‘we brought it back to life’
Emily, 26, and fiancž Tom, 30, worked their magic on a run-down old cottage, giving it a striking new look
Emily Duffield and her fiancé Tom injected a youthful feel into a tired living room
As soon as we walked into this cottage, we could see how much potential it had,’ says Emily. ‘It was going to be a huge project, but with both Tom and I working in interiors, we knew we could rise to the challenge.
We bought this house after living in a rented property for just under two years and, with a view to starting a family here, we wanted to make our mark as soon as possible. After getting engaged on a mini break in Venice recently, we decided we wanted the house to be finished before the wedding, which spurred us on even more.
When we first moved into the cottage, the decor was very neutral, but my favourite room, the living room, had a very loud wallpaper. While the rest of the house was tasteful and simple, the living room felt overpowering and lacked energy, so we set to work on choosing a colourful feature wallpaper to brighten the space and inject some soul into the room.
Working in marketing for an interiors company has allowed me to pick up ideas and inspiration, and I often create design concepts and moodboards. Our style is quite retro Ð we love mixing geometric shapes and quirky angles with patterned soft furnishings Ð so we were delighted to find this Etta wallpaper by Villa Nova.
Balancing the budget
I wanted the living-room scheme to feel inviting and homely, but we were on quite a tight budget with it being our first step on the property ladder, so we had to do lots of the work ourselves. Tom and I papered the feature wall and I made some cushions out of fabrics from Villa Nova Ð we went for contemporary patterns in pinks, blues and mustards to tie in with the wallpaper and combined them with some pastel-coloured cushions we already had.
We didnõt have a huge budget for a lot of accessories, but we did at least want to invest in some high-quality pieces of furniture to make the space as comfortable as possible. We found our sofas at
‘Choose pastel shades as the perfect partner to pale grey and natural wood’
Barker & Stonehouse – we love the tapered wooden legs and retro look. Next, we bought oak furniture with legs that mirror those on the sofas. The curtains, from Hillarys, also echo both the sofa colour and the grey in the wallpaper, which means everything works really well together.
I love quirky items, so as well as buying from high-street shops, I like to scour the internet or make things myself. Some of my favourite finds are our framed prints by Vicky Somerville. It’s great to have art on your walls, even if they’re just prints!
Making a house a home
Although it’s been a long process, we’re so glad we bought our old cottage. It required some much-needed TLC, but the bare bones of an incredible home were always there and we’re so happy that we could realise its potential. I’ve always been interested in transforming a house by building on its character and that’s just what we’ve done with our cottage.’
RETRO COOL ‘The atmosphere in the living room was dark and dreary, so I brightened it up with this standout Etta wallpaper in Mallow from Villa Nova’