It took the owners of this elegant Edwardian villa some time to find their forever home. ‘We wanted a house with lots of character and must have viewed over 30 properties but just couldn’t find the right one. We felt very dejected.
‘Then one evening we went to view this house and knew instantly it was for us. It had period features in abundance – encaustic tiled hall floor, large fireplaces and high ceilings.’
When they went back to view it in daylight, however, they realised how much work it needed and that the decor was crying out for an update. ‘The nursery had Liverpool United wallpaper, and one of the bedrooms was in turquoise and mustard.’
The owners, who work in journalism and oil production and live in the house with their son, began structural work around three months after they moved in. ‘The kitchen was tiny for the size of the house, so we knocked through to the dining room to create an open plan kitchen-diner.’
The owners also waited a while before choosing the look for the house, opting finally for a backdrop of neutrals. ‘Because it’s such an elegant house, we wanted the interior to combine a grand look with a homely feel.’
The house lends itself especially well to Christmas, with a roaring fire in the living room, wreaths and lanterns in the hall and a bay window that seems made for the tree. 'We love the nostalgia of Christmas, and the way the house looks at this time of year!' say the owners.
The encaustic tiled hall floor was among the original features that first attracted the owners to this house - it was an encouraging sign that the house could be restored, despite the large amount of work that needed doing elsewhere. At Christmas the house is decorated in harmony with these important features - white paper snowflakes with red baubles at their centres hung by the stairs echo the red and white floor.
In the living room the owners have created a classic scheme with a modern twist that sits well with the period features. Buttoned upholstery, seen here on both the armchair and the sofa, has a traditional feel but choosing neutral shades such as grey and taupe update it with a more contemporary feel. Touches of mauve in the tweedy cushions give the scheme a lift and add a suitably wintery feel.
The owners chose a neutral scheme to create an elegant yet homely feel that perfectly suits the grand style of the house. Its large windows are simply dressed with plain curtains that pool gently on the floor, while comfortable buttoned sofas occupy the corner. 'We wanted the house to be cosy with lots of cushions and throws,' say the owners.
The owners enjoy decorating their house for Christmas in a different way every year. This pretty little house candle holder brings a festive flicker of light to this corner of the living room. It's the details that make the difference when creating a room scheme - the lamp shade with its pattern of tree trunks adds a rustic touch in a grand and elegant room.
The dining area now forms part of a ground floor living area that includes the kitchen, which the owners created about three months after they moved in. They have created a light and airy country style in the space by using a pretty birds wallpaper on a feature wall and adding pale limed wood furniture on the light grey tiled floor. Their Christmas table is simply decorated with holly sprigs and crackers.
In a corner of the kitchen, a wirework storage unit filled with jars storing kitchen essentials has a real vintage feel. It sits on top of a stone ledge which adds another rustic texture, while a cute wallpaper pattern of scattered buttons adds a pretty country-style backdrop. A glass serving dome and spongeware painted crockery make perfect finishing touches, while a string of fairy lights completes the festive feel.
The owners chose a French-style scheme for this guest bedroom. An upholstered wood-framed bed takes centre stage, its curvaceous shape echoed by the chaise longue placed in front of the window. A large mirror and painted wood floor encourage the flow of light around the room, while a nubbly-textured rug adds comfort underfoot. A rich brown throw across the foot of the bed adds warmth to the colour scheme.
Guests need just a small amout of storage, but it's useful to have somewhere in the guest room to store bedlinen and towels. This neat chest of drawers holds just enough while taking up very little space in the room. Extra blankets are always useful, while a pretty cut-out Christmas wreath and Scandi-style embroidered stocking add a festive touch.
The owners have made the most of an awkward sloping ceiling by positioning a roll-top bath beneath it. The exterior of the bath has been painted a dramatic dark blue so that it almost disappears visually. A skylight allows natural light into the space while the end triangular wall becomes a statement with flamboyant wallpaper which could be rather overwhelming if used in the entire space.