Glamorous furnishings show off the impressive proportions of this Grade Ii-listed townhouse in Bristol
Finding the right house in a prime location is about timing, as Sarah Bailey discovered in 2015, when a local agent found her the perfect property in the heart of Bristol. This historic building, formerly used as offices and in a neglected state, was in the process of being renovated.
Fortunately, Sarah could see past the building site and her interest was sparked. ‘I fell in love with it immediately,’ she says, ‘particularly the long sweeping entrance hall leading to a beautiful staircase with a winding handrail. All of the rooms were spacious and well proportioned with original features, too. I knew I could turn this place into a family home for me and my daughters, Morgan, now 19, and Freya, 16.’
Sarah has an interior design business, SJP Interior Design, in Bristol, and her creative flair and passion for beautiful furniture is evident throughout her home. Although financial constraints have been her biggest frustration right from the start, with patience and creativity, she has managed to transform pieces within her budget. ‘I’m a perfectionist and wanted to create the ideal interior,’ says Sarah. ‘But as this is a large four-storey house, it needed a lot of furniture to make it feel complete, so it took a while.’
The formal sitting room has two zones – a relaxing area with a fireplace
and a dining space. Sarah reupholstered her château-style dining chairs using brightly coloured damask material, which adds striking pops of colour and complements the floral wallpaper. ‘We got through a lot of wallpaper,’ recalls Sarah, ‘ but I wanted to paper the whole space rather than just a feature wall and I found that a subtle print works well.’
In the kitchen, Sarah updated the old cabinets by replacing dark handles with silver ones, and a white stone surface was fitted for a contemporary feel. She then created a breakfast bar by replacing the original island worktop with an overhanging design. The unit now accommodates seating for six people, and industrial-style stools introduce a touch of urban chic. The floorboards were repainted in a bright white to suit the light, airy space.
Choosing the right lighting helped to enhance the overall look and feel of the property’s generous rooms, and Sarah’s love of grand chandeliers has resulted in an opulent finish. Statement mirrors have been hung wherever possible, too, to channel more light into a space. ‘The general tone is all about light, colour and texture,’ explains Sarah.
‘This house was quite an aspirational buy for me,’ she continues, ‘and I feel very fortunate to be able to live in such a grand and beautiful historic home.’