true clas­sic

A new lay­out and a re­vamp has trans­formed this run­down prop­erty into Re­becca and Patrick Thorn­ton’s dream home

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture Annabelle Grundy | Photography Colin Poole

This cou­ple weren’t afraid to take on a major ren­o­va­tion if it meant se­cur­ing this house in Hamp­shire with its ideal lo­ca­tion and beau­ti­ful pro­por­tions

Re­becca and Patrick Thorn­ton had out­grown their Lon­don flat and wanted a fam­ily home that was close to rel­a­tives and had good trans­port links. After in­ves­ti­gat­ing sev­eral op­tions, a large Hamp­shire prop­erty that was about to go to auc­tion caught their at­ten­tion, but the place needed a lot of work, so they knew it would be a big chal­lenge.

‘ We had ab­so­lutely no ren­o­va­tion ex­pe­ri­ence at all – I could see it had a lot of po­ten­tial though,’ re­calls Re­becca. ‘The house was in a great lo­ca­tion and had the pro­por­tions we wanted, as well as scope to build an ex­ten­sion. In­side, how­ever, it was quite old-fash­ioned and in a pretty poor state, but we soon re­alised that was an ad­van­tage, as we didn’t feel obliged to re­tain any­thing and we could make it com­pletely our own.’ Rather than risk the un­cer­tainty of an auc­tion, the cou­ple de­cided to make an ofer straight­away and were thrilled when it was ac­cepted. Since then, along­side rais­ing their two boys, Oliver, 7, and Henry, 3, they have ren­o­vated and re­vi­talised the prop­erty, trans­form­ing it into the wel­com­ing and practical fam­ily home they al­ways wanted.

‘When we first moved in, the rear of the house was a com­plete muddle, with a tired, small kitchen,’ ex­plains Re­becca. ‘Up­stairs, the lay­out didn’t flow well ei­ther and the bath­room was tiny – which wasn’t ideal for a fam­ily of four. We re­alised from the out­set that we could stream­line the lay­out and ex­tend the prop­erty – we ended up mak­ing some major changes quite early on.’ With

in­put from Patrick and some other fam­ily mem­bers, Re­becca suc­cess­fully de­signed a two-floor ex­ten­sion, de­spite never hav­ing tack­led any­thing sim­i­lar be­fore. The back of the prop­erty was also re­mod­elled and an open-plan kitchen was added. Up­stairs, a mas­ter bed­room and bath­room were fit­ted.

Re­becca also mas­ter­minded a com­plete re­dec­o­ra­tion of the in­te­rior. ‘Even though it was all brand new to me, I’ve al­ways en­joyed ex­press­ing my cre­ative side,’ says Re­becca. ‘I’m a big fan of mix­ing old and new and I ab­so­lutely love bright colours and prints, es­pe­cially flo­rals. I like each room to have its own char­ac­ter, but at the same time, I wanted to make sure that the whole house flowed smoothly from one space to the next.’ Re­becca has taken her cue for the decor from the build­ing’s el­e­gant pe­riod pro­por­tions, cre­at­ing a time­less scheme over­laid with con­tem­po­rary touches and in­di­vid­ual buys. ‘I shop in all sorts of places, from the high street to in­de­pen­dent bou­tiques and lo­cal an­tiques mar­kets,’ she ex­plains. ‘I love brows­ing and putting a look to­gether from difer­ent sources.’

Sub­tle grey, buf and white tones on the walls max­imise light and space through­out the house and pro­vide a clean back­drop for bold pat­terns, vivid high­lights, in­ter­est­ing accessories and eye-catch­ing up­hol­stered pieces. With longevity in mind, Re­becca opted for neu­tral pieces when it came to in­vest­ment pur­chases, such as the sim­ple kitchen units and chic white-and-wood bath­room fur­ni­ture. ‘Al­though the kitchen

Favourite room ‘The gar­den room is great for en­ter­tain­ing and there’s space for the boys to play and us to re­lax – it’s perfect for ev­ery­one’

and bath­room were up­dated some time ago, ev­ery now and again, I re­vamp the scheme with new fab­rics and accessories, so they still feel fresh,’ she ex­plains. ‘ We gave the sit­ting room a new look a cou­ple of years ago, and I’m still happy with it. I’ve been a fan of sub­tle grey hues for a while now, be­cause they’re stylish and easy to live with.’

The large, light-filled gar­den room is a re­cent ad­di­tion to the house and, as the boys grow up, it is prov­ing an ever more use­ful mul­ti­func­tional, fam­ily space. ‘I came up with the idea after we went for lunch at a nearby ho­tel – it had a glass-roofed din­ing room and I wanted to recre­ate a sim­i­lar feel,’ says Re­becca. ‘The whole fam­ily spend a lot of time in here now as it’s so re­lax­ing, and we use the for­mal, front sit­ting room for special oc­ca­sions in­stead.’

Over the years, Re­becca and Patrick’s home has grown and changed to fit with their life­style. Re­becca al­ways has a few low-key up­dates in mind, but there are no more big al­ter­ations to come. ‘ We just en­joy be­ing here, spend­ing time with the boys and en­ter­tain­ing friends and fam­ily,’ she says. ‘ We have cre­ated a space that we love to be in and were glad we took on a chal­lenge.’

Favourite shop ‘I love The Wal­nut Tree in Hamp­shire – I’ve been a reg­u­lar there for years. It’s bril­liant for gifts, home­wares and in­ter­est­ing accessories’

Re P lanned

Sit­ting room Wal­nut floor­ing adds warmth and rich­ness to this so­phis­ti­cated grey scheme. Ad­di­son chair, from £1,025; cur­tains in Coco Pewter fab­ric, £35m; walls painted in dove Grey matt emul­sion, £35 per 2.5 litres, all laura Ash­ley

home truths the Prop­erty de­tached Vic­to­rian house lo­ca­tion Hamp­shire rooms Hall, sit­ting room, din­ing room, kitchen/fam­ily room, of­fice, gar­den room, cloak­room, five bed­rooms (two en suite), bath­room Pur­chased 2007 Pre­vi­ous Prop­erty ‘ We lived in a flat in north lon­don be­fore this place,’ says re­becca.

GAR­DEN ROOM A pal­ette of cool greys and crisp lime high­lights helps bring the out­side in. Devon­shire sofa, £1,650; Glouces­ter Snug­gler chair, £1,200, both Laura Ash­ley. Be­spoke foot­stool by Chris Whe­lan; in Black Kew Jon­quil, £77m, Romo Fab­rics

Mas­ter BED­ROOM ‘The idea to add a wall to sep­a­rate the en suite and dress­ing area came from a ho­tel we stayed at,’ says Re­becca. Loren wing back chair, £360, Fair­mont Park at way­fair, has this look

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