When the owners bought this three-bedroom Victorian terrace in Bristol, they felt it was a little bland and in need of an injection of character and warmth.
‘We’d been looking to buy for about three years and began to feel disheartened as sale after sale fell through,’ explains one of the owners. With competition for properties in the area rife, the couple had a fight on their hands to not only find their dream house, but also to make the winning bid on it! This house alone had 18 separate bids. When they actually secured it, the new owners were overjoyed.
Set in a Victorian terrace, this property’s classic exterior gives nothing away with regards to the decor inside, but the owners fell in love with it as soon as they saw it.
‘The fact that many of the house’s features remained intact really appealed to us. There’s the original coving and deep skirting, and a period fireplace in the living room that’s perfect for displaying candles! It had been renovated by the previous owners, so the house was a perfect blank canvas and only required cosmetic work.’
The couple updated the walls with a soft, chalky grey which fits the period property without compromising the couple’s chosen minimalist style. Framed artwork has been hung on the wall in clusters – rather than singly or in uniform lines – to create a personal gallery-like feel.
‘I’ve always loved period properties,’ says the owner. ‘With their sense of history, their character and the stories behind them.’ This living room, with its alcoves, ceiling mouldings and cast-iron fireplace certainly fits the brief – these features have seen plenty of things!
‘I’m very influenced by Scandinavian design and have been fortunate enough to travel in the area extensively,’ says the owner. ‘I light candles every evening, which really helps me to relax. I’ve also sourced several sheepskin rugs, which lend warmth and texture and remind me of home.’ The cat looks pretty happy with the scheme, too!
Although the kitchen was newly installed the owners changed the handles and replaced the laminate worktop with solid wood. ‘It’s ash, but the rich tone of the wood oil we soaked it in to protect it makes it look more like oak. This gives the space a more up-market feel,’ they say. As the owner’s previous home had a galley kitchen, they find this sociable space a real luxury.
The dining room is relaxed in style, with an eclectic mix of smart and sophisticated furniture. ‘One of my best buys were the Bertoia wirework chairs, which I bought locally – they look great at each end of our dining table.’
Another highlight was the decision to get a local joiner to install cabinets in the alcoves’ says the owner of the brilliant alcove idea. As well as providing storage, the shelves above the cabinets are perfect for displaying special pieces, such as the sewing machines.
‘I inherited my first Singer sewing machine from my grandmother and am now always on the lookout for more,’ says the owner.
The owners decided to pair neutral bedding with simple side tables and understated lamps for a pared back look. However, there are touches of luxury in this calming white bedroom idea. ‘We splashed out on an upholstered bed because it worked so well with our monochrome theme.’
A white linen curtain idea helps to keep the room looking clean and fresh, while fresh flowers on the window sill bring colour into the space in a very natural way. An elegant armchair, draped with soft furnishings makes for a peaceful corner to read or wind down.
As the owners wanted to create an inviting, uncluttered guest space, they kept things simple with bedside lamps and a subtle display on an intriguing vintage table.
‘I love to source classic vintage pieces rather than follow current trends,’ says the owner. ‘Lots of the furniture I like was designed in the 40s, 50s and 60s, but has a timeless quality that doesn’t date.’
The couple prefer to save up for statement pieces that they know will last them a lifetime, whether that means designer furniture or original mid-century modern classics, like the pieces seen here.
‘I love that our home serves as a sanctuary – we can truly relax and unwind here.
This house tour originally appeared in Style at Home, January 2017.