Restoring this Northamptonshire home to its former glory meant overcoming a series of problems back to its best
Suzanne and Richard Bamford restored a problematic property to create an idyllic family home
Suzanne and Richard Bamford had stayed longer in their previous home in Northamptonshire than they originally intended. ‘ We were conveniently placed for primary schools and amenities, which had been a priority while our children Isabel, now 14, and Oliver, 11, were smaller,’ explains Suzanne.
But when it was time for Isabel to start secondary school, the couple knew it was now or never and began to search the county for a long-term home. ‘Richard had always wanted a period house like the one he grew up in, preferably in an idyllic village setting with a large garden,’ says Suzanne.
Matching reality with the dream, however, proved quite challenging as the couple viewed almost 50 houses. After extending their search more widely across Northamptonshire, Suzanne finally spotted their current home online. ‘Neither of us knew this part of the county at all but when we walked inside we both said “this is the one” immediately.’
Initially believing the house was in reasonable condition, the couple were dismayed to discover it had serious problems. ‘There was damp, both chimneys needed replacing, the brickwork required attention and we had a mouse infestation,’ Suzanne recalls. ‘ We realised the bones of the house had to be put in order so we gritted our teeth and blew the entire budget on damp-proofing and repairs.’
Built around 1870, the property has a colourful history, including time spent as a wholesale gardening outlet, a sweet shop and a post office, according to the older village locals. Probably due to its varied commercial use over the years, the first floor had an awkward layout, which required more structural work. ‘Previously,
the front and rear rooms upstairs could only be reached by walking through the bathroom,’ explains Suzanne. ‘We made the bathroom and guest bedroom a little smaller to create a corridor instead. It was quite a big job but it has resulted in a much better flow upstairs.’ Additionally, an en-suite bathroom was added to the master bedroom and then the guest en suite and family bathrooms were both refitted.
Twelve months ago, the couple installed a new kitchen using a local firm of cabinetmakers. ‘We chose a modern farmhouse look with Shaker-style units,’ says Suzanne. ‘A contemporary scheme in this house would not have worked so well, and we’re so pleased with the results.’
Above all, Suzanne wanted to create a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. ‘Our furnishings are an eclectic mix of family pieces brought from our previous home, auction finds, upcycled objects and high street accessories. I like to have a pop of colour in every room as well as items that mean something to us, such as souvenirs from trips away. I don’t shop online much – I prefer to see, feel and touch something before I buy and particularly love auctions.
Throughout all the work the couple undertook, they were determined never to settle for just patching things up. ‘The house deserves to be respected so we researched period authenticity and every door and window has been replaced with a handmade version,’ says Suzanne. ‘The best thing about our home is how it works for us. Every time I return from a long commute, I still relish pulling up outside. The children have lots of space, which was Richard’s dream, so all the hard work has been worth it.’
KITCHEN Shaker-style units and an antique table and chairs lend farmhouse charm. Kitchen, price on request, create Bespoke interiors
SITTING ROOM ‘I like mixing up older furnishings with newer pieces, to create a relaxed, informal style,’ says Suzanne. Side table painted in english Yellow chalk paint, £19.95 for 1l, Annie Sloan. Bradford footstool, from £575, laura Ashley. the Overmantel Bow mirror, £195, John lewis, is similar
KITCHEN A naive-style platter on the wall creates a simple finishing touch. Cabinetry painted in Purbeck Stone estate eggshell, £60 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball. the cooker is the rangemaster Classic Deluxe, £1,844
BATHROOM Suzanne chose a fresh blue to add a dash of colour to the family bathroom. Panelling painted in Sea blue mixing easycare, £31.50 for 2.5L, Dulux. basin, price on request, Pochin bathrooms. try ebay for vintage blue bottles
MAIN BEDROOM Matching curtains and cushions provide a floral theme in this comfortable room. the white Company sells similar bedding, from £20 for a pillowcase. Pink wool throw, £25 , tk Maxx