‘i can’t wait for the cel­e­bra­tions’

Sylvia Keen has given a snow-white makeover to her ex­tended 1930s home

Style at Home (UK) - - Contents -

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.

Per­fectly struc­tured

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.

Laid-back style

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.

Prac­ti­cal ap­proach

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’

style tip

‘Go for a class­ily min­i­mal­ist tree with baubles in red, white and sil­ver ’

BIG im­pact

‘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’

Calm Colour

‘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’

Baby Blue

‘Ayaan’s room is painted in Blue Re­flec­tion by Du­lux, which has a very tran­quil feel’

Pure ro­mance

‘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’

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