A Ge­or­gian town­house in a Devon­shire mar­ket town was re­stored by Holly and Philip Keel­ing, ready for their next move…

Country Homes & Interiors - - CONTENTS -

This char­ac­ter­ful prop­erty proved the per­fect in­vest­ment as both a shop and a beau­ti­ful hol­i­day let

Holly Keel­ing doesn’t do things by halves. ‘I tend to take a leap of faith when it comes to new op­por­tu­ni­ties,’ she says. In­deed, her vi­sion and en­ergy have led her on a steadily evolv­ing path, tak­ing her from a ca­reer as a fash­ion buyer to that of an in­te­ri­ors consultant.

For many years, her stu­dio and show­room were in a con­verted barn next to the Ge­or­gian farm­house in ru­ral Devon that she shares with hus­band Philip and their three chil­dren, Ben, Louis and Char­lotte. But Holly missed the hus­tle and bus­tle of a busy town. With the fam­ily grow­ing fast the cou­ple be­gan to feel their home would soon be too big for just the two of them.

Three years ago, the so­lu­tion to both is­sues pre­sented it­self in the form of an old shoe shop with a tall town­house ad­join­ing it on Totnes’ high street. ‘As soon as I dis­cov­ered the prop­erty was for sale, we had no doubt this would tick all the boxes,’ says Holly. ‘How­ever, we weren’t yet ready to up­root from our fam­ily home, so we had to think hard about how we would make the ven­ture work.’

The cou­ple de­cided that along with turn­ing the shop into the in­te­ri­ors em­po­rium Holly had long imag­ined, they would ren­o­vate the house and mar­ket it as a bou­tique hol­i­day re­treat for the next few years. ‘It was such a lot to take on,’ says Holly.

The en­tire Grade ll-listed prop­erty has a rich his­tory. ‘Much of it is Ge­or­gian, but some parts date back to the 13th cen­tury,’ Holly ex­plains. ‘There was a lot to dis­cover.’ The tired shop was tack­led first, and af­ter an ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion it is now a life­style store brim­ming with dec­o­ra­tive ob­jets, ce­ram­ics and more. The house, which is en­tered via the court­yard at the back of the prop­erty, was sim­i­larly ne­glected. The first job was to sac­ri­fice a bed­room in the eaves to cre­ate a gen­er­ous bath­room. Then a cramped kitchen and dated bath­room on the first floor be­came a new larger kitchen.

‘Luck­ily, many of the Ge­or­gian fea­tures were still in place,’ Holly ex­plains. ‘We were thrilled to find that the orig­i­nal dou­ble doors be­tween the liv­ing room and the din­ing area had been stored in the cel­lar.’ Holly also re­alised that once the crum­bling old plas­ter cov­er­ing a wall in the din­ing room was re­moved, there was ev­ery chance the orig­i­nal fire­place and chim­ney breast would be re­vealed. ‘I got the builders to keep chip­ping away,’ she says. ‘It was so ex­cit­ing when the arch of the fire­place was slowly re­vealed.’

Once all the es­sen­tial ren­o­va­tion work had been com­pleted, Holly was fi­nally able to bring her dec­o­rat­ing skills to the project. The colour pal­ette em­ploys mainly blues, soft greys and off-whites, while her love of clas­sic pat­tern is seen in the main bed­room’s beau­ti­ful wall­pa­per and in the soft fur­nish­ings through­out.

‘I love mix­ing dif­fer­ent styles to­gether,’ she ex­plains. The house is now let to hol­i­day­mak­ers, al­though Holly and Philip have en­joyed the oc­ca­sional night here, too. ‘We’re road-test­ing it for our fu­ture,’ she says. ‘Not long ago, a lady from Aus­tralia came into the shop and showed me a pho­to­graph of her grand­mother in the court­yard on her wed­ding day. It’s won­der­ful to think that we will be a part of this beau­ti­ful build­ing’s his­tory one day, too.’

To rent Num­ber Six, see bou­tique-re­


Empty an­tique pic­ture frames cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing dis­play. Find sim­i­lar pen­dant light at Gra­ham & Green


Holly has in­jected in­ter­est with a pat­terned tiled floor. Cab­i­nets, Marc Smith Be­spoke Kitchens. Floor tiles, In­ter­na­tional Tiles


The four-storey town­house leads out on to a pretty court­yard. The front door is painted in Smoked Turquoise by Du­lux

Din­ing area

An in­dus­trial pen­dant, iron­work mir­ror and black cafe chairs cre­ate a touch of edge here. Chairs, Trad­ing


Liv­ing room Orig­i­nal fea­tures, such as the im­pos­ing mar­ble fire­place, and Holly’s choice of clas­sic fur­ni­ture add to the scheme’s el­e­gant air. Cush­ions cov­ered in Car­men Red/ Si­enna, Cole­fax & Fowler. Sim­i­lar glass chan­de­lier, Holly Keel­ing In­te­ri­ors

Liv­ing room Holly has in­jected a con­tem­po­rary twist with a deep blue fea­ture wall. Wall painted in Inchyra Blue, Farrow & Ball. Floor­boards, Rus­tic Oak, Elka. So­fas,

Liv­ing room Orig­i­nal Ge­or­gian dou­ble doors lead to the din­ing area where the ex­posed brick chim­ney breast is a char­ac­ter­ful fo­cal point. Wall units painted in Inchyra Blue, Farrow & Ball

Main bed­room Wall­pa­per,

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