This is a truly awe-inspiring place to live. On the one hand, so near to the city and the ease of urban living, and yet steeped in the beauty of a secluded rural retreat. The views from the windows are superb; trees and wildlife form a panorama, while a river runs through an enormous expanse of hillside garden below. What could be more idyllic?
So it’s no surprise that our clients fell in love with the views and location of this magical spot near Westbury-on-Trym when they bought it a few years ago, but the Sixties house and it’s Seventies extension needed more work than they first realised. The flow of the house was inhibited by difficult entrances to the building and rooms that were awkward to use.
The kitchen was a decent size, but didn’t relate to the other living spaces and felt very dark and dated, and the bay windows (with the glorious views) desperately needed replacing. It was time for a renovation, but one that respected the spirit of the original architecture and embraced a modern lifestyle for the owners. Together with the clients, we came up with an open-plan living area, aiming for it to be as light and spacious as possible, while retaining a separate kitchen.
Visually linked by the oval internal opening that is next to the dining area, the modern-day hatch is a contemporary shape, allowing a clear view both ways. Immediately, the space feels updated and inclusive, so dinner guests can talk to the hosts when they are preparing food. The bold orange and grey kitchen colours lead the eye towards the end kitchen wall, making the living space feel even bigger. The muted grey walls on this side of the kitchen frame the views and seamlessly join all aspects of the space in a calming and sophisticated style that emphasises the architectural features.
The wood-burning stove (from Embers in Bristol) is by Morso and provides a focal point without disturbing the view through the windows. Seating to the right of the stove overlooks this spectacular sight, while the dining area is within easy access of the new bi-fold doors leading out on to the original balcony with the Sixties balustrade intact. The bay window was rebuilt toaccommodate a new bay for the bedroom above and to meet stringent building regulations. This means that the house is better insulated and, together with heating beneath the new timber floor, is very cosy indeed.
The picture shows the edge of a projector unit built into the ceiling, with a light fitting underneath so that the living room can easily become a cinema space when needed. Note there are no recessed lights to be seen to ruin the spirit of the original house. We used pendants and wall lamps sourced by the clients – many of them vintage fittings – to create mood and atmospheres for this wonderful room.