Prac­ti­cally per­fect Pared-back decor in a ter­raced cot­tage

Pared-back decor has given this fam­ily home on the out­skirts of Ed­in­burgh a sense of light and space

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

Apretty ter­raced cot­tage on the leafy out­skirts of Ed­in­burgh pro­vided the happy com­pro­mise be­tween town and coun­try for Cather­ine and Cameron McCal­lum. ‘When Alexan­der was a year old we moved here from a flat in the cen­tre of the city,’ Cather­ine ex­plains. ‘We wanted a house with a gar­den and con­sid­ered mov­ing to a ru­ral area, but even­tu­ally de­cided against it to avoid Cameron hav­ing a lengthy com­mute to work.’

With ex­cel­lent schools and plenty of green spa­ces nearby, the prop­erty is in the per­fect spot for a young fam­ily. It had been dec­o­rated in cosy but dated colours, which may have de­terred prospec­tive buy­ers be­cause the cou­ple man­aged to snap up the house with min­i­mal com­pe­ti­tion for such a sought-af­ter area.

One of the features Cather­ine and Cameron were most at­tracted to was the open-plan lay­out down­stairs. Two walls had been re­moved by the pre­vi­ous owner to cre­ate a spa­cious L-shaped liv­ing, kitchen and din­ing area, with the kitchen hid­den from view around a cor­ner.

‘We im­proved our last prop­erty to sell it on and didn’t re­ally get the chance to en­joy the fruits of

our labour. This time round we de­cided to make changes sooner rather than later and en­joy the ben­e­fits for much longer,’ ex­plains Cather­ine.

‘We stayed in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion for the first month af­ter the sale com­pleted, which meant our builders could get the work un­der­way with­out de­lay. They re­plas­tered and painted through­out, re­placed the bath­room and cloak­room fit­tings and laid new car­pets up­stairs.’

Hav­ing lived in a large Ge­or­gian apart­ment, with its grand scale and pe­riod de­tails, the cou­ple were pleas­antly sur­prised by the man­age­abil­ity of the cot­tage. ‘It’s so easy to heat and keep clean,’ en­thuses Cather­ine.

A year af­ter mov­ing in, Cather­ine and Cameron in­vested in a new kitchen and the fol­low­ing year re­placed the lam­i­nate floor­ing down­stairs with pale oak floor­boards and added a wood­burn­ing stove and fire­place. ‘We also changed the 1980s-style stair­case for a more child-friendly solid balustrade and in­creased the size of the cup­board in the hall to give us more stor­age space,’ Cather­ine ex­plains.

Be­fore hav­ing Alexan­der, Cather­ine worked in prop­erty

man­age­ment but the costs of child­care made re­turn­ing to work un­af­ford­able. She then hit upon the idea of set­ting up an on­line busi­ness in col­lab­o­ra­tion with her mother, Fiona Denholm, who is an in­te­rior de­signer. ‘I wanted to cre­ate a web­site sell­ing a range of de­sign-led prod­ucts that are made to last,’ says Cather­ine.

This ethos of com­bin­ing style and prac­ti­cal­ity is re­flected in the cou­ple’s choices for their home. ‘We don’t live in a strictly min­i­mal­ist way,’ says Cather­ine, ‘but do en­joy a pared-back ap­proach to dec­o­ra­tion. Much our fur­ni­ture is very prac­ti­cal, so the chil­dren can run around with­out me wor­ry­ing they might dam­age some­thing. And we have some de­signer pieces and orig­i­nal art­works in the mix, as our wed­ding list was with The Con­ran Shop.’

Cather­ine’s eye for de­sign means she’s adept at find­ing af­ford­able pieces and turn­ing them into eye­catch­ing dec­o­ra­tions. ‘I love maps and buy prints of old ones from the Map Li­brary in Ed­in­burgh,’ she says. ‘When framed, they make fan­tas­tic art­works. You could even wall­pa­per a room with them!’


AL­COVECather­ine buys kin­dling pack­aged in sturdy potato sacks, which makes a fun dis­play. The bas­ket is from Toast

KITCHENSim­ple white units from Ikea keep the space light and bright. The Metro-style tiles are from Walls & Floors

FRONT OF HOUSEThe cot­tages share the green space out­side

OPEN-PLAN LIV­INGThe art­work above the stove is by David Mach. ‘It’s a trea­sured piece that Cameron’s par­ents bought us as a wed­ding present,’ says Cather­ine

TA­BLE SET­TINGCather­ine perches on the Skogsta bench from Ikea, which is teamed with a match­ing ta­ble

BED­ROOMCaro­line bought the glass car­boy from an an­tiques dealer on Gumtree

BATH­ROOMAn all-white scheme is up­lift­ing in this small space

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