The one thing this owner was sure about when she and her husband were looking for a bigger home? She didn’t want another Victorian house. ‘I’ve always hankered after a mid-century style house and really thought that’s what we would find when we moved,’ she says.
‘At the time, we were living in a nice area of Brighton, close to a park in a typical property for the area. It was a tall, thin Victorian town house, which was a bit top heavy, with a postage stamp size garden. But, with three boys, we knew that quite soon we’d need more living space inside. Plus a larger garden,’ says the homeowner.
Also on their check list was a village location, a property with four, possibly five bedrooms, and a garage. ‘Our search area was ridiculously large, and we ended up looking at loads of real homes. Nothing felt right, until we saw this one. The house was on the outskirts of a village, in a plot of just under two acres with a wraparound garden. In fact, we knew it was right for us before we walked through the door… despite it being Victorian!’ she says.
With the search and purchase finally over, the family were able to move into their new Victorian house, which felt strangely familiar. ‘Although I’d had a hankering for a very different style of property, there was something almost comforting about being in another Victorian house,’ says the homeowner. ‘If felt like our old home, but bigger.’
The new property didn’t need any structural work and they were able to concentrate on getting the interiors exactly as they wanted. ‘The downstairs rooms physically flow easily from one to another,’ the homeowner says.
In the big open-plan living room, two rugs and two pendants are used to zone areas for a more intimate feel. The Mobile chandelier is from West Elm and Multi vintage rug from Louis De Poortere.
‘We liked the wood flooring downstairs, but decided to spruce it up by having it resanded and varnished,’ says the owner. At one end of the sitting room, she chose Civic Bee wallpaper by Timorous Beasties, which is a piece of artwork on its own right.
The bay area of this room makes the perfect spot for a formal dining table. ‘It was tricky deciding how best to delineate which areas were to be used for what,’ the homeowner says. ‘But in the end we were able to create a dining area at the far end of the sitting room.’
As well as having a different layout from their previous house, this the scale of their new home was much larger. ‘Because we decided to leave most of our furniture behind, we were able to choose the correct scale of furniture for these rooms. We knew what we wanted, but were also able to find similar and cheaper products on eBay. I would say, though, that it’s worth investing in good quality furniture that gets a lot of use,’ she says.
The owner mixed four Wishbone chairs and two Kartell Louis Ghost Armchairs with the Extra Large Conker Dining Table from Loaf. The blind fabric she chose is Shima in Turquoise from Designer’s Guild.
This large kitchen is the ideal space for the family to gather. To create a sense of continuity throughout the house, the owner referred to tear sheets from magazines that she’d collected over the years.
‘I realised that just because a scheme has been planned, it doesn’t have to match – it can have a theme of a colour or style,’ she says. And, having already had experience of using stronger colours, she wanted to give this house a more dramatic feel. ‘I’ve always loved strong colours and wanted to try out some more here, particularly from a blue palette,’ she says. The blue touches add interest and energy to the grey kitchen ideas.
Geometric tiles give the Shaker units a modern edge. The bar stools are from a selection at Rockett St George and the Concrete Hanging Lights with Gold interior from Gant.
In the main bedroom, the walls are painted in Peignoir Estate Emulsion from Farrow & Ball. The floorboards were painted white to add to the airy feel in here with a sheepskin rug from Habitat to make sure it feels cosy underfoot.
The homeowners liked the bathroom as it was, so didn’t feel the need to change the pink bathroom ideas. For a similar coloured bath, try the Duke Blue range at Victorian Plumbing.
The house is now finished, and the experience has made the couple feel a little more confident to be bolder with colour and furniture choices. ‘If we ever moved again, I’d be tempted to go even bolder,’ says the homeowner. ‘I might even be tempted to use a green palette next time, but if history is anything to go by, the property will probably still end up being Victorian again!’
Original feature by Penny Botting