‘i can’t wait for the celebrations’
Sylvia Keen has given a snow-white makeover to her extended 1930s home
We fell in love with this house the moment we saw it,’ says Sylvia. ‘My husband James and I used to live in central London, but a few years ago we decided to move out to Surrey and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We liked Sutton, as it has excellent transport links to London, which is where James works, and there are some good schools and lots of green spaces, so we started to look for our new home in this area.
When we came to view this 1930s house, we knew it was right for us straightaway. It needed hardly any work, which was ideal, as our son Ayaan was just one at the time and we didn’t want to carry out building works while he was so young. We loved the open-plan space and the large extension that the previous owners had built – it leads out onto the garden and keeps the space feeling really light. We put in an offer and in April 2014, the house became ours!
As it needed only minimal work – mostly just repainting and changing the colour
schemes – I decided to have a go at doing the work myself and I’m really pleased with the results. The hallway used to be a pinky-peach colour, which I changed to a neutral stone shade, and I painted a feature wall in the living room using Dulux’s Misty Mountain, keeping the other walls white to make it look bright. It’s made such a difference – it’s amazing how a lick of paint can transform a space.
In terms of layout, the property was ideal for us. We were lucky that the previous owners had already extended the house, as we later found out they’d encountered some problems along the way. Despite facing strict planning permission regulations due to the house being in a conservation area, they managed to work around this and had a large kitchen built to replace the old narrow one, which is now our utility room. I really liked the granite worktops and the fresh colours that were already here when we moved in, so we decided to keep those the same.
I love a mixture of Scandinavian and shabby-chic decor, and I get most of my inspiration from Instagram and magazines, especially Style at Home! I try to buy furniture from second-hand retailers and ebay, and love checking charity shops for interiors buys – you can find some really unusual and interesting
pieces. I even have a branch on the wall in our master bedroom that acts as a curtain rail – I found it in the overgrown disused land near our house. I also made the voile panel canopy that hangs over our bed. It’s easy to change bits, too – if we get bored of any of the furniture or accessories, I sell them on ebay instead of throwing them out.
Wherever possible, I try my hand at DIY – I put together and painted the radiator covers myself, and also painted the dining room table and coffee table legs to give them more of a rustic look. In the dining room, I added a ceiling rose and bought extra beads from ebay and attached them to the chandelier to really make it stand out. I always have new
projects planned and I enjoy enhancing the rooms with different DIY ideas.
With all our furniture and accessories, the house feels really stylish and cosy, and the downstairs rooms are great for entertaining at Christmas. This year, we’ll celebrate by decorating the tree together while listening to carols. On the day itself, we open presents in the living room, watch festive films and invite family and friends for dinner. Then we’ll finish 2016 by taking Ayaan to watch a fireworks display nearby – the perfect end to the year.’
‘Scour charity Shops – i found this chair and it goes perfectly with the blue Scheme’
‘Go for a classily minimalist tree with baubles in red, white and silver ’
‘A few wintrylooking accessories are all you need to transform your space for the season’
‘My christmas tree is from Dobbies. My friends can hardly believe it’s fake, which is exactly what I wanted – a natural look with no hassle. I love its large size, too’
‘The hallway used to be a pinky peach shade, but I prefer neutral spaces, so I painted it in on Deck by Wilko’
Homely SPACE ‘The “And They Lived Happily Ever After” plaque that hangs over the window is from Debenhams’
style tip ‘Hang a positive message on your walls to keep you feeling upbeat’
WHAT A cracker ‘My dinnerware and crackers are both from Sainsbury’s’
great idea ‘Think outside the box – a branch I found makes a striking curtain rail’
White and Bright
‘The mottled finish of the tiles seems to sparkle in the daylight’
‘Ayaan’s room is painted in Blue Reflection by Dulux, which has a very tranquil feel’
‘layers of fabrics in lots of different textures create a luxurious feel in the bedroom’
Say it loud
‘The plaque in Ayaan’s room is from Debenhams’
it’s a match
‘Pretty accessories complement the Scandi-style grey and white scheme’