Having transformed her old-fashioned house into a sleek and modern family home, Instagram fan Danielle Dixon took the next logical step of sharing it on social media. She talks to Sarah Millington

There are two key words in the title of Danielle Dixon’s house renovation website. The site, set up through Instagram, is called House to Home At Last. It’s the At Last that’s all-important.

Having moved around continuously with her husband’s job – including to Perth, Western Australia and from there to Cirencester – Danielle hadn’t found anywhere she could call home until she moved back up North, to Hartlepool, in December 2015. It was the following year that the massive renovation project which inspired the website began in earnest.

“So, I’ve been with my husband for eight years (married for two),” she writes in the All About Me section of the website. “We’ve lived all over during our time together, so this is where my Instagram name came from. Although we’ve lived in lots of houses, they’ve all been rented so we could never really put our own stamp on a place.

“We have finally settled in our own house and started renovating May 2016. We’ve really put our all into the house to make it a home and I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. I hope to give inspiration to lots of people to show that anything is possible.”

The website details the transformation of three rooms – the kitchen, sitting room and bathroom. There are pictures of debris and demolished walls, showing just how messy the work got – and then there are magazine-style after shots which look like they’re from a different house. Danielle admits there were times when her home resembled a building site.

“They were all really big jobs, especially the kitchen,” says the 27-year-old, who’s mum to Evie, seven, and four-year-old Isaac. “I think we only moved out for a week because we had to have the house rewired. There were going to be live wires all over the place so it wasn’t really suitable for the children. For the rest of the time, we just stuck it out.”

The tone of the website is conversational, with Danielle sharing hints and tips as well as links to products. She’s refreshingly self-deprecating, admitting that at the outset, she had no clear plan and often made things up as she went along – though she did always get her way.

“I think I kind of took over on everything,” she says. “I always got the final say, no matter what. We discuss everything and most of the time we’re on the same page, but when it comes to things like wall colours and picking all the cabinets, I suggest what I like and my husband just says, ‘OK, we’ll go with that.’ I don’t know where it comes from. I often surprise myself when I pick things and afterwards think they’ve turned out quite well.”

Looking at the after shots there’s a clear theme – sleek and modern with high gloss and lots of grey. Danielle says this evolved naturally. “The kitchen started as grey, then the lounge became grey and now everywhere has a hint of it,” she laughs. “In our previous homes we had a lot of brown and as the years have gone on, I’ve tried to stay away from it. Grey and white and black are just nice and fresh.”

Now that the major work is finished, Danielle has turned her attention to the accessories. As someone who gets bored easily, she feels the process of adding little touches is never-ending. “I’m still adding bits and pieces now,” she says. “I wonder when I’ll ever look at the house and think, there’s nothing I need anywhere. Now I’m thinking I want to add wallpaper to the dining room and I’m contemplating adding it to the sitting room as well. I probably will change lots of things. I like change.”

It was only earlier this year, towards the end of the renovations, that Danielle thought to set up the website, prompted by other Instagram users who had set up home accounts. She’s now part of a whole community. “I always had my own personal account where I shared my own photos, then I just started noticing that people had separate accounts where they had things from their homes,” she says. “I only started mine in March and it just sort of took off, and lots of people seemed to be following me and taking an interest in the house.

“We did the kitchen and the lounge before I knew about the Instagram house world. There are some really beautiful homes that I find inspiration from. There just seems to be a group of people who are all into it and everybody is friendly with each other. I sometimes leave comments and I do chat to people now and again.”

Danielle has gained many compliments from the Instagram community, which has boosted her confidence and made her feel that all her efforts have been worthwhile. She now feels capable of taking on another project.

“We’re very happy where we are but I never know what will happen with my husband’s job, so we could end up moving somewhere else,” she says. “I’d happily do it all again somewhere else.”

W: housetohomeatlast.wordpress.com