ON A LIGHTER NOTE All things white and won­der­ful reign supreme in this once unin­spir­ing prop­erty in Sur­rey

Janet Par­rella-van den Berg’s love of all things white and vin­tage has turned a once dreary house into a bright, invit­ing space

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture Naomi Jones | Pho­tog­ra­phy Robert san­der­son

Louis chairs with faded prints and fray­ing hems; well-worn bal­let slip­pers with dusty soles; and stacks of much-thumbed books tied up with old let­ters in in­trigu­ing bun­dles are just some of the pieces that make Janet Par­rella-van den Berg’s sur­rey home unique. ‘i’m drawn to any­thing old, pre-loved, pati­nated and faded,’ says the in­te­rior de­signer, who also owns a vin­tage em­po­rium, White & Faded. ‘i love any­thing with an ob­vi­ous his­tory. i like to imag­ine who sat in the tired but still el­e­gant chair or who wrote with the beau­ti­ful cur­sive script in those pre­cious mis­sives.’

Us­ing sub­tly difer­ent shades of white on walls, ceil­ings, floors and even fur­ni­ture, Janet trans­formed the in­te­rior of her pe­riod house in the sur­rey sub­urbs into a back­drop for her beloved col­lec­tions. ‘my par­ents pre­fer more tra­di­tional an­tiques,’ she says, ‘and as a teenager i wasn’t keen on all that dark­ness. We were al­lowed to sit on and use the fur­ni­ture, but it was a bit like grow­ing up in a mu­seum. so my first place was hy­per mod­ern, white and cream.’

Janet felt this sleek style was miss­ing some­thing, how­ever, so she de­cided to start paint­ing an­tique fur­ni­ture. ‘this was 1987, and i didn’t know of any­one else do­ing it at the time,’ she re­calls. ‘my fa­ther was hor­ri­fied. “How can you paint it?” he’d ask. i told him: “i don’t like it dark, but i love it painted white.”’

to cre­ate the beau­ti­ful calm scheme she has achieved in her cur­rent home, Janet and her

DE­SIGN ad­vice ‘Dis­play items in line at the same height, and stick to a colour story – for in­stance, whites with whites’

hus­band Dino, a marketing ex­ec­u­tive, first needed to rid their new home of its dingy in­te­rior, along with a wood­worm in­fes­ta­tion, and re­in­state much of the pe­riod fea­tures that had been ripped out by past own­ers. ‘When we re­moved the rot­ten car­pets, opened up the two re­cep­tion rooms, and took out a wall up­stairs be­tween a shower and a bath­room to cre­ate a more spa­cious scheme, we re­alised just how much this house needed our love and at­ten­tion,’ re­calls Janet. ‘So, as well as sourc­ing re­place­ment fire­places, ceil­ing roses and cor­nices, we re­stored the pan­elling, and had the ex­ist­ing wood­work treated.’

But this was not sim­ply a restora­tion project: the house sorely needed more space to make it work for the fam­ily. ‘Our three boys have now left home, but we still have the girls, Tabitha, 21, and Ser­a­fina, 14, liv­ing with us,’ says Janet. ‘So we de­signed a side ex­ten­sion that would give us an en-suite bath­room and dress­ing room up­stairs, along with an of­fice and a stu­dio for me on the ground floor.’

The cou­ple also trans­formed an old of­fice into a pretty laun­dry room. ‘It leads from the en­trance hall to the kitchen, so it gives a bet­ter flow to the house,’ says Janet, who also had big plans for the kitchen. ‘ We put in French doors, re­placed the sky­lights, and re­fit­ted the whole room with beau­ti­ful floor­ing, new units and work­tops and a large is­land. This space is great in sum­mer; we open up the doors and en­joy the fresh air, or head out­side for a bar­beque.’

Her home may have needed a com­plete over­haul, but it was clearly worth it, and it seems to be an ex­ten­sion of Janet her­self, in its el­e­gant yet un­pre­ten­tious style. ‘My hus­band works in Switzer­land dur­ing the week,’ she says, ‘so it’s good to have some­where com­fort­able for him to come home to. But when I’m here with just the girls, we don’t feel like we’re rat­tling around; it suits us very well in­deed.’

DE­SIGN AD­VICE ‘In­ject warmth into a pre­dom­i­nantly white scheme by adding a va­ri­ety of tex­tures, such as wood, vel­vet and linen, and team with ac­ces­sories in beige, cream, taupe and soft pas­tels’

kitchen This light-filled space full of vin­tage touches has a re­laxed, rus­tic feel. Hy­gena Valetti kitchen, from £1,140 for an eight-unit de­sign, Home­base. oak block work­top, from £75 for 2m, Work­top ex­press. Vin­tage pots, from £20 each, White & Faded

sit­ting room The prop­erty’s orig­i­nal pe­riod fea­tures have been lov­ingly re­stored to cre­ate a sense of time­less el­e­gance. Vic­to­ri­ana Dove Grey tra­di­tional cot­ton rug, from £270, Laura Ash­ley. The square turned leg cof­fee ta­ble, £ 478, Etsy, is sim­i­lar

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