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

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