I know I say this every time but I am so excited for this interiors tour – one of my favourites and love everything about this lady and her design ethos.
I was originally introduced to Medina’s feed Grillo Designs by Erica Davies (from the-edited.com) and I couldn’t believe I’d not been following sooner. Her upcycling/DIY posts began via Facebook and has grown into a huge community over the last 4 years and her blog is full of amazing DIY inspo. I was thrilled when she agreed to let us use some pics and answer some questions for us…
Medina, please tell us about yourself – whereabouts are you based?
My name is Medina and to say I’m a little interior obsessed is really an understatement (no kidding). I currently live in Birmingham, but I’m originally from London. However I’ve spent half of my life living as an expat in middle eastern countries, so I really don’t have much of an accent (at least I don’t think I do- ). By night I work as A health Professional within the NHS, and by day I’m a blogger, content creator, social media manager (question: does this make me a superhero of sorts?). I’m also lots of other roles that help to keep my blog afloat.
I live with my husband and 6 year old son (oh and two cats – with super weird names like Igor and ‘kinder’). I love coffee, thinking about coffee and brewing it. Do I have a problem? Maybe…
When did you start your blog?
Not many people know this but I started a facebook page a year before I started my blog. It was back when Facebook was fun, and people actually saw things you posted (ah those were the days). I would share DIY projects everyday and the response was always so uplifting and supportive. A lot of people started asking me if I had a blog and I remember thinking to myself ‘Oh isn’t this what I’m doing right now?’
Anyway fast forward a few years (after lots of research and support from other blogging pals), and the Grillo Designs Blog was born in 2015. It was meant to be a source for all things creative and DIY, using tutorials from myself and my followers but it really has evolved since then.
See the tutorial for this dresser here
You rent, is that right? You must have a really understanding landlord?
Yes I rent!
Wanna know something else? I used to hide that fact – because I felt somewhat ashamed, guilty even. I know it sounds silly but when you are surrounded by people your own age celebrating the fact that they have bought a house you cant help but feel a little inadequate (I mean what could you be doing so wrong that you weren’t in the position to do that too right?). In a way, buying a house is sort of like a measure of success. Its also sort of like the natural order of life (adulting ) , Get a decent job, Buy a house , get married (or maybe not), have kids… etc (I’m fairly certain I’ve done this all backwards)
Anyway, Thats how I used to feel, but I think a little differently now. I can say I rent without cringing a little inside.
Renting is ok. Decorating whist renting is ok too. Even if you don’t own you house, its still your home (no matter how small or big it is ). And that’s kind of all that matters.
Thankfully I have quite an understanding landlord. I have done a few things that may need to be changed back when I leave (I.e the chalkboard wall) but that’s fine with me. Walls can be very quickly painted over though so its really not that big of a deal . It doesn’t compare to the happy feeling I get inside when I wake up to that chalkboard every morning. So worth it!
What I mainly love about your style is the upcycling, have you always been into this or has Pinterest and social media encouraged it?
Haha Pinterest wasn’t around (or at least I hadn’t heard of it) when I started Upcycling and hacking furniture. In fact the whole upcycling / DIY approach came about because of a necessity more than anything. My husband and I had just moved into out first rented home, and we found the idea of trying to kit it out with furniture very overwhelming – not to mention costly! Gumtree and ebay were our go to places. With a little paint and creativity, we were able to add our own character to each of the bargain pieces we purchased. It was so fun!
What are your favourite interiors shops?
I’m not really a high end type of girl as Im sure you’ve probably already gathered. I like affordable yet stylish homeware. My go to places are Argos, TK Maxx, IKEA (I love that place), Homesense (their baskets are so lush – heart eyes emoji might be appropriate here), H&M Home, Sainsburys Home, oh and Amazon (sorry but there is something weirdly addictive about Prime!).
Where are the tiles in your hall from?
Its actually not tiles… its wallpaper. But you aren’t the first person to ask this. I had a really ugly looking flooring in my porch (which also happens to be my living room and dining room flooring too – barf!) so I decided to cover it up with this stylish wallpaper that was sent to my by an American company called Design Your wall.
8 months later and its holding up really well. I actually might do ‘ A YEAR ON’ post about it soon. I know so many people are dying to know how its held up over the months.
You do your projects with your partner, like me. Do you ever differ in opinions?
We used to, but I think that was because my husband hadn’t been confident in my choices. Now he knows I can actually pull things together that look half decent, he sort of leaves me to it. However there was that one time when I wanted to downsize our king sized bed to a double and that was really not very well received by him. For once, he actually said no (shocking from a guy who didn’t even blink twice when I painted the dining room walls and ceilings black). I let him have that one – I’m a reasonable kind of gal!
My husband doesn’t do much in the way of interior projects, but he helps with all the bigger woodworking projects. Which is a god send, because I’m really not at that skilled level yet!
How do you fit in working, blogging, DIY and family life?
Wow. Three words. The struggle Is real (sorry that was four words, but you get the picture). Finding a balance is really hard. I’m forever looking (and trying out) new approaches to make life a little easier on me and my family. I usually blog and catch up on work stuff when my son is at school (ill only blog in the evenings If I have a deadline that needs to be met. Procrastination is my middle name), the same goes for DIY, although sometimes on the weekend we do a little DIY as a family. Weekends are all about family time, I hardly ever look at my blog during this time (although I do dip in and out of my social media now and then – I really do blame my phone for that).
I feel like I didn’t really answer this question very well. What I’m trying to say is, if anyone has found a way to balance it all – let me know! I need all the help I can get with this one!
The Instagram renovation community, especially on Stories, has exploded in the last few years, do you find the engagement rate has changed recently?
Oh yes definitely I find my feed gets much less engagement then my stories – and I think it might be the same for others too. I guess people enjoy the realness that stories brings. There is just more of a connection with you followers that you just don’t get on a perfectly styled feed.
Any new projects in the pipeline for your home?
I’m starting my living room makeover this month – I’m pretty excited about it actually. Its been a long time coming. Expect lots of DIY projects and makeover updates on my stories! Oh and a mustard yellow sofa!!
See the tutorial for this floating wall desk here
I’ve come away from this post feeling so inspired and ready to tackle a bit more DIY at home – what an amazing space Medina has created.
You can follow Grillo Designs on Instagram here and her DIY projects are over on the blog here. She has also launched a new DIY hashtag with two other Instagrammers (@ftlofcolour and @aroundhouses) called #diystories.