Goring / Streatley, South Oxfordshire
Full interior design and refurbishment of a large family home in Goring / Streatley, South Oxfordshire
A smart and relaxed contemporary kitchen-diner
The carefully remodelled kitchen features a large range oven at its heart, and a richly coloured island for central workspace alongside the larder. The layout allows for natural circulation around the room, and a unique lighting scheme allows for flexible use and different moods.
A luxurious main reception room scheme
Combining architectural elements with considered lighting and a careful use of colour and texture, the sitting room is a warm and inviting social space to enjoy with family and guests. Richly decorated without being overpowering, this space was extensively redesigned to overcome issues with the room that had previously limited its use.
A calm and natural bedroom design
Combining the clients’ existing antique furniture with a new design scheme, the bedroom is a calm sanctuary. A wallpaper with a natural, evolving pattern of hand-drawn plants and butterflies provides the backdrop to the bed, combined with soft textures and subtle biomimicry in the accessories.
Background to the project
Our clients were in their late 50s and had lived in the property for 20 years, bringing up their three children there. The youngest had just gone to university, and the eldest two were living in London. Although they’d worked on the house and extended it when they moved there, apart from a couple of rooms that had been updated over their time there, most of it was as it was when they moved there.
The interior design brief from our clients
As their home was tired and dated, and certainly showed the battle scars of twenty years of bringing up their family there, both the décor and furnishings needed to be updated.
It’s a lovely property and in a location that’s still great for them, so they were looking to the next twenty years there. Their children and family will still visit, but with an empty nest they were looking to ‘adultify’ their home. They were looking for a more comfortable home, with relaxed design to the interior.
Creative Vision for the Interior Design
To reflect the clients and their lifestyle, the feel of the home needed to be changed throughout. We interpreted their desire to ‘adultify’ the house, along with what we learned listening to them about their lifestyle, as comfort and understated luxury. We proposed designs that are decorated but not flashy, with carefully considered materials and finishes. Interest, colour and pattern are all present in the interior design, but with a light touch and a subtlety in its application.
Crucially, the décor now has a consistency throughout. There’s a continuity through the home whilst still allowing each space to have its own feel. The design introduces subtle shifts through the property, but it all hangs together with a unified feel and atmosphere, and a sense that it represents the relaxed style of the clients, combined with their appreciation for understated luxury and comfort.
Remodelling the layout of the interior
The property didn’t need a major overhaul of the layout, although there were spaces that didn’t work that well and needed careful redesign, in particular the sitting room, kitchen and utility.
On top of these key areas, we made a serious of subtle tweaks throughout the home – to door positions, heights and orientations. Whilst these adjustments to the design and layout enhanced each and every room, it’s also so important to consider the experience of moving within and between the rooms of a property. Although each of these were small changes, the cumulative effect is felt very strongly throughout the ground floor in particular. Where it felt awkward and clunky in places before, it now has a natural sense of flow and ‘rightness’ all through the layout of the interior.
The biggest challenge of the design of this home
The sitting room – the main reception room of the house – had never worked, and so it was rarely used. A pair of large timber beams from the earlier redesign split the space into three at ceiling level, and two pendants hung at each end of the room. Along with access to the study behind this effectively split the room into two sides. With the TV and seating close by at one end, and another seating arrangement at the other, neither of these connected and neither related to the central fireplace in the room. Combined with difficult proportions relative to the chimney and the study entrance, this room wasn’t used that much by the clients. And when they really needed this space, with more family or guests visiting, the greater the number of people in it, the more dysfunctional it felt.
We believed that everything in the room needed to be rethought in order to create a single space that would feel unified and sociable. It was a difficult design challenge due to the scale and orientation of the room, and we tackled it like this:
- Feature ceiling beams split the space into three – we removed these;
- We designed and constructed coffered ceiling. This reduces the scale of the central ceiling area, and gives it a simple shape that we can reflect with a single, unified furniture arrangement below;
- For lighting, we proposed a single, large feature chandelier in the centre of the room. This was combined with recessed lighting inside the coffered ceiling to wash across its surface, enhancing its zoning effect. Long-arm lights reach over the sofas for reading;
- The furniture arrangement was completely redesigned:
- It was pulled in from the perimeter of the room. Rather than up against the walls, it was brought a little closer. Still a spacious layout to accommodate many people, but now clearly a single arrangement;
- We designed bespoke L-shape sofas to suit the room, along with matching armchair;
- The new layout preserves the circulation (as well as the through circulation to the study) but no longer draws attention to it;
- Each of the large sofas is combined with a matching coffee table, and they maintain a sense of personal space if being used by one or two people. The room isn’t overwhelming with just one or two people in it, and it doesn’t feel empty;
- This sitting room still caters for real life, with a large TV floating on a simple tripod stand, and loudspeakers built into the ceiling for the home’s audio system;
- The tired fireplace surround was replaced with a new limestone surround, and the granite hearth remade in larger proportions to provide a stonger focal point and better suit the room. It’s more befitting of a room centrepiece, and even practical aspects are improved as the log basket has space to sit on top of the stone;
- Along with the layout, the look and feel of the design for this principal reception room was carefully considered:
- A smart and luxurious scheme, with deep red and burnt orange velvet for the main furniture setting a warm tone for the room;
- A striking yet elegant scheme with strong colours in the furnishings. A rich and interesting colour palette that ventures beyond neutrals;
- A soft metallic paper wallcovering brings depth and subtle, visual texture to the walls;
- A beautiful Kurt Jackson painting with a coastal theme sits over the fireplace, with wall lights matching the chandelier overhead;
- We used varied textures and patterns within the accessory fabrics, with subtle biomimicry hinting at the same coastal environment and textures – a pattern of sea birds, cracks in wet sand in the silver fabric, reflections of water, waves and sky – details which gradually revel themselves;
- With the dropped ceiling we could also hide the curtain tracks, for a clean, unfussy treatment to the windows.
The finished home
Our brief was to ‘adultify’ this family home, and we delivered a warm and inviting interior redesign for this house. It’s richly decorated without being overpowering, and retains a lightness that suits the homeowners’ needs for day-to-day living.
A cohesive approach to colour and pattern, combined with careful interventions to the layout of this property, has resulted in a beautiful home of understated luxury and comfort that the clients can enjoy for many years to come.