Coral Atkinson’s social media accounts are bursting with life, fun and colour. With a home redecoration project and a brand to look after while mothering 3 kids, her juggle is real!
By Erica Loi
Photography courtesy of Coral Atkinson
Coral started her brand Velveteen Babies in 2013 soon after she became a mother and after a career in luxury retail.
She made it her mission to both source and produce playful, design-led products for her family with an aesthetic she knew everyone would love.
Soon after her family moved into a rather bland home near the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in the U.K., another project was born: redecorating the whole house while parenting her three young children, Felix, Barney and Willa.
LEMON Magazine [LEMON]: Where do you live and how long have you lived there?
Coral Atkinson [C.A]: I live in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, which is a stone’s throw from Harrogate. We moved from Harrogate to Knaresborough 3 years ago and love it here.
[LEMON]: What first made you fall in love with your home? Or was it just a shell to make your own?
[C.A]: We were limited to one house in our budget in the area we wanted, so there was absolutely zero love, but luckily we have good imagination and vision!
[LEMON]: What’s your favourite room and why?
[C.A]: I love our living room, full of mid-century furniture and personality. We had to knock down walls, build walls and completely overhaul it, so I do appreciate how far we’ve come in there!
[LEMON]: How would you describe your interior style and what are your biggest inspirations?
[C.A]: I can’t really categorise myself in terms of where I think I belong, but Scandinavian style with colour is probably closest. I take inspiration from all sorts of different interior schemes and like to add some personality! Our house is quite small, so I’m always conscious of it not becoming too cluttered.
I’m inspired by mid-century design, Instagrammers such as @prchtg and @peschkart, who use colour so perfectly.
[LEMON]: Would you call yourself a hoarder or a minimalist at heart?
[C.A]: I’m a minimalist, but a hoarder of kids’ room stuff.I don’t like too much stuff getting out of control, but it’s hard with three children. Every now and again I’ll have a huge clear out and sort everything, but I need quite a few props for my styling work so I do have a cupboard of doom!
[LEMON]: What’s your favourite colour and how have you used it in your home?
[C.A]: I think it would have to be pink tones, though I try not to let it become overloaded. Often I use white walls with pink toned wall art, or if the walls are blush then I tone it down with different colours, wood and shelves. I try not to let any particular colour dominate the house and create different zones: our playroom has a mustard half wall which I still love; and upstairs we have a muted green bedroom, a blush girls’ room, and a grey-blue toned boys’ room. I like colour to flow!
[LEMON]: Your brand Velveteen Babies focuses on kids decor, especially garlands. How many do you have in your home and how would you advise people use them in different rooms?
[C.A]: I have one on the wall in each of the kids’ rooms and one usually in the playroom, though I do change them up regularly as I try out new colours. I love styling them on shelves as well as walls, and often on pieces of furniture too. They are easy to hang in a variety of ways, though I usually just have a roll of Washi tape handy for quick moves!
[LEMON]: What are your favourite interior stores?
[C.A]: I love @istome_store, @scandiborn, @thismodernlife, @antipodream, @molly_meg_ and @modocreative for beautiful bits, and H&M home and Zara for affordable home finds!
[LEMON]: What is your next project for the home? Do you just go for it or do you plan it out? If so, how?
[C.A]: We’ve just had an architect visit as in the long term we hope to completely change the kitchen and back of the house into a spacious kitchen/dining/family area. It’s not going to happen for a couple of years though, so we hope to tackle the dreadful inherited bathroom next! I’d also like some decent wardrobes for our bedroom and a refresh of Willa’s room.
[LEMON]: When the kids are at school, you tidy their bedrooms like most of us mums. Hand on heart, how long does it last?
[C.A]: It’s trashed the second they get home. Clothes everywhere!
[LEMON]: What are your favourite toy brands for the kids and what have the most used and favourite toys in your home been?
[C.A]: I have lots of kids toys that are really for me! I think our Plexa toy kitchen has been loved to bits. It’s played with so often and it’s full of Little Dutch accessories such as tea sets and a toy coffee maker. The boys don’t play with toys as much now but Barney has always liked the Candylab cars and Way to Play track set. Poppet, our Olli Ella doll, is often a part of their games and pulled around in the Luggy. And they tend to use the Wobbel Boards to make little forts rather than actually wobbling on them!
[LEMON]: What’s your favourite house plant? Are you green-thumbed or do they die and you replace them?
[C.A]: I love my cheese plants as they are fairly indestructible and can handle neglect pretty well!
[LEMON]: Tell us three words that describe your home.
[C.A]: Colourful, friendly and varied.
[LEMON]: What’s the most treasured item in your home and why?
[C.A]: Apart from the obvious bits like photos and the kids’ first baby outfits, probably my wall art collection as it brings me so much joy! I love supporting small businesses and most of them are from creatives. It all makes this house into our home.
[LEMON]: Have you ever thought about extending your passion for interiors and becoming an interior designer?
[C.A]: I’m married to one! He’s mainly in furniture design rather than soft furnishings though. I get most joy from styling work, but I’m not sure if it would be as fun doing it for others with their own ideas about what they want! It’s definitely something I might explore in the future though.
[LEMON]: Complete this sentence: “A happy home is…”
[C.A]: Full of chaos and colour.