anne ditmeyerinterior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: claire bingham

by anne

Claire Bingham is a writer and interior designer based in Manchester and London, who flips between consulting on the design of people’s homes to writing about them, along with working for global fashion and beauty brands. The former Homes Editor of Elle Decoration with a background in antiques, textiles and illustration, her work has been published in titles including Casa Vogue, Vogue Living and the Sunday Times, among others. Today we have a sneak peek into the Victorian house she shares with her husband in Macclesfield, an industrial, once silk-producing town in the northwest of the UK. As someone often on the move, this is the first time she has been able to call a home a home. She describes her home as very much a work-in-progress and purposely so. Claire is a firm believer that the look and feel of a home should evolve over time, and I love that she sees as much beauty in the process as in the finished result, particularly in how she intentionally keeps some rooms raw to contrast with those that are complete. Thanks, Claire! — Anne

Image above: The finished/unfinished room between the living room and studio. I dabbled with the blue paint when we moved in but decided that would change the atmosphere of the room into something it is not. The Adam-style fire surround is really elegant, as is the herringbone reclaimed floor. I like mixing styles and don’t believe there are many rules when it comes to what goes with what. The Chesterfield goes with the Mexican runner and the French velvet pouf — and why not (although I guess they are all red)? And I don’t think I will ever buy a bookcase, too.

Image above: Leading through to the dining room-cum-studio, the stained glass doors were a big seller when we first looked around the house. I love all the original features to the architecture. It may be drafty, but it has gorgeously ornate high ceilings and a Minton tiled floor.

Image above: This is where I spend most of my day. A Victorian conservatory that officially makes this house a “villa,” I use the space as my studio and occasional casual dining at night. The table is black glass, and I love the contrast with the 70s Ercol chairs. The woodwork is painted in the palest of violets, which reminds me of a stay at the Lake Palace in Udaipur.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Claire’s sneak peek after the jump!

Image above: My many, many magazines and climbing jasmine in the studio. The plan is to let it cover the entire wall.

Image above: This is the living room — and my gorgeous kitten, Pip. She likes to check out the view. The French bench is one of a pair — the other one we use for shoes in the entrance. It was riddled with woodworm when we bought it (the joys of eBay), so hopefully it is now OK. The felt magazine basket is by Scandinavian design company, Muuto. The velvet curtains were tricky a) on a budget and b) with the three-metre drop. Who knew IKEA did extra long readymades, which you can turn up yourself? I really like mixing traditional and global styles with sleeker contemporary.

Image above: The small crystal lamp is an eBay Sevres find and the 30s Shanghai cinema poster is an image of the movie star known as Butterfly, “Hu Die.” I’m not sure if she’s going to stay, but she’s there for now. The marble fireplace was original to the house, but I wanted to break up all the vintage, so I installed the mirror minus its frame. Probably not the most safest of ideas, but I love the sharpness of the look. Above this, I’ve kept the original plasterwork exposed mainly because I’m too scared to paint over it and never be able to see it again.

Image above: I wanted to achieve a strong, moody vibe in the living room, so I repainted the original ivory color with a flat petrol blue. The woodwork is in the same shade, but gloss. The blue is a perfect backdrop to reds and pinks — I had a photograph of Frida Kahlo in mind when I was picking the shade out. Plus, the shop in the film Chocolat — hence the Provencal fabric for the cushion, although the link is pretty loose. The 18th-century chaise was a present from my dad when we moved in. It needs to be reupholstered beyond the calico lining, but I like it remaining unfinished for now. It’s always good to see the layers. The wine table — another tripod — is from eBay and I painted the base. I love the industrial look of the lamp and how it mixes copper and brass. It’s like a Tom Dixon that never was.

Image above: This is the guest bedroom at the back of the house. I wanted it to have a cosier, more intimate feel in contrast with the simplicity of the white bedroom at the front. The mirror, well, this was one of the first things I bought when I was 18, so can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I made the pillow out of vintage silk scarves and the linen is from Muji. The miniature bedside table on the left is a milking stool that was made by my husband’s grandad, so it’s very dear.

Image above: The throw is a handmade concoction made from a velvet floral fabric and a ticking stripe. In this room, I like how the opaque glass pendant stands out against the darker color of the walls.

Image above: This is our bedroom and the main thing about the room is the perfect shade of white. Oyster White by Sanderson. Wherever you paint it, it always looks good. This room is probably the most minimally styled in the house, but I like it for its (not quite) monastic qualities. It’s all very Zen. The bed is a simple classic style from UK manufacturers, Feather & Black. My favourite things are the loose hanging bulbs on ivory flex, which I put together myself. They’re fitted with dimmers so you can see the silhouette of the flux inside — all very pleasing. The tripod table is from IKEA (you can never have too many). On the opposite side of the bed is a white gloss cube, which makes it all a bit more modern. But best of all is the black satin ribbon above the bed, where you can switch off the main pendant from the comfort of the covers.

Image above: A Flos Parentesi lamp finds its home here! I guess you could call the hallway Rough Luxe. When we moved in, it was wallpapered in a horrendous burgundy-textured wallpaper, which was the first thing to come down. The remnants are left behind and look like lovely, flaky plasterwork. It stays for now, but I have in mind a quartz pale blue/grey at some point down the line. White banisters, too. The tiles are original Minton.

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  • I really liked this sneak, its a bit like my parents house, well a bit like my old room (gone now, made room for my parents). well loved, I think more people would have loved it with better photography or a more softer light.

  • I think it’s lovely and hello, it’s in Macclesfield–I just want to curl up in that red leather chair and crank up the Joy Division!

  • Wow, what a debate this has caused. I think it’s brave to follow your instincts and put yourself out there as Claire has done, and it’s nice to see a truly real home – many real home tours feel over-styled sometimes.
    Aside from the yellow living room wall, I adore the rest of the home for its raw, unpretentious and personal feel. Thanks for sharing!

  • Love this home, especially the roughness of the walls in her livingroom. check out a blog I did on a London hotel all designed around the roughness very cool “how rough can it get”

  • i think you have to see, feel and experience real plaster to fully understand why some of us are so resistant to covering it up with factory-produced paint. my 1880’s brownstone has the most marvelous peeling plaster walls, and since we’ve checked for lead poisoning, i am keeping them just like claire’s for as long as i can. i love the walls and the focus on authenticity and character in her design choices.

  • A lesson in restraint! I love the look of this place but in reality know
    I couldn’t resist ‘finishing’ and tidying it but that would be missing the point. Claire has decided to live in the now and see imperfections as a positive; an antidote to overstyling and a blessed relief to the neat freak in me!

  • Didn’t comment the first several times but figure you’re due one by now =) …and I’m also in agreement with the commenter who wanted to see more!

    Love this home! The eclectic mix of design, color and mood… not limited by cookie cutter nouveau sensibility… but secure in it’s individuality.

  • I am in love with this house!!! The blue paint is absolutely to die for, and I love the unfinished walls; unfinished plaster has so much character. This house wasn’t just thrown together … it is a work of art. When I first look at a room it just grabs me; and that’s what I love so much about this house. It’s not the typical polished homes we’re used to seeing. The thing about this house is that it looks good when it’s tidy, and it looks just as good and stylish when it’s a mess. Now that’s interior designing at it’s best!

  • Hi,
    Great house , saw your hallway in Red Magazine ,September issue . I also live in Macclesfield and have just moved into a house with minton tiles in the hallway , really want to renovate them . Can you suggest what to do ?

  • How beautifully decadent and in a way truly rock and roll, laid back, confident and probably very welcoming. On another note I couldn’t live there I am worried that I might have an OCD flare up lol. Claire I love your style.

  • Its a lovely house, and I quite like the *idea* of the unfinished walls but from these pix the effect (only IMHO of course) is a bit gloomy, depressing and cold, very much’ just left home and broke’ feeling. I love the fireplace and the stained glass windows though.

  • I love this house! Mmmm.
    I know someone has already asked – any chance of getting the petrol blue paint colour details? Please?

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