Before and after: from bookshelf-filled study to peaceful guest room

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  • Ripping out fitted bookshelves has turned this former study into a light-filled room for guests

    With a baby on the way, the owners of this listed Georgian house in Richmond knew they would have visitors queueing up. ‘Before the baby arrived, we wanted to create a calm and quiet guest bedroom away from the rest of the chaos,’ they say. ‘And we felt this space at the back of the house would be perfect.’

    Previously used as a study, the room had bookshelves everywhere. ‘We have enough shelving elsewhere and wanted an attractive room to offer guests, so the shelves had to go,’ say the couple.

    Before starting, the owners asked local planners for advice. Because the building is listed, they were told that the pine floors and panelling couldn’t be touched. There was also a lot of discussion about the sort of paint they could use on the walls.

    ‘We wanted the space to be unfussy, with textured fabrics and furniture that suited the age of the house,’ say the decorating duo. ‘We commissioned the artwork above the bed from an artist we like – Stuart Hartley – and used the colours within it for the decor.’

    Upcycling played a part in the refurbishments. ‘We repainted a bed we already owned,’ say the couple, ‘which really made it work in the new space.’ And one of the owner’s mothers put her crafting skills to good use by making the cushions.

    ‘We wanted the furniture to suit the age of the house,’ say the owners. ‘We already had the stool, then found this Georgian chest at Kempton Park Antiques Fair for £400.’

    The bedside table was also bought at the antiques fair and the traditional lamp was chosen to complement it.

    ‘Because the room is an awkward shape, there’s not a lot of room for storage,’ say the owners. ‘But the alcoves are handy for accessories and books.’

    With no space for a full chair, the couple had this small junk-shop stool reupholstered. It lends the scheme an elegant feel and enjoys a sunny spot next to the window.

    The blind was made by one of the owner’s mothers, along with the cushions, so it matches the scheme perfectly. It gives the window an unfussy look and, without curtains, the room feels lighter and more spacious.

    The project took around a month to complete and the couple are thrilled with the transformation. ‘The bedroom now feels so fresh and restful,’ they say. ‘We almost wish it was ours.’

    Get the look

    Buy now: Artwork by Stuart Hartley, £4,000, Mark Jason Gallery

    Buy now: walls painted in Starling’s Egg Intelligent Matt Emulsion, £47 for 2.5ltr, Little Greene

    Buy now: bed painted in Pure chalk paint, £18.95 for ltr, coated in wax, £8.95 for 500ml, both Annie Sloan

    Buy now: Blind made in Brera Lino Sky linen, £65 per m, Designers Guild

    Buy now: similar chest, Elisabeth James Antiques

    Buy now: for a similar lampshade, try the S650/5 PP, £10.50, Castlegate Lights

    Buy now: for a similar seat, try the Prestbury fabric bench in Villandry Duck Egg, £800, Laura Ashley

    This bedroom originally appeared in Ideal Home, May 2017.

    Image credits: David Giles

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