This former railway station has been transformed into a beautiful family home for Ruth Amigo and Ben North
Awash with colour and quirky features, this converted railway station makes the perfect home for the Amigo family
Ruth and Ben had always loved the old station house where Ben’s parents had lived for a decade. Three years ago, after their third child was born and they had outgrown their small farm cottage nearby, they were able to buy it from them. In September 2014, the family moved in, while Ben’s parents moved into a new home they’d had built in the grounds of the station property. ‘We already knew the house very well, and we just wanted to put our own stamp on it,’ says Ruth. ‘It was in good condition and everything we’ve done to it is purely aesthetic. We used all our old furniture, which fitted well, and we are very lucky that we were left some lovely pieces’.
The hallway was the first space the couple tackled. A lighter area next to the front door runs up through the stairwell, now painted white, while in a darker, narrow passage the couple had built-in shelves fitted for their books. ‘We bought a big storage bench from Frome market, our favourite place to find things for the house, and finished it off with two enormous pendant lights from Factorylux,’ says Ruth. The floor is original and flows throughout the house.
‘The living room, with an original well that was apparently unearthed when the station was first converted in the 1980s, was easy to tackle as we used all the furnishings from our previous house,’ says Ruth. ‘We only had to have a few more curtains made from the same fabric to cover all the extra windows. We then painted the room in Farrow & Ball’s Tallow, a warm colour that goes beautifully with the fabric.’
The ‘waiting room’ is the family’s favourite space. They wanted to make it feel cosy and comfortable as they spend a lot of time there.‘it gets very cold as it’s got lots of single-glazed sash windows, an exposed ceiling and cellar underneath, but Ben’s parents installed a wood-burning stove that heats the room very quickly,’ says Ruth.
The pine kitchen is more than 20 years old, but Ruth had it painted to give it a new look.
‘We moved some of the units around, installed some drawers, turned a few wall units into open shelves, and replaced the old worktops with granite,’ she explains. ‘We had to replace some of the original floorboards as they were in quite a bad state, but now it’s all finished we love it, and we all eat together every night.’
Upstairs, the children’s bedrooms still have their original fireplaces and the furnishings are in keeping with the home’s quirky vintage style. The walls are brightened with posters from exhibitions and even framed sheets of wrapping paper.
Ruth and Ben’s bedroom was the last room they tackled. ‘It has some big fitted wardrobes, which I painted to match the blue walls so they blend with the rest of the scheme,’ says Ruth.
The en suite was updated by repositioning the existing bathroom fittings and adding new tiles.
The family have now lived in the house for three years, and couldn’t be happier. Knowing the house so well before they moved in helped them to plan what they wanted to do, as Ruth explains: ‘It’s important to know and live in the space before doing anything to it. We have reused most of the furniture that was left in the house and from our previous home, although we moved things into different rooms once we finished decorating.’
The updates are ongoing, as the couple recently converted a small annexe into an office where
Ben can work from home. Ruth also manages the property as a photo and film location house, so next on the list is a fresh new look for the main bathroom. Eventually she would like to lower the sides of the well in the living room so it sits at floor level. For now, though, the family are content to enjoy the space just as it is.
Ruth and pet Alfie outside the old station house, which still bears the hallmarks of its former life. The paved patio is where the platform once was and the cast-iron brackets along the back of the building supported a canopy to shelter passengers. Vintage adverts add authenticity