How a house was reborn into a home for a growing family

Friday 14 July 2017, Written by Nan Nawrocki

Bob Duffield and his family now live in this beautiful 19th century villa-style house – here’s his story of how they uncovered its best features and created a perfect home for them all.

Please tell us a little bit about you and your family, where you live and how long you’ve lived in your house.

We moved to Cheltenham in the summer of 2013.  We rented a modern duplex apartment and Frankie our son was born in June 2014.  We always had an eye out for a place to buy but we took our time until we found the right place.  This turned out to be Paxton Lodge – a Grade II, four-bed Regency town house, with a separate basement flat.  Amazingly it was only 300m from the apartment. We moved in March 2016.

What is the style of your house and what attracted you to buy it?

It was built in 1836. It is a sublime design. High ceilings. Beautiful windows. And a small but perfect walled garden for the kids.

Was it a major refurbishment project?

Definitely.  It has been a big investment both in time and money, but worth it to bring the house up into the top bracket for houses in this area of Cheltenham.

We had to bring the house kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  There were many species of carpet and curtain that had to go. We have installed shutters throughout. The garden had a cute Japanese-style pond, but it was way beyond its best and presented a serious drowning risk for small kids.  It has been removed.

The house needed substantial refurbishment. This included:

  • bringing the basement flat back into the main house as our main kitchen and dining area
  • the galley kitchen on the ground floor has been transformed into a play room
  • on the first floor we swapped a bedroom for the main bathroom and vice versa
  • finally the main bathroom and two en suite bathrooms were stripped out, refitted and retiled

This house is so beautifully designed that we knew our efforts would be rewarded

How important were the tiles and how/where did you source them? 

Tiles were key to our design thinking. We found Original Style online and then visited a local showroom.

Where did you find your inspiration for the various rooms?

It's hard to make clear decisions as the choice is almost infinite. But we found the Original Style brochures very helpful. 

What made you decide on the particular styles and the tiles you used in each room?

The palette for the whole house is white plus greys and blues.  Less is definitely more and we decided to use the same choice of tiles in all the bathrooms. I'm really glad we did. The choice of tiles has brought a sense of continuity to the whole house. They have turned out to be a major feature.

Did you have any major challenges along the way?

Yes - Maud, Frankie and I lived in the basement for months! Maud was pregnant with Albie. We had hoped the work would be finished before he arrived early March 2017. It was not. But it is now.

What advice would you give to other people who want to create tiled focal points in their homes?

Get the Original Style brochures – they are colourful and informative. Then visit your local store where you’ll get a good sense of how they look in real life.

How long did the project take?

A whole pregnancy and a bit.  But as a result our house has been reborn. It was worth the wait.

For more ideas, head over to our Inspiration pages or browse more images on Pinterest.

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Original Style in Exeter, Devon, UK on Houzz