pic­ture perfect

Emma Os­borne and An­drew De­haes-white in­tro­duced a touch of mod­ern style to this his­toric house, en­hanc­ing its nat­u­ral beauty

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture & Photography Jo Shel­drake

Think­ing big was the start­ing point for this five-storey fam­ily town­house in Bris­tol

For Emma Os­borne and her new part­ner An­drew De­haes-white, a large fam­ily called for a spa­cious home. ‘ We have seven chil­dren be­tween us,’ says Emma, ‘and with friends and other fam­ily mem­bers thrown into the mix, we ob­vi­ously needed to think big.’

So when it came to look­ing for their first place to­gether, a spa­cious 19th-cen­tury, five-storey for­mer mer­chant’s house seemed like the perfect so­lu­tion. Sit­u­ated in cen­tral Bris­tol, the Ge­or­gian prop­erty still boasted its ma­jes­tic charm and char­ac­ter, tick­ing all the boxes when it came to lo­ca­tion, space and po­ten­tial. Al­though in need of re­fur­bish­ing, it of­fered the cou­ple a chance to cre­ate a home that worked for them. ‘I made an of­fer in the sit­ting room dur­ing our first view­ing,’ says Emma. ‘Al­though the decor was tired and not to our taste, struc­turally the build­ing was sound and all the orig­i­nal pe­riod features were still in perfect con­di­tion, al­low­ing us to con­cen­trate on mod­ernising the in­te­rior.’

The house is Grade Ii-listed, which meant that plan­ning con­sent had to be ap­plied for and, as soon as it was ap­proved,

the ren­o­va­tion work could com­mence. ‘Choos­ing colours and ma­te­ri­als in keep­ing with the age of the prop­erty was es­sen­tial,’ says Emma. ‘So, for ex­am­ple, we painted our front door in Bras­sica, a rich grey tone by Far­row & Ball, and fit­ted it with tra­di­tional door fur­ni­ture.’

The cou­ple’s first aim was to de­vise a log­i­cal sched­ule of works with min­i­mal dis­rup­tion, as they were liv­ing in the prop­erty with two of their chil­dren and two dogs. ‘We had to be or­gan­ised, be­cause be­spoke items needed to be planned ahead to make al­lowances for avail­abil­ity and fit­ting re­quire­ments,’ says An­drew. ‘Ev­ery day was like a school day, with lessons learnt along the way.’

Cre­at­ing light and airy bed­rooms for the chil­dren on the top floor was a good start­ing point. The rooms were redec­o­rated, car­peted and fit­ted with made-to-mea­sure wardrobes to max­imise space. ‘We then had to jug­gle the or­der in which we re­fur­bished the bath­rooms to en­sure we had one func­tion­ing shower,’ says Emma. Next, un­daunted by the task of re­dec­o­rat­ing the spa­cious

draw­ing room, the cou­ple set to work, paint­ing over the wall­pa­per. ‘As an al­ter­na­tive to strip­ping, we ap­plied a base coat of a spe­cial­ist primer, Zinsser, be­fore ap­ply­ing a pure and nat­u­ral white to give a warm, soft ap­pear­ance.’ The neu­tral colour scheme cre­ates a clean, wel­com­ing and calm in­te­rior, al­low­ing the room to come alive.

Emma and An­drew also suc­cess­fully en­hanced the ex­ist­ing pe­riod ar­chi­tec­ture and features, ‘ We pro­ject­man­aged the works with the help of a fan­tas­tic team of lo­cally sourced trades­men and ar­ti­sans,’ says Emma. ‘ We had the orig­i­nal wood spin­dle stair­case stripped and French pol­ished, and the car­pen­try and sash win­dows were re­paired and new weights were in­stalled.’

Mean­while, An­drew gave the ex­ist­ing Shaker-style kitchen units a facelift to save money. ‘He re­painted the

cab­i­nets in Far­row & Ball’s corn­forth White and up­dated the door­knobs with el­e­gant chrome cup han­dles for a more con­tem­po­rary feel,’ says Emma. ‘ We also re­placed the mar­ble work­top with a lighter, en­gi­neered quartz de­sign.’

Fi­nally, to max­imise avail­able space, the dis­used base­ment coal bunker was re­con­fig­ured to cre­ate an ex­tra liv­ing area for the fam­ily. ‘It is now a serene spot to sit and re­lax in,’ says Emma, ‘and makes a great break-out place in the evenings.’

When it came to choos­ing the fin­ish­ing touches, Emma’s favourite task was sourc­ing fab­rics, art and soft fur­nish­ings, such as the hand­made cur­tain pel­mets. ‘I spent a lot of time look­ing for the braid­ing for the pel­mets, too,’ she says. ‘I love re­uphol­ster­ing ot­tomans and old stools, such as the ones in the kitchen, to give them a fresh new look us­ing in­ter­est­ing fab­rics. We’ve put so much en­ergy into re­fur­bish­ing this beau­ti­ful house. All we have left to do now is en­joy it.’

DE­SIGN TIP ‘Per­son­alise the space by mix­ing clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary in­flu­ences for an eclec­tic and unique look’

KITCHEN Cab­i­nets in a gen­tle off-white shade have been teamed with pale quartz work­tops to give a re­laxed and time­less im­pres­sion. Cab­i­nets painted in Corn­forth White es­tate eggshell, £60 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball. Em­bank­ment chrome wall clock,...

DIN­ING room Emma cre­ated a strik­ing cen­tre­piece for the ta­ble us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers and a large ce­ramic urn. Faux flow­ers, from £6 per stem, Nep­tune. Ta­ble, £1,800; chairs, £250 each, all SJP In­te­rior De­sign. Doreen pewter ceil­ing light with string...

cloak­room The cou­ple chose practical features, such as ven­ti­lated lou­vred doors, to hide the ap­pli­ances and boiler and a Belfast sink with a hose tap. walls painted in Light blue es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & ball. blind made in...

MAS­TER Bed­room Flo­ral fab­rics and art­works in fresh, vi­brant tones lend a fem­i­nine feel to this scheme. walls painted in Slaked Lime Mid ab­so­lute matt emul­sion, £ 42 per 2.5 litres, Lit­tle greene. Cur­tain in Capisoli in Pe­ony, £93m; blind in...

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