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’
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 tall Princess cast-iron radiator, £190, cast Iron radiator centre, has a similar look. the brooklyn pendant light, £69, Industville, is similar to the one over the island
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
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 boston Ivy knitted throw in yellow, £150, Debenhams, is similar
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 spray paint, £9 per 400ml, b&q
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