At Home with Ella Barba
Welcome to KAS' new blog series 'At Home'. Each week we will be chatting with interior designers, innovators and influencers to take you into their home and finding out how they get their home inspiration. This week we are talking to interior stylist and PR guru Ella Barba from Home Snob
Can you share with us a little intro into who you are?
My name is Ella Barba. I’m a wife, mum of two beautiful kids, Bobby who’s 2 and Summer who is 7 months old, and I adore anything house related whether it be styling, interior design, architecture, furniture and the like. I have a background in corporate communications and PR, but as it stands i’m doing the mum thing while dabbling in a few little creative escapades. It keeps my brain working, as well as keeping me feeling inspired and creative, which is something I've learnt I really need.
I know your background is in the social media and PR industry, but what got you into the interior design scene and inspired you to start your Instagram account Home Snob?
I’ve always always loved interiors. Way back when, long before blogs were a popular commodity, my friend and I had a blog and I would often post interior design content on there. It was a creative outlet for me but it also inspired me to dream big in terms of the life I wanted to create for myself and my family one day.
I started Home Snob purely out of love for interiors, homes, furniture and following other peoples building projects. My husband and I are onto our third house project with a plan to do a development of two houses on a beautiful block of land we purchased in Berwick, Victoria. As a result, I thought it would be a great opportunity to document this process on Home Snob as well as continue posting all the other beautiful interior content I like that is inspiring our development.
What does your normal day in your life look like?
Well at the moment it involves not a lot given we’re currently in lock down in Victoria. But Pre-Covid 19 days went a little something like this…
6:30am: Wake-up and snuggle the babies in bed
7:30am: Bottle for Summer and breakfast for Bobby
8:30am: Head out for a walk, the park, a friends house or the shops. If it’s a daycare day Bobby would get dropped off.
9:30am: Visit a friend or a client I’m doing some social media work for.
11:00am: Back home to feed Summer and play.
1:00pm: Summer’s asleep so I would spend this time for myself creating social media content for my accounts or somebody else’s, making beautiful bunches of flowers to send out or simply getting caught up on admin (paying bills, emails etc.). I always find something to do, and it’s usually something creative that keeps me ticking.
3:30pm: Summer’s awake so it's bottle and play time again.
4:30pm: Dinner prep
5:00pm: Pick Bobby up
5:30pm: Dinner time
6:30pm: Bath and bed
7:00pm: Post content on clients accounts and/or my own
7:30pm: Time to chat to my husband, take a bath or watch a bit of trash TV like The Bachelor haha
Now onto the home questions, I know that you’re in the process of building your new house, what are your top tips for someone building or renovating their home for the first time?
That’s correct, this is our third house project. We’ve done one small renovation and one new build which was an investment property. I think the biggest thing is firstly knowing what your goal is out of the build or renovation.
A build for investment purposes versus a build to live in long term for your family are two very different things, so it’s important to first know what you want out of it. The second would be doing your research around the area you want to buy so you know how much other homes are selling for and what is getting the type of money you’re after (if you want to sell for example). And of course getting to know some local real estate agents because you never know what they know, like off-market opportunities.
Looking back at the whole process is there anything you would have done differently?
SO MUCH! I don’t think there’s ever a big house or building project that goes 100% to plan, so yes there’s definitely things we would have done differently in our previous projects. Some things include spending more time nutting out the floor plan (such an important part of any build), getting a greater understanding of the contract and timelines and setting up clear expectations with our builder regarding each stage of the build.
How long did it take to plan out the build for your house?
For the development we’re currently undertaking the planning has taken about three to four months from when we first engaged a builder to now. Having said that, we purchased the property with a 12-month settlement so it’s been a long time coming and we’ve had that whole time to plan and strategise as to how to make the most out of the project.
You also renovated your house in 2018, what are the key differences between building and renovating a house?
So many. The renovations we did were quite small so I managed it all myself, organised all the trades and their timelines, sourced and purchased the fixtures and finishes we needed and it was pretty streamlined. Doing a build, especially if it’s a custom build, is all-consuming and takes up a lot of time and energy because every single detail needs to be nutted out, but it’s been so so fun and we’re enjoying the process of planning a bigger home for ourselves.
What are your top tips for someone who is renovating their first home?
- Know your goal from the outset. Are the renovations for investment purposes or is it a long term living option?
- Don’t overcapitalise on things buyers don’t see like expensive tiles, technology and fixtures.
- Styling can be your biggest weapon for creating spaces that appear bigger and better than what they actually are.
- Think about what attributes the house has and what attributes other properties have and are selling for in the area. For example, bedrooms, bathrooms and car accommodation is where a property valuation will start. So if you want to increase the value of your property look at adding one of these.
Don’t underestimate the power of paint!
What are you looking forward to the most in your new home?
We’re really looking forward to living in a home that we can take pride in and make our own. The first two homes we lived in were purely to get us to this point and we never really thought of them as ‘ours’ as such, they were stepping stones to get us here. We’re excited to create a home that’s welcoming, light and bright, a positive place to raise our children and somewhere we can have a hoot of a time entertaining with our friends.
Where do you find your interior styling inspiration?
Our house has pretty much been designed and built off Pinterest inspiration (follow my Home Snob account if you love Pinterest as much as I do). I find Pinterest to be the easiest way to search and find what you’re looking for when it comes to interiors and exteriors.
How would you describe the style you have chosen to run with throughout your home?
I always find this such a hard question because styles and aesthetics are so fluid these days! If I had to I would say it will be a modern minimalist vibe, very light and bright and with soft earthy textures throughout.
Shop neutral throws online - like Ella's Elijah Throw
What has been your favourite space to style in your home?
I love styling my coffee table because it’s such an easy space to change, without having to do much. Add a different bunch of flowers, change around a few books and add a candle and voila! I also can’t not mention my kids’ bedrooms. I have absolutely loved creating rooms for them that feel beautiful, warm and playful.
Did you find a particular space in your home a challenge to style? If so, why?
I’m still in the process of figuring out my bedroom look and feel. For some reason I can’t quite find anything I’m loving.
What are your go-to tips for someone that wants to add a bold print or colour to a living space?
I must admit, I don’t play with a lot of colour, but when I do I do it in small amounts and with things that I can easily change once I get over it. For example, soft furnishings like pillows and bed linen. I also love the addition of bold and colourful art and have a few on my mind when it comes to our new build.
Do you have any tips on how to transform a living space to become more family-friendly?
I’ve always been of the mindset that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice having a nice home because you have children, but it’s a balancing act that’s for sure. I think you need to be prepared for the fact that things might get ruined or broken, but I’m also trying to teach my two year old to respect other people's things (and not bite my nice new candles).
In terms of physical items, I’m ALL about a sofa with removable covers that can go in the washing machine. People thought I was crazy buying a white sofa just before I had a baby but it was the smartest decision ever because I can just throw it in the wash and put a new cover on.
Do you have an essential item/object that you think everyone should include somewhere in their interior styling?
In terms of styling items and objects I can’t go past beautiful collectable coffee table books because they add so much life to a space and tell a story.
Now we know you're a mum of two, what are your top tips when it comes to styling a kids bedroom?
- A big fluffy rug to play on and set the mood for the space.
- I particularly love lots of wooden elements mixed in with white and pops of colour.
- Lots of storage options to hide away the ugly toys.
- A big comfy occasional chair for feeding and book reading.
I adore the addition of vintage and restored furniture, something I’ve included in both my kids’ rooms.
For more from Ella, check her fabulous style tips at Home Snob.