EXCESS ALL AREAS Eclectic art and collectables abound in this Yorkshire abode
An abundance of eclectic artworks and vintage collectables in every room create a big impact in Nicola Broughton’s dramatically different home
After viewing several properties in and around the more expensive areas of Leeds, Nicola Broughton and husband Sam Brown were faced with a dilemma common to many house hunters – whether they should make size rather than location their top priority. ‘ We were planning on having children, so we needed somewhere big enough to make a good family home,’ she says. ‘ We liked certain villages, but quickly realised we could get more for our money slightly further afield.’
They found just what they were looking for – a large five bedroom Victorian house about six miles from their preferred location. ‘It had plenty of period character, which I loved,’ remembers Nicola. ‘The kitchen was quite small and the decor wasn’t to our taste, but it felt very homely. We tackled the problem of the poky kitchen by knocking through to the dining room. It was a major project and involved the installation of a steel beam as well as levelling the floor.
Their two sons, Jack and Alfie, now 8 and 5, were only toddlers when Nicola decided they needed more space. ‘We remodelled the second floor by removing the false ceilings and walls to create an extra bedroom and by having cupboards fitted in the eaves,’ she says. ‘We also uncovered a secret room, which we turned into a bathroom.’
Over the years, Nicola has decorated a few times, starting out with paler colours but gradually becoming bolder and more dramatic with her choices. ‘At first, I played it safe, in case we ever sold the house, but after 10 years it was clear we weren’t going anywhere, so I became more confident and took more risks,’ she says. ‘I’m a scientist, so
you’d think I’d be methodical, but I’m more visual and intuitive. Until I can see and feel a room, I won’t know whether it’s right. I usually paint first, then research wallpapers and look at paintings. It’s an evolving process as I could move things six or seven times until I’m happy. Although the whole house has ended up with a lovely sense of continuity and flow, it wasn’t at all planned.’
With a plethora of artwork covering virtually every wall, Nicola has a talent for creating impactful groupings. ‘I never sketch out my ideas or cut out cardboard squares and pin them on the wall like some people do,’ she explains. ‘But I do like to vary the size and shape of the frames, and I mix up art from different eras so it feels quite eclectic.’
It’s clear Nicola’s very much the driving force behind the decor, while husband Sam provides a practical perspective. ‘He’ll tell me if he thinks something’s outrageous, but it’s rare that he doesn’t like what I’ve done.’
With busy jobs and the children happily settled at a nearby school, the couple can’t imagine moving any time soon. ‘Another downstairs room would be handy and Sam fancies hving a bigger garden,’ admits Nicola. ‘But packing everything up would probably send us both over the edge!’
3 1 OFFICE Nicola’s work space is just as quirky as the rest of the house. Den 0desk, £595, Loaf, would work here. walls painted in off black estate emulsion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Farrow & ball. abigail ahern pelican table lamp, £66.50,...