Did you employ an architect?
Yes. I have an excellent architect who helps me to get my ideas down on paper, and my team of builders are very patient and reliable. They have renovated several houses for me and I have recommended them to friends and clients, so although I drive them insane with numerous changes, they do now know what to expect.
Tell us about the design of the ground floor.
I found three old metal windows in a French architectural reclamation yard, which was my eureka moment. Installing them between the hall and sitting room, and between the kitchen and sitting room increased the sense of space and light on the ground floor, and provided a visual link between the two areas. I could have made the ground floor open plan but I like walls; in a busy family house, we need quiet spaces to retreat to, and they come in useful for hanging the paintings I like to buy in online auctions. Each time we move, I sell almost everything in the house so that I can start afresh. Being obsessive is a common side e≠ect of Parkinson’s disease, as is insomnia, so I trawl the internet late into the night, sourcing vintage furniture or bidding on paintings. Another preoccupation is sticking to a budget. I minimise the cost of curtains by mixing several fabrics, ranging from inexpensive plain linens to remnants of something a bit more special, to add interest. When I see things like tiles or wallpaper on ebay at a good price, I buy them; it doesn’t bother me if there is only a small quantity. A few rolls of paper will cover a single wall, and I often use a mix of tiles in di≠erent designs.
How do you bring a sense of cohesion to the design with such eclectic furnishings?
Colour plays an important role in creating a unified look. I used a remnant of printed velvet to cover the backs of a pair of mid-century modern Neil Morris chairs that I bought on ebay. The understated greys, blues and dark heathers became the inspiration for the muted colours that feature throughout the house. Winter Birds wallpaper, £95 a roll, Cole & Son, cole-and-son. com. Bloomingville coffee table, €299, Living and Company, livingandcompany.com.