Be inspired : Home Feature Country Restoration
“I’m a country girl at heart…”
Growing up in a small village just outside of Manchester, Emma wanted to keep to her roots, close enough to her family but far enough away to create her own little haven… “I chose the house as it was a stones throw away from my parents’, I’ll always be their little girl so I didn’t want to move too far away and I loved the town I grew up in so wanted to stay local,” says Emma.
After 3 years at University, Emma was ready for her next adventure, she purchased the quaint end terrace house in the Spring of 2011. “After the freedom of living in halls at University I struggled to settle when living back home with my parents so after a year of saving I started looking at houses.” Emma’s move wasn’t all plain sailing, although the initial buy was quick and problem free, the scale of work she’d need to put into the property once she moved in was slightly overwhelming. “I purchased the house for a decent price as the previous owner had past away and their relatives wanted to make a quick sale. The house was very dated but it had a lot of original features which I liked, like the cast iron fireplaces in the bedroom and the French style dresser in the front room. I loved the fact it had high ceilings and all the old big chunky architraves. The house was like a time capsule, the top floor was almost untouched as the owner had lived solely in the lounge and kitchen area for a long time. All their possessions were left after the sale so I spent a lot of days clearing old photo’s, clothes & ornaments, it was quite a sad feeling really, someone’s whole memories cleared away into bags…”
Sharing her time between the new house and her parents’; Emma began tackling the renovations almost straight away, the décor consisted of thick Anaglypta papered walls & heavily patterned carpets, a 70’s Style Gas Fire Place sat next to a sickly cream fitted cupboard whilst a dated mahogany dado rail lined the whole of the lounge. “It wasn’t just the décor that was a problem, the whole house needed damp proofing as well as an overall clean,” explains Emma. The old carpets went first, revealing a hard stone floor which Emma immediately fell in love with, next was the wallpaper and dado rail and then went the fireplace. It wasn’t until late 2011 the house could be classed as liveable, but with the cold weather the fire place needed fitting. “I was determined to have a log fire, I just love the cosy country vibe and I believe a rustic log fire is the epitome of country style. The fireplace was bricked up but I knew I wanted a real fire so I had the bricks removed and added a lintel then I got the chimney swept professionally and added a fire basket.”
“I knew exactly what I wanted when it came to the décor, I’m a country girl at heart, id had horses when I was younger and enjoyed the outdoors, I spent a lot of time out in the country side and loved all things natural and rustic.” With a scrap book and a pile of interior magazines Emma pulled together ideas and inspirations, she found herself leaning towards fresh subtle colours, earthy woods and restored country furniture. Vintage style ornaments and floral patterns were already a preferred style of Emma’s, a look that she definitely wanted to incorporate into the house. “I wanted to do the house justice and keep in the theme of country vintage style, I wanted to keep as many original features as possible. I loved the fact it had so many original features in the house so restoring them was fun and added to the character of the property as well as making my home a functional place to live, “says Emma. With that in mind she chose simple soft white for the walls, choosing to focus more on the characteristics of the house.
Emma’s next challenge was tackling a cupboard fitted in the alcove of the lounge, painted in a sickly cream colour it hid layer upon layer of vintage paint, years of over painting meant this was going to be a big job. Each layer revealed a new colour, a memory of years gone by, from cream to yellow, blue then orange it was like a colour palette for the bygone years. “I loved the actual cupboard but wanted to strip it back to it’s original state, I thought the rococo style curves and the glass knobs were lovely and really wanted to show the character of the cupboard.” Emma explains. Once stripped back Emma found that the original orange colour also complimented the solid wooden doors that she’d purchased on eBay, “Unfortunately all the doors in my house were ruined and full of woodworm. I knew I wanted to keep in with the country look so I sourced some solid wood doors on eBay; modern doors would not of looked right. They came already dipped to add character.”
With the fireplace and walls finished, all that remained was the furniture, luckily for antique-loving -Emma, a dark wood French dresser was left at the property, Emma restored the dresser, painting it white to create a shabby chic country look. Separating the top from the bottom, one part resides on the wall in the kitchen housing a stunning China set and the other half sits comfortably at the window in the lounge. Most of Emma’s furniture was second hand, either from a friendly relative or bought at a second hand store. “I sourced my dining table and 6 chairs off pre-loved and paid £10 for it all I restored it back to it’s original colour and reupholstered the chairs with some new fabric.” Explains Emma.
For tips on How to Restore & Upholster furniture & see Emma’s Before & After photos Click here…
Ornaments and Finishing Touches
To finish off her Country Restoration Lounge and Kitchen, Emma chose eclectic ornaments and vintage pieces. “I have a huge collection of glassware and crystal which were handed down from my grandparents, I sourced a few of the vases and glassware from a local second hand mill and my china set was handed down from my nanny which was given to her on her wedding day from my great grandma. I used to love playing tea parties as a little girl with my nan.” Emma added quaint teacup candles, wicker hearts, photo frames and lots of flowers to add the finishing touches, scatter cushions with motifs and prints adorn the settee area while a chunky knit throw is draped over. “I added a few modern pieces in to keep the lounge looking fresh, I chose a silver stags head for over the fire place and a matching chrome crystal chandelier and I mixed in a hint of purple and pink too, I wanted to add a hint of glamour to the country look.”
Get Emma’s Look
What do you think of the Country Restoration look?