The owner has used a palette of soft neutrals to create a soothing mood that offsets the stresses of daily life
This owner had a vision for her Fifties semi. Having tried to buy the house next door to it three times without success, she knew exactly what she wanted when the neighbouring house finally came up for sale.
‘We wanted to extend it to achieve the layout that we had liked so much in the property next door,’ says the owner. ‘It was the only house on the street that had not been extended and because it was untouched, we were able to put our own stamp on it. We could take it back to its bare bones and install features as we wished, without having to make any compromises.’
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Using tradespeople that the owner had known for years, work started with replacing all the skirtings, architraves and doors. The banisters and spindles were next, and then they updated the fireplaces. ‘We had central heating installed and the electrics rewired, then we redecorated and fitted a new bathroom.’ Once that stage was complete, the couple took a six month break before starting work on the kitchen extension.
‘I know my style inside-out as I worked in an interiors shop for a number of years, which was a valuable learning experience,’ says the owner. ‘I’ve created a home that feels restful, with a hint of French country style set against a neutral backdrop of whites, taupes and greys. I love that classic, subtle colour palette.’
This three bedroom, 1950s semi-detached house in Kent was the only one in the street that hadn’t been extended when the owner bought it.
‘Our home is a real sanctuary at the end of a hectic day thanks to its soothing palette,’ says the owner, who chose a backdrop of whites, taupes and greys, which continues throughout the house. A neutral scheme can look flat, so the owner has been careful to include cosy carpet, fluffy Mongolian fur cushions and textural accessories to lift her living room scheme.
A local carpenter was working on all the skirtings and architraves. ‘There were a couple of arched shelving units that seemed a bit dated, so we asked him to fit doors in front of them for a more contemporary look,’ the owner says.
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The roof lantern floods the new kitchen extension with light. The owner chose a taupe-grey shade for the units to bring gentle warmth to the space, and rustic-style wood flooring is a great way to introduce character and texture. A faux mantel above the cooker adds a touch of period style to the modern extension.
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‘I love the flow of this house,’ says the owner. You come into the cosy living room, the snug and the dining area, and the kitchen is the final wow moment.’
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A deep buttoned headboard and heavy eiderdown give the main bedroom an opulent feel. The owner’s favourite neutrals are given a lift with a pair of ‘hero’ patterned cushions, arranged boutique-hotel style on the bed. ‘You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a joined-up look,’ says the owner. ‘You just have to know what you’re aiming for. I adapted finds from all kinds of sources to make them fit together.’
The owner wanted to create a restful home with a hint of French country. ‘I love French furniture and traditional French Provencal style and their classic, subtle colour palette,’ she says.
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The owner has managed to fit a super sized shower as well as a freestanding bath in her spacious bathroom. She removed a wall between the separate WC and bathroom and stole a little bit of space from the corridor. All white sanitaryware ensures a unified effect.
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At Christmas time, the family enjoy a low-key vibe. ‘Life is so busy, so on Christmas Eve it will be just the three of us. We treat ourselves to nibbles in front of a good movie, then we’ll be ready to party with the wider family on Christmas Day.’