Listed Georgian townhouse renovation

Caroline Newsome redesigned her listed home, arranged over four storeys, to create the perfect blend of old and new

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‘When I happened to drive through Henley-on-Thames for the first time one sunny winter’s day I realised what a lovely place it is, and ended up buying a terraced house right in the centre of town,’ says Caroline Newsome.

‘Property is much more affordable here than in London, and living in the old market square overlooking the town hall means that everything is right on the doorstep.’

Caroline’s mid-terraced four-storey Georgian property was structurally sound but tired internally, offering scope for renovation. She lived there for six months to get a feel for the house before deciding how best to maximise its potential.

Ten years ago it had been used as a dental surgery, with a flat above, and the dentist’s chair would have been located in what is now the dining room. In the cellar below, which was already watertight, the ceiling had been reinforced with steelwork to support the weight of the chair, and the space was used for storage. Caroline felt it would be perfect as a new utility room and a bathroom.

The whole of Henley-on-Thames town centre is a Conservation Area, and the 1830s house is also Grade II listed, so once Caroline had devised a new layout, she needed to get planning permission from the local conservation officer

Caroline employed building company Archinno, from New Malden, who she’d worked with once before, and who had also built an extension for her friend. She moved out of the house for four months during the summer of 2012 while every room was carefully stripped back, ready to be rewired, replumbed and newly plastered.

Fact file

The owners: Caroline Newsome, an interior designer, lives here with her partner Alex Boyd, a commercial relocation consultant

The property: A four-storey, two-bedroom, mid-terraced Georgian house

The location: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

What they spent: The couple bought the property for £495,000 in 2012 and have spent around £80,000 on the renovation and remodel. It has recently been valued at £750,000

‘Each room has a distinct personality,’ Caroline, homeowner


georgian house renovation in terraces

The Grade II-listed four-storey townhouse stands in the old market square in Henley-on-Thames. In the past it was used as a dental surgery with a flat above. A leak in the roof was repaired, and the original single-glazed sash windows were overhauled and repainted. A new heating system was installed, with radiators fitted in the majority of rooms and underfloor heating on the ground floor.

dining area with colourful eclectic furniture


Caroline replaced the original kitchen with a dining area and removed the wall dividing it from the living area. The dining table, made from old floorboards, and metal chairs are from an antiques shop in Brussels – the cushions are from Designers Guild and the perspex pendant light is from Kartell. Caroline found the ceramic horse’s head in local shop The Vintage Look and the wings are from Rockett St George.

yellow kitchen in a georgian townhouse


A flat ceiling in the kitchen was removed to raise the height of the room into the roof pitch – as this ground-floor space is contained in an existing single-storey extension, it meant that a new rooflight could be be installed overhead.

Shaker-style units from Howdens are finished with granite worktops from Ceramica & Stone. The copper pendant lights are from Habitat, the sink and tap from Appliances Direct, and the appliances from Siemens. For a similar wall colour, try Ivory from Little Greene. The Wow wall sign is from Rockett St George.

bathroom in a georgian townhouse with grey wallpaper


The bathroom walls are decorated in Ralph Lauren’s Ashfield Floral wallpaper in Gun Metal, finished in four coats of acrylic waterproof varnish. The basin is from Edwins Bathrooms.

red living room in a georgian townhouse


The sofas are from and the blind is from The Natural Curtain Company. For a similar wall paint, try Crown’s Scooter Red.

duck egg blue bedroom in a townhouse


The walls and radiator are both painted in Dulux Trade 50GG 55/049. Peak Oak supplied the floorboards. The bed is from Sweetpea & Willow, the mirrors are from Graham & Green, and the bedside tables from Brook House.

neutral living with yellow alcoves and bright accessories


The original fireplace was restored and slate flooring from Ceramica & Stone laid throughout. The sofa and footstool are from and the chaise longue is covered in fabric by Manuel Canovas. Dulux Trade paint in 30YY 56/060 was used throughout the downstairs, with 60YY 45/382 for the alcove shelving. The Art Deco lamp was sourced from an antiques shop.

grey wallpapered bathroom with walk in shower


Floor and wall tiles from the Stone & Ceramic Warehouse have been laid in the bathroom. The bath and WC are from Edwins Bathrooms, and the brassware is from Lefroy Brooks.

The contacts

  • Interior design: Arq-A Interiors, 07979 393447,
  • Construction: Archinno, 020 3490 1006,
  • Slate flooring and kitchen worktop: Ceramica & Stone
  • Kitchen: Howdens
  • Oak flooring: Peak Oak
  • Sanitaryware: Edwins Bathrooms
  • Brassware: Lefroy Brooks
  • Paint: Dulux Trade
  • The full feature – including stockists and more images – appears in the February 2016 issue of Real Homes. For back issues, call 01527 834435. Subscribe today to take advantage of our money-saving subscription offers.