I first met Alison when we both lived in America. Since coming back to the UK Alison has been developing her creative side! She attends various classes at Putney Art School in sculpture and drawing as well as continuing her lifelong passion for photography. Her emotive scenes, seen here hanging in the hall, feature the local landscape. She produces both prints and cards from her photography portfolio. Also a great participant in thedecorcafe I was keen to see how Alison’s artistic side has been expressed in her home.
As soon as you approach the house you are struck by the beauty of the garden and the care that it has received. The original wall and size of plot was what sold the property to Alison and her husband Jeremy originally – mainly so that the kids could play football on the grass. Now they have created this wonderful outside living area which is, without question, their favourite room. Even gorgeous in the rain.
The wrap around veranda was one of the first alterations. Previously the building was, at best, rather plain. Now it reflects the outdoorsy way of life that they choose – seamlessly integrating house and garden in a style of their own.
One of the tricky issues for many larger houses is the lack of windows in the central space – often the hallway. Alison eradicated this problem entirely by putting in glass panels and widening the south-facing front door.
The purpose built suspended shelving was designed to mask the hall radiator and is also very handy for dog leads etc.
Alison’s office also functions as a guest room – the sofa becomes a bed. Local designer, Jacquie Cheetham, suggested these simple but clever Velux roller blinds which give privacy whilst still letting in the light.
The whole living space was redesigned with the view of the garden in mind. The only change that Alison is considering is to remove the red lighting from above the dining table because, although it makes a great focal point, it also interrupts the line of vision from door to window.
This light and airy extension to the kitchen was created to give the family instant access to the garden. Previously this space was taken up by a utility room which prevented the garden being enjoyed from the kitchen. Comfy (the sofa is ancient!) as well as elegant, it keeps the kids close, playing their music or curled up on the sofa with a book (and often Pepper the dog!) when Alison is cooking in the kitchen.
She also had the idea to give each child their own locker, shown here at the end of the kitchen. Now if Alison picks something up left lying around the house she knows where to put it and they know where to go to look!
In keeping with her relaxed approach, Alison took the time to work with Ali Salt, Architectural Interior Designer, to design the cupboards in the sitting room down to the last detail. She is delighted with the result as they accommodate everything required, including hiding the TV behind sliding doors.
Alison also asked Ali to help her design the layout of the room, as large spaces require a lot of thought. It proved to be a great investment.
Another fabulous investment sits in the corner on the other side of the room. This amazing glass vase, from Roche Bobois, transforms what was a tricky spot where nothing else quite worked. The shape and colour were carefully chosen to add softness and interest whilst complementing rather than overpowering the view of the garden. Obviously it doesn’t have to be Roche Bobois - but how lovely if it can!
NB. By coincidence we are holding a fun and friendly decorclub, run by Frderique Lhopiteau, at Roche Bobois on easy Feng Shui for your home on 29th February. Everyone welcome!
Alison has been confident enough to choose the bold colours that she likes. She starts with a neutral canvas (typically the walls) and then splashes bright colours wherever she feels is right, further enhancing the sunny mood of the house – a true reflection of the family personality.
Alison has created a dream home for her and her family but she stresses that it has taken a period of eight years and two separate sessions of building works to come together. In her view a home evolves at the same pace as the Mother. She couldn’t have done it when the kids were small, and even now their rooms are very much left up to them – like the rest of us, she just shuts their bedroom doors when necessary!
There is one room which is still work in progress. This is the kids den that she created a new look for when she came to a decorworkshop recently. We will share it when it is finished – just the blinds to go!
“What I like about thedecorcafe and the interior designers I have chosen to work with in certain areas of the house is that it feels like a partnership in which the creative input flows between us. Having this support just makes it easier for me to create what I want for me and my family.”
If you are interested in Alison’s photographic art and cards please visit Gleeson Framers or contact debbie@thedecorcafe and we will put you in touch.
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