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Interiorssneak peeks

A Happy Home In Essex For Color Play & Adventures

by Rebekah Carey

When a family is made up of one textile designer (Georgia), one graphic designer (Ian) and two color-loving littles, you can bet there’s no shortage of beautiful pattern and bright colors in the home. Georgia and Ian love spending their days being creative with their kids — five-year-old Delilah and 4-year-old Celeste — baking, doing art projects, and exploring together. Georgia’s work as a freelance textile designer has enabled her to be home with the girls full-time, but with Celeste starting school recently, she’s digging deeper into design work again.

While the family’s three-bedroom home — a terraced ex-council house built in 1955 — was technically the only one they could afford in their ideal neighborhood (close to Georgia’s family), the mid-century style and potential for customization ultimately sealed the deal. Ian and Georgia have spent the five years since they bought the home working on projects themselves as the budget allows. Some pieces were left behind by previous occupants, and the couple has happily incorporated them into the home: gorgeous Babycham glasses, floral chopping boards, a dressing table, beautiful beveled mirrors and chintzy crockery. Some of the projects came naturally; they started in the living room and expanded from there. Other updates were done out of necessity, like the bathroom remodel that came while Georgia was pregnant with Celeste and in desperate need of easy access to a shower. The kitchen got a small extension from incorporating a neighboring coal shed into the space and knocking down the connecting wall, which allowed for a new dining area.

With a more compact home, Ian and Georgia have to be very mindful with how they use each space. A favorite sideboard in the living room (found at a local thrift shop for only 15 pounds) houses toys and books. Georgia’s secretary (which holds a scanner, laptop, and work papers) folds down to be a workspace and allows her to chat with Ian when they’re working together in the same room.

They’ve created a home that has the clean lines that Ian loves, without compromising on the inviting nature that Georgia’s style and collections add to the home. “The back wall in the kitchen is the perfect illustration of our family, I think — the bold graphic stripes are like Ian, the patterned pieces all displayed are like me, and all the colorful pens and crayons are all the girls,” Georgia shares. Never without gratitude for their home, what this family cherishes most about it is always changing, as they are, in a retreat that reflects them all. —Rebekah

Photography by Georgia Coote

Image above: “This was the last room we decorated and I wanted it to be a little different from the rest of the house, a little calmer and clearer to make it a sanctuary for Ian and I to go to,” Georgia says. “I’ve always wanted a pink bedroom and I love the softness it gives with the white, the festoon lights add a little graphic quality, and the lovely headboard on the bed means we can have lots of lovely breakfasts in bed with two wriggle girls added in!”

The Coote Family In Their Colorful United Kingdom Home Tour On Design*Sponge
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The Coote family sitting pretty in their colorful living room.

Living Room Details Feature Colorful Wallpaper As The Backdrop On Design*Sponge
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Georgia shares why her sideboard is a favorite, “Possibly the best piece of furniture we own… I love its functionality but I also love having the space on top to display items on. Here we have a vintage phone, a couple of houseplants — one planted in a vintage Hornsea pot — a set of type top trumps we framed, and some candles. I love changing what’s displayed with the seasons; here we have a few conkers as they keep creeping into our pockets while we’re out at the moment!”

A Colorful Living Room With Mid Century Details On Design*Sponge
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“The wallpaper in the living room by Miss Print was the first thing we did, and five years on I still love it. After we’d hung it in the morning, my daughter Delilah crawled up to it and said one of her first words, ‘flower.’ For me it’s the perfect mix of floral, mid-century and linear pattern. The crochet blanket on the side of the sofa was made by my great great Aunt and has housed many a den in our and my family home! The coffee table was another lucky charity shop find and the Anglepoise was a wedding gift from Ian’s studio when we got married. I made the lampshade for the light using a favorite piece of vintage fabric,” Georgia explains.

Georgia's Work Corner Of The Living Area On Design*Sponge
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Georgia utilizes every inch of their home. “This is my working area… because we don’t have room for a desk this works perfectly, storing my laptop, scanner and papers all in the drawers and then I fold down the top for a desk. The bookcase beside it houses books as well as further stationery and toys. I also love the skinny shelf high up housing my favorite illustrated books, trinkets and cards.”

Clipboards Prove To Be An Easy Area To Change Art On Design*Sponge
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Georgia shares a favorite design tip, “Clipboards — I love using these to put up pictures as I love being able to change them up whenever I want to. It also means I can use patterned paper samples for the backdrops, too, which are lovely.”

Georgia Loves Displaying Collections Throughout Her Home On Design*Sponge
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“I love displaying little collections of objects, for me these are what make a house a home,” Georgia shares. “The tin doll my Mum gave me as I used to love it when I was little.”

Budget Friendly Updates In The Kitchen On Design*Sponge
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“We couldn’t afford to change the cupboards here, so we painted what was there already and changed all the knobs. I collected beautiful ceramic ones from Anthropologie in the sales over the years. Ian painstakingly painted the stripes on the end wall and I love the clean lines and graphic quality they give, particularly against all my colorful china on the shelves.”

The Gallery Wall In The Kitchen Offers Constant Inspiration In This Tour On Design*Sponge
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“I love the dark blue wall and how it makes all colors pop, the gallery wall constantly changes and I love how expressive it is. It sometimes has the odd color picture the girls have drawn on a post-it on it, or dried leaves or flowers found on our walks,” Georgia explains.

A Blackboard Provides A Spot For Shopping Lists And Other Reminders In This UK Tour On Design*Sponge
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“We painted the end wall in blackboard paint, which works brilliantly as a place to write out all our dinners/shopping lists/school activities and provides another canvas for the girls to draw on. Hanging the ironing board on the wall gives us more space and, as long as I keep the cover clean, looks pretty too! I made the blind on the window from fabric from IKEA,” Georgia shares.

The Colorful Stairs Provide A Happy Moment In The Coote Household On Design*Sponge
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Georgia explains one of the smallest and most special details they’ve added to their home, “The colors of the stairs make me ridiculously happy! I love that they make a feature of such a tiny — and what could be forgotten about — area.”

The Master Bedroom Does Not Shy Away From Color Tour On Design*Sponge
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“The floral ottoman was my Grandma’s and we keep all our bedding in it. I love that it reminds me of her, too. Also the teapot on the shelf was in the house when we moved into the bedroom and I love its retro shape.”

A Found Piece Becomes A Master Bedroom Staple On Design*Sponge
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A few of the pieces that were in the house when the couple moved in have become staples. “The dressing table was in the house when we moved in and I painted it bright pink using chalk paint, as was the stool next to it which I sprayed and covered with a piece of vintage fabric. The chair was also a reupholstered charity shop find,” Georgia explains.

A Colorful Daughter's Room On Design*Sponge
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“We decorated Celeste’s room when she was a baby and wanted it to have a bright, gender-neutral color, and so [we] opted for this bright pop of orange on one wall,” Georgia explains. “Reading is such a big thing in our house, so I love that the books are sort of like artwork here on the wall. It’s great to be able to change them up easily and even display books that she may have grown out of or are a little old for her yet. She recently started school so my husband made the tiny desk area at the end. The chair is mine from when I was little.”

Sweet Details In The Child's Room On Design*Sponge
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In Delilah's room, a cute corner for playtime.
The Coote Family Home Features A Water Closet With Enough Room For Small Displays On Design*Sponge
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“We have a separate toilet and bathroom, which we initially wanted to knock through to make one big room but realized that… with family life it’s actually really helpful having them separate,” Georgia admits. “This is such a tiny area, but I love that even in such a small space it can be made to be homely. The green painting is by a local artist and is so calming. The couple is a picture we got when we went on honeymoon and thought that the couple looked like us! I love having plants around the house as I just think they add so much life to a room — not to mention that they are such a lovely way to use some of my ever-expanding collection of crockery!”

New Shower And Tile Upgrades The Home's Bathroom On Design*Sponge
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“I know that all the design rules always say with small space[s] to paint them light, but I sometimes think if it’s that small then why try to hide it? I wanted to make it really cozy and inviting in the mornings, so [I] painted it a chocolate color and paired it with teal crackle glaze tiles, which I love.”

The Bathroom Doesn't Miss The Opportunity To Display Art Tour On Design*Sponge
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“Matisse is one of my absolute favorite artists and I adore this print.”

Ian And Georgia Created A
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“I have to say, aside from taking out a large tree which made the garden very dark and meant that we couldn’t see the children in it, we haven’t really touched the garden yet. Neither of us have very green fingers, and the garden is quite a good size so we haven’t dared start it yet! One small thing we have done is make a mud kitchen from some old wooden pallets which the girls play with. To some extent it’s quite a good thing that we haven’t done much to the garden as we like to let them be as free as they can be out there — mud pies and digging aplenty!”

What The Coote Family Loves Most About Their Home On Design*Sponge
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Georgia (as written by Delilah) shares what their favorite part of their home is, “What I love most about our home is… the colors make us happy!”

The Coote Family Home Floor Plan On Design*Sponge
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The 1955 Coote Family Home Floor Plan.

SOURCE LIST

Living room
Wallpaper: MissPrint
Sofa: IKEA, no longer made
Rug: The Rug Shop
Table Lamp- Anglepoise, (no longer stocked)
Pouffe- Violet & Thistle
Bureau- Home Kit, vintage, no longer available

Kitchen
Table and shelving- IKEA, table no longer available
Tablecloth and light fitting- John Lewis (same but different color), tablecloth no longer available
Chairs: habitat

Bathroom
Tiles- tons of tiles
Bath- VictoriaPlum

Master Bedroom
Bed- Wayfair
Festoon lights- lights 4 fun
Bedside tables- La Redoute

CeCe’s Room
Drawers, cupboards, bedding- IKEA

Delilah’s Room
Stool- habitat
Dollhouse- Le Toy Van (different color)
Rug- Urban Outfitters, no longer available

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