Interiorssneak peeks

An Eclectic Home in Bristol

by Lauren Chorpening Day

Sometimes I see these rules floating around the internet about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to decorating. There are rules on everything from frame size, to how may objects should be grouped together, to buying the correct-sized rug. Generally, they are helpful guidelines, but sometimes I feel stuck or even wrong if the rules don’t seem to work for my spaces. Creating a space that is unique, beautiful and personal takes some rule breaking. Lou and Dan have made their home whimsical, cheery and lovely – and without sticking to a formula.

Lou Archell, lifestyle writer and blogger, and Dan Taylor, painter, decorator and craftsman, moved into their 1890s Victorian home 10 years ago. Since then, they’ve had two children, Charlie (9) and Rufus (7), and have renovated every room in the house. Finding the home was simplified by knowing what area in which they wanted to live. “Our neighborhood, to me, is one [of] the best places to live in Bristol. It is full of independent shops and cafes and has a great community buzz to it. After renting in this area for many years prior to buying this house, we knew this neighborhood was for us,” Lou says. “We chose this house as it lives on a small, quiet street. It was in a poor condition and needed modernization to make it a liveable family home. The price, of course, reflected this and we bought a bargain.” Lou and Dan didn’t just restore this house – in the end, the transformation reflects their family and their creative vision in every room.

The bright accents, vintage pieces and playful arrangement of artwork and decor makes every corner, shelf and wall come alive. “Ten years on, we have completely gutted and renovated every room in the house. I wouldn’t say our home is finished, as there are always projects on the go,” Lou says. “I love decorating, changing rooms around and rethinking spaces. Decorating our home had to reflect our personalities. Dan and I love handcrafted items, furniture, ceramics and also natural elements. Our space has evolved over time.” This eclectic, welcoming home isn’t by-the-book and it is a lovely example of the power of intuition. —Lauren

Photography by Laura Pashby


Paint color: Lamp Room Grey by Farrow & Ball
Bed Linen: Secret Linen Store
Kantha Throw: Ines Cole
Paintings: Flea Markets
Kantha Robe: Toast
Light fittings: Vintage Danish copper sconces from Ebay

Paint Colour: Pavilion Grey by Farrow & Ball
Mirror: Flea Market
Pictures: Flea Market
Cabinet: Junk Shop
Shelves: Scaffold Planks
Decal on Mirror: Shanna Murray

Dining Room
Wallpaper: William Morris, Willow Boughs print from Fashion Wallpaper
Mirror: Flea Market
Cabinet: Gumtree
Butterfly print: Stanfords Maps
Gold R: 19 Alexandra Road
Lamp Shade: Lane by Post
Lamp pendant: Made.com
Sideboard: Ebay
Chairs: Ebay
Blue wall: Blues Blue by the Paint & Paper Library

Shelves & peg board: made by Dan Taylor
Kitchen & worktops: Ikea
Ceramics: Flea market finds
Vase: Midgely Green
Picture frame: Decorators Notebook

Sitting Room
Sofa: Ikea
Sofa covers: Saustarkdesign
Cushions on sofa: Donna Wilson, Jo Waterhouse and Skinny Laminx
Arm chair: WestElm
Rug: Etsy
Yellow Print: Bold and Noble
Cabinet: Junk Shop
Cabinet painted in: Stiffkey blue by Farrow & Ball
Shelves: Made by Dan Taylor

A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The Victorian home was built in 1890. Lou and Dan have fully restored and renovated it. They installed a wood burning stove that keeps with the original feel of the home while also creating in a modern surround for it.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The sitting room is small but cozy. "Although this room is tiny, we all love to curl up on the sofa and watch a movie on Netflix," says Lou.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
Natural, vintage and handmade objects are used as decorations throughout Lou and Dan's home.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"The blue cabinet in the corner displays our treasure," says Lou. "Shells from beaches, bones, seed heads, skulls - a Victorian curios cabinet. We love it!"
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The dining room is Lou's favorite room in the house. "The William Morris 'Willow Boughs' wallpaper on one wall really helps to make the space feel cozy, and gives a natural element to the room," she says.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"I run a weekly Instagram link up called #natureinthehome and my home really reflects this. Natural elements like feathers, dried seed heads, flowers and skulls are everywhere," says Lou.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The informal placement of decorations make Lou and Dan's place feel lived-in, effortless and sweet.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The dining room is right off of the kitchen. The colors and materials seen from one room to the next contrast with each other really well.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The white and wood IKEA kitchen shows off Lou and Dan's objects, tools and decorations beautifully.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"Dan recently made these gorgeous wooden shelves and peg rail for me, and installed them," says Lou. "I wanted to showcase our love of vintage and handmade ceramics. Plus, it is a great place to dry herbs and keep flowers, too."
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"Dan installed the wooden tongue-and-groove panelling in the bathroom himself," says Lou. "Last year we painted it grey from a sage green and find it a very soothing place to relax."
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"My first 'grown up' bedroom is such a calming space. Soft grey walls, white floors and my most precious items fill the room," says Lou.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"All of the pictures in this room have been found at flea markets or car boot sales," says Lou. "Nothing is more than £5."
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
Simple yet full seems to be the way Lou and Dan decorate.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
"Sunlight streams into the back of the house most of the day, only disappearing at supper time. It makes it wonderful place to work and spend time," says Lou.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
The vibrant accents, cool walls and delicate pieces have made this bedroom a retreat for Lou and Dan. They have filled it with everything they love and have created a beautiful space.
A Lovely, Eclectic Home in Bristol | Design*Sponge
Lou Archell, arranging flowers and being lovely.

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  • Beautiful. Would love to know what the paint color of that grey in the bedroom!

  • Very lovely home. I love how you’ve arranged your treasures throughout your home, creating interesting groupings that reflect the personal style of you and your family.

  • What a beautiful home! I met my husband in Bristol and this city has such a special place in my heart. I know just what they mean about the lovely shops and galleries. We try and go back now every two years. Lovely, lovely home. Thank you for the tour.

  • I love everything about this house – it feels so genuine, welcoming, and a very happy place to live in. Made my day! :)

  • what type of round leaf flatfaced plant is that? a friend gave me one but i don’t know what it is called.

  • One of the most beautiful homes I have ever seen. Now to go back and savour the pictures for the fifth time.