INTO THE BLUE How the owner of a Gothic villa in Leam­ing­ton Spa has trans­formed her home with the deft use of one colour

From duck egg to bold cobalt, Ser­ena Pitch­ers has used her favourite colour with aplomb in her Gothic house

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture sarah WARD | pho­tog­ra­phy JAMES FRENCH

With their house un­der of­fer and noth­ing com­ing on to the mar­ket, Ser­ena and Henry Pitch­ers de­cided to take mat­ters into their own hands. As they were al­ready based in Leam­ing­ton Spa, they knew ex­actly where they wanted to live – a se­cluded road of pe­riod houses near the river – so they de­cided to leaflet all the own­ers to see if any­one was in­ter­ested in sell­ing.

The cou­ple went door-to-door, post­ing their de­tails through the let­ter­boxes, but al­most gave the de­tached prop­erty at the end a miss. ‘It looked re­ally dark and was sur­rounded by huge trees that com­pletely over­shad­owed the gar­den,’ says Ser­ena. ‘But you could see it had lots of po­ten­tial. A few days later, the owner, a gre­gar­i­ous Aus­tralian guy, in­vited us over to take a look around.

‘We were wowed as soon as we walked through the front door,’ she con­tin­ues. ‘The scale of the hall­way and stairs and the ceil­ing height in the sit­ting room were breath­tak­ing, and then there were these amaz­ing church-like Gothic Vic­to­rian win­dows. I was sold.’

Once they’d moved in, the Pitch­ers’ ex­tended the house to cre­ate a kitchen-diner with fam­ily area, where they could re­lax with their chil­dren, Agatha, 9, and

Oliver, 11. The new liv­ing space leads into the kitchen, which has stayed in its orig­i­nal place and has a di­ag­o­nal penin­sula is­land that acts as a hover point be­tween the two rooms. ‘It’s the hub of the house,’ says Ser­ena.

By keep­ing pro­por­tions, such as ceil­ing heights, con­sis­tent in both the new and old ar­eas, the open-plan space has a seam­less feel. ‘The ex­ten­sion worked so well with the rest of the house,’ says Ser­ena, ‘and I couldn’t wait to get started on the in­te­ri­ors.’

But it’s her deft use of colour that makes the house sing, with al­most ev­ery room fea­tur­ing vary­ing shades of blue. The el­e­gant, china blue in the kitchen light­ens to a pas­tel shade in the din­ing area, with hints of turquoise and vel­vety hues in the fam­ily room. ‘Mov­ing away from whites and creams was key,’ says Ser­ena. ‘ We tried neu­trals at first, but the house felt very flat,’ she says. ‘Once I’d es­tab­lished the ba­sic colour pal­ette, I was then able to go off on a tan­gent.

‘I’m al­ways on the look out for any­thing in blue and white,’ she adds. ‘I’m a bit of a mag­pie. I love to mix our heir­looms with vin­tage and mod­ern pieces, and that works with the style of this house. But it’s hav­ing a colour theme that makes these com­bi­na­tions pos­si­ble, and our home is per­fectly har­mo­nious as a re­sult.’

de­sign tip‘ Choose a pat­tern or a colour and let that dic­tate the pal­ette for the whole house’

LI­BRARY This cosy corner on the first floor makes a quiet re­treat. Barrington Club chair, £1,549, Heal’s, is sim­i­lar. the Old Cin­ema has art Deco fur­ni­ture like this side ta­ble

KITCHEN- DINER ‘We first saw these amaz­ing pen­dants in a restau­rant in Brit­tany,’ says Ser­ena. artemide tolomeo Mega pen­dant lights, £380 each, util­ity. Eames DSW chair, £345 each, the Con­ran shop

MAS­TER BED­ROOM ‘The cop­per side lamps look great against the dusty pink and blue tones,’ says Ser­ena. La Voliere pen­dant lamp by Mathieu Chal­lieres, £395, The Con­ran Shop. An­tique Parisian bed, £2,500, Bed­steads

AGATHA’S BED­ROOM The four-poster fits neatly un­der the roof pitch. Try Home Hearts sin­gle bed frame, £140, Ar­gos

BATH­ROOM This wall­pa­per adds a touch of vin­tage charm. Bro­cante wall­pa­per, £145 per roll, Brian Yates

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