Houzz Tour: A Period Home Gets a Sensitive Contemporary Update
Refreshing a Regency townhouse room by room allowed its new owners to achieve the relaxed elegance they were after
“It was a beautiful house before we got started, with very good bones in terms of character, but it just wasn’t to their style and they wanted it to feel right for them,” Harriet says. “They also needed the house to be practical for family life, so we did a couple of rooms at a time and structured it so the work wasn’t all done in one go.”
Who lives here? A couple with their two small children
Location Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Property A double-fronted, four-storey Regency townhouse
Size Five bedrooms and two bathrooms
Designer Harriet Sinclair-Wilson of Fable Interiors
The living room was first on the agenda – a stunning space that exudes traditional grandeur, with a tall bay window complete with original shutters overlooking the front garden.
The owners were looking forward to hosting friends and family in their new home and were keen for it to feel welcoming, so Harriet worked up an elegant but casual feel.
“They wanted a nod to the fact that it’s a very beautiful Regency house, but also for it to feel inviting, not imposing; a home you can actually use and hang out in,” she says.
Sofa, Arlo & Jacob. Ottoman, Neptune. Chandelier, West Elm.
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“The couple really liked bold blues, greens and mustards,” Harriet says, “but we also tried to soften them by adding in more natural materials, such as wood, wool, linen and velvet, to give a warm feel.”
By keeping the walls and ceiling pale, Harriet made the most of the natural light flooding in from the bay window and allowed elements including the sofa and fireplace to become focal points. Installing open shelving in the alcoves either side of the chimney breast created extra space for decorative and homely touches.
Walls painted in Shaded White; woodwork and ceiling painted in Wimborne White, both Farrow & Ball.
Tipi; wall hanging, both Scandiborn. Rug, Ferm Living.
“We put a large table in the middle for meetings or brainstorming sessions,” Harriet says. “The light comes into the property at the front and means the room can take colour really well, so we thought we’d push it a little in here and go for something bold on the walls.”
She backed the bookcases either side of the fireplace in blue wallpaper with a dainty copper pattern to add interest.
Walls and cabinetry painted in Stiffkey Blue; bookcase backed in Samphire wallpaper in Stiffkey Blue, both Farrow & Ball.
A fresh coat of bold paint brought a contemporary edge to the existing cream and oak cabinetry, which Harriet finished off with some new brass handles.
Cabinetry painted in Blue 07, Lick. Walls painted in Dimpse, Farrow & Ball. Brass handles, Corston.
Sideboard, Swoon. Mirror, Rowen & Wren. Mombasa wallpaper in Cinnamon, Thibaut.
Bedside table and lamp, Neptune.
“This room was a complete remodel – everything you see is brand new,” Harriet says. “We wanted that contrast, so we chose dark navy hexagonal floor tiles and teamed them with white metro-style tiles on the walls.
“One thing that works particularly well in terms of the tiling was the finish and not just running them flat,” she continues. “The tiler came up with a way of cutting the tiles along the top row to make them shorter, so you have the double chevron – there’s a flow to where the tiles finish and the painted walls start.”
Floor and wall tiles, Claybrook.
Once it was chosen, getting the heavy stone bath up the stairs and into position turned out to be a challenge in itself. But it was all worth it, as the owners love this room.
“So we went for a patterned rug on the floor and some midcentury-style wooden bedside tables to warm it up,” she says. “The ceiling in this room is slightly vaulted, so the shape of the bed works really well.”
Bedside tables, West Elm. Walls painted in School House White, Farrow & Ball.
Bedside lamp, Graham & Green. Bedside table, West Elm.
And if she had to pick a favourite room? “The living room,” she says without hesitation. “It has such a lovely mix of period features with a modern feel – I think it’s to die for.”
What do you like best about Harriet’s revamp of this period home? Let us know in the Comments.