With their paintbrushes, craft tool box and imagination, the owners added quirky style twists to every room in their characterful home
When the estate agent first showed the owners the details for this house, they were put off by its location on a busy main road. However, they were eventually persuaded to view it. ‘We’re so glad we did, as we fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the front door,’ they say. ‘It had great potential for improvement and the space it offered was fantastic. It also had the benefit of being in the catchment area for a really good school, which was handy, as we planned to have a child at some point.’
Moving from a two-bed flat to a three-bed house with a large open-plan kitchen was a big step for the couple. ‘We didn’t think we’d ever fill it,’ they say, ‘but we did in no time.’
As soon as they moved in, the pair set about decorating the entire house in neutral colours, just to perk up the place while they decided on a scheme. ‘We weren’t in a hurry to tackle any big jobs – in fact, it would be nine years before that happened,’ they say. ‘And it was important to us that all our favourite things we’d collected or found over the years were incorporated into the design.’
The owners are big fans of grey as a base colour. ‘We wanted the overall scheme to be centred on a palette of warm grey with pops of colour everywhere,’ they say. ‘This way the look can be changed with very little fuss and without having to spend too much.’ In the living room, the sofas are new, but almost everything else is second-hand or handmade by the owners. ‘It makes it unique to us,’ they say.
The kitchen was the first room that the couple updated. They replaced the dark laminate flooring with solid oak and chose painted wooden cupboards that could be easily refreshed. As the pair didn’t want the look to be too kitcheny, they decided against wall units. In terms of furniture, the eagle-eyed decorating duo sought out second-hand buys and upcycled them with a coat of paint to fit the scheme.
Using their upcycling genius, the owners gave their coffee table a new lease of life. ‘The leather top on this old table was cracked,’ they say. ‘Rather than throw it out, we attached fabric with Velcro. It’s easy to remove for washing so it’s a cinch to keep clean.’
Apart from the main living room at the front of the house, the ground-floor has a largely open-plan layout. The kitchen-dining area connects to the couple’s home office, which in turn leads on to the snug. An open doorway creates a natural separation between the spaces, as does the positioning of the armchair.
The husband and wife owners both work from home and their computers sit sweetly side by side, with matching chairs. Letters and other colourful accessories add plenty of colour, creating a scheme that’s sure to inspire clear thinking.
The couple have added splashes of colour to the staircase by painting the spindles in different shades of blue. This adds lots of personality to the space and avoids the hassle of scaling ladders to paint vibrant walls.
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When it came to the bedroom, the couple worked around the furniture they’d had for 18 years. ‘We just changed the wallpaper and added contemporary accessories,’ they say. ‘However, we couldn’t resist a bit of recycling here, so we transformed an oversized scarf into a bed throw.’ They also created an innovative photo display using a branch wrapped in colourful wooden threads.
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‘Our son designed his own room,’ say the owners. ‘He chose the loft bed, as he wanted extra space to have a desk and to display his prized superhero figurine collection. He even came up with the idea of the single blue wall and painted it himself.’
The owners didn’t want to spend a lot on their bathroom makeover. Even though they bought a new bath, loo and shower, they found the sink cabinet on Gumtree and made the windowsill out of an old school science lab bench. ‘We try to upcycle as much as possible,’ they say. ‘Not only to save money, but to rescue things from landfill and to add our own twist.’
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It’s been a lot of work for the couple, who run two businesses from home. ‘Trying to decorate, paint furniture and make things has meant many late nights and long weekends,’ they say. ‘But it’s certainly been worth the hard work – we’re so happy with the finished look.’
This house tour originally appeared in Style at Home, May 2017.
Image credits: Colin Poole