When the owners outgrew their Victorian semi in Berkshire, it was difficult to find a new home large enough for themselves and their four young children. ‘We were beginning to feel a bit hemmed in,’ explain the couple, who had their heart set on a large space where everyone could be together and eat and relax. They also wanted each child to have their own bedroom, and ideally a spare one for guests.
‘We love the community spirit, schools and greenery here, but there weren’t any properties for sale that fitted the bill, which was very frustrating,’ reflect the owners. ‘The idea of building our own timber-frame, eco-friendly house appealed to us, so we started looking for land and development plots, but they all seemed a little overpriced.’
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Finding a small 1930s house on a decent-sized site in the summer of 2013 was the turning point for the owners. ‘We could see that demolishing it and building a much bigger home would work well,’ they say. ‘It’s a lovely spot.’
This house tour originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes, April 2017
Struggling to find the right property, the owners of this three-storey, six-bedroom house decided to build their own. ‘The flow of the house was extremely important to us,’ they say. ‘It had to function well, with all the rooms connected to each other. Plus it needed to be eco friendly, sustainable and well insulated to keep the running costs down.’ With TV architect Charlie Luxton enlisted to help, the pair were in good hands and they now have exactly the home they always wanted.
The large kitchen-diner is exactly the kind of sociable space that the couple had envisioned for relaxed family living. The overall scheme has a very sleek and modern appearance, which is offset by the traditional dining furniture. ‘As it’s such a big room, we’ve gone for a recirculating extractor that cleans the air and recycles it,’ say the owners.
Wallpaper and a rug help to define the family room, separating it from the dining area, while complementary upholstery and matching pendant lights link the two zones together. Doors lead out into the garden, which is ideal for hosting barbecues on sunny days.
The living room is connected to the kitchen-diner by glass doors, which enhance the free-flowing feel, whether they are open or closed. An angled doorway stops everything feeling too straight and allows views of the garden, even on the other side of the house.
Get the look: similar floor, The Natural Wood Floor Co
Although the house is completely new, the owners didn’t start from scratch with their furniture. ‘We kept our existing leather sofas,’ they say. ‘The new rug and cushions have updated the look.’
The owners know how easy it is for a hallway to become cluttered, especially with four children, so they have created this neat storage area at the entrance to their home. With plenty of room for everyone’s coats and bits and bobs, it helps to keep the hallway immaculate. A cool storage unit with wheels and multicoloured distressed finishes adds a fun feel to the neutral space.
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Buy now: cabinet on wheels, £160, Witney Warehouse
Sustainable materials that wouldn’t harm the environment were top of the couple’s wish list when planning their house. To enhance the natural look, the handmade wooden banister has been left simply varnished. A striped runner adds interest, while white-painted stair treads brighten the space.
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Buy now: Rock n Roll Tainted Love stair runner, £57.30 per sq m, Alternative Flooring
Large windows with views of the greenery outside were part of the plan. Short curtains add a comforting look that doesn’t dominate the window frame. As with the sitting room, the couple already had furniture that would work in the new space. ‘Our old sleigh bed just keeps going, so we treated ourselves to new bedding,’ says the owner.
The same wallpaper has been used in the guest room as in the main bedroom to create a feature wall and add texture to the scheme. Neutral colours make for a tranquil environment and it certainly looks like the family cat is enjoying the relaxing vibes.
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Buy now: Designers Guild Marmorino wallpaper, £71 per roll, Jane Clayton
The owners’ daughter has the perfect children’s room filled with plenty of fun touches. Pink accents give the space a cohesive feel, while wall stencils add a decorative splash of colour to the neutral walls.
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Buy now: similar bookcase, Argos
The shape of this attic room lends itself well to a large walk-in shower. Lots of light floods in through the sloped window, which the owners have left uncovered, as the room is not overlooked. Stone tiles in the shower provide a wonderful contrast to the white paint, creating a super-elegant scheme.
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Buy now: Tumbled marble Grigio wall tiles, £69.95 per sq m, Original Style