back to our roots
Leaving the capital gave Anna and Ed Stone the chance to create a classic family dwelling
Former townies find rural bliss in a 1920s home in Peterborough that’s ideal for family living
favourit e room ‘I think the balance in the sitting room is right: just formal enough but still feels cosy’
The birth of daughter Halle prompted Anna and Ed Stone to look for a property with more room and outside space. Originally from East Anglia, the couple had intended to remain in London, where Ed’s work is based, but trips to family near Peterborough planted an idea in their minds. ‘When we saw what our budget could buy here we were staggered,’ explains Anna, ‘and finding that the rail commute to London is under an hour made up our minds.’
An online search began, during which an intriguing three-storey family house cropped up time after time. ‘It clearly needed lots of work and Ed initially felt it was too big, but I couldn’t resist coming to view it,’ recalls Anna, who runs her own interior design company. ‘I could see how the house would work for a growing family and luckily Ed trusted my judgement.’
The couple knew the project would take several years to complete and so opted to paint over the garish 1980s wallpaper as a temporary measure, and spent their initial budget on making the gardens safe for Halle. ‘The house was like an icebox so we replaced all the
windows and the old, inefficient Aga to try and stabilise energy bills,’ says Anna.
Gradually, more functional jobs followed, such as moving water tanks and replacing radiators and light fittings, until eventually Anna could begin the creative process she loves.
Walls and ceilings were stripped, and period features such as picture rails restored. Log burners were installed in the two original fireplaces in the sitting room and snug, and an oiled oak floor was laid in the refitted kitchen. Halle, now 10, and her brother Ottó, 8, have a large bedroom each and the master suite at the top of the house is a luxury Anna and Ed fully appreciate. ‘This floor was originally two bedrooms so we were able to create a dressing room, which freed up the area in the bedroom usually occupied by wardrobes,’ explains Anna. ‘I love how the rooms are now utilised and there is no dead space. Having two guest rooms on the first floor means that visitors are always comfortable, too.’
Anna’s mother is Icelandic and this heritage has influenced her approach to decoration. ‘I prefer a pale colour palette with plenty of artwork to add interest,’ she says. ‘I love mixing metals, too –
particularly for lighting, where I use aged brass and antique copper to warm up the cool colours on the walls.’
The couple’s move to a larger property dovetailed with Anna’s parents’ decision to downsize, so they have inherited plenty of furnishings. ‘Luckily, much of my parents’ furniture is classic mid-century, which is so on trend, and strikes just the right chord in this house,’ says Anna. ‘I’m a big fan of teak and its rich colour, which creates warmth in an understated way, preventing pale colours from feeling too clinical.’
A decade on, the project is complete and Anna has no regrets about leaving London. ‘Ed’s commute is easy and we have all the room we need,’ she says. ‘ We also love having family close by and a garden we could never have dreamt of in the city. I have really enjoyed the process of renovating a home for my family. I’m so glad we made the move and took the time to make this house a real home.’
KITCHEN A freestanding central island fitted with a new oak top is perfect for casual dining. Solid smoked oak Bumble stools, £320 per pair, Loaf. Oxford units, price on application, Benchmarx Kitchens. Merle copper pendant lamp, from £147, The Libra...
SITTING ROOM The square lines of the sofa, which was re-covered by a company that makes custom Ikea covers, work well with the retro-style furniture. ‘I’m so pleased with how it turned out,’ says Anna. Bankeryd sofa, from £ 475; Stockholm coffee table,...
MASTER BEDROOM The metallic and leather bedside chests lend a boutique hotel feel to this top-floor retreat. Chicago bedside trunks, £775 each, Feather & black. try Cox & Cox for velvet cushions, from £30 each. Mustard print cushions, £55, Madder Cutch...
MASTER EN SUITE Anna added a basin to a vintage washstand to create a bespoke vanity. taranto basin, £90, Victorian Plumbing. try batik tiles, £ 49.99sq m, topps tiles
HALLE’S BEDROOM bold, pretty bedding and lots of accessories add colour and fun. Dunelm sells quilted bedspreads like this one, from £60. the Leirvik bed frame, £89, Ikea, is similar