An Eye For Style

In NI Homes & Lifestyle, Real Homes by Claire Craig

Surrounded by green fields and the countryside you could be forgiven for the thinking the inside of this home would be decorated in a traditional, country style. In fact quite the opposite is true and the interior is more Scandi style than classic.
Taking a hands-on approach to the design and build of the house Jill and Ian were looking for the perfect forever home in which to raise their family. Relaxed and sophisticated with its pale colour scheme the home is both timeless and contemporary.
Describing the initial design consultation Jill said: “The first plan the architect came back with was for something very modern. If we’d had the confidence then I’d love to have gone for it but something held us back and we tweaked the plans so that rather than being ultra contemporary it was more of just a modern twist.
“The traditional country style would have been an obvious choice but my grandmother lives in a gorgeous Georgian house and what I love about it is that it’s never dated. I wanted a design that would have that same sense of timelessness.”
Prior to moving into their home the couple lived first in Ian’s granny’s house and then his parents’. Although this wasn’t ideal it meant they had time to gather their ideas and gave Jill an opportunity to research and source furniture.
“Finally getting our own home felt like I’d been given poetic licence,” she said. “While I wanted there to be a slight theme running through the house the biggest challenge was probably trying to ensure that every room didn’t look the same as I definitely have a certain style that I’m attracted to.”
The home’s high ceilings create a sense of spaciousness and keep the rooms bright and open feeling. In the downstairs’ rooms contemporary gloss floor tiles sit comfortably alongside the hand painted furniture giving a great mix of old and new.
Explaining their furniture choice Jill commented: “We put so much money into the building of the house that then when it came time to furnish it we didn’t have a lot left. Luckily at that time the painted look was really in so I was able to upcycle some of our families’ unwanted pieces.”
The dining table which originally belonged to Ian’s granny has been transformed from dated mahogany to a pale, distressed cream that sits elegantly in the room and similarly the chest sitting under the curved staircase was once Jill’s mum’s but now serves as a bench seat.
“The table must be over 100 years old,” Jill commented. “It’s brilliant quality though and to buy something like that nowadays would cost a fortune. The trunk was actually my mum’s from her time at boarding school but I searched online for ideas to freshen it up and now it’s almost unrecognisable.
“It’s funny because once people see what I’ve done with the furniture, that they were giving away – because they thought it was old fashioned and dated – they want it back!”
The home’s kitchen is a huge space and with its feature windows and wood burning stove is perfect for entertaining and family living.
“There are times I think maybe that room is too big,” admits Jill. “But then it’s ideal for having people round. As we live so close to town this has become the house that everyone comes back to after a night out so I know we’re lucky to have all this space.”
The island pendant lights were sourced from B&Q and spray painted by Jill to the exact shade she wanted and the imitation Arco light in the living area was a bargain from Ebay. The mint coloured Smeg unit is a real focal point in the room but is deceptive as rather than being a fridge it is actually a cupboard.
Jill explained: “Ian found it but it no longer worked so we took the back off it and changed it from its original colour. I like that it adds a bit of colour and interest to the room – though it does fool everyone.”
The love and attention to detail that has gone into this split-level house is obvious and with four bedrooms, two reception rooms and stacks of outside space there is plenty of room for the family as the children continue to grow.
“All being well we’re here for life,” said Jill. “That said I don’t think a home is ever completely finished though and nor should it be. I like for the house to evolve rather than than just sitting back and thinking that that’s it done.”

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