Carol cel­e­brates Christmas with gusto ev­ery year,

in­vari­ably among a big gath­er­ing of fam­ily, friends and neigh­bors.

Victorian Homes - - Shopper -

GRAND TOUR

The huge draw­ing room at the front of the house is the real star of the show, con­tain­ing three floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows that al­low day­light to flood in. The fine mar­ble fire­place stands in a prom­i­nent po­si­tion, in­stalled be­neath a plaster ceil­ing with a deep or­na­men­tal. Evenings in the room are il­lu­mi­nated by a glit­ter­ing 19th cen­tury crys­tal chan­de­lier, which has been passed down through the gen­er­a­tions. Carol and Peter up­dated the draw­ing room by in­stalling a pair of double doors, which they can open to al­low in ex­tra light. Carol has also cov­ered the walls in a state­ment-mak­ing, Gus­ta­vian-style wall­pa­per by Zof­fany. “It took 21 rolls,” she says.

Less for­mal ar­range­ments ex­ist in the kitchen, where Carol and Peter treated the ex­ist­ing cab­i­netry to a fresh coat of paint and added ex­tra stor­age. “We’ve had dresser-style shelv­ing in­stalled in one of the al­coves so that I can dis­play my grand­mother’s col­lec­tion of 1920s blue and white Spode china,” Carol says. “It’s a time­less de­sign, and some­thing which I very much trea­sure.”

Off the en­trance hall over­look­ing the front lawn is the room that in Ge­or­gian times, would have been a lady’s morn­ing room. It’s now a small li­brary/sit­ting room with one whole wall ded­i­cated to books. The pre­vi­ous owner’s legacy of red walls has since given way to a gen­tler, English coun­try style. “We had the pan­el­ing and dado made by a lo­cal joiner, who copied the de­sign of the orig­i­nal join­ery in the house,” Carol says.

The lay­out on the first floor is charm­ingly ran­dom, due to the ar­range­ment of short cor­ri­dors and lit­tle cor­ners, where doors open to re­veal bed­rooms and bath­rooms. Carol has grace­fully redec­o­rated this to re­flect the el­e­gance of the Ge­or­gian sur­round­ings. Her fond­ness for mar­ry­ing French an­tique fur­ni­ture with tra­di­tional English wall­pa­pers and fab­rics is ev­i­dent in the green room, which she re­con­fig­ured to cre­ate room for a bath­room, while the mix­ture of whites, flo­rals and vin­tage ging­hams in­di­cates a more young-at­heart ap­proach in the ad­join­ing bed­room.

With so much known about Radford Villa’s his­tory, it is per­haps worth won­der­ing how those up­wardly mo­bile first own­ers would re­act if they saw how peo­ple live in their cre­ation to­day. Their spir­its should rest easy, for the house seems as pop­u­lar with guests as it was when par­ties were in full swing in the 1830s. The villa’s ru­ral charm and ar­chi­tec­tural char­ac­ter re­main safe in Carol and Peter’s hands. For in­for­ma­tion about Radford Villa and Villa’s Loft, a bed and break­fast owned by Carol and Peter Richards, visit rad­fordvilla.com.

Stylish Christmas tree dec­o­ra­tions in­clude par­tridge and pheas­ant feath­ered eggs, and a del­i­cate lamb and bell from Lux Deco.

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