Through the Keyhole – Not Your Average New Build

Those who say ‘new builds have no soul’ have obviously never met Jo Snook. She has completely transformed her New Forest home, filling it with stylish décor, accessories and personal touches. What was once a blank canvas is now a beautifully chic and sophisticated space and we can’t wait to give you the tour! Here Jo chats to us about her home, her love of interiors and what inspires her. . .

Hi Jo, so what do we need to know about you?

Well I’m a happily married mum to two teenage daughters, 16 & 14. My husband and I were childhood sweethearts and have been together since we met at school aged 15. We started our business Apple Crates UK 3 years ago after returning from living in the Costa del Sol Spain for nearly 10 years. (Yes I still miss the weather!) I’ve always loved interiors, ever since we purchased our first home when we were just 21. But after returning from Spain and renting for a few years, it’s nice to be back on the property ladder and fully embracing my interior love again!

Tell us about your home.

It’s a 3 bed, semi-detached new build near Ringwood in the New Forest. We are literally on the border of Hampshire and Dorset so we have the best of both worlds with the New Forest 15 minutes one way, and Dorset with its beaches 15 minutes the other.

How long have you lived in your home and what made you buy it?

We’ve lived here for just 6 months and although we’ve never owned a new build before and weren’t particularly looking for one, when we saw the house and its location it ticked most of our boxes. I must admit, with being so busy at work, it was nice to know that we could take our time adding improvements and not have to start a full renovation from the moment we moved in (although for our next house I would love a project).

 What is the home improvement you are most proud of?

With it being a new build and everything being brand new, we haven’t really made any major improvements…yet! Our house was already finished before we purchased it so we didn’t get to make any choices on kitchens, bathrooms, tiles, carpets etc. There is still a lot I would like to change eventually but there is a sense of guilt in changing things that are brand new! I think with the kitchen, just changing the handles to copper, painting the walls grey and adding the rustic shelves has made such a huge difference to what was a rather bland (meh!) kitchen.

How would you describe your style?

Oooh that’s a really tricky one. I like so many different styles and feel our house is a real mixture sometimes. But if I had to categorise it, I guess it would be modern country(ish) with a bit of scandi thrown in too!

What inspires you and the way you style your home?

I love looking through interior magazines and Instagram. I enjoy and appreciate so many styles, but ultimately I like to keep my own decor and furniture neutral and add colour with the accessories and soft furnishings. This way you can completely change the look of a room really cheaply and that’s ideal for someone like me that gets bored very easily.

What is your favourite room in the house and why?

I think it’s probably our bedroom. Its flooded with light from the two velux windows and the white walls and furniture make it such a calming, relaxing room. It does make it even harder to get out bed some mornings though!

 What is your most treasured interior item and why?

Right now I think this would probably have to be my sofa, purely because I had to badger the husband for so long to get it! Convincing him to give up the ‘oh so comfy’ but far too modern for me, reclining leather sofas (the one thing he was allowed to choose in a previous house) wasn’t  easy. He has refused to give up his arm chair though, so that gets hidden behind the door in the living room and never features on Insta (chuckle).

 Where are your favourite places to source items for your home?

I love a trip to Home Sense and TK Maxx because they always have completely different things in store on each visit. I also love a bit of eBay shopping as I do love a bargain!

What sort of things do you splash out on and where or how do you make savings?

Happy to splash out on anything that I am not going to want to change in a few months, (furniture, flooring, lighting etc) and would rather save a little bit longer to get something that is just right. But when it comes to accessories I am a real bargain hunter and love finding a designer dupe for a fraction of the price.

What is the best value item in your home?

Our bed headboard was a great bargain at just £85 from eBay and our kitchen table and benches (from a small company called Brogan & French) were also a great buy!

What’s your favourite colour to use in your home décor?

At the moment copper and rose gold. I’m finding copper accessories are sneaking into more and more rooms at the moment.

What is your favourite account on Instagram?

I think for ultimate house and style goals it would have to be @rvk_loves. Amazing!

What is your next project?

The next big project will be opening up the ceiling of our eldest daughter’s bedroom and going into the loft to create a mezzanine style space. Her room is really quite small so think this will make a huge difference. We also need to tile the kitchen, change the kitchen sink to ceramic and add copper taps. On top of that, we need to finish the garden and ultimately I would LOVE a roll top bath. I could go on; my list of wishes gets added to almost daily!

Do you have any home-styling tips for our readers?

I think just go with what you really love regardless of whether it’s on trend or means you are mixing styles. When buying a new home I think my top tip would be not to get carried away buying too many things before you move in. Live in the space for a few weeks to get a feel for what will work where. I’m really glad I did as a lot of what I had planned wouldn’t have actually panned out as I had pictured it in my head.

For more inspiration from this lovely lady, make sure you’re following her on Instagram @newbuildtohome. If you have a distinctly stylish home and would like to appear in our monthly ‘Through The Keyhole’ feature, get in touch! You can message @_homebirds_ on Instagram or email us at

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