It’s time for the first of our Designer Home Tours where we go behind the scenes with a RoomLab designer and uncover how they created the home they live in and their design motivations.
Tell us about the building and what you had to work around?
It’s a 4 bed Victorian farmhouse in rural Bedfordshire. The building had been split up from the farm in 2002 – the land around is still a working livestock farm so we have sheep for neighbours. Unfortunately a lot of the period features had been stripped out (cornicing, fireplaces, etc). I bought the house in 2014 and have gradually been restoring original features and renovating the property as it was all rather tired.
What was your overall goal for the space?
As above I was keen to restore period features to bring the character back to life but I wanted to update the layout and finish to give the home a more functional contemporary feel. I planned a side extension to create an open plan kitchen/ diner/ living area that would make the most of the beautiful farmland views.
How did you go about choosing the style for the space? Were there any key influences?
Architectural integrity is important to me as I want to create a feeling of authenticity. But I like to add individuality – I don’t think period homes should be museums.
I wanted to create a statement style and I achieved this by adding bold colours and patterns. My style is quite eclectic so I’ve brought together a number of styles including mid-century, French and contemporary. I like to include personal pieces such as artwork or accessories I’ve picked up over the years so that the finished space tells a story and is personal.
You’ve used some very bold paint choices and pulled them off very successfully. Was this an easy decision and what tips would you have for people considering taking the plunge with a dark paint ?
I love colour and I’m not afraid to use it. I also have high ceilings and plenty of windows which makes it easier to pull off.
My advice would be – if you like a colour use it – be bold be brave. I like to see colours used confidently rather than tentatively applied. I’m glad the trend for painting one wall a different colour has finally passed!
From a practical perspective before you commit to using a dark colour I would always recommend painting large samples and attaching them to the walls to look at them at different times of day and see how they feel in different lights.
Dark colours can create a real cosy and cocooning feel which you may not want to use throughout your home but this can really work in some spaces. In interiors there’s a myth that you should paint dark spaces in light colours to maximise the light – but sometimes it’s better to acknowledge that the space is dark and go with that. Careful lighting choices in dark spaces can create a really nice atmosphere.
What do you feel was the most successful part of the design process?
The blending of the old and new and different styles came together really successfully creating harmonious and cohesive spaces.
What part of the design was an unexpected success?
I was really pleased with the renovation of old bath. It was so tired and ugly! I had the feet sandblasted and primed at a car body shop!
Tell us something about you that might surprise us!
Apart from interiors my other passion in life is horses. I’ve had my boy for nearly 15 years. It’s been a lifelong journey.