THE HOUSE THAT CAME BACK TO LIFE

A for­got­ten jewel is now re­veal­ing its true beauty, thanks to a lit­tle love, a touch of imag­i­na­tion and a lot of hard work

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Front Page -

Who lives here?

This glo­ri­ous five-storey house in Bris­tol’s Clifton neigh­bour­hood is owned by Penny and Alas­tair Godfrey, who first saw it around 20 years ago. ‘When we bought the house, it was di­vided into flats and needed a com­plete over­haul to turn it back into a fam­ily home,’ says Penny. Since then, the cou­ple have been joined by daugh­ters Mil­lie, 18, Poppy, 15, Alice, 13, and their cat, Bo.

The re­furb

Built in 1821, the house was struc­turally sound but needed a lot of work. ‘When I first walked through the door, I could see it had been ne­glected, but I could also see the po­ten­tial – it’s at the top of a hill with fan­tas­tic views and great nat­u­ral light,’ says Penny. ‘We did one room at a time, start­ing with the kitchen. We took down pine-clad false ceil­ings to re­veal high ceil­ings with orig­i­nal cor­nic­ing, and ripped up the car­pets to un­cover wooden floor­boards be­neath. Over time, we’ve filled the rooms with pic­tures, books, rugs and ran­dom things from our trav­els, so the house has evolved – it’s like an old friend, full of mem­o­ries,’ says Penny.

Sit­ting pretty

This first-floor re­cep­tion room runs from the front of the house to the back with a dual as­pect. One end is used as a sit­ting room and the other as a study. ‘Most of the fur­ni­ture has been ei­ther in­her­ited, such as the grand­fa­ther clock, or picked up in an­tique shops,’ says Penny. The walls are painted in Ele­phant’s Breath by Far­row & Ball.

Fam­ily kitchen

‘The thing I love most about this house is the kitchen – it’s a nice, open-plan space where we all con­gre­gate,’ says Penny. ‘When the can­dles and fires are lit, this is a great room to en­ter­tain in, and so it’s of­ten filled with fam­ily and friends. Cook­ing is not re­ally my forte, so I’m ex­tremely happy that Alas­tair and Mil­lie are both re­ally good cooks.’

Room with a view

The master bed­room has far-reach­ing views across Bris­tol. ‘I of­ten work on my lap­top from my bed – par­tic­u­larly when the warm, af­ter­noon light is stream­ing in. We chose a neu­tral colour scheme to cre­ate a re­laxed at­mos­phere and bought the bed, many years ago, from The Iron Bed Com­pany. This room has the orig­i­nal fire­place and sash win­dows and its own pri­vate en suite bath­room.’

Bathing beauty

‘Our fam­ily bath­room on the top floor is used solely by our three teenage daugh­ters, so you can imag­ine what it nor­mally looks like! I love maps on walls and keep mean­ing to put more around the house, but we are rapidly run­ning out of space.’

Pic­ture gallery

‘There’s a quote by Lil­lian Gish in The Po­etry Of Home by Char­lotte Moss: “If you were to ask what is im­por­tant in a home, I would say mem­o­ries.” I to­tally agree with this. I use the walls of our hall to dis­play our fam­ily pho­tos taken over the years, along with paint­ings and draw­ings the girls have done.’

Re­cy­cle, dim the lights (and don’t for­get the wine!)

Penny has these five rules for a happy home:

Light can­dles and dim lights to welcome friends and fam­ily Buy throws to cover and up­date your sofa Re­cover, re­cy­cle and re­use Re­flect your pas­sions and in­ter­ests Fill your home with cats, news­pa­pers, peo­ple and (al­ways) ice-cold beer and wine

Per­fect sleep­over

‘Our guest bed­room has my all-time favourite wall­pa­per, which I bought at Habi­tat about 10 years ago – I just wish I’d bought more!’ says Penny. ‘We adore trav­el­ling, both over­seas and within the UK, which I love doc­u­ment­ing on my In­sta­gram ac­count, @madreon­the­move, and I think this is also re­flected in our home. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in the Blooms­bury Set and their in­te­ri­ors such as Charleston, for ex­am­ple, so I have books and images by Vir­ginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell dot­ted around.’

Full-height sash win­dows open on to the bal­cony at the front of the house

Penny Godfrey (in­set, right) loves her ‘glo­ri­ous’ town­house in Bris­tol

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