Are you looking for help with colour? Try Designer in a Box

The Victorian Terrace - The Final Reveal

9 min read

Published 28 Oct 2021

 

A photo of the middle bedroom of the house, painted in a rich teal colour with a mustard yellow velvet bed.

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 photo of the hallway, bland and gloomy.
a before pic of the hallway
An after photo of the hallway, with a new green and burgundy colour scheme
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 picture of the living room showing the peeling paint and drab colour.

a before photo of the living room

An after photo of the living room all finished.

Another view of the finished 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. 

A before photo of the middle reception room.

the middle reception room as I found it

A corner of the finished middle reception room

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.

A photo of the kitchen before the extension was added.

A photo taken from the other end of the kitchen before work began.

some before pics of the kitchen

A photo of the kitchen after the new extension has been added, and the work is finished.

A photo taken form the opposite end of the kitchen, when the work is finished.

the finished kitchen, including the corner extension

A photo of the finished utility room.

the finished utility room, which was built as part of the extension

A photo of the finished wetroom

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 photo showing the finished corner extension with the window seat and cushions.

A photo showing the corner and the 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.

A photo of the back bedroom before it was decorated.

A before photo of the back bedroom, looking towards the ensuite.

you can see that the ensuite has been built into a corner of this room

A before photo of the ensuite

A before photo of the ensuite door and shower area

inside the dreary ensuite before the transformation

A photo of the finished back bedroom

we actually chose a similar colour to the one the walls were originally painted in, but it's less harsh in tone

A photo of the finished ensuite
A photo of the painted door and shower area A photo of the finished ensuite showing the shower screen and loo.

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.

A photo of the bathroom before it was renovated

A photo of the old sink in the main bathroom.

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!)

A photo of the new bathroom after renovation.
A photo showing the new dresser we turned into a sink

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!

A photo of the WC before we decorated it. A photo of the finished WC

 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.

A before photo of the middle bedroom showing the gloomy grey colour

the middle bedroom before it was renovated

A photo of the finished middle bedroom

A photo of the finished middle bedroom, showing the mustard yellow bed

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.

A before photo of the main bedroom showing the old wallpaper.

A before photo showing the other side of the main bedroom

this wallpaper wasn't doing it for either of us

A photo of the bed in the finished main bedroom

A photo of the other side of the finished main bedroom

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 my design blog, where you'll see posts about anything from the projects we are working on, to the latest fabric and wallpaper collections, and 'how to' guides for all things interiors related. I love colour and pattern, architecture and old buildings, and I especially love the moment when you see something so beautiful it makes you take a sharp intake of breath. Happy reading, and if you have any questions, or would like to chat about anything interiors related, please use the contact form to get in touch. Thank you, Louise

New reeded glass pendants from Mullan Lighitng

28 Nov 2021

A photo of the Nahla glass reeded pendant
Lighting designers and manufacturers Mullan Lighting have a new range of reeded glass pendant lights available. These Mid Century inspired lights come in three shapes and four finishes, but the Nahla (the one pictured above) is my favourite. You can see the range here.

Little Greene and Bert & May join forces

28 Oct 2021

A photo of some green Bert & May tiles from the new collection, in a bathroom painted green.

Little Greene has announced a collaboration with tile brand Bert & May. The collection sees eight gorgeous Little Greene shades translated onto tiles, giving you even more opportunity to add colour, texture, and a mix of materials to every area of your home. I love this bathroom combination above, with the perfectly matched tiles and paint offset with touches of terracotta, mustard and oak. You can see the full collection here.

Dulux colour of the year - Bright Skies

29 Sep 2021

A promotional photo from Dulux showing the paint colour Bright Skies in a room setting.

So, Dulux have announced their colour of the year for next year, and here it is! Bright Skies is described as the 'breath of fresh air' that we all need after being indoors for so long. What do you think? I'm reserving judgement at the moment. It looks a little cold in the picture, but I don't think the beige sofa and the styling are doing it any favours here. Maybe colour drenched (painted on walls, ceilings, trims and doors) and with some warmer burgundies and terracotta, it could be lovely. You can buy the colour here.

A new home collection from Paloma Faith

28 Aug 2021

A photo of the vintage botanical black wallpaper from Paloma Home.
British singer songwriter Paloma Faith has recently launched her first collection for the home. It includes wallpapers, fabrics, cushions and bedding, and she describes the look as 'faded grandeur and retro maximalism'. The prints are everything I love - dramatic, colourful and fun, and you can see more of the collection here.

It's all about soft yellows

28 Jul 2021

A photo for Little Greene with room inspiration for using Carys yellow paint.
I was watching an Instagram live post from The Little Greene Paint Company last week, and they were discussing a comeback for yellow. Now, as you know, I don't think you have to follow the trends but yellow hasn't been fashionable for a long time, so this sunny, uplifting shade is often overlooked. A warm yellow like Little Green's Carys (above) is perfect for cheering us all up, and you can buy it here.

The cushion that gives back

28 Jun 2021

A photo of the green velvet cushion on a chair.
Introducing the cushion that gives back, from homewares company Oka. They have produced this cushion in partnership with The Trussell Trust who support two thirds of the UK's food banks, and 100% of the proceeds from sales of this lovely green velvet cushion will be donated by Oka to The Trussell Trust. It comes in a range of other colours too, and you can buy the cushion here.

A beautiful new tile collection inspired by the National Trust

28 May 2021

A photo of one of the new tiles in a kitchen roomset with pink walls and black bar stools.
Just launched, Ca Pietra a new tile collection in collaboration with the National Trust. Every tile has been inspired by one of the historic properties, gardens or coastlines looked after by the Trust, and a minimum of £10,000 from sales of the tiles will be given to the National Trust to help them continue their important work. You can see the collection here.

Yummy new switch & socket colours

28 Apr 2021

A photo of two of the new light switches from Dowsing & Reynolds
Did you ever think that your light switches were good enough to eat? I'm guessing the answer is no, until now. You can now buy switches and sockets in these gorgeous colours from the new Dowsing & Reynolds Cafe Culture collection. They come in luscious shades like Cinnamon, Caramel Latte and Whipped Cream, so you can tone, coordinate or contrast with your wall colours and make every part of your interior scheme look delicious. You can buy the gorgeousness from here.

A sustainable fabric choice

29 Mar 2021

A photo of the some of the new Eco range of fabrics.
A beautiful new sustainable fabric range from Clarke and Clarke has just been launched. It's made entirely from recycled materials so you can refresh your home with a clear conscience. You can have a look at the fabric here. Get in touch with me if you'd like to buy any of this fabric.

Sought & Styled - Preloved items given new life

28 Feb 2021

The sought and styled logo on a green background
This month I want to highlight a business run by a very talented lady I met a few years ago (remember when we could meet people?) Not only is she a creative interior designer, she also runs an online shop where she reuses and repurposes anything from soft furnishings to larger furniture items. Everything sold is bespoke and unique, and is effortlessly waste conscious because it's being used again. You can visit her shop here.

Do kitchen worktops bore you?

27 Jan 2021

A photo of a Blackpop design on a kitchen worktop.
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

18 Dec 2020

The cover of the December 2020 issue of Cardiff Life magazine.
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

A tropical teal wallpaper plasters the wall above a wainscoting panelling and a navy fabric covered bench. The wallpaper is adorned with tropical wildlife and atmospheric jungle scenery including parrots and  jaguars.
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

A picture of designer Matthew Williamson, standing next to a blue dresser with a wide array of candles and candlesticks on the top. Behind him in a ornate floral wallpaper with a sunburst mirror
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

17 Sep 2020

Walcot House felt cover curtain poles

Now you can add some texture to your window dressing with these Walcot House felt covered poles. The pure wool coverings come with a option for bronze or steel fittings and wide spans up to six metres. The curtain track is cleverly hidden within the wooden curtain pole and there's a choice of nearly 50 colours and textures. You can find out more here.

Please vote for my blog

11 Aug 2020

A picture of the Amara Blog Awards vote for me sticker.
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

10 Jul 2020

A photo of the Love Rugs website featuring the article.
Love Rugs, the people who know about all things rugs have just published a feature on the upcoming interiors trends for 2020. They asked six of the UK's top interior designers (including me!) to tell them what the upcoming trends are, and in particular the changes we will be making to their homes. The article can be read here, and if you'd like to have a look at the huge range of rugs they offer, click here.

A new fabric collection from Linwood Fabrics

15 Jun 2020

A photo of the new Kami collection from Linwood fabrics.
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

A photo of the new coloured taps from the Dowsing & Reynolds Miami colour pop collection.
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

a photo  of the new doorstop from Buster and Punch, with their logo and branding.
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

A photo of the wallpaper made from cork, By Monkey Puzzle Tree
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

The front cover of Cardiff Life Magazine issue no.208, Autumn 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

The Amara interiors blog awards voting banner 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

A view if the contemporary copper kitchen featuring the copper pendant lights from Artifact Lighting.

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

A photo of the new House of Hackney Palmeral print for outdoor use.

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

A photo which accompanies the Cardiff Life article about Living Coral
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

A photo of the new Componibili Bio.
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

A photo of California Shutters new range in ash wood.

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.

californiashutters.co.uk

My new favourite tile!

7 Feb 2019

A picture of the Lampas Marint pattern tile from Topps Tiles

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.

Lampas Pattern Marine tile

Pantone announce their colour of the year 2019

11 Dec 2018

a shot of a coral reef with the description Color of the Year 2019

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

a view of the dressed bed, pink walls and blackout lined curtainsMy 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.

Homfy article - Are you guilty of these 8 bedroom design mistakes?