The broadcaster, serial renovator and interiors influencer shows us round her Glasgow flat with its winning blend of Victorian and 1970s styling
Photography Susie Lowe
Art Direction Gillian Welsh
Words Catherine Coyle
Perhaps it’s down to her training as a forensic scientist, but Kate Spiers seems to apply acute precision to her everyday life. There’s no lab coat or safety goggles involved (she’s more likely to be in a midi dress and classic sneakers), but her carefully considered approach has proved to be invaluable in her job as a digital content creator and as one third of the presenting team on the BBC’s BAFTA-nominated Scotland’s Home of the Year show.
In the background, meanwhile, over the last decade, she has been honing her craft as an influencer. Her knack for renovating period properties has seen her social media profile soar as a go-to for DIY-ers and homemaking millennials in search of interiors inspiration. “When I first started out, I was doing mostly beauty and fashion content,” she says. “My husband and I bought our first flat when I was 23 and I shared our progress as we renovated it. Things really took off from there.”
Spiers grew up in the north-east before heading to London after her studies. She moved to Glasgow when she met her husband, Jordan, and the city is where they embarked on that first property project. “We took our time renovating it, working on it slowly as we lived there, and having a break between each job so we could save up money to fund the next bit. I was still very new to interiors when we started, so this process helped me get an understanding of my own style.”
After around six years, the couple bought another fixer-upper and started the process again, with a view to renting out the finished flat. “But as we worked on it, we really fell in love with the place, so we decided to move in ourselves,” she recalls.
“It is definitely more personalised than our previous place – I feel I know my style better now and I have faith in myself and my design decisions. We committed to colour quite a lot and made bold decisions when it came to tiles, tones and styles throughout the rooms.”
Having hosted Scotland’s Home of the Year for three seasons, Spiers says her style has evolved and she’s happy to share her progress, advice and inspiration with her followers. The three-bed apartment on the southside of the city is typical of its neighbourhood and has large windows that flood the interior with natural light. As you might expect, the accessorising is done with an assured hand; storage is open to show off treasured collections of china, and handmade shelves by The Glasgow Joiner display a colourful array of books and vinyl.
Spiers knows that people all over the world will be reading her blog and looking at snapshots of her life and home and the distinctive architecture of the Scottish tenement. “I always think about how I can keep things in harmony with the building,” she says. It’s not stuck in a timewarp, though; yes, she installed Victorian-style column radiators and rejuvenated damaged ceiling roses and cornices, but the aesthetic also has a definite ’70s feel to it: “I like a lot of greenery, and rattan and confident colours feature a lot in our space.”
Being forced to stay home has been something of a welcome break. Pre-pandemic, she spent the majority of her time travelling, whether work trips to New York or London, or weekends away to Ibiza or Paris with her husband. “I’ve enjoyed having some time at home, although as soon as we can I hope we’ll do a big road trip around Scotland,” says Spiers. “I see so much of our beautiful country when I’m filming Home of the Year and I always wish Jordan could experience it with me.”
Being restricted to Glasgow for much of the past year has given her the chance to fall in love with her home and appreciate her own four walls. “It has also made me realise that we’re probably ready to take on another renovation. I’d love a house with a kitchen extension and Crittall doors – that was the style of one of my favourites from the new series,” she recalls. “We saw a lot of homes that were bright and airy with period details and big windows, things I always look for in a property.”
She has also been impressed by homeowners willing to take a stab at DIY during lockdown and believes that seeing ‘real’ homes on social media has changed perceptions and boosted confidence about what is possible. “It shows how interior design is more achievable for ordinary people – you can watch a YouTube video and learn how to install panelling, for example, or have a go at upcycling a piece of furniture to update your home,” she reckons.
At the moment, though, Spiers is revelling in the slower pace. “I had a really busy schedule before and I’ve realised that I suit a less chaotic routine. As we head into a new chapter, I think we’re all ready to embrace a healthier work-life balance – I know I’ve enjoyed all the walking and the lazy weekends at home and having more time to myself.”
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