When this art consultant and her husband bought a run-down Victorian semi with no kitchen and a dated 1970’s decor, the big appeal was planning how and where to put her eclectic art collection.
‘I was nine months pregnant with my second child when we found the house so we gave it a lick of paint, bought an IKEA kitchen and moved in,’ she remembers. ‘I could genuinely see the potential as there’s so much character in the property and I knew we could create a beautiful family home with plenty of interesting spaces for my art collection.’
While running her busy consultancy (annakirrage.com) and looking after their two small children, the family lived in the house for four years before embarking on a major renovation with Joyner & Mason Design and Build, who completed the transformation within in a year.
‘The gallery wall has been collected over time and the nice thing is that you don’t have to plan it out in advance, you can just keep on adding,’ says the homeowner. ‘But try not to be impatient!
With such an eye for detail, the homeowner has meticulously chosen everything from paint colours and fabrics to radiators and brass door hinges.
‘I really don’t like chrome and door hinges are just the sort of detail I would want to get right. The radiators and door handles all make such a difference too so I spent time sourcing the right look. The builders used to laugh because I took so long making a decision but when I look around, it was well worth the effort.’
New panelling with cubbyholes provides character, display space and storage. ‘I do think it’s important for a home to flow and that was something everyone on the project was aware of,’ explains the homeowner.
‘Storage is so important in a home so try to be innovative and use every nook to gain more cupboard space. If you consider it before you start your renovation you’ll be amazed at how much extra space you can extract from your home,’ she advises when thinking of living room storage ideas.
‘The light in the sitting room is a 1950s enamel chandelier which I sourced from Germany through a website but when it arrived, it was so much bigger than I had expected, however, once it was in place, I absolutely loved it.
The homeowner has created a textural, paired down look in the sitting with inspiration taken from her favourite designer Rose Uniacke. ‘She has such a refined look and I’ve tried to recreate it with a bold ceiling light, an antique carver and contemporary artwork,’ she says.
The homeowner has impeccable taste which is evident throughout the house. Especially with a decor of calming greys and blues in the kitchen set against natural elements including marble, wood and stone.
‘I’m a minimalist at heart and find muted colours and natural materials leave me feeling calm whereas anything too bright is jarring,’ she explains.
‘We made changes to the layout to create a bigger kitchen and larder space and added striking Crittall doors and windows across the back of the house which really have changed the outlook,’ explains the homeowner. ‘It’s such a sunny room and it’s lovely to work at the kitchen table during the day’.
Speaking of the kitchen wall decor idea the owners explains, ‘Quite often kitchen cupboards or shelves dominate the walls and it leaves very little space for artwork.’
‘We built a wall of cupboards with room for a beautiful contemporary piece by German photographer Elger Esser which is the focal point of the dining area.’
The homeowners reinstated some of the cornicing and ceiling roses in the sitting room and bedrooms to stay true to the period of the house.
‘We decided to use a real marble top on my built-in dressing table as I love natural textures that feel organic and authentic. Every day when I use it I really do appreciate how beautiful it looks and feels.’
‘This room feels like a sanctuary which we’ve achieved through using this warm paint colour. You can’t fail to feel cocooned when you come into this room,’ the homeowner explains.
Metro tiles used across the bath panel and wall contrast to the decorative floor tiles.
Feature written by Karen Jensen-Jones.