A bright and spacious rear extension created a fun and functional layout in this young family’s home in Hove
When interior architect Emma Capron and her husband, Chris, moved into a spacious semi in Hove, East Sussex, they were brimming with ideas on how to improve the space. The pair instantly fell in love with the 1930s property, seeing beyond the dated wallpaper and floral curtain pelmets. ‘The light and space were a refreshing contrast to the linear Victorian house we had lived in previously,’ says Emma.
The couple, who have two children, Esmé and Luca, tackled the smaller jobs first, painting walls in neutral shades, removing carpets and reinstating the sitting room wall to create an office for Emma’s company, Bean Interiors. Then they redecorated the four bedrooms, before planning a rear extension.
Space and flow were important considerations for Emma when drawing up the plans. She experimented with different layouts, striving to find a solution that would work for her family for many years to come. Then came a eureka moment. ‘The west- and east-facing light is a fantastic feature of our home,’ she explains, ‘so I redrew the floor plan, removing the dogleg in the hall, repositioning the kitchen doorway and installing double-glazed doors to allow plenty of light to permeate throughout the entire ground floor.’
Emma submitted plans for an extension angled by six degrees to maximise the light and connect a capacious new kitchen and dining area with the existing sitting room. ‘I love that we can be together and still have our individual spaces,’ she says.
Additional building work included converting part of the garage into a utility room, and extending the bathroom. Then Emma could put her interior ideas into place. ‘My taste has evolved over the years, but mostly I prefer a neutral palette with ecru tones and natural materials, combined with artwork and pieces we’ve collected on our travels, each telling a story.
Warm white walls, an engineered oak floor and chunky timber shelves, which Emma designed, tie the sitting room and kitchen together. New cushions and throws update existing sofas and armchairs, and Emma recycled kitchen chairs she inherited from the previous owners. ‘I like that they remind us of the original scheme,’ she says. ‘Despite being a designer, I don’t feel that everything has to be brand new.’
Art features throughout with entire walls devoted to framed travel photos, pictures that spark fond memories and paintings by the couple’s favourite artists. It’s these personal touches that shape and enliven the Caprons’ home and, more importantly, cement Emma’s aspiration to create an interior that’s eclectic and unique. ‘When friends and family walk in and say, “This is so you”, then I know I’ve done a good job,’ smiles Emma.
KITCHEN The wooden stools, shelf and flooring bring warmth to this bright white space. Mora units in warm white matt lacquer, £6,600, Schüller at Showcase Kitchens. Weathered oak stool, £175, Cox & Cox
SITTING ROOM Cushions and throws have given old furniture a new lease of life. Bobble cushion, £50, Muskett & Mazzullo. Grey throw, £80, John lewis. rollo table lamp, £289, fabrics & Papers