This stylish two-bedroom ground-floor flat in Newcastle, which dates to around 1900 was a dream first home for the owner, Victoria, who runs restored furniture company Cherryvintage.co.uk.
‘I wasn’t even thinking about buying a home, but when my friend put her flat on the market, I didn’t want to miss out. I’d always loved the space, as it’s got high ceilings and period features, but still feels warm and cosy – and it helps that we have similar tastes in interiors, too! My style is quite eclectic with a mixture of vintage-inspired and rustic pieces, plus lots of prints, pops of colour and bird motifs.’
Before going ahead, the owner looked online to suss out the competition, but most other flats in the area were quite student-ish and needed too much work, or they were too far away from the town. Many Tyneside flats have the bathroom situated off the kitchen, but this one was next to the main bedroom, in the middle of the flat, which was a much better layout.
'Unfortunately the buying process turned out to be very stressful and slow until I hired a new solicitor, who sorted out the leasehold issues. When I finally got the keys in September 2014, it was a big relief.' The first thing the owner did was replace the electric stove in the living room with a new log burner and slate hearth. It cost around £2,000, including fitting. 'It seemed a lot to spend, but I had my heart set on a cream stove, which was more pricey than the black models. It makes such a huge difference to the look of the room, so it was well worth the extra expense. 'I was lucky that the interior was in good condition. The floorboards had already been sanded and varnished, and I kept the blue-grey feature wall, as I'd always admired the colour.'
The biggest changes were in the kitchen. 'I loved the exposed brick wall, but the black units made it feel a bit dark and there wasn't enough storage. To solve the problem, I had the wall-mounted boiler moved to the guest bedroom to free up some space for extra cupboards. I also had a new light grey kitchen fitted.' The owner always wanted a Belfast sink, so that was a must. She teamed it with Moroccan-style patterned tiles to bring an exotic touch to the pale painted furniture. As the tiles are multicoloured, there's a lot of scope for choosing different-coloured accessories that pick out the various tones in the pattern. 'Now the kitchen feels so much lighter and the oak worktops even link with the floorboards in the living room next door.'
An exposed brick wall reveals the buildings roots. The shelving adds a rustic touch to the eclectic kitchen, while making the most of the space and allowing the owner to show off an interesting crockery collection and for putting pretty accessories out on display.
Orla Kiely at John Lewis
The owner has turned the hallway into a stylish space for storage for a look that is considered, not cluttered. Not all storage should be hidden away. A peg rail makes the most of space and provides a handy place to hang coats, bags and hats, while the ceramic birds jazz up an otherwise plain wall.
Similar bird hooks
Not On The High Street
Before she moved in, the master bedroom had been used by the previous owner as a work room. Her love of wildlife has been reflected in an impressive bird wallpaper. The pattern is picked up again on the bed cushion and vibrant yellow accessories really lift this modern bedroom scheme.
Bird print motifs are a recurring theme in this home. They look delightful as curtains alongside classic ivory painted bedroom furniture in this neutral bedroom scheme. 'For security, I had lockable shutters installed.'
Next door, the bathroom didn't need much work so all the owner has done is repaint the side of the bath in the same colour as the living room feature wall and added pretty towels and accessories.
Pigeon by Farrow & Ball
'In total, I've spent around £6,000 putting my own stamp on the flat and it's lovely having friends and family round. My next job is getting a cupboard made to hide the boiler in the guest bedroom and, ideally, I'd love a new Victorian-style bath. But, apart from that, I know I'll be happy living here for many years to come.'