fresh start

Mov­ing from a mill to a bun­ga­low was the be­gin­ning of a new chap­ter for Ali­son Wilkin­son – and it helped in­spire a new ca­reer di­rec­tion, too

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture NIKKI BRADLEY | Photography BRENT DARBY

It was all about cre­at­ing a feel­ing of open­ness in this York­shire bun­ga­low

After down­siz­ing, Ali­son Wilkin­son made it her mis­sion to trans­form her new dormer bun­ga­low into an eclec­tic space filled with char­ac­ter and a hint of nos­tal­gia. ‘Ini­tially, there was noth­ing ap­peal­ing about it,’ Ali­son re­calls of the West York­shire prop­erty. ‘But I knew once ren­o­va­tions were made, along with the ad­di­tion of my own de­signs and per­sonal touches, it would be the perfect home for me and my chil­dren, James, 23, and Eleanor, 18.’

Ali­son rented out the prop­erty for two years be­fore mov­ing in, and as soon as she sold her pre­vi­ous home, the build­ing project swung into ac­tion. ‘I em­ployed a trust­wor­thy builder who sin­gle­hand­edly car­ried out the ma­jor­ity of the work, with the ex­cep­tion of a joiner to hang the doors.’

The first project to tackle was ex­tend­ing the rear of the prop­erty as Ali­son wanted to form a kitchendiner and sit­ting area. ‘I needed it to be as open-plan as pos­si­ble, to bring the out­side in, as well as to cre­ate space for fam­ily time and vis­it­ing friends,’ she says.

This feel­ing of open­ness was car­ried through into the rest of the ground floor. The double doors sep­a­rat­ing the sit­ting room and din­ing room were re­moved to form one large space and a snug was in­tro­duced be­tween the sit­ting room and kitchen

area. ‘Curl­ing up with a book and a hot drink here is just perfect dur­ing the win­ter months,’ says Ali­son.

In the first-floor eaves, space was at a pre­mium. ‘My bed­room was tiny and had to be ex­tended,’ says Ali­son. An ex­ten­sion over the kitchen to house the newly po­si­tioned up­stairs bath­room was the last of the major build­ing works, and after this was com­pleted, Ali­son could start on the in­te­rior de­sign.

‘Over the past 10 years, I’ve de­vel­oped my skill and love for in­te­rior de­sign and this has led me to start up a com­pany, BASE In­te­rior De­sign, with my friend si­mone,’ ex­plains Ali­son. For her own home, Ali­son had a clear vi­sion, favour­ing a con­tem­po­rary, bo­hemian style. Unique art­work and in­ter­est­ing ob­jects are dis­played against deep, rich colours to add to their beauty and give each room a cosy feel.

‘I’m not afraid to put colours and tex­tures to­gether,’ says Ali­son. ‘I wanted ev­ery room to tell a story, and I like to keep mem­o­ries dot­ted around.’ Two pieces of fur­ni­ture in par­tic­u­lar hold a great deal of sen­ti­ment for Ali­son, as they were made by her late part­ner, Mark. ‘sadly, Mark passed away sud­denly in 2011,’ she says. ‘He loved to make and fix things and had a real tal­ent for it.’ The din­ing ta­ble and cof­fee ta­ble are his own work and re­main pre­cious re­minders of his cre­ative abil­i­ties and flair.

After two years, the house was fi­nally fin­ished. ‘It was a test­ing time for the three of us but we’re very happy with the re­sult,’ re­flects Ali­son. ‘I’m proud of us pulling to­gether to cre­ate a home we all love.’

in­spir­ing

SIT­TING ROOM ‘I wanted to cre­ate a cosy space where we could all re­lax,’ ex­plains Ali­son. Nat­u­ral Urn ta­ble lamp, £235, Can­dle and Blue, would suit this set­ting. Walls painted in Ele­phant’s Breath es­tate emul­sion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Far­row & Ball home truths

the Prop­erty 1960s semi-de­tached bun­ga­low Lo­ca­tion West York­shire rooms Hall, sit­ting room, kitchen-diner, snug, three bed­rooms, two bath­rooms Pur­chased 2013 Pre­vi­ous Prop­erty ‘Be­fore mov­ing here, we lived in a con­verted mill that had bags of char­ac­ter,’ says Ali­son.

KITCHEN- DINER Dark blue tones add drama and tie the liv­ing spa­ces to­gether. the steel ta­ble with ash wood by Ines Cole, £1,495, has the same feel. Foscarini tress Stilo pen­dants, £319 each, i-lite. Leather twist stools, £175 each, Cox & Cox

SIT­TING ROOM A large shaggy rug and fo­liage make the space feel warm and invit­ing. Colours Ava­lyon rug, £115, b&q. Foscarini tress wall light, £ 400, i-lite.

MAS­TER BED­ROOM Pas­tel hues, soft linens and vel­vets are com­bined for a sump­tu­ous fin­ish. hamil­ton double bed frame, £ 499, Dreams, is sim­i­lar. riv­ing­ton bed­side ta­bles, £75 each, rock­ett St ge­orge

BATH­ROOM Ali­son mixed pat­terns and tex­ture to cre­ate im­pact. Savoy full pedestal, £70, bath­store. Metro Car­rara gloss wall tiles, £36sq m, Al-mu­rad

ELEANOR’S BED­ROOM ‘I per­suaded Eleanor to use bold colours in her room, which she loves,’ says Ali­son. Flamingo cush­ion, £14.99; pink throw, £19.99, both home­sense

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