After living and working in London for years, the couple who own this house decided to move back up north. A major part of the decision was having more space:
‘As our son was growing, we knew we’d need a bigger house. I’m originally from Leeds and we realised we could get more for our money there.’
They began looking for a place close to good schools and it didn’t take long to find a great property – a four-bedroom 1930s semi that needed a design overhaul. The rooms were all a good size and there was an added bonus in the form of a spacious garden.
Owner Rebecca runs online events and styling company WeLoveThisLtd.co.uk.
'We moved in 2012 and couldn't wait to start renovations. The whole place needed some TLC, but had potential.'
When you step through the front door, you immediately get a sense of the owners' personalities. Colourful accents and framed prints layered on a cool backdrop (Farrow & Ball's Lamp Room Gray) draw you in to the relaxed family space. 'We appreciate the versatility of a neutral backdrop as you can instantly change the look by introducing some new accessories.'
In the living room, an accent wall painted in Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue provides depth and a has a cocooning impact. 'The dark walls act as a backdrop for our accessories and tone in well with the fabrics.' Rich colour and pattern sit together happily on this base. 'I knew Sanderson's Rainforest curtain fabric would make a bold statement. I spotted it in a local interiors shop and it became the starting point for the whole room.' Inspired by the warehouse-style lighting, the owners designed the wood and copper units to display their treasures and trinkets, including a retro neon sign.
A soft, neutral backdrop running through the entire house creates a seamless feel and makes room to play - to create and re-create rooms regularly. Allowing the house to flow and have its own personality was important to the owners. It can be as simple as moving accessories around or changing displays on scaffolding-plank shelves, like the ones in this light-hearted living room. 'It's a running joke in our family that I'm unable to resist a new cushion!'
When the family moved in the kitchen felt cut off and disconnected from the rest of the interior. 'Our builder began by knocking down the dividing wall to create one large kitchen-diner.' The space is all about practicality. Above the Shaker cabinetry, worn-looking shelving adds an informal element. The painted brackets - each a different colour - and industrial lighting complete the relaxed, eclectic look.
Sociability is at the heart of this dining area, which makes a feature of wood and rough-hewn materials. A luxurious parquet floor is offset by industrial Tolix-style chairs and a custom-made built-in bench, which provide ample seating around a big family dining table with a chunky wooden top.
The open-plan kitchen has another hidden treasure in the form of a playroom. Casual baskets hold toys, while a vintage table and chairs provide a dedicated space for messy crafts and activities.
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The owners decided to convert the loft into a master bedroom. 'It made a huge difference as it freed up a spare bedroom where guests can stay. I wanted to turn this space into a sanctuary.' Not only is the blue feature wall behind the bed soothing, it works well combined with bright pops of colour - the spectrum of yellow hues, perfectly balanced with rich blues, is enough to make anyone wake up happy.
The family bathroom remains within the colour palette used in the rest of the house, however it 'was inspired by the floor tiles'. The mixture of aqua blue, sage green and white pulls together disparate pieces of furniture and accessories, regardless of their style.
This child's bedroom is deceptively colourful; white and grey in essence, just a few pops of accent colour here and there add a playful energy, proving that less is more, even in a kid's room. 'We wanted this bedroom to feel playful and feed our son's imagination. He's always adding his own pieces of artwork to the collage on the wall.'
Original Bedstead Co
What was once the master bedroom is now a guest bedroom filled with personality. Rich blue furnishings create a luxurious yet welcoming feel, while offbeat paintings and patterns express the owners' personality. If the aim was to create an harmonious flow from one room to the next, while each retained its own unique style, it's safe to say the owners have succeeded with flair. 'We've turned a blank canvas into a happy family home.'
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National Portrait Gallery