each room to complement each other and flow naturally from one room to the next. I love using vintage and upcycled items of furniture throughout our home, which I feel gives it a distinctive style. There is something about buying second-hand items that brings me a lot of joy."
With the winter season getting closer, Isa is busy getting her home ready for the colder weather. She favours Scandi design which emphasises hygge, or finding quality moments in everyday living. Slowing down, taking time to connect with loved ones, and making your environment feel safe and cosy are all ways of harnessing more hygge in your life, as Isa knows well. In winter, she likes to add more candles and throws, as well as change the cushion covers to warmer tones. "I collect foraged dried flowers and grasses to decorate rooms to reflect the season outdoors. We have the chimneys swept ready to use and pile up plenty of logs indoors. We are lucky enough to have an inset log burner in the kitchen and an open fire in the lounge which add a real cosiness in the winter."
Part of the spirit of the season is embracing more slow gifting. Isa is all about finding unexpected presents through thrifting and vintage shopping... or even upcycling, if you have a talent for craft. Isa has a passion for ceramics and loves supporting independent makers when choosing a gift for her loved ones. But what's on her wishlist this year?
"A Frame TV for the lounge has been on my list for quite a while. I've also had my eye on the Aarke carbonator as I love the idea of making my own sparkling water on tap to make different refreshing drinks. My daughter has just bought her first home with her partner. As she will be moving out, we are letting her take all her bedroom furniture with her! A new bed is essential and my dream replacement is the Noo.ma Streiko bed in black/sand sage." Made in Poland, we love this minimalist design too.
Bombinate's message for the festive season is "Every gift tells a story...". We asked Isa to share her own story about a gift that she'll never forget, and she told us about a special present she received from her husband.
"We had taken a walk in our local town, where I had spotted and commented on some vintage glasses in a charity shop. My husband didn’t really say much about them at the time. On Christmas day I opened one of my presents which to my surprise were the pretty glasses. He had gone back to the shop the day after I commented on then and bought them for me. It was the thoughtfulness that made this gift extra special, plus the fact that the glasses were unique."
Every home is unique, just like the people who lovingly renovate them. Each family will bring their own tastes and traditions — and Isa's family is no exception. She prioritises time with friends, watching nativities and embracing the spirit of the season. "Speaking to family who live far away is incredibly important." Of course, she loves receiving the perfect present too. "I usually get some interior books which I enjoy flicking through."