The owners couldn’t believe their luck when a house on one of their favourite streets in their local neighbourhood went on the market within their budget. ‘It was in close proximity to one of the local outstanding primary schools, too, which was at the top of our priority list,’ explains the owner.
‘The house offered the space we needed and the scope to put our own stamp on it without the need for much renovation,’ she says.
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Structurally, all the couple did was remove the downstairs loo to open up and connect the living, dining and kitchen areas. ‘We knew that an open- plan layout would be best for our young family,’ says the owner.
‘We love to host friends and family, too, so linking the spaces was important so we can all be together when one of us is cooking.’
We wanted to create a modern family home with a cottage feel that suits the age of the property and the area we live in,’ says the owner about their three-bedroom Victorian terrace near Richmond, London.
When it came to the decor, the couple decided to get expert help and hired interior designer Elena Creswell to make it work. ‘We wanted to create a modern family home with a cottage feel that suits the age of the property and the area we live in,’ the owner says. They briefed Elena to come up with a look combining Scandi and modern-country styles.
‘Seeing inspiration boards helped me to visualise each room,’ says the owner. ‘It was helpful to see how the colours, furniture and texture would work together, so I could understand what the end result would look like.’
‘Dark colour is a wonderful way to make a room feel cosy and homely,’ says the owner. ‘But we’ve been careful to keep floors and ceilings light to balance it out so the effect isn’t gloomy.’ The mirrored finish of the coffee table also helps to maximise light in the dark-painted room.
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Buy now: Walls painted in Maritime marble matt emulsion, £46 for 2.5L, Mylands
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The kitchen was the biggest challenge as they had to work around the existing plumbing in a relatively small space and design something that would flow into the new open-plan area. The finished space is divided into two zones: one with the oven and fridge; the other with the sink and storage.
Choosing a basic Ikea kitchen, the owner upgraded the look with copper details. ‘I didn’t see the point in splashing out on a designer kitchen when we could get the look we wanted for a fraction of the cost,’ she says.
Simple wooden shelves from a local timber yard were put up to make a feature above the sink. ‘We gave them a whitewashed finish to tie them in with the kitchen units.’
The owner struggled to find a dining table that she loved, so in the end she bought a farmhouse-style one and gave the top and the chairs a coat of dark varnish for a more dramatic contrast with the blue-green walls.
‘Hanging a trio of pendants gave this part of the open-plan living-dining space a clear purpose,’ says the owner. ‘They’re a beautiful feature and boost light in the middle part of the house.’
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Upstairs in the master bedroom, the owner wanted to create a relaxed space that still had plenty of personality. The upholstered bed softens the look, along with plenty of textiles, including layered throws, cushions and a statement rug. A picture ledge above the bed is a great way to display art.
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‘The hexagonal tiles add interest without overwhelming this small room with pattern. We’ve used hexagons in the porch and kitchen, too – they’re a subtle link through the house,’ says the owner.
‘Getting help from a designer meant we were opened up to lots of new ideas and had the expertise of someone who knew where to find things that fitted our taste and budget,’ says the owner. ‘It’s been wonderful seeing our ideas come to life and we know we’ll be happy here for a long time.’
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