In­stead of fuss­ing about the lit­tle things, the owner of this con­verted barn has used state­ment light­ing, bold art­work and strong colour to cre­ate an im­pres­sive fam­ily home with an invit­ing feel

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS -

State­ment light­ing, bold art­work and strong colours com­bine to make a big im­pres­sion in this invit­ing York­shire home.

For some, dec­o­rat­ing their en­tire home is a daunt­ing, al­beit ex­cit­ing, chal­lenge. For oth­ers, like in­te­rior de­signer Tor Vi­vian, it is their job. Hav­ing moved house eight times in the past 12 years, Tor, her hus­band, Tom, and their chil­dren, Daisy and George, have fi­nally set­tled in a 19th-cen­tury con­verted barn near Ripon, York­shire. We talk to Tor about this very per­sonal de­sign project.

How much work did you do on the house? When we moved in, we had a bit of an is­sue with the lay­out. There was al­ways go­ing to be one room that peo­ple would need to walk through so I de­cided to make this an open-plan kitchen, din­ing and sit­ting room. Struc­turally, we did not knock down many walls but we did con­vert the garage into a suite of guest rooms, com­plete with its own boiler, so that we can shut that wing off when no one is stay­ing.

Was de­sign­ing your own home di∞cult? It was ac­tu­ally re­ally easy. I al­ready had a lot of art and fur­ni­ture so I was de­sign­ing around that. While I did have bud­get con­straints, I worked in the same way I would with a client. I cre­ated mood­boards and drew up room plans but, as I did not want things to be per­fect, I was eas­ier to please than most of my clients. Wor­ry­ing about lit­tle things makes me un­happy so by not fuss­ing, it was a re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Have you used any ideas from your client projects? Yes, I have re­worked some of my favourites for my own home. The mir­rored tiles in the bath­room around the bath, for ex­am­ple, are sim­i­lar to those in a scheme I did ten years

ago. I had al­ways thought it was re­ally e≠ec­tive so when I de­cided to do the same in my own bath­room, I drove to Lon­don, got the mir­rored pan­els cut and brought them back straight away. I wanted it done re­ally quickly; I am like my clients in that re­spect.

What di­rected or in­spired the dec­o­ra­tion? Ideas steal up on me from so many places: shops, mag­a­zines, gal­leries, mar­kets, hol­i­days abroad. It could be any­thing and any­where. I use my mo­bile phone all the time to take snap­shots of any­thing that I like the look of.

How did you in­volve your fam­ily in the work? I took con­trol but my chil­dren played a big part in the de­sign of their bed­rooms. My daugh­ter Daisy came to the o∞ce and worked on hers as a de­signer; what she did is not what I would have done but I am not go­ing to press my ideas on her just be­cause of my pro­fes­sion. In Tom’s case, he needed a bit of con­vinc­ing about some of my bolder ideas. Be­fore we dec­o­rated the en­trance hall, for ex­am­ple, I had to paint huge swatches of the blue I wanted to use onto lin­ing pa­per to prove that it was the way to go. Re­ally, I was go­ing to do it any­way, but he agreed af­ter see­ing the sam­ples.

Where did you source the art­work? I was quite lucky – my fa­ther was very into art so I have a few hand-me-downs, which got me started. I al­ways go to ex­hi­bi­tions in York­shire and I never leave with­out buy­ing some­thing. I love find­ing some­thing, nicely priced, that both my hus­band and I like. It is rare to have a con­nec­tion with an art­work, so when­ever I do find some­thing, I have to get it.


A mix of cush­ions in a va­ri­ety of fab­rics and tex­tures, in­clud­ing ikats from Uzbek­istan and plain vel­vets from Oka, cre­ates an air of com­fort.

Jasper pouffe, £149, Swoon Edi­tions, swoonedi­

Beni Ou­rain Ber­ber rug, My Moroc­can Store,

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