When the owners went to view a property in the picturesque village of Market Lavington, Wiltshire, they had no idea they’d end up buying the house next door. ‘It was an emotional rollercoaster,’ they recall. ‘Having already lost one house, we thought we were home and dry when our offer was accepted on the next one. Little did we know that, soon after, the owners would take that house off the market too, and we’d be back to square one.’
Their estate agent tipped them off that the fire-damaged house next door was being renovated and would soon be up for sale. ‘We were reluctant to set foot in it,’ say the owners, ‘because from the outside it looked far too small.'
In fact, it turned out to be a Tardis, with vast potential to create a spacious family home. ‘We were absolutely enchanted,’ they say. ‘It was much larger than we’d imagined and every room had a “wow factor” surprise. There were fabulous period features everywhere, and the best bit was that everything had been restored beautifully. The house had been rewired, replumbed and freshly decorated so it was almost like walking into a new build.’
‘When we saw the double-height hallway, it was magical. I turned to my husband and said, “Can you imagine what size Christmas tree we could have here?!”
Having snapped up the house, the Nortons began transforming it, buying key pieces of furniture to create a more cohesive, welcoming feel. ‘Our priority was to let the fabulous period features sing out,’ says the owner.
The four-bedroom, Grade II-listed Georgian semi-detached house is located in a Wiltshire market town. ‘When we moved in we repainted the front door in Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe, which we’re really pleased with,’ says the owner.
Get the look
Buy now: Farrow & Ball Down Pipe interior and exterior gloss paint, £24 for 750ml, B&Q
Bowled over by the height of the inner hall, the owners instantly realised it was the perfect spot for a statuesque Christmas tree. ‘When family come round during the festive season, we often end up spilling into this very sociable space,’ they say.
A mid-century chair and family heirloom table add to the eclectic feel in the couple’s inner hall which features a stunning staircase with an ornate newel post. ‘We felt the bargain-find chair would add a cosy feel and another dimension to our lovely inner hall.' Choosing to mix in this more modern piece was a stroke of genius, as matching furniture to the age of your home can look laboured.
The owners worked with the rich wood tone of the lovely casement windows, keeping the walls and floor paler so they’d stand out. Subtle stripes and pattern add interest to the mix of neutral tones, while ‘hero’ cushions in bold turmeric yellow lift the look.
‘We deliberately bought one natural linen sofa and another in a complementary fabric with a contrasting stripe before pulling the whole scheme together with a stripy rug.'
Get the look
Buy now: Langham sofas, from £1,650 each, Laura Ashley
Buy now: Josette wallpaper in Linen, £34 a roll, Laura Ashley
Buy now: Wilton reversible striped rug, £280, Neptune
Shaker-style units, a Belfast sink, plate rack and wooden worktops, blend together for a modern country look in this airy kitchen. ‘We loved everything about this kitchen when we walked in,’ says the owner. ‘The window, glazed doors and high ceilings, keep this room light and bright, even in the depths of winter.’
The range had already been re-enamelled in this teal colour, which Karen has gone on to use as an accent through the house.
Get the look
Buy now: Walls painted in Farrow & Ball Off White estate emulsion, £43.50 per 2.5 litres, B&Q
Buy now: Buscot lightly tumbled floor tiles 60cm x 40cm, from £66 per sq m, Artisans of Devizes
Traditional-style furniture, painted in modern colours, are the staples of the owners' style – especially in the kitchen-diner. They felt this large table would work well in the spacious kitchen, and it really comes into its own at Christmas when family visit.
‘I wanted something unusual and loved the table’s subtle grey tones,’ they say. ‘Having splashed out on the Neptune table, we snapped up some bargain chairs in a Next sale for £50 each. They match the colour of the table and the painting perfectly.’
Get the look
Buy now: Suffolk extending table, from £1,130, Neptune
Buy now: Similar chairs, try the Kendall, £275 for set of two, Next
This elegant bedroom, with its magnificent wood panelling, has been given a contemporary twist by introducing a padded headboard and bedding in blue tones, pulled through from the Aga. ‘I love Natalie Rymer’s artwork, so to have one of her paintings above our bed is just fantastic. It’s a statement piece that I really adore.’
The original wallpaper in the bedroom was too bright, so the owners toned it down. Pretty wall sconces add a glamorous touch.
Get the look
Buy now: Similar kingsize Ruffle bed, from £895, Loaf
Buy now: Hydrangea Duck Egg cotton king-size duvet cover, £80, Laura Ashley
Buy now: Josette White/Dove Grey Damask wallpaper, £34 per roll, Laura Ashley
Tone-on-tone pattern, rather than a colour contrast, has been employed in the guest bedroom. This wallpaper is similar to the design in the living room, which gives a sense of continuity. To one side of the bed, a chest of drawers has been revived with Annie Sloan's French Linen chalk paint.
Get the look
Buy now: Heather Grey embroidered dot quilt, £150, Laura Ashley
Buy now: Bespoke allium cushion, £27.50, Sarah Norton Interiors
Buy now: Woodwork painted in Farrow & Ball Clunch Estate eggshell, £60 for 2.5ltrs, Homebase
More inspiration: Classic bathrooms – 10 of the best
Although Karen loved the cosy bathroom with its traditional fittings, she felt it needed a splash of colour. ‘Having recently visited Norway, we commissioned our favourite artist, Natalie Rymer, to paint Ersfjordbotn Kystferie – one of the highlights of our trip. We’re delighted with the painting; it works extremely well with the tone of the walls.’
Get the look
Buy now: Wilton reversible rug in Stone & White, £270, Neptune
Buy now: Walls painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off White modern emulsion, £43.50 per 2.5 litres, B&Q
Buy now: Heritage Oban freestanding acrylic double-ended roll top bath, £691.66, Victorian Plumbing
The owners are in no doubt that this is the perfect home for them. 'This house was such a lucky find. We were reluctant to view it, but if it had gone on the market we could have missed out. It goes to show that it pays to be open-minded!’
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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