The owner, who runs a care-home business, bought his five-bedroom, new-build property in 2007. His busy job meant he didn’t have lots of time to decorate so he enlisted the help of an interior design company to furnish and style the house. They included lots of abstract artwork and magnolia for a sleek and minimal look.
A year later the owner met his wife, a bank manager, and they lived with the existing decor for four years until it started to look a little tired. ‘As we had also started a family, it felt like the right time for a change,’ say the owners. ‘We couldn’t wait to redecorate and put our own stamp on the place to suit us and our new family.’ They now share their home with their three children.
The priority was to create smart spaces where the owners could relax and unwind, but these also needed to be child-friendly and practical. The most successful room transformations were the kitchen-diner and the living room, which is now used on a daily basis (previously the owners had to watch TV in the children’s play room).
Each room is now warm and welcoming with a mixture of sophisticated tones in the grown-up spaces and bursts of colour in the children's rooms.
A slim storage unit keeps shoes hidden away and fits neatly behind the door in the smart hallway, while coat hooks are tucked away behind the staircase. The owners have used this space as a handy perch for post and added a decorative touch with picture frames. Country green paint and wallpaper create a welcoming feel in the open-plan space.
Dark grey walls and luxurious curtains create a cosy cocoon of a living room. The owners replaced an uncomfortable low sofa with a sumptuous grey design and chose warm wood funriture with rounded edges - the best option with young children around. 'We were eager to create a glam, sophisticated feel in the living room so we could start enjoying it as a family and also have it as a space that we could relax in after the children had gone to bed.'
The owners wanted to create a modern country feel in the kitchen without having to change the cabinets, which were only a few years' old and still in good condition. They decided on a soft green shade for the walls, which has worked wonders warming up the space. A built-in oven means no more bending down to reach hot dishes. Now the room is the heart of the home and it is where the family spends most of their time.
Mizzle green paint
Farrow & Ball
In the kitchen-dining area the owners replaced a black glass dining table with a more practical child-friendly wooden one and added comfy check seat pads to the chairs to soften the look. The white painted dining suite helps to counterbalance the plain wood kitchen cabinets, making the dining area a distinctive zone. 'The Campbell's soup prints add a splash of colour and give the kitchen a laid-back vibe.'
Table and chairs
The main bedroom originally had a very low bed with very little storage and it was swapped for this luxurious version with its impressive upholstered and buttoned headboard. A trellis-design wallpaper lines the wall behind the bed, which has been placed centrally between the two windows. Pewter-finish lamp bases add an understated feel. The warm grey and white colour palette is naturally restful.
The bedroom colour scheme is instrumental in creating a calm and restful feel. Gentle neutrals on walls, flooring and soft furnishings are broken up with lighter storage. A chest of drawers placed under the window gives the impression of an extended sill, perfect for displaying family photographs. 'White furniture and minimal clutter keep our bedroom feeling light and airy,' say the owners. 'We love to retreat here at the end of the day.'
While the family spaces tend to be neutral in this home, the children's rooms are more colourful. 'I wasn't sure about mixing blue with pink in this room at first,' says the owner, 'but I love it now.' The two colours bring fun and gusto to the white backdrop and appear in all sorts of unexpected places, such as on a lantern, wastepaper basket and photo frame. Think about painting a pine bed an unusual colour for a fun, bright and personal solution.
A natty wardrobe with an integral drawer makes for flexible clothes storage. 'The striking mirror adds an exotic touch.' Accents of pink continue on a signature chair, knitted pouf, bed cover and a string of cotton ball fairy lights draped over the wardrobe for added impact. Keeping a scheme white with a single accent tone like this one can help make a smaller space feel less closed in.
The bathroom is the perfect compact space and includes a shower that has been built into a false wall behind the bath. Large-format tiles in muted neutral shades line the shower, floor and splashback, while double basins have been housed in smart built-in, granite-topped vanity units that supply ample storage for the whole family. Keeping walls above dado height plain and white has helped to lighten up the space.