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‘Before moving here we lived in a Victorian maisonette, but when the children came along, slightly earlier than planned, we needed more space,’ says the owner of this four-bed home in the Wirral. ‘We wanted to find our dream home, but didn’t want to rush things, so we sold up and moved into a rental property until we could find somewhere that ticked all the boxes on our wish list.’
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‘We wanted something Edwardian in style, classic and timeless, and with a decent-sized garden, and in the end it took a year of searching, with a few lost properties along the way. Luckily, we both fell in love with this house as soon as we set foot inside it. We loved the character and the original features, and it felt like a house that gave you a hug as soon as you walked in.’
The day we got the keys I started decorating, and the first few weeks were really exciting, though I have to say, the novelty soon wore off! All the fireplaces and cupboards were dark wood and the two front rooms had green carpet throughout, so it all looked dull and dingy.’
‘I’ve always bought lots of interiors magazines to give me ideas on budget decorating and I also created moodboards for different rooms on Pinterest, so I knew what I wanted before we began any work.’
‘I immediately took down the chintzy curtains, but we wanted to live in the space and see how we used the rooms before properly deciding how to decorate, so I just freshened up the walls by painting them a neutral colour and gradually started decorating each room. I did really want to put my stamp on the house straight away though, so I painted the front door my favourite pale seaside blue colour, Farrow & Ball’s Parma Gray.’
‘I saw this half-moon table standing outside a charity shop getting wet. I paid £10 for it – a quick lick of paint gave it a new lease of life.’
‘Even the stairs get the Christmas treatment in our home. This garland with added fairy lights, from Inspirations Wholesale, adds to the look.’
‘I change the accent shade in this room, depending on the time of year – at Christmas I like to add a few red accessories to pick out the red decorations on the tree.’
‘I switched the old electric fire for this log burner. It’s a lovely focal point in the playroom and we can hang the kids’ stockings from the fireplace.’
‘It’s a real luxury having a separate dining room. At Christmas we can extend the Ikea table and host the whole family,’ says the owner, who recommends stocking up on stain remover if living in an all-white home. ‘And don’t be too precious.’
‘I like to match my table theme to the rest of the house, so I stick to whites, greens and rustic accessories.’
Brown paper is a cost-effective choice for wrapping gifts, and can be easily decorated using greenery, cinnamon sticks and twine.
A white country kitchen was top of the list and I could see in my mind’s eye how it would look. As it’s a north-facing room, it needed to feel light, bright and airy. White quartz worktops, a chandelier and a range cooker were also on my wish list, which, so far, is the only room we’ve had to do any building work on.
‘The room had been so gloomy, dark and damp, and was split to include a pantry, so I gave it a temporary update by painting the existing units and changing the doorknobs on the cupboards. I wanted to make it look more modern and fresh until we could afford to renovate the kitchen fully. It also meant I had time to shop around for the best prices for units and furniture without compromising on quality. We began a major refit in 2018 and the room was completely stripped back to the bricks. The electrics were redone and we reorganised the layout of the room.’
‘These units, in Super White from Wren Kitchens, give the look a modern twist. The mantel above the wow-factor De’Longhi range oven shows off my collection of stars and ceramic jugs without having them cluttering the worktop.’
A chandelier adds unexpected glamour.
‘We were lucky to have found a really great builder who was worth his weight in gold. We used him before for some smaller jobs, but he specialises in fitting kitchens and bathrooms, so having him on board took a lot of stress out of the build for me and I really did have a ‘wow’ moment the day the kitchen was finished. I put all of our new accessories out on display and hung some pictures on the walls, then stood back with the garden door open and just looked at what we’d managed to achieve.’
‘We knocked out the original pantry to make the room a more regular rectangular shape and we blocked up the side door to make space for a range cooker. We then added a new door, which now leads straight out to the garden – but what we thought would be a simple job became more complicated!
‘Our builder had to make new steps to the outside, and since these didn’t match the existing flagstones, we decided to completely redo the patio. Also, when we took out the original kitchen cupboards, various problems were quickly unearthed, which we had expected as it is such an old property. But how uneven the floor turned out to be was a major issue, which took a lot of work to get level, and much longer than expected. So it turned out that renovating the kitchen alone ended up taking three months.’
Get the look
Buy now: Similar Sudie five-way chandelier, £91.99, Wayfair
Buy now: Similar Vinterfest faux bouquet, £9, IKEA
‘I always wanted white quartz worktops, but I’ve softened the white-on-white look with contrasting wooden accessories.’
Get the look
Buy now: Similar Colonial Home Heart Board, £11.99, T&G Woodware
Buy now: Similar White Metal Barn Star, £12.95, Melody Maison
Kitchen dining area
‘Being able to fit a table in the kitchen is great for children’s teas and coffee with friends.’
Get the look
Buy now: Kentucky dining chair, £99.99 for two, Argos
Fairy lights run along the headboard, adding extra Christmas sparkle. ‘I love this hand-carved oak bed from Loaf. It fits perfectly into the French-style scheme I wanted to create in this room.’
A decorative ladder makes a feature of a sparkly outfit. ‘Keeping to a neutral colour scheme means I can mix up my styles, though I do like the pop of pink these cushions add.’
Get the look
Buy now: Love cushion, £7, Asda
Buy now: Similar Toulouse bedside table, £69, Dunelm
Buy now: Similar Mandisa bamboo shelf ladder, £49, Houseology
‘I painted the original green tile trim using white tile paint and updated the room with fresh new accessories.’
‘My mum made the quilt for my son, and adding red accents makes this room look really festive.’
The draped canopy from Ikea gives this girl’s bedroom a fairy-tale quality.
‘To keep costs down, we decided to live in the space while we did all the work, cooking on a camping stove and living on microwave meals and baked beans! I have to admit, it wasn’t much fun having a layer of dust covering absolutely everything in the house, but the worst moment was when Betsy, our dog, managed to walk over the freshly-laid wet concrete floor, leaving paw prints everywhere! I quite quickly began to realise that you just have to try to let things go and just accept that your house will be messy while building work is going on.’
Ready for another? Take a tour of this smart Surrey townhouse, all dressed for Christmas
‘Everyone thought I was mad to choose an all-white home, and even the guy in the kitchen showroom looked at me like I had two heads when I was choosing white units, worktop, sink and oven. But now that it’s finished I’m so glad I stuck to my original vision. It’s the perfect backdrop for any season, but I particularly love decorating it at Christmas. I’ve softened the look with lots of wooden accessories and decorated with fake greenery, fairy lights and stars, and I’m so thrilled with how the whole house has turned out.’