Restor­ing this Northamp­ton­shire home to its former glory meant over­com­ing a series of prob­lems back to its best

Suzanne and Richard Bam­ford re­stored a prob­lem­atic prop­erty to cre­ate an idyl­lic fam­ily home

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENT - Fea­ture Aman­der meade | Pho­tog­ra­phy rachael Smith

Suzanne and Richard Bam­ford had stayed longer in their pre­vi­ous home in Northamp­ton­shire than they orig­i­nally in­tended. ‘ We were con­ve­niently placed for pri­mary schools and ameni­ties, which had been a pri­or­ity while our chil­dren Is­abel, now 14, and Oliver, 11, were smaller,’ ex­plains Suzanne.

But when it was time for Is­abel to start sec­ondary school, the cou­ple knew it was now or never and be­gan to search the county for a long-term home. ‘Richard had al­ways wanted a pe­riod house like the one he grew up in, prefer­ably in an idyl­lic vil­lage set­ting with a large gar­den,’ says Suzanne.

Match­ing re­al­ity with the dream, how­ever, proved quite chal­leng­ing as the cou­ple viewed al­most 50 houses. Af­ter ex­tend­ing their search more widely across Northamp­ton­shire, Suzanne fi­nally spot­ted their cur­rent home on­line. ‘Nei­ther of us knew this part of the county at all but when we walked in­side we both said “this is the one” im­me­di­ately.’

Ini­tially be­liev­ing the house was in rea­son­able con­di­tion, the cou­ple were dis­mayed to dis­cover it had se­ri­ous prob­lems. ‘There was damp, both chim­neys needed re­plac­ing, the brick­work re­quired at­ten­tion and we had a mouse in­fes­ta­tion,’ Suzanne re­calls. ‘ We re­alised the bones of the house had to be put in or­der so we grit­ted our teeth and blew the en­tire bud­get on damp-proof­ing and re­pairs.’

Built around 1870, the prop­erty has a colour­ful his­tory, in­clud­ing time spent as a whole­sale gar­den­ing out­let, a sweet shop and a post of­fice, ac­cord­ing to the older vil­lage lo­cals. Prob­a­bly due to its var­ied com­mer­cial use over the years, the first floor had an awk­ward lay­out, which re­quired more struc­tural work. ‘Pre­vi­ously,

the front and rear rooms up­stairs could only be reached by walk­ing through the bath­room,’ ex­plains Suzanne. ‘We made the bath­room and guest bed­room a lit­tle smaller to cre­ate a cor­ri­dor in­stead. It was quite a big job but it has re­sulted in a much bet­ter flow up­stairs.’ Ad­di­tion­ally, an en-suite bath­room was added to the master bed­room and then the guest en suite and fam­ily bath­rooms were both re­fit­ted.

Twelve months ago, the cou­ple in­stalled a new kitchen us­ing a lo­cal firm of cab­i­net­mak­ers. ‘We chose a mod­ern farm­house look with Shaker-style units,’ says Suzanne. ‘A con­tem­po­rary scheme in this house would not have worked so well, and we’re so pleased with the re­sults.’

Above all, Suzanne wanted to cre­ate a re­laxed, fam­ily-friendly at­mos­phere. ‘Our fur­nish­ings are an eclec­tic mix of fam­ily pieces brought from our pre­vi­ous home, auc­tion finds, up­cy­cled ob­jects and high street ac­ces­sories. I like to have a pop of colour in ev­ery room as well as items that mean some­thing to us, such as sou­venirs from trips away. I don’t shop on­line much – I pre­fer to see, feel and touch some­thing be­fore I buy and par­tic­u­larly love auc­tions.

Through­out all the work the cou­ple un­der­took, they were de­ter­mined never to set­tle for just patch­ing things up. ‘The house de­serves to be re­spected so we re­searched pe­riod au­then­tic­ity and ev­ery door and win­dow has been re­placed with a hand­made ver­sion,’ says Suzanne. ‘The best thing about our home is how it works for us. Ev­ery time I re­turn from a long com­mute, I still rel­ish pulling up out­side. The chil­dren have lots of space, which was Richard’s dream, so all the hard work has been worth it.’

KITCHEN Shaker-style units and an an­tique table and chairs lend farm­house charm. Kitchen, price on re­quest, cre­ate Be­spoke in­te­ri­ors

SIT­TING ROOM ‘I like mix­ing up older fur­nish­ings with newer pieces, to cre­ate a re­laxed, in­for­mal style,’ says Suzanne. Side table painted in english Yel­low chalk paint, £19.95 for 1l, An­nie Sloan. Brad­ford foot­stool, from £575, laura Ash­ley. the Over­man­tel Bow mir­ror, £195, John lewis, is sim­i­lar

KITCHEN A naive-style plat­ter on the wall cre­ates a sim­ple fin­ish­ing touch. Cab­i­netry painted in Purbeck Stone es­tate eggshell, £60 for 2.5L, Far­row & ball. the cooker is the range­mas­ter Clas­sic Deluxe, £1,844

BATH­ROOM Suzanne chose a fresh blue to add a dash of colour to the fam­ily bath­room. Pan­elling painted in Sea blue mix­ing easy­care, £31.50 for 2.5L, Du­lux. basin, price on re­quest, Pochin bath­rooms. try ebay for vin­tage blue bot­tles

MAIN BED­ROOM Match­ing cur­tains and cush­ions pro­vide a flo­ral theme in this com­fort­able room. the white Com­pany sells sim­i­lar bed­ding, from £20 for a pil­low­case. Pink wool throw, £25 , tk Maxx

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