Take a turn around this striking detached home in Oxfordshire

When the owner spotted his dream house while out dog walking, he didn't pause before seizing his opportunity

Not many people can claim to have found their dream home while out walking the dog, but that's exactly what happened here. Back in 2003, he used to walk past this house with his border terrier. So, when he saw that the house had come on the market, he decided that he really ought to go and take a look.

1/9 Exterior

Villa with garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

'I watched the builders working on the kitchen extension and, although I wasn't officially house-hunting, I'd been thinking that I needed more space.' As it happened, the owner had drawn up a wish list for his next home. 'It might seem illogical that a single man with a dog would want to buy a five-bedroom house, but my mind was made up. Then fate took a hand - two months later I met my wife, we moved in together and were married last summer.'

Once he had completed the purchase, he began to evaluate the work that needed doing. The previous owners had renovated the house, as well as completing the kitchen extension and loft conversion, so there was no structural work to be done, apart from refitting the bathrooms. 'But I'm a stickler for detail, and the finishes weren't right, so I decided to go for a complete makeover.'

2/9 Living room

living room with sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

The owner enlisted professional help from an interior designer, who he met through a friend. 'I had many design ideas that I'd collated over the years, but had no idea how to pull them together. I wanted an interior with fun, quirky accents, which was easy to live with.'

Following the designers advice, he invested in classic bespoke furniture and contemporary lighting. Patterned wallpapers are also a key feature. 'The Fornasetti wallpaper in the sitting room was something I wasn't sure about to begin with. However, I had faith in the designers judgement, so I took a deep breath and it looks stunning.' This room has a classic elegant feel but is also a really comfortable place to sit and relax in.

Interior designer
Sophie Peckett Design
Fornasetti Nuvole wallpaper from Cole & Son

3/9 Dining room

dining table with french window

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Happily, the project ran like clockwork apart from a couple of unforeseen delays. 'A lot of the fabric I'd chosen was made by Italian textile mills, all of which close for the summer. Having to put the project on hold for six weeks was slightly frustrating.'

The owners fell in love with the huge bi-fold doors in the kitchen-diner, as they let in so much light - even in the winter. The contemporary lighting works well in a neutral scheme.

Dining chairs
Sophie Peckett Design
Dining table
Baron dining table from Amode
Etch brass pendant from Tom Dixon

4/9 Kitchen

cream kitchen with grey worktops bar stools and pendant lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

At the heart of this spacious open-plan kitchen is an L-shaped island with a glossy grey worktop and pale cream cabinetry. This multifunctional unit has everything, including the kitchen sink. There’s infinite space to prep food and abundant storage. 'I used to be a professional chef and I wanted a large kitchen where I could cook and entertain. The minute I walked into the house and saw the lovely open-plan kitchen-diner, I knew this was the house for me.'

Bar stools
Philippe Starck Masters bar stools by Kartell at Nest
Wall paint
Skimming Stone emulsion from Farrow & Ball

5/9 Hall

lamp with mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

A marble-topped table makes the perfect perch for an array of pretty trinkets and fresh flowers, while a quirky bird lamp adds a sense of fun to this space.

Gold duck feet table lamp base and striped drum shade from Porta Romana
Console table
Match marble-topped console table from TwentyTwentyOne
Bamboo Zero mirror from TwentyTwentyOne

6/9 Master bedroom

bedroom with bed and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

A calm, welcoming vibe emanates from the master bedroom. Limiting the colour palette to similar hues on walls, furniture and bedding is a visual trick that can make the room appear larger, while pops of colour add interest.

7/9 Guest bedroom

bedroom with white bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

A well-designed guest bedroom will make friends and family feel welcome, even when they are far from home. With casual yet comfortable décor, this relaxed bedroom scheme will make your guests feel right at home.

8/9 En suite bathroom

bathroom with glass wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Tiled bathrooms can be simple but effective. Here the owner has used Art Deco-inspired tiles to give this space a 3D effect. The new bathroom tile design instantly adds a new dimension to this bathroom.

Shower tray
Calacatta honed marble shower tray from Mandarin Stone
Sorrento Molini tiles from Fired Earth

9/9 Attic bedroom

bedroom in corner

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Here the owners have created an attic bedroom that will provide guests with somewhere calm and serene to recharge their batteries. This guest bedroom has been painted in white to create a calm and tranquil space, and with quirky wallpaper and accessories to bring this under-eaves space to life.

Now that the revamp is complete, the owners are thrilled with the new interiors. 'The house looks amazing, and we're really looking forward to spending our first Christmas and New Year here. Our home is everything we hoped it would be, and much, much more.'

Get the look
Buy now: 
Cole & Sons Wood Wallpaper, £76 a roll, John Lewis
Buy now: Pineapple Lamp, £125, Graham & Green

We hope this story has inspired you to look out next time you go for a walk...you just might find the house of your dreams too.
This house tour originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes, January 2017.

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.