Despite its city location, this Victorian family house has a serene, country feel
When Maggie Greening and her husband, Richard Green, decided they needed a larger house, Maggie knew just where she wanted to live. ‘With two children and my need for a home office, more space was crucial,’ she says. ‘This street isn’t far from our previous house. It’s the road that time forgot – quiet and pretty while enjoying easy access to the shops and transport. I stood in the middle of the street, looked at this place and thought “that’s the one I want”.’ There was one drawback: it wasn’t on the market and houses in that road rarely come up for sale.
The couple’s dreams were answered when a year later, the property finally went on sale. When they viewed it, they instantly saw through its dated Seventies decor. Their offer was accepted and in September 2008, Maggie, Richard and daughter Gabriella, now 18, and son Lowell, 14, plus Cleo the cat moved in.
‘The house needed updating, it had a tiny bathroom and threadbare carpet,’ says Maggie. The first priorities were a new boiler, fuse box and extra sockets, but luckily, the central heating didn’t need replacing.
Maggie craved a country look for the interior. ‘My family live in Dorset and
Somerset, and I’m always inspired by the countryside,’ she says. ‘Richard has a more conservative taste than me so I kept the walls neutral and added colour with accessories.’
When the couple pulled the old carpet up, the floorboards were broken, so they replaced them with engineered oak flooring in the hall and dining room. They carpeted the sitting room and bedrooms for a softer feel and chose tongue-and-groove panelling for the kitchen and bathroom to create a rustic look. They also updated the kitchen’s handmade cabinetry with a lick of paint and replaced the gas fire in the sitting room with an elegant open fireplace in limestone and black granite.
Upstairs, a wall was shifted in the bathroom to create more space. ‘We took 18 inches from the guest bedroom to increase the size of the bathroom and it’s made all the difference,’ says Maggie, who aimed to create a practical family home. ‘I didn’t want the interior to be too precious – a home doesn’t need to be perfect, just welcoming.’
Maggie and Richard are enjoying their piece of the country close to the city. ‘ When we moved in, we threw a party to get to know the neighbours,’ says Maggie. ‘Now we love this little oasis and its sense of community.’
Garden Cosy cushions and mismatched furniture make a relaxed outdoor seating area. The Mastholmen outdoor sofa, £145, Ikea, is similar. Try the County Fayre Vegetable PVC tablecloth, from £2.50, Dunelm
SITTING ROOM ‘This space is eclectic and informal, with chic vintage pieces like this G-plan table,’ says Maggie. Cushions, from a selection at Maggie G England and Tinsmiths. The Manor Cambridge copper coal bucket, £70, Philip Morris & Son, is a close match
KITCHEN ‘Our slate-effect floor tiles look just as good as the real thing but were much more affordable,’ says Maggie. try slate-effect vinyl tiles, £10.20 per pack, b&q. Ingolf stools, £65 each, Ikea
MAIN BEDROOM Maggie mixed new and old pieces and fabrics to create a relaxed, shabby vintage feel. the winchester chest of drawers, £599, Marks & Spencer, is similar. red and white Ikat cushion, £120, the rug Company
BATHROOM Wood panelling and natural textures evoke a pretty country-cottage feel. the regent pillowed-edge limestone floor tiles, £60sq m, beswick Stone, have this look. Kilim rug, £1,500, Susan Deliss
GUEST BEDROOM Pops of vibrant pattern and a zingy throw help to lift this neutral scheme. Painted wood bed, £700, Laura Ashley. blind in theodora linen, £155m, Susan Deliss. Sheepskin rug, £35, John Lewis