Restoring this Georgian house to its former glory ate in the owner's budget, so they devised ways to get the classic country look they wanted for less
Moving to a Georgian house in Sheffield sparked a total change for the owner and her husband. ‘We’ve always lived in modern houses with contemporary furniture. Coming here has had a huge impact on my decorating style, from the colours for the walls to the furniture I have picked.’ The house had been neglected and needed complete renovation, including new ceilings, central heating, electrics and plumbing, plus a kitchen and bathrooms. ‘We wanted every bit of it to be sympathetically restored. Luckily, my husband is an architectural technologist, so he wasn’t put off by the job. He set up an office upstairs and managed the project himself.’ Classic furniture, a relaxed colour scheme and pretty decorative details have given this home a timeless sophistication.
The couple hired experts to make moulds from existing cornicing and ceiling roses to replace any missing ones, and re-create the original staircase. 'We sourced original fixtures and fittings from reclamation yards.' The repairs quickly ate into the couple's decorating budget and they had to scale back some of their ideas. 'We had to be creative. I sold our modern furniture and hunted down deeply unfashionable dark-wood pieces, which were very cheap to buy from junk shops, and painted them in soft colours.' Friends kept asking where the furniture came from, which gave the owner confidence to leave her job as a legal secretary and set up a tearoom and homeware store.
The fireplace at the end of the kitchen lent itself to a seating rather than dining area, so the couple shopped online for a wood burner, reused slabs of York stone to make a rustic hearth and turned the space into a cosy snug.
As part of the renovation, the couple stripped and restored the wooden floors, which work beautifully with the painted-wood cabinets and natural oak worktops in the kitchen. The butcher's block is a country-style essential, giving the mobile storage and extra workspace every kitchen needs.
The owner updated her classic country look with a black gloss American-style fridge and solid granite worktop on the island. The granite has ribbons of purple running through it, injecting colour into the neutral kitchen.
To get a classic country-house look, the owner chose traditional units with plinths and an ornate carved mantel. The design was inspired by a picture she saw in a magazine and had built and painted by a carpenter. The country blue on the island freshens an all-neutral kitchen.
The solid oak dining table is her pride and joy. After seeing lots of expensive versions, she found a carpenter who made one from reclaimed materials for a snip of the cost. 'If I really want something, I'll keep hunting until I find a version of it that I can afford.' The rustic rattan chairs are perfect for adding natural texture and colour.
Similar table and chairs
Maison Home Interiors
In the hallway, the owner has gone for full-on country-house chic, with a crystal-droplet chandelier, antique-look mirror and French-style table. The striped runner is a classic option for this period hall.
In the den, the couple kept the brick bare and simply covered the concrete floor with a rug for an easy-going look. The ceilings here were high enough for them to add a mezzanine. 'It's like an indoor treehouse for the children - perfect when the weather is rotten.'
Similar rattan chairs
The child's bedroom has been given a traditional look, too, with a dressing table transformed with a lock of chalk paint and a vintage-style metal bed.
The owners haven't been afraid to make a statement in the bathroom. Who says country style has to look humble? At more than £2,500, the cast-iron bathroom was the most lavish buy. 'We love its huge size.' On the floor, this upscale lino is a genius lookalike for marble.
Here the owner has hunted for authentic-looking details. Get the perfect finish with traditional damask prints, period-style fittings and beautifully detailed antique-inspired mirrors.
With all the hard work behind her, the owner has noticed the impact this house has had on her sense of style. 'I used to be in love with modern design. Now, my home style has changed dramatically to suit the period of the house we live in. These days, I'm far more comfortable with a classic look.'
Get the look
Buy now: Passaro Damask Wallpaper, £72 a roll, Wallpaper Direct
This house tour originally appeared in Ideal Home, February 2017