Real home: an Arts and Crafts home reinvented to make the most of light and space

Pale paint shades and plenty of natural daylight let the original beauty of this Arts and Crafts home shine through

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One of the first improvements that Kim Scillitoe made to her new home was to take down some heavy red curtains that had hung at the living room windows for several decades. As soon as they were gone, the beauty of this room’s architecture came alive.

The project

Owners: Kim Scillitoe, who runs Curated Living, an online interiors shop and a separate design company, and her husband Gavin, who runs a printing business, live here with their daughters Issey, 17, and Poppy, 15

Property: A five-bedroom Arts and Crafts house in Surrey, built in 1911 with a kitchen extension added in the 1980s. The smaller left-hand portion of the original house (formerly the servants’ quarters) was made into a separate home, also in the 1980s

What they did: The house needed a complete refurbishment. The couple turned a shower room into a cloakroom and created a laundry room next to the kitchen. Outside, the house was painted, and the gutters, roof and some windows were repaired

The windows and the long window seat were revealed and the light flowed in. Ever since then, Kim and her husband Gavin have deliberately left the large windows in this room uncovered (as shown above).

In true Arts and Crafts style, the tall proportions of the rooms are emphasised by plenty of panelling, the original dark wood now painted in paler shades for a lighter feel. This house was designed with numerous ledges, sills and surfaces that are ideal for displaying ornaments. That suits Kim perfectly as she has a passion for collecting, and has dotted surfaces with delicate birdcages, handmade ceramics and quirky papier mâché figures made by Julie Arkell.

And although some areas have been adapted for modern family life, the way the spaces work together and the wonderful flow of light are now just as beautiful as when the house was built.

Find out what Kim and Gavin did next, then browse through more real home transformations and learn more about renovating a house

(Image: © James Balston)

The couple moved in at the end of 2003 with a lot of work to do. Exterior work included roof repairs, repointing the chimney stacks and then repainting. Some of the original windows needed refurbishing, but Kim and Gavin were very careful to replicate the original style.


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Inside, certain changes were needed to make the spaces work better for family life. A ground floor bathroom and en suite was turned into a cloakroom and a home office, and an unused storage room off the kitchen became a laundry room.

This beautiful living room fireplace and tiles were discovered behind some modern tiles. The wood burner is from Chesneys 

(Image: © James Balston)

When the couple installed a new woodburning stove in the living room, they made an interesting find. The tiled fireplace in the living room had been covered over with more modern ceramics, and as their decorator carefully chipped away at the top layer, he discovered the original stunning tile frieze of handpainted Persian or Eastern figures glazed in iridescent blues and greens, most likely a tribute to the Persian art and motifs that were popular at the time that the house was built.

The striking blues and greens of the original Persian-inspired tiles have inspired Kim’s choices for accessories in the living room 

(Image: © James Balston)

The green brick tiles beneath the frieze are a more familiar Edwardian variety, and Kim sourced a similar reclaimed set of tiles for the house’s second fireplace, in the ground-floor hallway.

The wide ground-floor hallway is used as an additional seating space, with a sofa from Andrew Martin  

(Image: © James Balston)

An elegant antique French sofa and a vintage garden table are the perfect complement to the freshly painted wood panelling in the hallway 

(Image: © James Balston)

 For a similar upholstered dining chair, try Multiyork’s Ely in Lottie. The walls are painted in Clunch by Farrow & Ball 

(Image: © James Blston)

Double-glazed doors lead from the hallway into the dining room. Once decorated in textured Anaglypta wallpaper, this room is now cast in lighter hues to let the architecture shine through. Kim collects Astier de Villatte china and glassware, which add extra sparkle to the table.

 A covered outdoor loggia, accessed from the dining room, overlooks the long garden and is furnished with weathered French-style furniture  

(Image: © James Balston )

steps down to a kitchen with blue cabinets

 Steps lead down from the hallway to the new kitchen, where existing cabinetry has been painted in Deep Space Blue by Little Greene to blend in with the blue Aga range cooker 

 Kim designed the wall cabinet in the kitchen to conceal the TV, lining it with Fornasetti wallpaper from Cole & Son and painting it in Cupboard Green in by Little Greene. The china inside it is by Astier de Villatte. The walls are painted in Canton and Shallows by Little Green and the pendants hanging over the oak table are from Graham & Green 

(Image: © James Balston)

 An island unit provides a sociable place to prepare family meals. The vases are from Curated Living and for a similar bench seat, try Scumble Goosie 

(Image: © James Balston)

The master bedroom’s Rajapur wallpaper by Cole & Son works as a backdrop to a bed from Harrods and cushions from Curated Living. The parrot lamp is by Abigail Ahern for Debenhams 

(Image: © James Balston)

Procuratie e Scimmie wallpaper by Cole & Son has been used in the WC 

(Image: © James Balston)

Kim and Gavin designed the vanity unit, which was made by a local cabinetmaker. The sconce is a French antique bought at auction and the walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hardwick White. For a similar freestanding bath and countertop basins, try Victorian Plumbing 

 A simple awning made with a Moroccan blanket, and walls in Canton by Little Greene, make this teenager’s bedroom a stylish sanctuary. The chandelier was designed by Kevin McCloud. For a similar bed, try the Coco from Loaf 

(Image: © James Balton )

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