Distinctive Book Club: Creative Family Home, By Ashlyn Gibson

12th February 2014

We love reading here at Distinctive Chesterfields; the tumbling, rhythmic loveliness of a great poem, the perfect prose of a must-read best-seller. But occasionally – and though it pains us to admit it – our inner six-year-old selves need to see colour. A feast of bright, joyful colour. And pictures – lots of them. It’s the ultimate in ‘switch off reading’; when we allow ourselves to truly immerse ourselves in the pages without any real effort.

Ashlyn Gibson’s ‘Creative Family Home’ offers pure, effortless joy. A riotous carnival of colour, it’s a joy to flick through – and a great addition to any book shelf.

We’re thrilled to review it as part of our  ‘Distinctive Book Club’, which will see us delve deep into the pages of a host of interiors books, before letting you know what we think of them.


Owner of children’s boutique Olive Loves Alfie, Ashlyn also writes a column for Red magazine online. In the introduction to her book she says she envisaged it featuring not only ‘outstanding interiors’, but hoped it would also capture ‘the innovative spirit and the nurturing soul of the modern family’. And that it most certainly does.

At the heart of Distinctive Chesterfields are Clare and Steve Laidlaw – a husband and wife managing duo who know only too well what it’s like to live in a busy family home. They have three children – aged 11, eight and two – and say incorporating the kids’ toys and other belongings into the home while ensuring the house still looks great can be tricky. The same goes for most family homes – and the question on every parent’s lips must surely be ‘how on earth do you create a functional and attractive home?’ You’ll find the answer among the vibrant pages of Creative Family Home.


Ashlyn has managed to use the space in her home imaginatively, ensuring everything has its own place and still looks good. More than that, she’s injected her very own brand of cool into her place.

But here in her book, she pulls together some inspiring images of equally great spaces. They each feature contemporary design, and they’re ‘beacons of originality’, says Ashlyn in the book’s colourful introductory pages.

Stylish and Thrifty

Not feeling so flush? Don’t panic; many of the ideas contained within Creative Family Home are both stylish and thrifty, with quirky flea markets one of the main sources of retail inspiration.

Among some of our favourite projects rooms are the fun one pictured above, which uses palette loads of colour to liven up a neutral space, and a stunning one found on page 14 of Creative Family Home. It uses lively prints of paper to transform an old box frame into a multi-coloured work of art.

Elsewhere in the book you’ll discover top storage tips, to crafty ideas for old sweet jars, and a novel use for a drum kit. Trust us, you don’t want to muss it…

Have you managed to get hold of Creative Family Home yet? What did you think of it? Are you as much a fan as us? Don’t forget to comment on this post and let us know your thoughts.

You can also catch up with our very first Distinctive Book Club post by heading here. 

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