Moving from a mill to a bungalow was the beginning of a new chapter for Alison Wilkinson – and it helped inspire a new career direction, too
It was all about creating a feeling of openness in this Yorkshire bungalow
After downsizing, Alison Wilkinson made it her mission to transform her new dormer bungalow into an eclectic space filled with character and a hint of nostalgia. ‘Initially, there was nothing appealing about it,’ Alison recalls of the West Yorkshire property. ‘But I knew once renovations were made, along with the addition of my own designs and personal touches, it would be the perfect home for me and my children, James, 23, and Eleanor, 18.’
Alison rented out the property for two years before moving in, and as soon as she sold her previous home, the building project swung into action. ‘I employed a trustworthy builder who singlehandedly carried out the majority of the work, with the exception of a joiner to hang the doors.’
The first project to tackle was extending the rear of the property as Alison wanted to form a kitchendiner and sitting area. ‘I needed it to be as open-plan as possible, to bring the outside in, as well as to create space for family time and visiting friends,’ she says.
This feeling of openness was carried through into the rest of the ground floor. The double doors separating the sitting room and dining room were removed to form one large space and a snug was introduced between the sitting room and kitchen
area. ‘Curling up with a book and a hot drink here is just perfect during the winter months,’ says Alison.
In the first-floor eaves, space was at a premium. ‘My bedroom was tiny and had to be extended,’ says Alison. An extension over the kitchen to house the newly positioned upstairs bathroom was the last of the major building works, and after this was completed, Alison could start on the interior design.
‘Over the past 10 years, I’ve developed my skill and love for interior design and this has led me to start up a company, BASE Interior Design, with my friend simone,’ explains Alison. For her own home, Alison had a clear vision, favouring a contemporary, bohemian style. Unique artwork and interesting objects are displayed against deep, rich colours to add to their beauty and give each room a cosy feel.
‘I’m not afraid to put colours and textures together,’ says Alison. ‘I wanted every room to tell a story, and I like to keep memories dotted around.’ Two pieces of furniture in particular hold a great deal of sentiment for Alison, as they were made by her late partner, Mark. ‘sadly, Mark passed away suddenly in 2011,’ she says. ‘He loved to make and fix things and had a real talent for it.’ The dining table and coffee table are his own work and remain precious reminders of his creative abilities and flair.
After two years, the house was finally finished. ‘It was a testing time for the three of us but we’re very happy with the result,’ reflects Alison. ‘I’m proud of us pulling together to create a home we all love.’
SITTING ROOM ‘I wanted to create a cosy space where we could all relax,’ explains Alison. Natural Urn table lamp, £235, Candle and Blue, would suit this setting. Walls painted in Elephant’s Breath estate emulsion, £ 43.50 per 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball home truths
the Property 1960s semi-detached bungalow Location West Yorkshire rooms Hall, sitting room, kitchen-diner, snug, three bedrooms, two bathrooms Purchased 2013 Previous Property ‘Before moving here, we lived in a converted mill that had bags of character,’ says Alison.
KITCHEN- DINER Dark blue tones add drama and tie the living spaces together. the steel table with ash wood by Ines Cole, £1,495, has the same feel. Foscarini tress Stilo pendants, £319 each, i-lite. Leather twist stools, £175 each, Cox & Cox
SITTING ROOM A large shaggy rug and foliage make the space feel warm and inviting. Colours Avalyon rug, £115, b&q. Foscarini tress wall light, £ 400, i-lite.
MASTER BEDROOM Pastel hues, soft linens and velvets are combined for a sumptuous finish. hamilton double bed frame, £ 499, Dreams, is similar. rivington bedside tables, £75 each, rockett St george
BATHROOM Alison mixed patterns and texture to create impact. Savoy full pedestal, £70, bathstore. Metro Carrara gloss wall tiles, £36sq m, Al-murad
ELEANOR’S BEDROOM ‘I persuaded Eleanor to use bold colours in her room, which she loves,’ says Alison. Flamingo cushion, £14.99; pink throw, £19.99, both homesense