The family have always loved a calming, neutral decor, so when they decided to buy a period property in Cambridge with green walls, feature wallpaper and dark floors, something had to give. ‘We like decoration to be simple and rooms to be clutter-free – everything has to have its place,’ says the homeowner.
‘Friends advised us to live in the house for a bit before we made any changes. But we just didn’t feel comfortable with the mish-mash decoration – the rooms felt too disjointed and overwhelming.’
Soon after the couple moved in with their two sons, they hired a decorator to paint all the rooms white. ‘We hadn’t paid much attention to interiors in our previous home as we’d always been too busy with work, so I was taken aback when the decorator asked which shade of white,’ says Rebecca.
‘I spent ages going through the colour charts and trying tester pots and finally settled on a white with a hint of grey, as it changes depending on the natural light in the room, and looks lovely everywhere.’ Because there really is a best white paint for each room of the house, depending on natural light.
‘As I was still getting to know my style, I didn’t want to spend lots of money on something if I wasn’t totally sure it would look right,’ she says. ‘I learnt how to lime wax and painted old brown pieces to achieve a shabby chic whitewash effect to lighten the rooms.’
After adding warmth and texture throughout with natural and white wood furniture, panelling, rattan and plants, Rebecca’s really pleased with the results. ‘We’ve achieved a relaxed and calm home where the rooms flow,’ she says. ‘Now, I don’t feel like I have to apologise for having a white house, it’s absolutely perfect for us.’
The homeowner sanded and varnished the original floorboards. Rattan storage, a natural fibre runner and a large potted plant add warming texture and tactility, bringing an essence of the outside-in.
‘I love the look of French country kitchens, which inspired the shaker-style cupboards and old farmhouse table,’ says the homeowner. ‘We chose a floor with an aged look, yet light and practical,’ she continues.
The second-hand farmhouse table was updated by painting the legs and pairing with new chairs. ‘I kept the high-level glass bricks from the old utility room,’ she says.
Using white paint helped pull light into a windowless area, whilst the clever use of stepping mirrors up the wall gives the room height. ‘The symmetrical layout opens up the narrow room and creates balance,’ says the homeowner.
A super-scaled world wall map is the ideal decorative (and educational) feature in a playroom idea.
‘We installed more attractive windows to create a focal point,’ says the homeowner.
A feather wallhanging is an elegant touch, in addition to a plethora of layered textiles, which add depth and subtle contrast in this one-palette white bedroom idea.
Out of the blue, the homeowners decided to try something different – painting wall panelling in the guest bedroom a dramatic black. ‘I made the wall panel and painted it white but the natural light gave it a lilac look, which I really didn’t like,’ she says. ‘Black was brave for me as I was worried it might make the room look too dark, but now I’ve never loved a wall more.’
The black wall panelling idea looks striking against the white bedhead.
A painted triangle motif gives definition to neutral walls in a child’s bedroom. A mountain themed rug echoes the wall geometry.
Using an upcycled furniture idea the homeowner turned her childhood school desk into a chic dressing table with lime wax and leftover paint. Dried flower accents add texture with details of everlasting pretty.
A simple update with a rustic shelf, plant holder and pelican poster gives character to the plain decor. Bathroom plant ideas always welcome a fresh detail.
Feature by Jane Crittenden