Enjoy the calming grey interior of this semi-detached family home in Yorkshire

Homeowner turns her run-down house into a stylish and warm family home

white living room with sofa and fire place
(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

The four-bed, 21-year-old semi-detached house in Harrogate, Yorkshire, was in a bad way when bought back in January 2019.

The owner recalls, 'Despite the state of the house we moved in straight away. The walls were painted in a ghastly yellow, the carpet was threadbare with holes on the stair treads, and the rotten window frames had been stuffed with newspaper.'

But now it's a vision of calming grey. 'We have redecorated throughout, laid carpets and flooring, replaced all the windows and doors, and fitted a new kitchen' explains the homeowner.

Related: Step inside this sophisticated family home in Bedford – dressed to perfection for Christmas


white kitchen with drawers and worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

'In the kitchen, the oven didn’t work and the units were falling apart. Red terracotta tiles made the room dark and there was a vast wasted space to the rear with nothing in it.'

The kitchen was ripped out the day before lockdown, which of course we didn’t know was going to happen' the owner exclaims. 'It was horrendous, as there were no appliances left and we couldn’t go
out to eat or get takeaways because everything was shut. I knew there was no point in getting stressed about it all because there was nothing we could do.'

'We stored the contents of the kitchen cupboards in our spare bedroom and for the next nine weeks we used a two-ring electric hob and a microwave in the utility room. Luckily, my partner had moved in by then and became Gordon Ramsay in the utility room' she jokes.

white kitchen with worktop and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

When the lockdown eased, the builders returned to fit the kitchen, which was a big relief. 'I redesigned the room, including adding a big island that we could eat around as a family – it fitted beautifully into the wasted space there had been in the old kitchen.'

'I chose Howdens Chelford units in Dove Grey, with the island in Navy as a contrast. Teaming them with a hard-wearing, family-friendly composite grey worktop. The floor is covered in silver grey luxury vinyl tiles from Calverts Carpets, which run through to the hallway for continuity. It’s so practical and easy to keep clean.'

Living room

white living room with fire place and sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

The next step was to replace all of the draughty windows and outside doors. The savvy owner explains, 'I had negotiated £20,000 off the sale price to pay for replacements, and chose UPVC because it wears much better than wood. And I didn’t want to have to paint my window frames every five years.'

'A friend recommended Niddal Windows, a local company based in Knaresborough, who did a great job. I had a bit left over from the £20,000 and used it to continue decorating the house over the next 18 months, as and when the painter was free.'

Speaking about the decor the owner says, 'Half the battle is knowing what you want. I had plenty of ideas from doing up my previous home, and knew the colours that had worked well. I chose shades
of white and grey throughout, which is a calming combination that’s easy to accessorise with splashes of colour where you want.'

living room with christmas tree and white cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

She goes on to say, 'I learned a lesson regarding paint choices from a past mistake, when I picked a colour on a paint chart and paid a decorator to paint the whole house in it. It turned out to be a big mistake as any one colour will look very different in different rooms, according to which direction they face and how the light falls. This time I got it right!'

Related: The best white paint – how to choose the right shade for your walls

Dining room

white dining room with table and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

'The rattan table and chairs are garden furniture, but work just as well inside' explains the owner. 'Especially teamed up with the greenery, which is artificial but you’d never know’.

Master bedroom

white bedroom with bed and baskets

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

‘The main bedroom has a French country look – it’s like sleeping in a lovely hotel' says the homeowner delighted.

white bedroom with dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

I love these natural twig heart-shaped hangings. They add a quirky, textural hit to the walls’ explains the owner.

Boy's bedroom

white bedroom with bed and pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

'Right away I engaged a painter and decorator to decorate the boys’ bedrooms, because I didn’t want them to have to live with those yellow walls' says the owner. 'I chose the new neutral colour scheme on their behalf because, as Spurs fans, I knew that if I left it to them they’d have wanted full football regalia in there.'


white tiles bathroom with bathtub and clothes basket

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

In the bathroom artificial trees add a fresh, outdoorsy feel – especially good for Christmas. The calming colour scheme continues in this room, only with a hint of something more vibrant. 'The cool greys of the units and woodwork benefit from the pop of pink.’

Related: Be inspired by the simple elegance of this 1950s semi-detached house in Birmingham

The original feature appeared in Style At Home, January 2021. Feature by Sharon Smith.

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.