I appreciate I am going to have to come up with a more imaginative name for my next interior design project in Windermere. But in my defence there isn’t one style, colour or feature that sums up the interior of this once dated but now beautiful house in South Lakes.
An Interiors Collaboration
When I first met my clients they described their preferred interiors style as ‘Scandi with a bit of colour’ but once we started sharing ideas online it became clear there was a whole lot more they liked.
And didn’t like….
Their interest in interiors and collaboration made this one of my most fun projects, and when I shared a few pictures with Cumbria Life, unsurprisingly they snapped my hand off. So if you’re a fan of Cumbria Life magazine you may recognise some of these pictures from their last issue.
But there was a lot of practical challenges to look at before we could even start what most would consider actual interior design work. The central heating system needed a complete overhaul. Most of the lights, switches and sockets were in the wrong place, and some mysteriously did nothing so a new lighting and electrical plan was also on the list. All the interior and exterior doors had to go along with a lot of antique pine joinery that the previous homeowners clearly had a passion for. All the flooring was to be replaced but not before we’d sorted out the levels. The first floor could have doubled as a bowling alley there was such a height difference from one side of the house to the other. The kitchen, utility room and bathrooms were so dated they were almost fashionable again. And before we’d be able to decorate we needed to deal with the nasty woodchip wallpaper that seemed to be embedded in the walls and wouldn’t budge.
So as with all my projects I worked out what was needed, priced what I could, estimated what I couldn’t, and gave the clients a summary of the estimated cost to renovate, decorate and furnish the house to the standard they wanted to achieve. Then after we’d agreed the budget we started the really fun stuff.
Remote Interior Design
I’ve worked for a number of clients who don’t yet live in the property they want renovating and they’re often hundreds of miles away. But thanks to technology I can easily share plans and designs online, and when they need to physically see something like tiles or fabric samples I just stick them in the post. Simples.
It can also work in reverse, i.e. if the client is on site but I’m hundreds of miles away. I just need an accurate floor plan and lots of pics.
Work started in September 2017 and over 6 months we gutted and refurbished the house from top to bottom. The owners have continued to add artwork and accessories, and the end result is a stylishly eclectic mix of scandi, mid-century, contemporary and traditional elements, with a blend of bold colours and soft neutrals, and a few quirky surprises.
But I know you’re only really here for the before and afters so lets get started. As this is a whole house we’re going to do this room by room so you get the full effect. Starting in the kitchen.
Before & Afters – The Kitchen
The kitchen is a Hacker design and was supplied by Marshall Mason in Penrith.
As this is such a narrow kitchen we wanted to avoid wall cupboards and opted for open shelves and a freestanding cabinet for glassware.
Like me the owners are charity shop fans and many of the accessories they’ve added were sourced this way.
Quite a transformation isn’t it? But lets move on.
Before & Afters – The Dining Room
The open plan dining room had two things going for it; size and natural light, and the owners envisaged using it for more than just dining so wanted to incorporate a small seating area.
I can’t decide what I love most about this bring and sunny room, the Palm Leaves wallpaper by Cole & Son or the reproduction Serge Mouille lighting.
….or the reclaimed cast iron fireplace. I bought two from Cumbria Architectural Salvage in Dalston and we used natural slate for the hearths.
I love how well the midcentury furniture sits with the traditional cast iron radiators.
And this is the first time I’ve photographed a finished project and not needed my supply of house plant props thanks to the clients love of greenery.
It’s a lovely calm space isn’t it? But let’s take a look next door.
Before & Afters – Living Room
Another large but desperately outdated room…..
…..and now a super stylish lounge.
We ripped out the old fire surround and re-built the stud walls to re-centre the fireplace. The wall colour is Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue and provides a great contrast with the natural wood and the copper sputnik light.
We added a false ceiling to hide the joists and wiring but stopped it just short of the door and window so that we could fit a concealed curtain track behind it. We had a curtain made with the heading tape on the front so that the fabric could still face into the room. The fabric is a perfect match for the walls so when the curtain is pulled back it blends in, but when it’s closed it completely covers the door and window. Genius eh?
Shall we move on?
Before & Afters – Cloakroom
It’s a tiny room but what more do you need from a downstairs loo?