I have always loved design, interior design in particular. I love co-ordinating colours and fabrics to create comfortable and beautiful rooms. I am a firm believer that old properties deserve to be restored as opposed to modernised but there are definitely ways of bringing modern life into old style, I guess I am just a traditionalist.
We bought a beautiful Victorian House in September 2016 and it was in a bit of a state to say the least. Lots of damp, rotten floorboards, failed tanking in the cellar, a leaky roof, broken sash windows and an unstable chimney. It was seriously unloved.
We found a couple more horrors too, the electricity box was declared a threat to life and we had to leave the house until it was fixed by EDF (if you are buying an old house it’s wise get an electrical safety survey). Then we discovered that we had a mains leak underneath the dining room, a broken lead pipe. The new, modern pipe no longer runs underneath the house and the dining room has completely dried out!
Suffice it to say that we had a lot of work to do and it was three months before we could even move in but was worth it, the house has incredible character and a very welcoming atmosphere.
We restored and repaired everything and here are the results…
Here’s the house, the last one on the end, well maintained with the roof fixed including the ridge. You can see the walled garden at the back. It’s in a very quiet street that is just literally 2 minutes walk from the centre of Stratford upon Avon. One of the most beautiful and well-kept towns in the country.
Come in through the original front door. We had the door dipped to get rid of the old paint and it is now painted in Railings by Farrow and Ball. I love the depth of that colour, it looks great with the brass. The door frame is gorgeous with the pillars and mantle and the framed window above is so pretty.
A fabulous hallway that is quite grand and very welcoming! The floor was in a bit of a state but we restored it and the old flagstones are incredible. It’s the original floor and I cannot believe it was so neglected but it was built to survive, I cannot imagine what it has had to withstand over the 200 years it has been there. The walls are painted with String at the top and Cord at the bottom, both by F & B.
The sitting room is not huge but it has great character with the huge sash windows (original) and the original fireplace. The walls are painted in Farrows cream by F & B , which is actually a subtle yellow – the whole theme for this room is gold and cream. I love a chandelier and this is only a small one but it fits perfectly in the room; it exactly matches the picture lights.
The dining room has a wonderful feel to it and is probably my favourite room. We painted this in Bone by F & B and the old pine furniture goes a treat in here. The curtains are really traditional and extremely heavy, I can imagine the Victorians would have gone for something like these. I think our dining set is probably a little too modern for the room and one day I would like to replace it with something antique.
Kitchen Breakfast Room
Next for the kitchen and it is a modern fitted kitchen in cream painted wood and a traditional style. I bought the iron handles separately to give the whole thing a unique look. The colour scheme in here is mainly shades of green so it is always clean and fresh. I wanted some old fashioned touches so went for quite a few open shelves with herbs and spices and a pan hanger. The butler sink looks great and although the kitchen is not wide, it is far from a galley. The breakfast area goes straight out to the garden and in summer it is wonderful. I love the Laura Ashley blinds in Hedgerow Green, I think they do some great prints. The walls are painted with Stock Mid by Little Green. The solid oak floor and oak worktops finish the whole thing off a treat.
This is the main bedroom, the colour scheme is blue and green with a hint of pink. The green wall is Willow IV by the Pain and Paper Library. I am particularly fond of the custom designed, French Gentleman’s style wardrobes. They are not too tall so do not overpower the room but they are tall enough to hang dresses and coats. The wisteria floral curtains are very pretty and make it quite feminine. The mirror was a horrid old black and gold thing and we restored and painted it to fit. Managed to get a chandelier in here too! I have a couple of sheepskin rugs on the floor, they are so soft on your feet when you get up in the morning.
The guest room is pink and beige and the beam adds loads of character. We were gutted when the ceiling fell down but it did reveal the beam so every cloud has a silver lining. The wall colour is Joa’s White (F & B), which blends really well with the pink soft furnishings. The fireplace was already sealed up and we decided to leave it that way but we didn’t like the plain board so decided to tile it with some old tiles we found in the garage.
You could easily get a single bed in the third bedroom but I decided to make it a dressing room with a chaise longue, I like the style of it. All of the street facing rooms have Sanderson plantation shutters. They are great for insulation in winter and provide great privacy, still allowing lots of light.
The bathroom has Victorian style brick wall tiles in grey and white. The grey paint is Dark Lead by Little Green. I wanted this room to be clean and crisp but still fairly traditional. All of the chrome fixings are expensive but worth it. It’s only a small room but it has its own identity and I love that.
Down to the cellar. This is the same tartan carpet as on the main stairs and landing, it is a little bit quirky and quite fun – everyone comments on it and people really seem to like it. It’s a tiny cellar but big enough for an office and the window does actually let light in. It’s a warm and comfy place to be, especially in winter.
Lastly we will go out to our wonderful walled garden, if you live in a town house then a walled garden is compulsory! We decided to go for the mediterranean look out here and we believe it is stunning. There are plenty of mediterranean plants and pots, which go great with the larger trees. We didn’t really want a lawn to care for so we laid Indian stone and gravel. The brick circle adds traditional style and the old bricks are nearly 200 years old and so it’s also very authentic. We restored the cast iron garden furniture, including the old bench that was completely broken when we inherited it.
All of the white paint in the house is All White by Farrow and Ball. I chose this because it doesn’t have the blue in it like some of the brilliant whites on the market, so it has a completely authentic and traditional feel to it. We had professional people in to do the major works but the garden and all of the carpentry was done by my husband.
The house is warm and happy now, I think it is as pleased with its refurbishment as are we!