A grown-up house... with a bit of play­ful­ness

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

£1mil­lion trans­form­ing the house they bought four years ago for £3.9mil­lion. What be­gan as a ren­o­va­tion project to do up and sell on mor­phed mid-ren­o­va­tion into their long-term fam­ily home. “We re­alised we wouldn’t find an­other op­por­tu­nity like this, a huge house in need of im­prove­ment and the only one left in the street that hadn’t been ex­tended at the back,” says Aldridge. So she went to town with her imag­i­na­tion – and bud­get – adding 1,000 sq ft with a three-storey ex­ten­sion at the rear to cre­ate a 3,900 sq ft house with seven bed­rooms, four re­cep­tion rooms and three bath­rooms.

The ground floor packs a punch as soon as you en­ter, with its 63ft-long open-plan liv­ing space run­ning from the front re­cep­tion room through the kitchen to the L-shaped re­cep­tion/ din­ing room that leads into the gar­den. “As a mum, I wanted to see my chil­dren, which is why we cre­ated a big, open space. Other­wise, peo­ple put play­rooms in the base­ment that no one wants to use,” she says.

The dé­cor ex­udes per­son­al­ity, with its mish­mash of or­na­men­tal items from the likes of Lor­fords An­tiques and Carl­ton David­son, pieces of cus­tom-made fur- ni­ture by Ju­lian Chich­ester and the now rare sight of a wall of books for read­ing rather than de­sign pur­poses.

The eye is in­stantly drawn, too, to the bold colours – in par­tic­u­lar the vivid green gloss on the skirt­ing boards, win­dow frames and ceil­ing – a spe­cial­ity of Gavin Houghton, the in­te­rior de­signer Aldridge re­cruited to bring drama to the house. “The painters ques­tioned our choice of colours, which were all slightly dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions of green, but the ef­fect is grownup with a bit of play­ful­ness,” she says. “The glossy ceil­ing re­flects ev­ery­thing at night and cre­ates a won­der­ful sense of height.”

Houghton also came up with the idea for the “con­ver­sa­tion pit” that pro­vides the fo­cal point in the L-shaped re­cep­tion room. “He re­ally knows how to push bound­aries,” says Aldridge. “He’d never done one be­fore though. Nor had the ar­chi­tect, struc­tural en­gi­neer, up­hol­sterer or I, so it was a steep learn­ing curve.”

The 8ft-wide pit turned out to cost £20,000, more than an­tic­i­pated –

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