Leaving London to be near family in Scotland felt instinctively right for Jo and Matt Smith when their daughter Isobel was born. ‘We already had our son, Oscar,’ says Jo, ‘and thought we would benefit from the lifestyle Edinburgh had to offer.’
When they found this spacious Victorian villa there was no doubt they had made the right choice. Their new house was beautiful to begin with so Jo and Matt did not want to radically alter it.
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Owners Jo and Matt Smith live here with son Oscar, 10, and daughter Isobel, four. Jo is an interior designer (mrssmithinteriordesign.com (opens in new tab)) and Matt works in finance. Property A Grade C-listed, detached Victorian villa in Edinburgh, with six bedrooms, built in 1850.
What they did The kitchen was completely replaced and the layout altered. A wood-burning stove was added in the dining room.
‘We felt our job was to repair and upgrade the house and highlight its character. But as we both love to entertain, the kitchen was key,’ says interior designer Jo. ‘We wanted it to be welcoming and relaxing, not overly formal.’
The elegant finished look is the result of a collaboration between Jo and a local kitchen design company.
The beautiful copper handles on the cabinetry caught Jo’s eye immediately and her choices of soft off-white paint for the wall cabinets, and a strong blue shade for the island combine perfectly with the pale Silestone worktops, which have a delicate marble-effect finish. As for the choice of Italian range cooker:
‘I did my homework, I never buy on a whim,’ Jo explains. ‘Ilve range cookers are very popular in America and this one was ideal for our needs.’ The layout was crucial, too. Jo wanted the range cooker against the wall and a sink in the window and on the island.
When she’s working on a project with a client, Jo uses the home’s architecture as her starting point and did the same here. The couple reinstalled the fireplace in the dining room when they moved in and added a wood-burning stove. ‘We wanted a cosy spot where we could sit and read near the kitchen,’ explains Jo.
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She bought the French-style dining table and chairs from a London antiques shop, knowing the scale would be perfect for entertaining in the high-ceilinged space.
The chandelier above the table was an expensive buy, but one Jo feels was justified as it suits the room perfectly. ‘Getting the lighting right is so important,’ she says, and this has been carefully considered in both rooms, along with the finishing touches.
‘Wherever I go, I’m on the lookout for accessories and inspiration. I love rummaging in antiques shops, especially in the little French villages near where my parents live.’
She has added vibrant, personal artworks to create additional highlights. ‘I’m interested in typography and graphic art, so we have film and travel posters dotted around, which we have collected over the years,’ she adds.
‘Pictures can really set the tone in a room and our choices for the kitchen and dining room are relaxed and familiar.
‘This is my dream kitchen,’ says Jo. ‘I gave a lot of thought to the layout and I love how it flows into the dining room and the way the two spaces complement one another.’