We chat to Arthty Ragupathy, the talent behind the Instagram interior design smash hit @av.home…
For anyone looking for inspiration on making a new build home characterful and timelessly beautiful there’s one Instagram account that really hits the spot. @av.home documents the transformation of a new build semi in Hampshire into a distinctive and very elegant home, via the judicious use of fixtures, fittings and perfectly-chosen decorative pieces (and, naturally, a few Pooky lights).
The brains behind @av.home is the very talented Arthty Ragupathy – a Canadian expat now working in the UK and living with her husband and their half Pomeranian, half Jack Russell fur baby, Royce. We caught up with Arthty to try to pick her brains and find out how on earth she manages to weave such amazing interiors magic…
So how did you come to end up in Hampshire, turning a new build house into a gorgeously stylish home?
As a Canadian living in the UK, I insisted on searching for a place that felt most like home and resembled the city I grew up in - Hampshire ticked all the boxes for me. In order to bring my North American interiors taste to life, a new build felt like the best starting point. Having this clean slate allowed me to mould my home into what it is today.
You’ve somehow managed to infuse the new build with real character and a timeless quality – often with quite subtle (and very affordable) changes. What are your secrets or tips for giving a recently-built property a bit of soul?
Paint and panelling are so incredibly powerful and often less expensive than structural changes. We immediately added wall treatments to the most utilised rooms in our home, from the entryway to our primary bedroom. I stepped out of my neutral comfort zone and dabbled in colour, predominantly green, which acts as the perfect backdrop to any design.
I’m also a lover of pre-loved pieces and cannot stress enough how much character they can add to your home. I always urge people to shop around for vintage/ antique decor or furniture, whether it’s on Facebook Marketplace or in a local Charity Shop. These finds can compliment newer pieces and work together in harmony to give your home a ‘lived in’ feel that new builds often lack. Bonus: this can be a very cost-effective method of furnishing your home!
There’s a lovely sort of harmony in the spaces you share on @av.home, which is perhaps the result of the way you use your colour palette and put different textures and pieces together. How do you describe your style?
I’d describe my style as modern traditional. As mentioned above, I absolutely love mixing old and new to create a design that flows throughout my home and stands the test of time. I sometimes anchor a space with new furniture and layer in vintage soft furnishings, decorative ornaments, etc. In other spaces, the larger pieces are antique, which are then paired with newer elements. Finding this balance has allowed me to create a sense of warmth and comfort which is so important to me.
What are your go-to places (online or offline) for interior design inspiration?
The internet is such a wonderful tool and a treasure trove of inspiration. My main source is Pinterest and I love that I can narrow down my searches based on what it is I’m looking for.
I also turn to design books, a firm favourite being Made for Living by Amber Lewis. Instagram is also overflowing with talent and is such a great place not only to be inspired, but to connect with like-minded individuals.
Do you have one room or space in the house that’s particularly special to you? Your personal haven?
Our living room is such a special place in our home. As we have a separate lounge which acts as our TV room, I was firm on not having a TV in our living room. I wanted it to be a purely social setting and that’s exactly what it has been for us. I’ve arranged the seating in a way that facilitates conversation and the room is anchored by our chimney breast which is something we built upon moving in. The fireplace adds an instant cosy factor which has turned this into the most inviting space.
When my parents visited from Canada and saw my home for the first time, this is where we spent every morning, catching up over a cup of tea and every evening winding down. Safe to say, it’s a fan favourite.
How big a role does lighting play in your interior design? Any lighting tips to share?
Lighting is crucial in interior design and can completely transform a room - from creating depth to highlighting areas of importance.
My tip for lighting is to layer it in and to have multiple sources in larger spaces. You should also always consider the purpose of each room and what it is you do in these spaces. In rooms that require task lighting, downlights may be required (i.e. kitchen). If this isn’t the case, I would personally avoid downlights and utilise table/ floor lamps, pendant lighting, etc. It’s important to understand the atmosphere you want to create in a room and the purpose of the light, how bright you need it to be and whether it is going to create a design statement.
Has being a bit of an Instagram interiors smash changed your life at all?
To say this has changed my life, would be the biggest understatement. What started off as a passion project that I wanted to share with others, has now turned into a lifestyle. From inspiring people to create warm, liveable spaces on a budget, to working with brands that I’ve long admired - the list of opportunities I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing is endless.
I’m ever so grateful for the community I’ve built online and the relationships I’ve been able to foster as a result. This platform has allowed me to feel at home when I spent the past few years since moving here, feeling anything but that.Is your home finished now or is there always something more to do?
I wish I could say it’s finished and kick back to enjoy what we’ve accomplished, but the truth is, we’re far from done. What I have learned is to take breaks between projects and tackle smaller tasks when I feel overwhelmed. Home takes time, which is something I often have to remind myself of. Although we’re not quite finished, I couldn’t be happier with everything we’ve managed to do in such a short time. Our empty new build shell is now a cosy home, bursting with character!
Do you have a favourite Pooky light - and if so why that one?
This is the toughest question to answer because my list of Pooky favourites is endless. However, I do have to say the Cooper Wall Fitting in antique brass has a special place in my heart. It was my first Pooky purchase and one that I waited nearly a year for as it was so popular, therefore often out of stock.
It graces our bedsides in our primary bedroom and recently, I fell even more in love with it when I turned my side of the bed into an office nook (above). The handy arm beautifully swung to the other side which created the perfect lighting for working. It honestly looks as though I had intentionally placed the fitting in this spot to highlight my antique desk. It was truly meant to be!Cooper wall light fitting in antique brass