in the mix
A combination of creative flair and carefully chosen collectables create an air of elegance in Gill Lockhart’s period home
Creativity and collectables combine in this Nottinghamshire terrace
There’s something reassuringly solid about Victorian houses that makes them the perfect canvas for a creative makeover. So when Gill Lockhart’s landlord gave her first refusal on the terraced house she had been renting, she knew she could not turn it down. As this was her third renovation, she took its refurbishment in her stride.
‘When I moved in, there was no kitchen – just a sink, a few old plug sockets and a light bulb dangling from the ceiling,’ recalls Gill. ‘Freestanding designs were just coming into fashion, so I bought two oak butcher’s blocks, a range oven and an American-style fridge to create my dream look.’
After buying the property, Gill extended into the side return, adding a glass lantern in the roof, which made the area much brighter. Ripping out the tired terracotta floor tiles and replacing them with pale marble ones gave her the opportunity to also add underfloor heating. Then, by remodelling the back pantry, she created a space-saving utility room as well. Having got used to an open design, Gill decided against wall cupboards to help the kitchen feel less cluttered. ‘I do, however, have to find creative ways to store things,’ she says. The open shelves, painted dresser and ceiling rack also mean Gill has to be scrupulously tidy but, as she explains, ‘I do now have a variety of places where I can
display my collections of antique tins, vintage creamware, posy jars and jam pans.’
About three times a year, Gill likes to visit some of the larger local antiques shows. ‘I never go with anything particular in mind,’ she says, ‘ but these days, I tend to look vaguely for old watering cans, garden accessories, mannequins and classic Bakelite light fittings.’ Gill certainly has an eye for the unusual, and one of her favourite finds was a pair of black mannequin arms, which she has tied together with raffia and hung on the wall above the kitchen worktop.
As an art editor by profession, there are examples of Gill’s creativity throughout. Furniture is painted and waxed for a more seasoned look, while a feather boa adorns a mirror, and shells and pom-poms are strung around twisted tree branches. On the walls are botanical prints, engravings, embroidery samplers, seed packets and photographs of London in the 1960s, taken by Gill’s late father. It’s an eclectic celebration of the personal. Gill is also partial to furnishings from India and the Far East. ‘My style is a mix of souvenirs from places such as Russia and China, but although I love the style of the Victorian Raj, I’ve never actually been to India.
‘I’ve always enjoyed bringing period houses back to life,’ says Gill. ‘This one was a real labour of love, but it’s definitely been worth all the hard work.’