This handsome old farmhouse was a lucky find for the homeowners. Seeing a 'for sale' sign when they were out walking, they were intrigued, as the house was barely visible beyond its overgrown rhododendron hedges and clouds of bindweed. ‘We’d lived in the neighbouring village for 18 years and never knew there was a house here,’ they say.
Another buyer had already put in an offer, intending to demolish the old house and replace it with several new homes, but when that sale fell through and it came back on the market, the couple discovered it was, in fact, two homes. The old farmhouse had been split in half, and both sections were up for sale.
‘It had a lovely atmosphere and we put in an offer there and then. It wasn’t hard to imagine how good the house would look with a bit of care and attention,’ they recall.
So they became the old farmhouse’s proud new owners, with no intention of demolishing it, and every intention of restoring and preserving its many period details.
Embarking on a renovation
The family remained in their village house for nearly three years as they worked their way through full-scale renovations, including replumbing, replastering crumbling walls, replacing floors and installing central heating in the farmhouse. They tackled a lot of the work themselves most evenings and weekends, with help from a few family members and an electrician for the rewiring.
They called in specialist help to repair the two-storey front bay, though, which was pulling away from the house wall as the foundations hadn’t been dug deep enough. ‘You could see daylight through a huge crack in the ceiling in the main bedroom. It was a bit scary as we weren’t sure how long it would hold.’
In every other respect the farmhouse was solid, and joining the two halves of the property back together again was simpler than it sounds. ‘Upstairs there were two lockable interconnecting doors which we removed, and downstairs in the kitchen, there was just one wall to knock through that had divided the two houses.'
Neutral walls and colourful furnishings
When the family first moved in they spruced the house up with the best white paints and other neutrals to give themselves time to see what colours would work best.
‘We weren’t sure how dark the house was going to feel, and whether it could take colour. It’s not until you put your furniture in that you know how it’s going to work.'
As a way with white, they have added more colour with fabrics, furnishings and accessories, such as in the breakfast room with its bright rug, cushions and artwork..
Mixing antiques and new
Regular visitors to antique fairs, they have always loved old houses and period details. ‘Often an old picture or piece of fabric I find will inspire me, and the living room colours were based on a vintage quilt I found at a textile fair.' The result is a country living room full of charm.
Adding more colour gradually
They have added more colour to rooms as they have lived in the house and seen how the light works in spaces through the seasons and the difference adding pieces of furniture and fabrics has made.
This included adding darker paint on the chimney breast for the dining room colour scheme, which creates a contrast to the neutral colours on the other walls. Combined with antique furniture and a feature chandelier, this has created a room full of character.
Decor inspired by the past
As they progressed with their renovation, they uncovered charming period details.
‘I was so excited when we found pieces of a rose-print wallpaper in one of the bedrooms and a hand-blocked William Morris wallcovering in the dining room. I’ve kept the fragments and one of them inspired my choice of wallcovering in the guest room. I love the thought of our home’s Victorian owner carefully choosing its décor all that time ago, just like we are now.’
There is a lovely floral and soft and feminine feel to this beautiful vintage bedroom idea.
As a bedroom wallpaper idea for the master bedroom, they found a few rolls of wallpaper on Ebay to replace the room’s original striped paper on the chimney breast. This creates a timeless backdrop to inherited and bought vintage and antique pieces.
Creative bathroom ideas
The exquisitely detailed original fire surround sets the tone for a vintage bathroom which is full of creative ideas and interesting items.
The roll-top bath and floor-mounted taps were bought online, and as a wall display, above it is an arrangement of plates that are a mix of inherited chinaware and antique market finds. A large wall-standing mirror behind the bath creates the feel of more space in the room.
The owners have made the most of the garden seating ideas to enjoy the views of their country garden.
A sunny spot on the porch outside one of the back doors offers a sheltered area that can be enjoyed through the seasons.
‘We’re so happy with how the house looks now, and we feel like it’s all coming together and gradually evolving. We’re glad we took our time to get to know the house, and now we’re just fine-tuning the details.’
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