Much loved member of our Bags of Joy community and self-confessed Queen of Bows, Lindsey Russel was kind enough to join us this week on The SHcoop. In continuation of our Women Who Inspire segment, we were pleased to sit down with Lindsey to discuss everything from building her dream home, to owning her personal style.
Hi Lindsey, thank you so much for coming on The SHcoop! You run your own business, tell us a little about how you got started in construction!
I started in construction at 20 when I bought my first house, it was a run down tatty end of terrace which I renovated and managed to sell for 4 times the purchase price. From then I had the bug and knew I wanted to climb the housing ladder!
Unfortunately at 21 years of age I had a major car accident. Half of my face was sliced open with my nose, eye socket, cheek, jaw and teeth smashed to pieces! I was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and very fortunate for me they were showing a very important world known Professor around the hospital who specialised in cleft palates for children. He just happened to see me come in and immediately said he would like to do the surgery! He did a pretty good job and with porcelain gums and bridgework I could smile again … which I do a lot of.
Thanks to the surgeon, I was able to continue my dream of climbing the housing ladder. Now my wonderful husband Greg and I have our own construction company where we build new and refurb all sorts of properties from barn conversions to eco houses. Now we are a family business with both of our sons and Greg’s brother working with us.
You have a unique sense of style which you like to show through your home’s interior, tell us a bit about how you came to live in your dream home.
After moving every 3 to 4 years and raising our two gorgeous boys in dusty building sites, we eventually bought our forever home. It was a derelict bungalow with great land surrounding it. It is not only my favourite house, but a house that I could design for myself rather than for clients.
My tastes are quirky and I am so thankful that Greg is not just an excellent builder, but also understands my quirky tastes. I see no reason to have a boring house. Why can’t I have an upside-down house with two staircases and windows that allow me to look out over the beautiful countryside that I am truly blessed to live in?
Greg built the garages and office space for us to move into while the rest of our dream home was under construction, but we didn’t have the money to build exactly what we wanted and not wanting to compromise, we worked throughout the week and spent the evenings and weekends working on the house. It was 3 years before we were able to move in, but it was all worth it in the end.
Your unique sense of style means you don’t like anything to be plain and boring, so much so, that you prefer to create things that suit your style instead of just prescribing to what’s already available on the market. Tell us about some of the things you’ve created.
After we moved into our current house, I wanted to buy some new clothes airers for my utility room, as I was looking I couldn’t believe how boring they were! So I designed the Tilly Cat (named after my first Granddaughter.) After my friends saw them, they too wanted rid of their boring airers, and so the Tilly Dog, Tilly Fish and Tilly Butterfly were born!
Having a unique home has nothing to do with size, you can have a house be everything you want it to be, you just have to decide what you like and then go for it!
You have quite the collection of Sarah Haran bags, what was it that drew you to the brand?
I have NEVER been a handbag girl, but when I saw Anthea Turner with a Sarah Haran bag on Facebook, I just knew I had to have one! I instantly loved the design and how you could mix and match the accessories to create so many different styles. I am well and truly hooked on the concept of this beautiful company. I love that you can create quiet and classic styles, or change to a loud and brash look depending on your mood or occasion.
You are someone who knows how to own their style, do you have any tips on how to style both yourself and your bags?
When I’m wearing a larger bag, I am a great lover of the Dahlia and Fern. For something smaller, or to wear on the front of my other bags, I love the oh-so-adaptable Ivy. When accessorising, I absolutely adore bows - I don’t believe you can ever have too many of them!
Personally I love fashion. I like anything that’s a bit out there and unusual. I like to wear Dr. Martens with silk lace skirts and I am a great fan of layering which looks amazing, while allowing you to breath out and hide large boobs!