Home makeover: ‘Our scheme is pared-back cool’

Sarah Crawley’s renovated Edwardian townhouse is the essence of casual and sophisticated style, and full of ideas for the taking

‘The kitchen is my favourite room in the house. I love the high ceiling and the space it gives, and think the Lee Broom lights really bring this height to life’ says Sarah

Sarah and Phil were recently engaged and planning to move back to their hometown of Leeds when saw their home for the first time.

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It was within walking distance from parks and the city centre, and they had a good feeling about it from the moment they walked in.

Here, Sarah shares her renovation story…

My story…

As soon as we saw this house, we fell in love with the potential it had, and we knew we could put our own signature on it.

I’d definitely recommend going with your gut feeling when looking for your future home. We had seen so many places that just didn’t feel right and I’m glad we didn’t rush into anything.

Positioned just off the kitchen, the Pudding sofa in Selvedge Blue from Loaf provides a cosy spot to sit. Artwork by local design company, Lane by Post, and a selection of cushions from H&M Home, Zara Home and Tori Murphy make the spot feel instantly homely
Positioned just off the kitchen, the Pudding sofa in Selvedge Blue from Loaf provides a cosy spot to sit. Artwork by local design company, Lane by Post, and a selection of cushions from H&M Home, Zara Home and Tori Murphy make the spot feel instantly homely

The first thing we did was to change the magnolia walls and carpets to a more muted palette, and we also reconfigured the loft room to create a larger en suite bathroom and master bedroom.

Welcome to my home 

A bit about me I’m Sarah and I’m the wellness director at Boots in Nottingham. I live with my husband, Phil, and our son, Theo, who is two years old.

Where I live Our house is a five-bedroom Edwardian townhouse in the leafy Park Estate in Nottingham. We’ve lived here since 2014. 

Sarah

We left the kitchen area as we wanted to live in the house for a while before making the big changes to make sure we got them right. We spent six months drawing up plans and a further year getting the permissions that we needed.

The building work to create the new open-plan kitchen-diner, utility area and garages took another six months.

The Kettler Elba garden picnic dining table and chairs from John Lewis & Partners add a farmhouse feel to the kitchen. The built-in cabinetry was made by local firm Steve Hills Design and has been painted in Farrow & Ball Railings
The Kettler Elba garden picnic dining table and chairs from John Lewis & Partners add a farmhouse feel to the kitchen. The built-in cabinetry was made by local firm Steve Hills Design and has been painted in Farrow & Ball Railings

We mostly went for neutral colours, but then there are some really strong shades throughout the scheme too. For inspiration, I looked to Pinterest and magazines, and also developed a bit of an addiction to Instagram!

Sarah has dressed the Pillow Talker bed from Loaf with a Chevy merino throw from Tori Murphy and decorated the ledge with Artwork from Rockett St George, Trouva and Desenio
Sarah has dressed the Pillow Talker bed from Loaf with a Chevy merino throw from Tori Murphy and decorated the ledge with Artwork from Rockett St George, Trouva and Desenio

Through doing this project I’ve definitely developed a love for interiors and, left to my own devices and with an unlimited budget, I’d probably start refreshing all the rooms.

More about my home…

What I wanted to change The décor was dated, and we needed to knock the kitchen through to the garages and create a bigger living space downstairs. 

How I made it my own We repainted the rooms, recarpeted the hall and retiled the bathroom. We also created a new kitchen area and larger bedroom/bathroom space upstairs. 

My favourite part Our double-height ceilings and doors. They create a wonderful sense of space. 

Sarah

We do love the house and are so happy here, but in the future our dream would be to buy a piece of land and build from scratch. Even though it’s completely different from this, a minimal barn conversion in the countryside would be the ultimate project for us!

Kitchen-diner

After completely gutting this room, then knocking it through into the garage and putting in a new kitchen, this space has been transformed.

A bright, modern vibe has been achieved by contrasting a pared-back wooden dining table and stools against dramatic dark cabinetry.

A row of skylights flood the kitchen with natural light, to make the space bright. Sarah ensures the sleek style remains homely by displaying family photographs in the open cabinetry. Wooden stools and a feature clock add a contemporary country feel
A row of skylights flood the kitchen with natural light, to make the space bright. Sarah ensures the sleek style remains homely by displaying family photographs in the open cabinetry. Wooden stools and a feature clock add a contemporary country feel

An exposed red-brick wall at the far end of the island adds to the effect and frames the small snug space. The bespoke kitchen cabinets are painted in Farrow & Ball Railings and designer lighting by Lee Broom hangs above the island.

‘This is my favourite room in the house,’ says Sarah. ‘I love the high ceiling and the space it gives, and I think the lights really bring this height to life.’

‘The kitchen is my favourite room in the house. I love the high ceiling and the space it gives, and think the Lee Broom lights really bring this height to life’ says Sarah
‘The kitchen is my favourite room in the house. I love the high ceiling and the space it gives, and think the Lee Broom lights really bring this height to life’ says Sarah

Living room

With its original fireplace, cornicing and calming grey walls, the living room has a classical feel. ‘We fell in love with the beautiful Edwardian detailing like the double-height doors, but wanted to bring a more contemporary feel to it,’ says Sarah. ‘We wanted this room to have a sophisticated vibe.

The coffee table and armchairs are from a now-defunct interiors store called Nash Interiors, but for similar accent armchairs you could try the Kubrick wing back design from Made.com. The Strata rug from Cox & Cox adds warmth to the wooden floors, while the curtains, in Forenza Blackberry cotton velvet by Romo, bring a pop of colour
The coffee table and armchairs are from a now-defunct interiors store called Nash Interiors, but for similar accent armchairs you could try the
Kubrick wing back design from Made.com. The Strata rug from Cox & Cox adds warmth to the wooden floors, while the curtains, in Forenza Blackberry cotton velvet by Romo, bring a pop of colour

It gets so much light and has such a lovely view to the garden.’ The wall colour in here is Elephant’s Breath by Farrow & Ball, while the framed art print is by Zara Wood.

‘Don’t be afraid to go bold. We went for some strong colours and it was the best decision. It creates impact, but calmness too’ says Sarah
‘Don’t be afraid to go bold. We went for some strong colours and it was the best decision. It creates impact, but calmness too’ says Sarah

Bedroom

The pale pink in the couple’s bedroom is a classic, calming colour. When paired with a natural carpet and accessorised with tones of green and lilac, the pink works to create a soothing oasis upstairs.

A pair of vintage bedside tables (£50 at a local antique market) sit either side of the sumptuous Dozer bed that’s dressed with velvet and linen cushions and a Nassau throw from Soho Home. Over the bed hangs a picture of Kate Moss by Mario Testino from East Urban Home at Wayfair
A pair of vintage bedside tables (£50 at a local antique market) sit either side of the sumptuous Dozer bed that’s dressed with velvet and linen cushions and a Nassau throw from Soho Home. Over the bed hangs a picture of Kate Moss by Mario Testino from East Urban Home at Wayfair

‘The bedside tables were my best buy,’ says Sarah.

‘They cost me £50 from a local antiques fair. I love that they’re original and unique pieces that bring a bit of rustic charm to the space.’

Style idea! Lock into a colour palette for each room and stick to a handful of shades throughout the house as you decorate
Style idea! Lock into a colour palette for each room and stick to a handful of shades throughout the house
as you decorate

Bathroom

This bathroom was originally two small rooms that the couple knocked into one. ‘One weekend before we moved in, I came down to see the work and Phil said, ‘I’ve got something to show you’.

‘It’s an indulgent use of space, but I love our bathroom – it’s my sanctuary’
‘It’s an indulgent use of space, but I love our bathroom – it’s my sanctuary’

He’d got the guys to knock the two rooms through and create this spacious light and bright bathroom. I loved it and even though it’s way bigger than we need and an indulgent use of space, it’s my sanctuary and so relaxing.’

The Barcelona free-standing bath from Victoria + Albert Baths and the spacious walk-in shower screams luxury in the upstairs bathroom. Oak wood-effect tiles from Fired Earth and the Antheus wash basin by Villeroy & Boch finish off the luxe look
The Barcelona free-standing bath from Victoria + Albert Baths and the spacious walk-in shower screams luxury in the upstairs bathroom. Oak wood-effect tiles from Fired Earth and the Antheus wash basin by Villeroy & Boch finish off the luxe look

Theo’s bedroom

Sarah has created a soothing scheme in two-year-old Theo’s nursery.

‘I didn’t want to spend a lot on Theo’s room as he’ll grow out of it. I used decals on a neutral wall and added prints, bunting and fairy lights for texture and interest’ says Sarah
‘I didn’t want to spend a lot on Theo’s room as he’ll grow out of it. I used decals on a neutral wall and added prints, bunting and fairy lights for texture and interest’ says Sarah
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‘When I was on maternity leave, our local Søstrene Grene store was my haven!’

What I learned…

I definitely would have given myself more time and allowed for a lot more budget. I underestimated what the actual realities were. It all took a lot more time and a lot more money that I’d imagined.

If you’re like me and you like to mix things up and change things a lot, make sure that you don’t buy mega expensive things that might be on-trend now, but that you might not always love.’

It’s worth splurging! I looked for months to find cheap bedside lamps for our bedroom like the Loaf ones we now have. In the end I couldn’t find anything as nice, so I splurged. But every night I’m pleased I made the decision to get the ones I really wanted.

Sarah
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?