rais­ing the bar

A for­mer pub­lic house in Liver­pool has been given a new lease of life as a fab­u­lous fam­ily home


While gemma We­ston was out for a stroll with her baby, henry, she spot­ted homes be­ing built in a for­mer pub car park close to her house in Liver­pool and was cu­ri­ous to find out more. a few months later, she passed the same site and no­ticed that the old pub was be­ing con­verted into a three-storey house.

‘i spoke to the builders and they in­vited me in­side,’ says gemma. ‘al­though i hadn’t thought se­ri­ously about mov­ing, it seemed too good an op­por­tu­nity to miss, as the sand­stone exterior had so much char­ac­ter, but in­side it was go­ing to be very mod­ern.’ af­ter gemma dis­cussed the prop­erty with her part­ner, daniel roper, the pair put their pe­riod cot­tage on the mar­ket and it sold within two weeks. ‘the work was due to be com­pleted in two months, so we had to move fast be­fore any­one else saw it,’ says gemma. ‘it was so unique, we knew it would sell fast.’

With three bed­rooms and a bath­room on the top floor, a high-ceilinged, split-level kitchen and sit­ting area on the mid­dle floor and a base­ment lead­ing out to the gar­den,

the space of­fered a de­gree of flex­i­bil­ity. ‘the devel­oper had sug­gested in­stalling a par­ti­tion wall in the base­ment to cre­ate both a din­ing space and cin­ema room,’ re­calls Gemma. ‘how­ever, we felt that an open­plan sit­ting room/play­room would work much bet­ter since it has di­rect ac­cess to the gar­den, while the din­ing area should be up­stairs, next to the kitchen.’

For­tu­nately, the pair were happy with the devel­oper’s choice of kitchen and bath­room, along with the white-painted walls and light grey wood­work. ‘they’d picked the kind of fit­tings we would have cho­sen our­selves, such Gemma who loves find­ing eye-catch­ing vin­tage pieces with a story be­hind them. For in­stance, she found a Racing Post news­pa­per from the year she was born in their pre­vi­ous home and had it framed. Gemma also plans to use old fac­tory parts as door stops.

two years on, and the kitchen is grad­u­ally changing, too. the couple have al­ready swapped the devel­oper’s wood-ef­fect work­tops for bur­nished, faux-metal lam­i­nate and re­placed the chrome sink with a black com­pos­ite de­sign with a copper tap. next on as the pat­terned floor tiles in the kitchen,’ says Gemma. ‘We didn’t have a lot of in­put in case the sale fell through, but we did choose the colour of the wood floor­ing.’

af­ter mov­ing in, Gemma and daniel started per­son­al­is­ing their new home with plan­ta­tion shut­ters for the kitchen, car­pets for the bed­rooms and new fur­ni­ture. as the pub was built in 1854, the couple wanted the decor to re­flect its past. ‘the high ceil­ings and cast- iron ra­di­a­tors lend them­selves to a more in­dus­trial feel, so we’ve added things such as fac­tory-style pen­dants lights, an­i­mal skulls and prints from a brew­ery,’ says the agenda is fit­ting new door fronts in dark graphite with aged copper han­dles and putting up scaf­fold-board shelving.

de­spite daniel’s oc­ca­sional itchy feet for an­other project, the pair plan to stay put as they love the area and have an­other baby on the way. ‘It’s like a vil­lage within a city with its own high street and two parks within walk­ing dis­tance,’ ex­plains Gemma. ‘most houses around here are ei­ther small two-bed­ders or re­ally large, so we’re lucky to have found some­thing in-be­tween with such char­ac­ter.’

de­sign tip‘ Adding quirky ac­ces­sories to a neu­tral back­drop is a great way of be­ing brave with your decor’

3 din­ing area This spa­cious spot eas­ily ac­com­mo­dates ex­tra seat­ing. V base din­ing ta­ble and bench seat, £600, De­sign Shack In­te­ri­ors. Mimi sofa, £549, Swoon edi­tions, is a match

2 1 1,2,3,5&6 Kitchen The split-level floor was the clincher when Gemma first saw the prop­erty be­ing con­verted. the Sofia kitchen, from £3,938 for eight units, Wickes, is in this style. berke­ley floor tiles, £67.56sq m, topps tiles, are com­pa­ra­ble. the...

sit­ting room ‘Our liv­ing area is re­ally cosy in the evenings,’ says Gemma. Sofia sofa, £1,998, DFS. Axan cof­fee ta­ble, £249; cush­ions, from £18 each; all barker & Stone­house. curved arm floor lamp, £100, Next

2 mas­ter bed­room This sim­ple scheme can be quickly re­freshed with chic ac­ces­sories. For a sim­i­lar bed frame, see the Julien bowen cor­sica de­sign, £120, world­stores. the Kiss­ing Stags dou­ble du­vet set, £85, Ano­rak, is near-iden­ti­cal. clarissa hulse’s...

1 bath­room The devel­oper chose the fit­tings but Gemma and Daniel added the painted an­tique mir­ror. the Duke roll-top bath, £ 450, Vic­to­rian Plumb­ing, is sim­i­lar. Stam­ford floor tiles, £53.98sq m, topps tiles, are a match. try rust-oleum win­ter grey...

3 nurs­ery Gemma cre­ated an Alpine scene with mask­ing tape and spray paint. Al­phabear print, £14, corby tin­der­stick at this Mod­ern Life. chil­dren’s eames-style rar rock­ing chair, £27.95, Stone but­ter­fly

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