The owner and her husband, who is a company director, live in this pretty four-bedroomed Edwardian village house with their two daughters. They moved here in 1999 when their children were very young and set about transforming the house.
Although they didn’t fall in love with the house at first sight – ‘it was quite an ugly house with aluminium windows in the front bay’ – the owners decided to buy it because it had enough bedrooms and reception areas, plus planning permission for a conservatory. ‘I said if we could change the windows to period-style ones, then yes we should buy it,’ says the owner.
Their first priority was to renovate the guest bedroom so friends and family could stay. Then they focused on kerb appeal and replaced the windows at the front of the house. ‘The house next door is the same and has the original curved sash windows so we were able to copy them – it made such a difference!’ says the owner.
After a couple of years, the owners then decided to add a large conservatory, which houses a seating area and dining area, and involved opening up the adjoining family room to create a large bright and airy space. New bathrooms were installed upstairs. Then, a few years later, another large project was undertaken when a kitchen conservatory was added and new units installed, enlarging the original kitchen and allowing room for a dining area.
A neutral palette was used throughout so that the house flows, and the owner has incorporated vintage finds to evoke eclectic character.
Finally, after lots of work was done to the garden, an idyllic summerhouse with decking was added, providing extra space for entertaining in summer.
The owner loves entertaining and has a stainless-steel range cooker at the conservatory end of the kitchen as well as an Aga at the dining end. Classic country-style painted cupboards create a timeless feel, as well as providing plenty of storage. 'We ripped out the old kitchen, gutted it and built on a kitchen conservatory,' says the owner. 'I'd always wanted a country kitchen and this already had an Aga, which I was thrilled about. We ripped out most of the cupboards and replaced them with Shaker-style ones.'
The owner was keen to create a kitchen-diner that was the heart of the home. 'As it was a large space, we had plenty of room for a farmhouse table that we could all gather round.' Soft grey walls provide a contemporary setting for the farmhouse table, chairs and bench, all of which are country staples, while floral and polkadot fabrics add a pretty touch.
A soft grey scheme is punctuated with pops of yellow, providing a smart seating area in the family room. The owner has used damask-inspired wallpaper as a classic backdrop and created a wall collage with mirrors collected from carboots and junk shops. An antique chandelier accentuates the vintage glam feel.
The owner was keen to build a conservatory to bring light, as well as extra space, into the house. The open-plan room combines seating areas and a spacious dining area for more formal entertaining. Texture is introduced with a scrubbed pine dining table and rattan chairs, which evoke a relaxed air and give a nod to the garden room theme. A display wall of vintage botanical artwork provides a pretty focal point.
An additional seating area in the conservatory is perfect for sitting and admiring the garden. The owner has introduced an opulent feel with stacks of sumptuous cushions and a reindeer skin underfoot. The off-white palette keeps the look fresh while grey accessories and painted furniture add a modern edge. An antique glazed cupboard is the perfect place for storing the owner's collection of vintage china.
In the living room, the owner has worked with the property's period architecture to make best use of space. A pretty window seat has been created in the bay window, while glazed cabinets have been fitted into the alcoves on either side of the fireplace to provide elegant storage. Easy-on-the-eye fabrics such as faded florals, French vintage grain sack and checks add country charm.
The main bedroom, decorated in a soothing neutral palette, is the epitome of country style with a tongue and groove wall, brass bed, dainty floral fabrics and an elegant painted wardrobe. 'I like an informal and relaxed scheme, but smart and tidy,' says the owner. 'I like it to be easy on the eye. It's eclectic and slightly French in parts.'
Skimming Stone wall paint
Farrow & Ball
The guest bedroom was the first project tackled after the owners moved in. 'It was awful when we first saw it! It had mirrored doors along the wall so you couldn't see there was a fireplace, and the walls were bright lime green and midnight blue. We had family coming to stay for Christmas so we wanted to make it fit for purpose.' The owner has used soothing colour such as soft greys and neutrals and interspersed with subtle florals to create an understated country look.
The owner wanted a comfortable retreat in the garden that could be used all year round so built an idyllic summerhouse that looks out onto decking and a garden pond. 'We had always used the area where the summerhouse is for entertaining as it gets the sun all day,' says the owner. 'The summerhouse is like an extra living room - in the winter we light the log burner and in summer we use it for alfresco dining.'