When it comes to finding inspiration for decorating and styling your newly renovated home, owning a luxury interiors business is a distinct advantage.
Sam Marlow is the founder and director of online store Lime Lace, which started because she was so frustrated by ‘the lack of unique and creative’ home accessories available on the high street that she began sourcing and selling her own. Sam named it Lime Lace because she sells a mix of ‘fresh contemporary pieces and antique vintage pieces, and that is really the style of my house.’
We chatted with Sam to find out how she took an old-fashioned former farmhouse and transformed it into a relaxing family home that’s also a stunning showcase for her business…
'The building has a lot of history – it used to be part of a big period farm building. It was divided into separate houses and we have one of the centre ones with the original barn door. We’d been looking for a house for over a year.
The owners Sam Marlow, founder and director of Lime Lace (limelace.co.uk), lives here with husband James, a financial advisor, daughter Grace and sons Freddie and Ted
The property A four-bedroom house in a converted period farm building in Yorkshire
Project cost £91,000
'When we found this one I liked the age of it: the exposed stone and the beams. We’re in the middle of the countryside with fields to the front and back, but it’s only 10 minutes to Ilkley and 15 minutes to Harrogate. The village we’re in has a school and a pub and that’s about it, but it’s got a lovely feel to it.'
'It’s very rare for properties to come up for sale in the village and we had to fight to get it. In the end there were three of us who had to do silent bids, it was that much in demand. It was stressful because you don’t know what you’re up against. And the farmer selling kept changing his mind. We were really lucky to get it – there were quite a few tears at the end.'
'I’ve got a background in property development, starting in an estate agent’s after university, then designing show apartments and moving into interior design. I’d done projects of my own before the house but for a few years I was looking for something I could put my stamp on. It was in a bit of a state when we bought it; very run down and not a very pretty property. I literally felt like pulling everything out and starting again.'
'When we moved in, I found out I was pregnant, so we needed another bedroom. We did a small side extension and created a downstairs bedroom and toilet. The kitchen space was here but it was very old-fashioned. We ripped the floor out and levelled it to put a new floor and underfloor heating in. We put in bi-folding doors to create the inside/outside look I wanted. I also had the patio decked and raised. It was Yorkshire stone and I know it’s sacrilegious to get rid of it, but it wasn’t the modern look that I wanted.'
'We did the decorating and painting, but the main structural items we did get the professionals in to do, and I sourced the materials. When we moved in, the bathroom was the most important room to get done first because I was pregnant and had two young children. I’m obsessed with baths – when you’re pregnant there’s nothing better – but we just had a toilet and a sink! We’d go to the gym to have a shower while the building work was going on.
'It was quite difficult when we didn’t have a kitchen for about three months – we ate, slept and socialised in our master bedroom. We only just finished in 2021. We did the main bits that needed to get done, but then I wanted to take my time with the other rooms, so it’s been a good four or five years.'
'The garden was a fabulous space to have during lockdown. James did a lot of it; he levelled the garden and built the seating area. He’s been working on it for four years because he could only work weekends, but over lockdown he really knuckled down. We like to have a lot of parties, and I love being outdoors, so I wanted a space that pulled you outside. We can fit a good 20 people on the decking area, it’s that large.'
'Though the work is finished, I’m always changing up accessories and artwork; not the big things, just the little things. My husband comes home and goes, "Oh, where’s that gone?"
'But when I walk through the door I do have that sense of relief that I can just close the door and shut away the stresses of the day and just feel really comfortable. It was worth all the stress around buying it and then renovating. This house represents us exactly. We didn’t compromise on our choices or our style, and it’s just a real haven to come back to.'
Subscribe to Real Homes magazine Want even more great ideas for your home from the expert team at Real Homes magazine? Subscribe to Real Homes magazine and get great content delivered straight to your door. From inspiring completed projects to the latest decorating trends and expert advice, you'll find everything you need to create your dream home inside each issue.