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
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