Ramon and Brenda Valvona reworked a treasured childhood home to create a bright and open space, perfectly suited to modern living
Transforming his childhood home was the project of a lifetime for one Edinburgh owner
Ramon Valvona lived in this characterful Edinburgh villa as a child. ‘My parents bought the house more than 35 years ago, renovating and flamboyantly decorating it in true Eighties style,’ he says. ‘There were paisley patterned fabrics, swags and pelmets.’
The house was quite dark, though. ‘There were doors and curtains everywhere, which obscured the true amount of space and light,’ says Ramon. Years on, with the property too large for his father, Ramon, his wife Brenda and their daughter Olivia had the opportunity to develop it into their own family home.
‘We knew that we wanted to open up the house,’ explains Ramon. ‘I love the fact that from the front door you can now see right through to the kitchen, and from the sitting room you can see through to the back garden.’ An experienced property developer, Ramon was able to undertake the project, which involved adding a large extension and updating and renovating the whole house, relatively painlessly and in record time.
‘We started in December 2016 and, seven months later, the work was complete. I pushed to get it finished – some days, there were 30 people in and out of the house,’ says Ramon.
Knowing this was their forever home, Ramon and Brenda called in their friend and interior designer, Rachel Richmond, from Edinburgh-based firm Hen & Crask. ‘Rachel was able to develop a scheme which injected our personal style into the house,’ explains Brenda. ‘She gave us several options. I wanted a neutral backdrop but we came up with some really punchy additions, adding pops of bold spring colours, plus industrial touches with the lighting. I was unsure about it at first, but now I’m delighted with the slight edge and zing that Rachel has brought to the soothing palette.’
The result is a scheme that is undoubtedly luxurious – a thoroughly modern overhaul but still respectful of the property’s history, both in terms of the family’s past and the beautiful period features that the couple have expertly preserved. Cornicing, fireplaces, skirting boards and mouldings now sit alongside state-of-the-art heating and lighting systems.
Adding an extension to a period property can be visually challenging, but thanks to considerable thought and planning by their architect, Johnston Harris, Brenda and Ramon have unified their home successfully. ‘The large porcelain grey tiles that we’ve laid in the extension run up to the front door, helping the house flow perfectly from front to back,’ says Ramon. ‘We feel we’ve opened up a new chapter for this precious home and the whole family is delighted.’
BATHROOM The bath was the starting point for this Zen-like sanctuary. Ava slimline freestanding bath is comparable, £ 499, Soak.com. walls painted in Peignoir estate emulsion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball MAIN BEDROOM A velvet headboard, with built-in shelves for bedside tables, adds a touch of luxury. walls painted in Dove tale estate emulsion, £39.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball. teal velvet cushions, £24 each, tk Maxx. Linen duvet cover, from £39, Marks & Spencer
OLIVIA’S BEDROOM The soft, dusky pink of this pretty room will work well into teenage years. walls painted in Calamine estate emulsion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball. bed, £ 450, great Little trading Co