The Victorian Terrace - The Final Reveal
9 min read
Published 28 Oct 2021
Today I’m excited to be sharing the final photos of the Victorian terraced house I’ve been working on for over a year and half, known as the Pontcanna Project. It has been a long journey, but we are finally done, and the homeowner is delighted and now showing off the house to her friends, neighbours and family. I’ve written about this house before, in my piece about the right time to hire a professional designer, which you can read here, but I thought you might want to see some of the rooms I haven’t shown you before, and the finished photos of the ones I have.
When I first saw it, the house had tons of original features, but hadn’t been very well maintained. There were issues with the downpipes causing damp inside the house, and the windows needed replacing, among other things. But the main reason the homeowner called me in was that she wanted to create a real home, for it to feel welcoming and full of warmth, and to reflect her quirky and eclectic style. Somewhere that was really ‘her’.
I went to photograph the house last week, and after doing a huge amount of prep and styling, (it takes a lot of time to plan and execute photographing a whole house), here are the results. I think they speak for themselves, so I’m going to show you the before and after pictures without too much explanation (you can play spot the difference if you like!).
First up, the hallway. This space definitely had character, but lacked warmth, and wasn’t the grand entrance you’d expect from a property of this age and size.
|a before pic of the hallway|
|the finished hallway|
It is now a fitting entrance, and the rich colour scheme draws you into the house, making you want to explore the rooms inside.
Next, the living room, as it’s the first room you come to when you walk in. It felt very drab when on my initial visit, as it had been painted in a beige grey colour and the wallpaper was peeling. It felt dark and gloomy, even though the paint colour was relatively light.
a before photo of the living room
the finished living room
The new room is pretty spectacular now, filled with carefully chosen artwork and knick knacks, and of course painted in a much deeper colour. The Chesterfield style sofas add to the relaxing ‘Gentleman’s Club’ feel, and the eclectic mix of patterned cushions add depth to the overall scheme.
The room next to the living room is what would have been the dining room when the house was built, but as the owner was planning an extension to the kitchen to include a dining area, she was going to use this as an extra reception room.
the middle reception room as I found it
the room is a bit more colourful now
|Again the room had good ‘bones’, so we updated the scheme and added some quirky touches. We decided to keep the original Anaglypta wallpaper beneath the dado rail, and paint it in a warm, rich turquoise, and contrasted this with some yellows, oranges and pinks in the furniture and accessories.|
Moving to the back of the house is the kitchen, and the space where the extension would enlarge the kitchen and become the utility room and wetroom.
some before pics of the kitchen
the finished kitchen, including the corner extension
the finished utility room, which was built as part of the extension
the finished wetroom, also created as part of the extension
Even though we were renovating a period property, the owner and I both felt that these spaces should be more contemporary, as they had to work hard (the utility room also acts as a boot room) and would house all the appliances you’d expect in a modern kitchen. We kept the period features as much as possible, and went for shaker style kitchen units, so that the overall feel wasn’t too contemporary, but a mixture of old and new. We added the quirkiness the owner craved in the colour scheme and in touches like the lighting and the patterned window seat cushions.
A view of the garden from the corner window seat
|This clever corner extension designed by the architect makes the kitchen a place to relax as well as to cook and entertain. The window seat is a great place to sit, and the deep velvet cushions we added make you want to linger here.|
Moving upstairs now, the first room you come to is the bedroom at the back of the house. In a lot of Victorian terraces, this room is quite small and often gets sacrificed to become an upstairs bathroom, but in this house we were lucky as the space is big enough to be both a bedroom and an ensuite.
you can see that the ensuite has been built into a corner of this room
|inside the dreary ensuite before the transformation|
we actually chose a similar colour to the one the walls were originally painted in, but it's less harsh in tone
The new pink basin, green and pink tiles and black bathroom fittings liven up the ensuite
These rooms are now guest ready, with colour schemes which reflect the choices we made downstairs, with contemporary bathroom fittings eased into, but not overwhelming, the period space.
Next door to this room is the main bathroom, which was dominated by the heavy, dark tiling around the bath, and an oversized basin and radiator squeezed into this fairly small room.
the black basin vanity is too visually heavy for this space (if you look closely you can see me taking the photo in the mirror!)
the new basin in the main bathroom mixes old and new styles
The room is now lighter and brighter, and feels much cleaner than before, but has warmth in the form of the antique chest of drawers which we converted into a basin.
Next door is a compact loo, which felt gloomy because it had been painted in such a dark colour. Now, you know I love a dark, dramatic space, but when going dark you have to consider the natural light in the room, and balance the darkness with texture and pattern to make it work. Being painted all over in one flat grey colour with a tiny window made this a room you wanted to get in and out of fast!
the WC before and after redecoration - we rehung the door to open outwards, giving more space inside
We decided to keep the dramatic feel here, by adding a wonderful, whimsical wallpaper all over, but the range of warm and bright colours in it add interest to this room and make it feel much more welcoming. The brass touches warm it up even more.
Along the landing is the bedroom in the middle of the house. Again the previous owner had opted for a dark colour here, and whilst the room can take it, it was another flat charcoal grey which didn’t work with the light coming in through the beautiful sash window, and it deadened rather than enhanced the space.
the middle bedroom before it was renovated
see how the colour looks so different and alive in each photo?
As you can see, we kept it dark here too, but chose a stunning colour that reflects the light and changes throughout the day as the sun moves in the sky. The contrasting but rich colours we used for the furniture and furnishings, and wealth of pattern soften the dark colour and make this room so inviting.
The final room on this floor is the main bedroom. It was suffering from damp issues too, and a serious lack of storage. The previous owners had chosen a Baroque style wallpaper, presumably to add some interest to this large room, but it wasn’t my client’s taste and still felt bland, despite the pattern.
this wallpaper wasn't doing it for either of us
the finished bedroom has lots more going for it
We chose to keep the pattern to the fabulous curtain fabric, and added layers of texture with the two toned colour scheme, the velvet bed and stool, faux fur bedding and the unusual details such as the antique brass handles on the dressing table. This room has a really different feel to the darker one next to it, but is equally warm and enticing. I’m actually quite jealous that my client gets to live here!
Writing this post and putting these pictures together has made me take another look at what the homeowner and I achieved together. Working on a project which took this long and evolved so much over time can mean that you lose sight of all the many decisions you’ve made and how they have improved the house. Yes, the house looks better, but more importantly, it enriches the life of the owner and the people who spend time in it. I’ve spent a few evenings in the kitchen having dinner there and the house really does exude the warmth and relaxing vibe the client wanted. I’ll leave the final word to her:
It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with Louise throughout the refurbishment and extension of my home over this last year. From the outset, Louise took a keen interest in my ideas and immediately understood my personal style and tastes. With this understanding and her expertise, she guided me through my refurbishment and I am absolutely thrilled with the results. It now feels like my home
Welcome to the design blog, where you'll see posts about anything from the projects we are working on, to the latest fabric and wallpaper collections, and all things interiors related. We love colour, pattern, architecture and old buildings, and we love to share our finds with you.
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Rebel Walls x Jack Kinsey
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Heritage tiles from House of Hackney
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New National Trust wallpapers
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More pattern joy!
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New colours from Fenwick & Tilbrook
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|One of my favourite paint suppliers, Fenwick & Tilbrook, have just released 5 new colours. Named lovely things like Tarnished Brass and Spring Puffin, these warm, muted shades have been mixed by eye and are perfect for creating cosy, cosseting homes. You can see all their colours here.|
Out of this world lighting
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Introducing sustainable pendants from Mullan Lighting
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Whipping up a storm
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A responsibly made lamp
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Corduroy is cool again
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|A new fabric from Kirkby Design called Sculpt includes these deep pile cotton velvets which look just like large versions of corduroy. The look takes me right back to my childhood, and is very comforting. You can see the collection here.|
Colourful, wonderful boucle fabric
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28 Apr 2022
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Morris & Co. X Ben Pentreath
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New fabric collection from Prestigious Textiles
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New reeded glass pendants from Mullan Lighitng
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Little Greene and Bert & May join forces
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Dulux colour of the year - Bright Skies
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A new home collection from Paloma Faith
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It's all about soft yellows
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The cushion that gives back
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A beautiful new tile collection inspired by the National Trust
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Yummy new switch & socket colours
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A sustainable fabric choice
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Do kitchen worktops bore you?
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|Thanks to a genius idea from kings of pattern Blackpop, you can now have one of their colourful designs on your kitchen worktop. They will put any of their funky fabric or wallpaper designs onto waterproof MDF to make you a unique worktop, or they can even make a design just for you. Chopping will never look the same again! You can buy the worktops from their website here.|
A Fresh Take - Cardiff Life feature
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|This month's issue of Cardiff Life Magazine is out today, and features an interiors special, because one thing this past year has made us do is take a new look at our homes and how we'd like to live in them. To see what I and other local interiors experts have to say on the subject, including a round up of the trends for 2021, have a flick through the digital mag here.|
An enchanting inaugural wallpaper collection from Tom Baker
26 Nov 2020
|This opulent and atmospheric wallpaper from Tom Baker immerses you in a world of tropical flora, fauna and exotic animals. With soft cool tones and hints of pink floral detailing, this is the perfect wallpaper to add a relaxing and exciting edge to your home. Find this enchanting collection here.|
A new shady collaboration between Matthew Williamson and Pooky
20 Oct 2020
|The humble lampshade is often overlooked, but with the new collaboration between Pooky and Matthew Williamson they won't be for much longer! Matthew Williamson has applied his talent to design a new range of Pooky lampshades. Whatever your taste, colour scheme or budget you will find the perfect lampshade for your home in this new collection which is now available. This spectacular new collection can be found here.|
Felt covered curtain poles
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Please vote for my blog
11 Aug 2020
|I'm really thrilled to have been nominated for an Amara Interiors Blog Award this year! If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to vote for me, I'm nominated in the Best Interior Designer Blog category, and you can vote for me here.|
Upcoming interiors trends from Love Rugs
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A new fabric collection from Linwood Fabrics
15 Jun 2020
|I love Linwood fabrics - they have a fab way of mixing colour and pattern into something really special, producing fabrics and wallpapers that make me want to coo. This new collection, available at the end of June, is just as gorgeous. It's called Kami, with the pattern inspired by a 19th Century document. The collection is a range of printed velvets, so perfect for upholstery and accessories like cushions.|
An easy way to update your kitchen
16 Apr 2020
|If you are looking to update your existing Ikea kitchen rather than replace it, Stockholm based company Superfront are here to help. They sell a range of fronts, handles, legs and tops to fit not just the Faktum kitchen range but also the Besta, Metod and Pax ranges - so you can customise anything from your sideboard to your wardrobe. These super cute round handles are part of their new birch collection, and the whole range can be found here|
Move over boring taps - colour is the new black
13 Mar 2020
|Colour has been taking over our kitchens and bathrooms for a while now (yay!), and has slowly been creeping into sanitaryware and fittings. These perfectly coloured mint green and pastel pink taps from the new Miami Colour Pop Collection from amazing homeware brand Dowsing & Reynolds are spot on and would look gorgeous in any kitchen or bathroom to add a shot of colour without overwhelming with sugary sweetness. You can learn more about this new collection here.|
Who knew a door stop could look this good?
19 Feb 2020
|Door stops are one of those little annoying things that we all need, but are not the prettiest to look at. Now London based Buster & Punch have turned their attention to the problem and transformed the humble door stop into something cool and covetable. They might cost more than your average one from a DIY store, but as you're going to see it every day, why not look at something beautiful? here.|
Wallpaper made of cork?
29 Oct 2019
|Sustainability and concern for our environment are key in the interiors world right now (as they should be). So when I saw that Monkey Puzzle Tree (a brand I admire for their sense of style and creativity) had produced this wallpaper made of cork, I was blown away. Cork is great for so many reasons - it can be harvested every nine years without harming the tree, is grown without the need for pesticides or fertilisers, has excellent sound and heat insulation properties, and is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal. This wallpaper has an A+ rating for emissions so it creates a healthy environment wherever it is hung. Add to this that the design was produced in collaboration with the talented Drew Millward who lives in my home county of West Yorkshire, and that it's called 'Hit The North', I was bound to fall in love with it. You can buy the wallpaper here.|
I'm in Cardiff Life magazine - again!
17 Sep 2019
Now that the summer is officially over and our thoughts turn to cosying up our homes for winter, I'm here to help. If you're in need of some inspiration, you can read all about the interiors trends for Autumn and how to work them into your home in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. Hear what I and other interiors experts have to say on pages 18-22. You can read the digital version of the magazine here.
I've been nominated for an Amara Interiors blog award!
6 Sep 2019
|Exciting news! My little blog (Design Insider) has been nominated for an Amara Interiors Blog award! I'm so chuffed to be included at all, and not expecting to win, but if you enjoy reading my blog posts then please vote for me. I'm nominated for the Best Interior Designer blog category. Voting is open until the 11th of September and you can vote for me here.|
My kitchen project featured on the Artifact Lighting blog!
1 Aug 2019
When I designed the contemporary copper kitchen, I wanted to use some copper elements to add warmth and also to tone in with the pink walls and pale grey units. I found these pendant lights from a company called Artifact Lighting, and they are perfect because they add to the 'warm glow' I wanted to acheive. They also have a vintage look which contrasts nicely with the sleek look of the kitchen units. When the kitchen was finished I sent some pictures to Artifact Lighting, and they liked the kitchen so much they featured it on the blog page of their website.
You can read the blog page here
House of Hackney's first outdoor fabric
26 Jun 2019
One of my favourite interiors brands, House of Hackney, who are known for their daring and quirky prints, have just released a new fabric which is suitable for our door use. They took one of their designs, Palmeral, and reimagined it in a fresh colour palette of off white and green. This colour fast and water resistant fabric can be used for anything from outdoor cushions to furnishing yachts (if you are lucky enough to have one!)
My thoughts on the colour Living Coral in Cardiff Life Magazine
31 May 2019
|Hear what I and my fellow designers have got to say about Pantone's colour of the year, Living Coral, and how to use it, in this month's Cardiff Life magazine. The article is on pages 84-86, and you can read it here. Do you think you could use it in your home?|
Sustainability in furniture design
7 May 2019
|Sustainability is something that is becoming more and more important in interior design - not just where we buy items from and how far they've travelled to get to us, but also the materials that they are made from. Kartell, one of Italy's best known design brands, have just released the world's first piece of furniture made from a bioplastic called Bio-On. It's a fully sustainable version of one of their best selling items - the Componibili modular unit, and it comes in four delicious pastel shades. They may be 100% sustainable, but they are also super cute and bang on trend with this seasons colours. You can buy them here|
The latest trend in shutters
24 Feb 2019
Forget painted shutters - the new style direction for window shutters is bare wood. These full height shutters made from sustainably sourced ash are the newest product from California Shutters, and are set to be big this year.
My new favourite tile!
7 Feb 2019
I was searching for some tiles for a client's splashback recently and came across these beauties from Topps Tiles. There's long been a trend for patterned tiles, with lots of geometric shapes and bold colours going on, but I've begun to see more and more tiles with a pattern in the surface of the tile itself. These ones are a lovely example, and the deep blue colour is just stunning. To get a closer look at them, follow the link below.
Pantone announce their colour of the year 2019
11 Dec 2018
Leading colour experts Pantone have annouced the shade which they think will be the colour of the year for next year - Coral pink. It might look very bright and scary, but it's actually quite easy to use. I wouldn't suggest painting a whole room in it, as that might be a bit overwhelming, but I would use it in small doses, such as on cushions or in artwork, to liven up a shceme. Pantone say that the colour is meant to 'embrace us with warmth and nourishment and provide comfort and bouyancy in our continually shifting envirnoment', which basically means it's a happy, uplifting colour, and might just cheer us all up!
My work featured on Homify
8 Oct 2018
My work has been featured in an article on Homify - one of the leading online ideas platforms for all things interiors. My project is in an article on how to avoid common mistakes when designing a bedroom. The article mentions how important it is to block out light for a good nights sleep - something I addressed by adding blackout lining to the curtains and adding an extra layer of window dressing with the wooden Venetian blinds. To see the article, please use the link below.