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Interiorssneak peeks

A Riot of Color and Charm in a West Yorkshire Victorian

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Riot of Color and Charm in a West Yorkshire Victorian | Design*Sponge
Downstairs, in the basement of the Baker family’s home, an old cast iron range cooker stands proud and intact. It reminds the family of what their double-fronted Victorian house in Burley-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire must have been like in its heyday. Much has changed since then, but the old-time charm remains. “I’ve always loved houses from that era for their large rooms, high ceilings, and period features,” Sandra Baker says.

Sandra and her husband Chris, both lawyers, have lived in their historic four-story house for five years, transforming it bit by bit into the forever-home of their dreams and the perfect place to raise their two daughters, Kitty and Polly. The couple never actually intended to house hunt in the area where they now live. “The picture of the exterior of the house on the estate agent’s website intrigued me enough to book a viewing,” Sandra explains. “It wasn’t a slow burn — as soon as we walked through the front door we were smitten! It had a happy feeling. I even shed a tear!”

Sandra, who calls herself a frustrated creative given her career choice, was excited to have a fixer-upper on her hands. While the house offered the space that the family needed and was in good structural shape, there were plenty of opportunities to make much-desired changes. The family couldn’t afford to update the home in the first year — feeling things out and seeing how each space worked for them ultimately allowed for better and more tailored design choices. “I wanted to make each room exactly right for us, and I was prepared to wait until we could afford to do that,” Sandra explains.

While making the house ideal for their family’s needs, Sandra and Chris have kept the best bits of the Victorian era in mind — maximalism, heavily patterned wallpaper and lots of trinkets add even more character to this family’s historic home. The house has gone through major transformations, which isn’t to say it’s all completed — in fact, the biggest changes are yet to come. Sandra and Chris have plans to move the kitchen into another space, leaving the existing kitchen as a dining and living area with doors out to the garden. Sandra shares, “it’s a big project, but once this is done, it will make a huge difference to the way we eat, live and hang out as a family.”

Throughout the process of turning her family’s home into their dream home, Sandra has been most focused on reflecting their personalities and having fun. “I believe your interior is the natural projection of your heart and soul. For me, that means a riot of color and pattern, so my advice is — be bold and have fun with your decor. It’s not a serious or lifelong commitment, it can be changed if you hate it, so see what speaks to you and get it up on the walls!”—Sofia

Photography by Sandra Baker / @the_idle_hands

Image above: The downstairs hallway is the most recent project in the family’s home and one that ties all the different spaces together. For the stairs, Sandra wanted a striped runner with yellow edging, but sourcing the right type of yarn proved difficult. Finally, a supplier found a mill that supplied yarn to a homeware store that was introducing a new line of emoji rugs. “My runner is edged in emoji yellow — the kids love this fact!” Sandra exclaims.

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When redoing the hallway, the family tore out the dirty old carpet to find beautiful solid oak flooring underneath. The monk’s bench belonged to Sandra’s great aunt, and is great for throwing the kids’ shoes into.

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With each room needing rewiring, new electrical and plumbing, Sandra and Chris have updated their Victorian home with one big project a year. The lounge was the first room they renovated, and is where the whole family spends quality time together.

 

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When renovating the lounge, Sandra was heavily influenced by Abigail Ahern. Painting the room dark felt liberating but also baffled the painter, who kept asking if Sandra would like to change her mind!

 

 

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Rich colors and soft textures are key elements in the lounge decor. Another old carpet was ripped out in this space and replaced with parquet flooring in a herringbone pattern.

 

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“We took out an old gas fire, and I was hoping to find a vintage Victorian fireplace hiding behind — no such luck […] so I added what I’d hoped to find!” Sandra explains.

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Turning the existing kitchen into a dining and living area, and moving the kitchen into the playroom next to it, is the biggest and most extensive project on the to-do list.

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Because of the grand plans for a new kitchen, there was no point in spending much money updating the current one. “I repainted the walls and cupboards, changed the tiling with cheap metro tiles, added a rug and a light which we’d brought from our previous house and the room was transformed,” Sandra shares.

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Sandra with her daughters Kitty and Polly.

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The landing is in full blossom thanks to the pink floral wallpaper from the House of Hackney x William Morris collection. To recreate the look of traditional embossed Licrusta wallcovering below the dado rail, Sandra used textured wallpaper from Anaglypta. She is also slowly but surely replacing all the modern radiators in the house with traditional-style cast iron ones.

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Sandra fell head over heels for the Ava wallpaper from Sandberg, and chose it for the master bedroom. “The deep blue feels restful and cocooning, and I’d happily stay in bed in here all day if I could!” she says.

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To add some contemporary elements to the bedroom, Sandra hung a modern photography print above the bed.

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A color palette of navy, pink and green continues from the landing into the master bedroom.

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Sandra and Chris added an ensuite bathroom to the back of the master bedroom. The yellow tub is in daily use, and is one of Sandra’s favorite additions to the house.

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“The smallest room in the house for the loudest inhabitant!” Sandra says jokingly. Polly’s room has been decorated with an intentional clash of patterns, making it a happy and cheerful space for an equally cheerful girl.

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The Flamingo wallpaper by Cole & Son makes the space and defines the soft color palette in Polly’s room.

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“What I love most about my home is… pattern, pattern everywhere!” — Sandra

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Floor plan of the Baker family’s four-story Victorian home.

SOURCE LIST

Downstairs Hallway

Wallpaper – “Artemis” by House of Hackney x William Morris and “Early Victorian” Anaglypta
Paint color – Farrow & Ball “Railings”
Print – “Pussyhat doll” by Jenny O Jens
Blue hallway runner – Urban Outfitters
Artwork at top of stairs – Eugenia Loli at Society 6
Gallery wall artwork: Emily Winfield Martin, Tali Yolonetzki, Jenny O Jens (as above), “Frida” print by
Graham and Green

Upstairs Landing

Marble shelf – Graham & Green
Candleholder – Covet
Candle – Bella Freud
Octopus candleholder – Graham & Green (as above)
Art – Emily Winfield Martin (as above)
Plant pot – Anthropologie

Living Room

Wall colors – Farrow & Ball “Downpipe” and “Wimborne White”
Sofas – Heals (very old)
Footstool – Sofa.com
Rug – IKEA
Media unit – IKEA
Green carboy – Annas Attic
Pink and clear vases – Homesense
Yellow bud vase – Anthropologie
Hand/cloches/phrenology head/pineapple vase – Rockett St George
Fireplace artwork – Society6 and Nickie Kelly
Ercol sideboard – vintage
Neon sign – Aoos-neon via eBay
Cushions – Marks & Spencer, Matthew Williamson for Debenhams, Niki Jones, Heals
Wall lights – John Lewis
Floor lamps – IKEA
Sideboard artwork – “Abyss of the Disheartened” – X by Heather Landis via Society6

Kitchen

Cabinet paint – Farrow and Ball “Downpipe” and “Manor House Grey”
Cabinet handles – Rockett St George
Chandelier – Heals
Table/benches – Laura Ashley
Rug – eBay
Tea towels – Eleanor Bowmer
Hooks – Rockett St George (as above)
Flamingo print – Society6
Jug – Marks & Spencer
Fruit bowl – Anthropologie

Bathroom

Bath – The Cast Iron Bath Company
Floor and wall tiles – eBay
Artwork – Society6
Stool – vintage
Vase – Homesense

Master Bedroom

Wallpaper – “Ava” by Sandberg
Paint – Farrow & Ball “Stiffkey Blue”
Chandelier – British Home Stores
Bed – Laura Ashley
Bedding – Marks & Spencer, La Redoute
Bedside tables – Swoon Editions
Wall lights – John Lewis
Faux plant – Abigail Ahern
Vase – Anthropologie
Print above bed – Society6
Chest of drawers – Ercol
Artwork by chest of drawers – Tali Yolonetzki

Items on Chest of Drawers

Lamp – Homebase
Parrot – Rockett St George
Candle – Fornasetti
Jewelry holder – Oliver Bonas
Green vase – Next
Faux flowers/leaves – Astella Hrela
Brass vase – H&M

Polly’s Bedroom

Wallpaper – Flamingo by Cole & Son
Bed – John Lewis
Bedding – The Bright Company
Blind fabric – Suvi by Romo
Lightshade – Tord Boontje
Cloud shelf, rug – Urban Outfitters
Cushion – Asda

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Comments

  • Love this home, not my style but gorgeous – ornate without being gaudy and quirky while still personal.

    I will say the kitchen table’s size and placement makes me feel claustrophobic and gives me agita but kinda can’t wait to see the full reveal when she redoes the kitchen.

    Overall – amazing!

  • My God ! Could anything be prettier !
    Love absolutely everything about this place… From the very english looking entrance to that beautiful living room aswell as the kitchen ! What a beauty :O x

  • This is stunning! I am envious of the style confidence here – so many bold patterns and colors, so beautifully harmonized. Lovely.

  • What a happy thought-out home. I love how they stayed true to the Victorian house but modernized it with personalized art and styling.

  • I actually really like the kitchen!

    Thank you for the bedside table link.

    The photo of mom and daughters is so cute!!!

    • Hi Garrett, the artwork in the bathroom is printed onto canvas, which gives it a sort of natural sheen and makes it water resistant, which is why I went for it over a print. There are no windows in there, so it gets steamy, and it’s held up really well! So I’d go for canvas – I’ve also got an oil painting on a board in there, which is also fine in the steam :). Sandra

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