The home that Mustard built
When Becca first pitched the idea of a locker business to Jess, she threw in an incentive. But neither of them could have predicted how soon they'd make it a reality!
If you'd asked either Jess or Becca what their goals for Mustard were when they started, they would have said (in unison, probably!) that they wanted to be able to renovate Jess's home. For Jess, it was an opportunity to finally be able to see her vision for the flat come to life and to transform it into a place where they could eventually raise a baby. For Becca, it was about making her sister's dream come true, and the goal motivated her to build the business into something bigger and better. As the big sister, it was her way of saying thank you to Jess for taking a leap with her and the reward for the risk Jess took leaving her corporate career.
In 2018, the big renovation was the biggest, wildest dream they could conjure up. Jess and her now-husband Marc were living in a one-bedroom Victorian terrace flat in London. With its disjointed layout and dark, run-down kitchen, it needed some attention, which Becca knew first-hand.
"We were actually second to move in," Marc explains. "Becca, Jono and the boys were over from Australia and stayed in our newly purchased home before we did! When we finally moved in they had filled our fridge and our cleaning cupboard!"
Aside from the fully-stocked fridge, there was lots of potential on display. "I still remember the day we first walked around to view the flat," Jess recalls. "It felt unloved, rough around the edges and everywhere you looked was a very yellow wall!" But it also boasted original wooden floors, beautiful wooden doors with brass door knobs, original Victorian fireplaces and a garden.
"To us, there were so many things to love."
Jess and Marc set about the lengthy tasks of cleaning and painting. They started by painting everything white, creating a clean slate. Marc says, "The flat was full of the previous owners' furniture that they hadn't cleared and the garden had turned into a jungle. If you took two steps into the garden you were hit by a wall of plants. I used to be a landscape gardener, so one weekend Jess was away and I cleared everything. This brought me a lot of satisfaction. We discovered a beautiful rose tree and a pear tree hidden in the growth, and they flourished after I cut everything back."
Just as Jess and Marc were busy falling in love with their flat, people were falling in love with lockers. Faster and harder than expected! As a new business, no one could have expected how quickly Mustard would take off — not even Becca and Jess.
Just three years after Mustard's launch, Becca was able to make good on her promise to Jess, and the renovation commenced in 2021.
"We had spent four years living in the flat before we started renovating it," Marc says. "We spent those years talking through every wall colour, layout option, every decision big and small, down to what would eventually go in every cupboard. We wanted to be really efficient with the space so we could transform our home from a one-bedroom flat to a two-bedroom family home."
The first thing they did was secure a great architect. Priority one was reconfiguring the layout, which originally had the living room at one end and a small kitchen at the other. Jess and Marc wanted to bring the kitchen, living and dining areas together to create the perfect space for entertaining friends and family. Jess describes the result as "bright, light and practical."
Then, they needed to create a second bedroom for the arrival of baby Poppy!
"We now have two really good size bedrooms," Jess says, and her bedroom is her favourite part of the home. "If we ever moved, I would want to replicate our bedroom exactly how it is."
"I love the warmth of the walls, the cosy linen bedding and all the texture of the wood elements. It's my calm, happy place."
With Mustard at its heart, colour of course plays a part in Jess and Marc's home. "Colour was always going to be an important element," Jess says, "but so was keeping things neutral because we knew this flat wouldn't be our forever home. We loved working with Lisa from Born & Bred who helped us translate our ideas into gorgeous mood boards and then into real life. It was so helpful to have another person bringing ideas and experience to the process. She saved a lot of arguments too! The walls have mostly stayed white, and we have layered prints, cushions, blankets, rugs and lockers (of course) to add colour and personality."
Any lover of Mustard's Sage lockers will recognise the shade throughout the home. "Green tones flow throughout every room," Jess says, "from the front door to the original tiles on our fireplace in our bedroom, the bathroom tiles and the beautiful matte Sage green kitchen (that of course was matched exactly to our lockers)."
"Green tones flow throughout every room."
Blush also features heavily, with a Blush Lowdown in Poppy's room and dusty pink tones in Jess and Marc's bedroom. "We have had every colour and style of locker come through our home," says Marc, "although that happens less now that we have an actual office! I'm so happy with the Sage features. There's a reason it's our best-selling colour. It just looks so good!"
bumps in the road
Like any renovation, Jess and Marc had a few bumps in the road. "There are always unexpected challenges," Marc says. "Our structural engineer had insisted on certain types of foundations, and this decision would mean a lot more money. So I researched, found an app to work out my own calculations and presented a case back to them to change their opinion. They accepted, and it saved us thousands!"
Then there was the sheer volume of decisions the pair had to make. From designs to materials, paint colours, tiles, sockets, sinks and more, the list of decisions was endless. "I honestly didn't realise we had to pick five different colours of grout," Marc laughs. "One for each of the tiles we had picked. It all really adds up!"
from little things, big things grow
In 2017 when Becca and Jess went on the fateful beach walk that first launched the idea of Mustard, they had no idea what was in store. So, to see the result of their hard work in the form of bricks and mortar is something pretty special. How does Jess feel knowing that her dream renovation is powered by Mustard? "This question actually makes me teary," she says. "It means a lot. A whole lot."
Marc adds, "I actually joked with Becca at the time that if Mustard did well enough to enable us to do the work, then I'd put a little plaque up on the outside of the extension with her name on it. Still need to get around to purchasing one!"
Photos by Anna Stathaki
Interior Design by Born & Bred