This Victorian terrace home in York has had a fabulous makeover and shows that they who dare win

We take a look inside one of York's most stylish Victorian terraced homes

There are various ways we attempt to assess compatibility with a partner. Star signs, musical taste and sense of humour are some popular examples. However, Gio di Cosmo and James Rushby offer a compelling case for adding interior design to the list.

The couple merged the contents of their respective homes when they bought their Victorian house in York and, though their taste in homeware sometimes differs, the result is a marriage of styles made in heaven. Their mix of furniture, colour and pattern is one that few would dare to use but it works wonderfully.

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The couple bought their large, three-storey home after Gio sold his flat and James sold his small terrace house, just before the first lockdown. Constructed in 1878 for workers at a nearby factory, it most likely began life as a middle manager’s house as it is packed with exquisite period features including deep skirtings and coving and elaborate corbels and ceiling roses. Plus every room has a fireplace.

Gio and James' home in York

They don’t make them like that any more, which was part of the appeal, as was the obvious love and care the previous owner had shown the property, which comes with a large garden and a garage.

“She had invested quite a lot of money in renovating the house, and the roof and windows had all been recently replaced but the decor was mostly cream, which was lovely but it didn’t suit us because there was an absence of texture and colour,” says James.

The couple agree that there was no theme for their redecoration project, which was led by instinct, courage and mutual trust. “It was more about building a sense of richness with the colours, patterns and textures and there was quite a lot of me saying to James, ‘trust me’,” says Gio.

One thing they have in common is a love of wood furniture, which is why Gio’s Ercol collection is prevalent. They both believe in the adage “buy what you like and it will fit in”, so vintage and antique pieces that James is a particular fan of look perfect with more contemporary finds.

James, left, and Gio, right, with Beau, their pet dog

The hall was painted in Farrow & Ball’s Stiff Key blue while in the sitting room, the ceiling is in Sulking Room Pink and the wallpaper is from Arthouse. The two sofas in the sitting room are new and James put his trust in Gio who did not want them to match. One is leather from Sofology and the other is turquoise velvet from Swoon. The Art Deco lamp stand came from a Malton antique shop.

A good number of items in the house were sourced via eBay, including the fan-shaped fireguard and the six-pelt sheepskin rug in the sitting room, while new pieces came from Made.com, Swoon and Ella de Wastney’s shop in Gillygate, York, with budget buys from Dunelm and Wilko.

The bog standard radiators throughout the house were replaced with column radiators from heatandplumb.com. The dining room was treated to a new Saltfire Peanut wood-burning stove and the fireplace got new tiles from the Phoenix Tile Studio, while the adjoining kitchen was given a cleverly conceived update. “It was a fairly new Howdens kitchen in cream and it seemed wrong to rip it out so we had the units sprayed in Stiff Key blue, added a new sink and sanded, revarnished the worktops and retiled the walls,” says Gio.

Papering the wall of the cold store at the end of the kitchen and removing the door was inspired and gives the illusion of more space while adding interest.

Beau, the cockerpoo, outside his play tent/bed

Upstairs, the bathroom was their biggest project. It is enormous and had a bath at one end and a shower at the other with a huge void in the middle. Gio and James invested in a Burlington loo and double sink and placed a large cast-iron bath in the centre of the room and painted in a deep blush pink.

The floor tiles are from Fired Earth and the Ercol bureau offers bathroom storage and came from a charity shop. The surprise addition of a granddaughter clock works brilliantly. It was bought from Clocks & Moor in Kirkbymoorside and with a soft tick and Westminster chime, it is their favourite item in the house.

In the huge main bedroom, the couple spray painted the wardrobes and added a G-Plan media unit on hairpin legs, which they also painted. The wallpaper is Mozambique from Arthouse and the bed is from the Frank Hudson Spire range.

Framed art work is everywhere and the pair agree that this coming together of two collections is “probably the best example of our different tastes merging well”.

The beautifully revamped kitchen

Gio, who works for branding and marketing strategy specialist Wrapped Agency, and James, an advanced clinical nurse practitioner, met while based in Manchester but moving to this side of the Pennines has been a huge success.

They love their gorgeous home, can’t see themselves leaving and are enjoying living in James’ native York. “I left York when I was 18 and couldn’t wait to move away and I have travelled all over the world since but I am very happy to be back here,” says James. “I love this house. Gio talks about it as being a sanctuary and that’s just how it feels.”

The couple love art and there are prints and paintings in every room
In the huge main bedroom, the couple spray painted the wardrobes and added a G-Plan media unit on hairpin legs, which they also painted. The wallpaper is Mozambique from Arthouse and the bed is from the Frank Hudson Spire range.
Gio and James invested in a Burlington loo and double sink and placed a large cast-iron bath in the centre of the room and painted in a deep blush pink. The floor tiles are from Fired Earth and the Ercol bureau offers bathroom storage and came from a charity shop. The surprise addition of a granddaughter clock works brilliantly. It was bought from Clocks & Moor in Kirkbymoorside and with a soft tick and Westminster chime, it is their favourite item in the house.
The multi-functional/second sitting room is on the top floor