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

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture KAREN WIL­SON | pho­tog­ra­phy KATIE LEE

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,...

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