Creative thinking made this home picture-perfect and practical

Creative thinking helped Sam and Emily Waddington to complete a half-finished house and put their own stamp on the interior. Heather Dixon reports. Pictures by Dave Burton.

When Emily and Sam Waddington started decorating and furnishing their four-bedroom terraced home near Harrogate, it was Sam who could be found waiting for the doors to open at his favourite interiors shops, and Sam who would spend hours studying paint colours to find shades that would work in their new home.“I took a graphic design course at university and that creative side went into interiors,” says Sam. “Emily enjoys that side of things too, but it’s me who has the real passion for it. I love great design and new ideas and I’m always on thelookout for things which are a bit different.”

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Emily and Sam had already renovated a two bedroom terraced house in Ilkley by the time they moved to the outskirts of Harrogate.“It was a natural step to take on a bigger project,” says Emily. “We love the location of this one – close to amenities but also close to the countryside – and we were also wanting a larger home so we could start a family. We were lucky to find this one. Houses do not come up for sale that often in this area.”The house they bought was dated inside but structurally sound. It also had the added bonus of being partially renovated by the previous owner.“They had started lots of jobs but not really finished anything before they decided to sell,” says Sam. “They had converted the basement into a dining kitchen, but only half completed the work, so when we took it on board we were picking upwhere they had left off.”Emily and Sam fitted the rest of the basement floor, added an island unit in the kitchen, stripped out and refitted two bathrooms and updated skirting boards, coving and doors - living in the house while they completed the renovation.

“It wasn’t too bad living amongst it all,” says Emily, who by this time was expecting their second child. “After renovating our last house we got used to living among the dust and upheaval. You just have to be organised and have at least one room where you can escape to at the end of the day.”The fact that the house had already been semi-renovated gave the Waddingtons a head start and, rather than start again, Sam and Emily “ran” with the work that had already been completed in order to achieve faster results.“In some ways it was quite challenging to take on board someone else’s unfinished work, ideas and inspiration and continue them to completion,” says Sam, who chronicled the project via his instagram page the_harrogate_terrace

“In other ways it was easier than starting from scratch because a lot of the structural work was done so we were left to finish off things like floors, skirting boards and architraves. We also completed the kitchen with a new island unitand fitted new bathroom suits and tiles.”Most of the top rooms in the house had been untouched so Sam’s father, a retired electrician, rewired the upper floors before each room was decorated. They also had to tackle the garden at the front of the house, which was overgrown withweeds and ivy.“We added paving and iron gates which were in keeping with the style of the house,” says Emily. “Our last house was also Victorian so it was just a bigger version of what we had before. We knew how we wanted it to look.”Emily and Sam loved the amount of natural light that flooded through their new home, along with the high Victorian ceilings and spacious rooms. They agreed from the first day they moved into the house that they would avoid cluttering the place with too much furniture and, in doing so, highlight the property’s natural character.

With a mixture of furniture from their last house and new pieces bought specifically to fit the dimensions of their larger family home, the couple gradually transformed the half-finished interior into a stylish and comfortable house based on clean lines, individual ideas and practical solutions.They are particularly pleased with the bathroom where they have laid patterned tiles on the floor off-set by a free standing bath and sinks fitted onto an open shelf. Shades of blue and grey are given dramatic pops of colour – especially in the kitchen where the central island is painted aubergine – and colourful soft furnishings can be changed with the seasons.

The entrance hall has also been given a dramatic makeover with grey and white tiles complementing the period features of the house while adding a contemporary edge.“We tried to balance it between contemporary and period styles,” says Emily. “We wanted to work with the character of the house and keep all the original features, but we didn’t want it to be stuck in a time warp. Lovely Victorian houses like these are ideal for creating a modern look in a period setting without compromising either. It also had to be hard wearing. With a young family you have to allow for wear and tear and not over clutter the rooms. We love the fact that the dining room is not part of the kitchen, and what used to be the dining room is now a playroom. It changes the way we use the house which, first and foremost, had to be a home.”