This Scottish Family Home Is Brimming with Whimsy and Charm
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Who lives here? Emma Forrest and Dave Maginnis, their two kids, Callum, 7, and Mikey, 4, dog, Ellie, and gecko, Rocky
Location: Dunfermlike, Fife, Scotland
Type of home: Five-bedroom, three-bathroom detached home
Age of house: 23 years
Years lived here: Four years
Emma Forrest’s affinity for green is what it is: “I just love it,” she says, matter-of-factly. With a hefty dose of confidence, Emma, the Instagrammer behind The Girl with the Green Hall, transformed this five-bedroom home in Fife, Scotland, into a charming green-filled space for her family of four (plus two pets). Here, you’ll find lots to look at, including vintage objects and artwork, clever DIYs, and plenty of houseplants. Follow along as Emma gives us a peek inside and tells us about how her family likes to hang at home.
On embracing her quirky side: “My partner, Dave, and I live in a busy family home with two young boys, a dog and a gecko, so there’s always lots of noise and toys lying around. I want people to feel that family vibe when they come inside – a place where they can feel relaxed and comfortable. My style’s quite quirky, and I like to give people lots to look at. I have loads of artwork and vintage objects on display – they’re conversation starters.
One of my most treasured pieces is a wooden peacock wall hanging that belonged to my late Gran and Grandad – it holds pride of place in the entryway. I also love the street painting from Thailand in our living room. Dave brought it home when he visited more than a decade ago.”
On the family hangout: “Our open-concept kitchen and lounge area is the hub of our home and where we spend most of our time as a family. A dream of mine was to have a kitchen island, so when we bought this house with its big central island, I knew we had to make this room extra special.
This is where we spend time with family and friends, having a cuppa or drinks and games around the island. There’s also plenty of room for the boys to play. Their toys are hidden away in the sideboard, and there’s a big swivel TV so we can all relax on the green velvet sectional and watch movies together. This room has a ton of natural light so it’s also where I keep most of my houseplants. I love nature, so having plenty of plants plus using green throughout feels like I’m bringing the outside in.”
On going green: “To be honest, my love of green doesn’t really have a meaning behind it – I just love it! As I’ve grown more confident with decorating, I’m not afraid to use it however and wherever I like.
There have been times when people have said it would be too much, but for me, you can never have enough green – it just feels like me!”
On choosing the perfect shade: “A lot of the green in my home was inspired by spaces and homes seen on my Instagram feed. For example, I knew I wanted my kitchen cupboards to be green, so I’d search hashtags for green kitchens, green walls or green paint to find the shade I was after (by Frenchic Paint). Also, I bought about 14 samples of green paint for my hallway before finding the one: Cotswold Hills by Valspar paint.”
On maintaining a consistent vibe: “To change things up whilst staying on theme, I like to choose different shades of green, depending on the vibe of the room. For instance, our son Mikey’s bedroom is light and fun; and our living room (aka our cinema room) is enveloped in a very dark green, since we were after a cozier feel.I also love secondhand and vintage pieces, so these are featured prominently throughout the house. You’ll find bamboo furniture, vintage artwork and quirky decorative pieces like the Thai lady table lamp (from @atomicgoose.decor) on the sideboard and the shell hanging in the kitchen. I like that each room is different but still incorporates all the things that I love.”
On creating harmony: “Dave and I have similar taste, although, admittedly, I make most of the design decisions. He likes my style, though, and is happy for me to take the lead on decorating our home. There have been a few times where he didn’t think my ideas would look nice, but he always comes around in the end. Dave’s in charge of the technical side of things, such as installing surround sound in the cinema room, setting up the speakers and the television. He’ll also help with most of the DIY jobs.”
On finding space to unwind: “When Dave is working away, often I’m so tired once I’ve put the boys to bed and tidied up that I’ll just go straight to bed. Other times, I relax on the sofa in the lounge area off the kitchen and watch TV.
When Dave is home, we like to sit in the cinema room once the boys have gone to bed and watch a good series. We recline the sofa, get cozy under the blanket, and just chill. It’s bliss after a busy day of school runs, classes and everything else in between. A few series we’ve enjoyed recently are Ozark, Queen of the South and The Crown. We also like watching a good documentary, and one we loved was One Strange Rock.”
On rooming with boisterous boys: “Our kitchen/lounge area opens to a big south facing garden so we’re playing outside whenever we get the chance. We play football and catch and do garden work. One of the kids’ favourite things to do is wrestle with their dad. As soon as he gets home from work, they ask for a wrestle. It can become very boisterous, so I prefer crafting or doing puzzles with the boys – I save the wrestling for Dad!”
On creating a jungle-themed room: “Mikey loves dinosaurs, so we wanted to incorporate this into his bedroom with a jungle theme. Again, I was inspired by Instagram to paint the mountain mural on the wall. I was surprised at how easy it was, considering it was my first time trying anything like this. The leaf garland along the top of the wall was another DIY creation and looks just perfect in his bedroom. We added a few more details like a big potted plant, a neon lightning bolt sign and dino-themed accessories, and I’m so happy with how it all came together. Most importantly, Mikey loves it too!”
Leaf garland DIY: “Using a pack of artificial leaves and twine (purchased on Amazon), I threaded a needle and twine through the leaves. I put the bigger leaves at the back and smaller ones at the front. The project was so easy to put together, and I got so many comments on it.”
How to do a mountain mural DIY: “Using a steel ruler and pencil, outline the mountains. Put masking tape over the pencil lines and then fill in with paint, using shades from the same colour range. It’s such a fab statement wall!”
On our green pet:“The boys had wanted a lizard for the longest time but with Dave working away eight weeks at a time, I was worried that it would be too much work in addition to already having our dog, Ellie. However, we decided to go to a local exotic pet shop just to enquire and it turns out they’re not too difficult to look after. I was told that crested geckos are a good beginner lizard, since they don’t grow too big and they’re more active during the day than some other more nocturnal species. We chose our Rocky, who was smaller than my pinky at the time. He’s just the cutest little thing, and the boys absolutely adore him. They say he is their dream pet and now they want another one!”