Behind The Scenes A Family Refurb

15 Jan 2021

Design details bring character to
this modern home

I think if I had to sum up this interiors project, I’d say it was a complete marriage of minds. A marriage between my clients who naturally veer towards calm neutrals but wanted to embrace more colour in their new home and me, the colour, texture and pattern lover!

Read on to delve behind the scenes of this project and take a look at the before and after images to see the transformation. I hope you enjoy the read and I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments afterwards. You can get in touch here, call me on 07801 364238 for a chat or read my monthly blogs here for more interiors chat.

The house
This five-bedroom family home in Ilkley is like many houses around here – built into the hillside and means that the living and dining room, kitchen and large balcony all have stunning views across Ilkley from their elevated position.

The living room and kitchen were separate rooms originally, and the overall feel was a little bland (if I can put it that way). With pine floorboards, dark wood effect cabinets, off-white walls and countertops the kitchen felt a little uninspiring. The living room also needed an injection of character with its neutral carpet, pale walls and brick surround fireplace.

The family started major building works to reconfigure and add to the footprint of the house as well as replumbing, rewiring and major earthworks to the garden not long after moving in.

I’d never worked with an interior designer before but contacted Ann Marie when we decided to rebuild our house to make it work for us as a family.’


The brief
In 2016, two years after moving in, they contacted me and asked if I’d create an interiors scheme that would bring colour and texture into two areas; the newly created open plan kitchen and living space and the master bedroom and en-suite. This case study focuses on the kitchen and open plan living area but keep your eyes peeled for part 2, where I take you through the master bedroom transformation.

A pale grey kitchen is complemented by copper accessoriesKey design considerations – zoning, accessibility and those views

This interior design project was all about the details – design and practical. The finishes and furniture choices were chosen to bring colour and pattern to this family home and to take into account the different accessibility needs of visiting family. Top of my to do list was:

  • Zoning the open plan kitchen, dining and living space
  • Interior scheme punctuated with colour, pattern and texture against a backdrop of greys and neutrals
  • Ease of movement for visiting family with differing mobility needs (e.g., no trip hazards with a change of flooring)
  • Hardwearing, practical and easy to live with finishes but with a luxe feel

Interior Design details – how did I do it?

The kitchen
A favourite soft grey (Pavilion grey by Farrow & Ball) was chosen for the walls throughout. It’s a soft backdrop to the stunning views and brings a calm but sophisticated vibe to this busy, family space.

We opted for antique oak floorboards throughout the kitchen and dining area. Firstly, because it’s a practical choice, especially for an active family living so close to Ilkley Moor and the dark tones anchor the pale grey walls and kitchen units.

I chose copper kitchen cabinet handles and light fittings because they bring a contemporary edge to the classic shaker style kitchen along with all-important injection of colour and texture.


A row of three upholstered bar stools at the island are a comfortable spot to sit and have a chat while having a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

‘My default is to prefer a neutral palette, but I knew that I needed to add some colour to the greys that I love. Our kitchen, dining room and living room are practical and sociable and I love how the neutral base is complemented by the bold colours.’

The dining room
The dining room chairs were upholstered in a contemporary patterned fabric from Swaffer  which is hospitality grade, so although it feels luxurious, it’s pretty bomb proof and perfect for family life. The pattern also ties in with a much-loved piece of artwork overlooking the dining table.

A light and airy dining area is complemented by the clients' artworkThe living room
The views from the windows are the star of the show here but I think the oversized chandelier comes a close second. I sourced it from a supplier and love the way it catches the eye but doesn’t get in the way of the views. Plus, going for width rather than drop is a practical way to bring drama into your lighting scheme (see my blog about creating a lighting scheme here) without the crystal drops getting in the way of taller members of the family moving around the house!

Inside Lounge DesignA pale grey carpet cushions feet as you move into the living room and contrasts with the floorboards in the kitchen and dining room area. I had a conversation with the builder early on in the project and armed with the measurements he made sure there weren’t any level changes and trip hazards between the two surfaces when moving from one room to the other.

It meant lifting the kitchen floor a touch higher and shows why early conversations with the builder are always a good idea. These details really do matter.

In terms of seating high backed wing chairs were a practical choice because they’re easier to get in and out of than a low squishy sofa. With a floor lamp and side table close to hand, they’re a great spot to sit and admire the views.

Covering them with Emma Shipley’s gorgeous fabric brought them bang up to date and the fabric’s shades of orange and teal echo the copper, greys and blues in the kitchen and pop against the pale grey walls and carpet.

Before photos are from Rightmove. After photos by Mark Richard Harrison.

Vibrant pattern and pops of colour make this a cosy corner
An oversized bespoke navy sofa is a great spot to admire the viewFinal thoughts
I know I’m known for my love of bold, jewel colours but there are times when clients are much more comfortable with a more pared back feel. You can still play around with neutral shades though; they still have plenty of character plus jewel-coloured walls don’t always fit the brief.

At the end of the day my job is to listen to my clients so that I can design a home that they love and is full of fabrics, furniture and finishes that they love.

Having said that, I *might* just give clients a nudge to choose a punchier pattern or a stronger paint colour than they might do on their own, but ultimately my job is to design an interiors scheme that reflects them and their personality.

Work with me
If you’re thinking about starting a building or interiors project – no matter the size, I’d love to hear from you. You can book a free Discovery call with me here, browse my range of Services here or if you want more behind the scenes interiors chat, sign up for my monthly Blog here.